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January 09, 2016

Neil Tries CrossFit Greenhills

The Inception

When I began writing on this platform, a friend and I spoke about its beginnings which lead to a long conversation that ended with the main topics that would be tackled on the website. Since I had a background in the medical field, I decided to include health and fitness. This lead to her opening about her daily fitness regimen called 'Crossfit.'

She went on and spoke about the details like how intense, how and why the workout was effective, and how wonderful the camaraderie among the participants were. Now, being in the medical field, this wasn't new to me. I have had seen so many of these exercise routines from my time in and out of the field. What caught my interest though was when she was speaking about CrossFit, her voice changed slightly and the look in her eyes were intense. She was passionate about it. I became curious. She even offered to help me try it and I agreed.

A couple of days later, I met with one of my best friends from college and his girlfriend to catch up. He then mentioned that he was on his way to loose those unwanted love handles. The conversation went on like this:

"Great! How are you going to do that?" I said. 
"There's this new thing my co-workers invited me to try, its called Crossfit. Its been going around." He said.
"He lost quite a bit already." His girlfriend added.
"Yeah he has." I replied and continued with:
"I actually just heard about it the other day. I didn't think it was that big of a deal. I really live under a rock, don't I?"

Now this friend of mine from college was one of the few people I would trust my life with. Most of the time I would believe him. This furthered my resolve to try this 'Crossfit' thing. (Not that I was hesitant from the beginning anyway.) 

The Lead-up

I met her again and she mentioned that there were free trials every month and that it would be best to check their Facebook Page. So I did, and I followed the instructions. This lead me to their website and into their free trial page. It was RSVP only, and I had to register either through email (cfgreenhills@gmail.com) or via SMS. 

I sent an SMS message and got the slot. It was set on a Saturday afternoon at 2PM. 

Saturday came and I checked my stuff, and went on my way. The gym is on the fourth floor of the Intrawest Centre bldg. along Annapolis st. which is a block or two away from the Promenade Greenhills. It wasn't that hard to find. It had this distinct tint of green that you couldn't miss. If you are on the ground level, you will find a mediterranean restaurant called Feta which is next to the AUB bank and the deli, Deli Master.

As I was walking up to the building I noticed a large stair case where a security guard kindly asked where I was going. I replied with 'Crossfit,' and he then lead me to the stair case to the third floor. 

I was a little early so I decided to chat with the security guards. They were happy enough to tell me entertaining stories about the people who did 'Crossfit.' Apparently, they were happy for one patron who was bigger before and was out of breath when he first came up that stair case, but now we goes up the said stairs like it was nothing. (It may have warmed my heart a little. Congratulations to whoever you are.) They also told stories of people who couldn't stand up properly after the work out.

The Ambiance

At quarter to 2PM, I decided to go up into the gym. When I got to the third floor, I could already smell the classic fragrances of a gym. The strong scent of synthetic rubbers and of synthetic plastic with hints of wood, rust and steel. It smells like home or your grand parents' basement.

When I took my first step inside, I was surprised at how different it was from an average gym because most of the huge exercise machines were absent and there were equipment that I had never seen before.

From where you came in, the reception was to the left and equipment like kettlebells, wearable supports, weights, and bird cages(to confirm) are to the right. I went to the reception desk to ask where the changing room was. I was met by a  guy who could have pass as one of the Expendables from that Sylvester Stallone movie. He firmly and politely guided me to the right far corner of the of the room where the changing rooms were. The Men's were at the left side while the Ladies' were on the right.

The rest of it was big open space with green painted walls and black floor panels that were chipping from daily use.  In a way it had a lot of character. Lastly, the changing areas were concealed by wooden wall at the other side of the room. It is complete with a separate shower room and a toilet room.

They also have a balcony area with a variety of pot plants that serve to add a bit of life to the concrete jungle view from the panoramic window that showcases the Manila Skyline.

The Lecture

The guy that received me at the reception asked us to gather up at the far end of the 'box.' He introduced himself as coach 'Josh' along with his profession and his hobbies. He asked us to do the same and to remember our classmate's names. (You know like the first day of class, the awkwardness of it never really goes away.)

He then opened his introduction to what 'Crossfit' is with the story about how he explained it to his friends. He said that he would describe it with the following three: 1. Functional Movement 2. Constantly Varied, and 3. High Intensity.

Functional Movement because 'Crossfit' aims to strengthen the muscle groups that engage when doing your everyday tasks. Simple things like picking up an object is comparable to dead lifts because of the use of the same muscle groups. This effectively makes you better even though those tasks are mundane.

