Crossfit 353’s Top 5 Healthy Hangouts

At Crossfit 353 one thing’s undeniable, we’re foodies. We bloody love food. On starting CrossFit and exploring the Paleo Diet, the future looked bleak…no more dinner’s out, no more business lunches with colleagues, no more Sunday brunch feasts. We feared the worst – a life of tupperware and bags of nuts stashed away in our handbags/desk drawers. But who ever said Paleo couldn’t be fun and exciting? We’ve been doing loads of research (poor us) and found that Dublin offers a wide variety of healthy hangouts/eateries, you just have to find them…

Heres our Top 5 Healthy Hangouts (in no particular order, because they’re all amazing!):

  1. The Punnet Health Store/Food Emporium (@thepunnethealth)

The Punnet is a healthfood shop / juice bar / café with two branches in Dublin. The first opened in Glasthule in 2013 and the second opened by popular demand on Lower Mount Street earlier this year (our favourite is the Mount Street one because they have more treats!). The Punnet provides all the paleo essentials that are a part of team @Crossfit353 daily needs; from 3/5 day juice detox packs, protein shakes or specialty coffees (made with almond coconut/ hazelnut milk), (and not to mention the paleo treats at checkout). What we love about the Punnet Food Emporium on Mount Street is that you can also pick up delicious healthy salads and wraps when on the go (which we always are!)…if you’re going for the customised salad box try adding grated sweet potato and grated beetroot! The only thing that makes us sad about The Punnet is that Mount Street doesn’t open on weekends 🙁

 

  1. Staple Foods (@staplefoods)

If you want a lunch that’s straight from heaven then you need to try Staple Foods in Temple Bar! This is a very cool hangout with delicious food, located underneath the ‘wall of fame’ in Temple Bar. The menu is small but the portions are huge. An amazing way to get your healthy eats in before a heavy afternoon session @Crossfit353. Vegan, gluten free and paleo…they have it all. If you fancy an early breakfast before work that will keep you going through a busy morning then you have to try the ‘vegan buckwheat pancakes, with roast strawberries and cashew butter’ (tried and tested several times by team @Crossfit353, they open from 8am Mon – Fri, so ideal for anyone working around there. If its lunch you’re going for, be hungry (!), and try their ‘zingy Asian style, pulled pork’ salad.

 

  1. Maia (@maiadublin)

If you’re looking for the @Crossfit353 crew during the week, chances are they’ll be devouring the 353 staple of bacon, eggs and avocado washed down with a bespoke juice in Maia, Ballsbridge. We have become part of the furniture in Maia, and like to keep the guys on their toes by requesting customised juices; ‘Give me the greenest juice you can come up with’, is normally how it goes in there. Maia has a very chilled vibe, but be warned, the lads love the chats so be ready for a bit of banter!

 maia

 

  1. Greenbeards (@greenbeards)

Welcome to LA/NYC…no wait I’m in Ranelagh? Who knew Dublin had become so cool and in tune with our nutritional wants and needs! Greenbeards is a juicery, which specialises in just that… juices. The guys are absolute pro’s in the world of juicing and know everything there is to know. Whether you just want a refreshing juice on a Saturday morning or you have a particular goal that you want to achieve, an ailment that you want to overcome or just need a detox and fresh start…Greenbeards is the place to go. The team are open and extremely helpful…tell them what’s up and they’ll give you what you need! We tried the one day juice ‘wash’ and found the juices were very high quality and gave all the nutrition and energy that we needed throughout the day, we haven’t quite gotten to the 3 day ‘deep clean’ yet but I’m sure with time we will.