Constantly Varied means that no workout of the day will be the same, ever. It will always be different to keep your body on its toes which avoids workout plateau and to increase results.

Lastly, High Intensity is a combination of interval periods of intense anaerobic exercise (which means that your demand for oxygen exceeds the supply thus you burn other sources like fat for energy to keep up) and less intense recovery periods. He emphasised this as this is the type of workout that will give you results. 

The Trial Itself

Immediately after the lecture, Coach Josh asked us to form into groups, and get ready for the work out. At first he introduced several simple work outs that were combined with sprinting like ten high jumps then sprinting to opposite wall, and touching it. You were then to sprint back to tag your partner. The next variation was the Jumping jacks-sprint rally. Doesn't sound that hard right? I mean yeah I was breathing quickly and sweating profusely but it was fun. This apparently was the warm-up. 

Coach instructed us to form four columns, and do the arm raise to distance us from each other. He introduced and guided us into the plank position with the next instruction of maintaining it for as as long as we could. 

Now that we knew the plank position, he proceeded with the demo of the push-up. This is where we start at the plank position and lower our upper body down with the elbows bend facing your feet while keeping the rest of the body straight. He pushed us to do as many as we could.

After that he introduced us to the squat. This is a workout wherein you stand up straight while keeping your legs wide and drop your butt low enough to strengthen your thighs, your butt and back muscles. He made us do as much as we can. I began to feel a little fatigue at my hamstring area (back of your thighs). So I caught my breathe and listened for what was next.

Coach Josh demoed the 'Crossfit' sit-up wherein we did an indian sit on the floor where our hands at the start is touching our feet and then throw our hands as far as we could along with our upper body to the opposite direction. None of us could do this properly. He congratulated us on how bad we were at it. Funny. He asked us to get those ab mats that were shaped like a tear drop that served to support us when doing the said sit-up. 

We tried it, and it helped quite a bit. He continued to encourage us to repeat for as many as we could. This was where I was having difficulty because my abdominals were aching, and I was having a hard time breathing. It was fucking intense, and I never thought I would like it. 

For the last workout he asked veteran crossfitters to demo a 4-Man circuit that combined the sprint, push-up, squats, and sit ups. He said to follow the circuit that was demoed, and repeat it until we finished the eight minute time limit. I laughed a little, and took a deep breath.

After the eight minutes we looked like we just got away from a psychopath from those horror flicks because we were all trying hard to catch our breaths. Thank God that was the end of it.

He asked us to gather one last time and form a circle to do the cool down. God, that was something. Never have I had so much fun punishing myself. I felt so weak, miserable and I think I may be a masochist that or I was enjoying the endorphine high from the exercise. I could never say that about all the other sports I tried and gave up on. I hated basketball, soccer, tennis, badminton and the like. 

After the cool down he interjected the three week program for crossfit that serves to help your body adapt better for the workouts you will be doing in the future should you decide to do crossfit after the trial. We were then dismissed so I got my stuff and carried it to the changing room.

The Aftermath

I came out of that gym without the thoughts of boredom or the thoughts of the workout being a chore. The variation, and logical movements kept me on my toes even though I was either tired or in pain. Pain that I never thought I could feel in certain areas of my body. I now know more about myself because of 'Crossfit.' I had to go through hell though; however, it is just way too much fun. 

The next day was the worst. My body was recovering and any form of weight bearing on any muscle group took a little more effort to keep my balance and to actually move. Going down the stairs while carrying something was thrilling because my muscles couldn't balance my stance properly. Every step I made, my body would always over extend which resulted in my body lean forward, and made every step feel like I was going to fall and hit my head face first. It was really exciting. I cannot stress how much I like it.

I encourage you to try it. 
You never really know how strong you are until being strong is the only thing you can be. 

Do you want to Contact 'Crossfit Greenhills?'
Address: 4th Floor Intrawest Centre, 33 Annapolis, San Juan, 1504 Metro Manila
Website: http://crossfitgreenhills.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/CrossFitGreenhills
Instagram: @CfGreenhills 
 Operating Hours: 6AM to 8AM, 4PM to 10PM


Special thank you to Sean Hovie Lee for the Pictures uploaded in this article. He takes wonderful pictures that capture the story of the moment! In fact, I barely edited anything except for resizing and saving it as a .PNG file. I applaud him because I normally avoid noise in my pictures but with his photos, the noise actually adds character. Kudos to him!

Special thank you to my lovely friend for trusting me with trying out Crossfit and writing about it where at the time I was almost a complete stranger. I hope I didn't bug her too much over the duration of experience and of writing process.


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