 

 

  1. The Fumbally

Its too hard for us to choose from the menu in the Fumbally…its all so scrumptious. If you’re being good and sticking to the paleo, then you’ll love the ‘eggs and ham’( we substitute the toasted brioche for avocado), we also love the ‘coconut granola’, washed down with organic coffee and some paleo treats for dessert! The Fumbally is very ‘Alt’, if you arrive in your suit you may stand out like a sore thumb ;)…we recommend your trendiest ‘I’m cool’ outfit and for the guys, if you can grow a massive beard – that will help too! We haven’t tried their dinner yet but the menu looks good and if their breakfast is anything to go by then its bound to be a winner!

 

More healthy hidden Gems worth a visit:

  1. The Greenery, Donnybrook (Chicken Salad is da bomb) @thegreeneryd4
  2. The Bath Pub, Bath Avenue (great spot for healthy brunch…and dog friendly which we love) @thebathpub
  3. Bunsen, Wexford Street (try their paleo burger and sweet potato fries) @bunsendublin
  4. Blazing Salads, Drury Street (for their vegan burgers, even the boys will love them) @blazingsalads
  5. Borlottie, IFSC (they do a great ‘gym box’ recommended by our friends at Crossfit Dublin) @borlottie

 

On our list to try next…

–        Yogism pop up in George’s Street Arcade

–        Saba, Molly tells us they do a great paleo lunch-box

–        Honest to Goodness, George’s Street Arcade

–        Kaph, Drury Street

–        Bear, South William Street

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-By Sinead McGann

The nature of most of our lives is that we spend too many hours of our day sitting in a bad posture. Be it driving to the office, working at a desk, or slouching in class, we are all guilty of it. Superman Kelly Starrett mentions in his book, The Supple Leopard, that no matter how hard you train, if you sit at a desk all day, you are actually leading a sedentary lifestyle.

Sitting shortens your hips and rounds your back. Sitting for prolonged periods results in you potentially not moving your hips through full range of motion throughout the day. Stiff joints lead to poor and inefficient movement patterns!

I started CrossFit in September when Crossfit 353 opened down the road from me. As most people do, I quickly became addicted and obsessed about the technique and movements that we were learning. Watching videos, foam rolling and talking about “how to improve my squat” became part of my evening routine! Many people ask the question, what is CrossFit about?

CrossFit teaches you how to be competent in all positions that your body should be in, giving people a people a fundamental skill-set of movement. It incorporates some gymnastics, Olympic lifting, joint mobility, running and rowing.

At the beginning, you will learn technique, how to perform Olympic lifts with a PVC and the progressions and regressions of the exercises. Firstly, you get the skill down and nail the technique. Once you have that mastered, you challenge the skill with load, volume, intensity, duration and speed.

Each class begins with a thorough warm up, followed by a mobility component, a strength component and finished with a WOD. The WOD, workout of the day is high intensity metabolic conditioning, the kinda workout that will get you in shape! I remember my first class, a 15 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) 5 pull ups, 10 push ups, 15 air squats. All of the workouts are scaled to your ability and you are always working to progress in each exercise, be it lifting heavier, doing a pull up without assistance or performing a “man” push up.

The best thing about 353 is the people there and the atmosphere created in the box. No matter how stressful your day has been to that point, you will be welcomed into the class, be challenged, and meet great people who share similar goals to you and leave smiling. So many positive vibes :).

Peter, Gary and Royce are very passionate about teaching people to be better. They are constantly seeking feedback, learning and developing their skills. As a member of 353, their motivation to continuously improve inspires me to constantly challenge myself, set goals and seek guidance for improvement.

During the second month of 353, everybody took part in the 30-day paleo challenge. Many of us didn’t know what the paleo diet was or how to incorporate it into our daily routines. Gary took the time after class to explain it to us in great detail. Each day, 353 posted a sample paleo meal to keep us motivated. I love a challenge there was a great sense of community created as we all went through it helping each other out along the way!

353 is not just a great place to get a good workout, it’s a community of awesome people coming from different backgrounds who are motivated to be better!

As a physiotherapist, just about ;), you often find yourself educating people about the benefits of exercise, or just moving in general! CrossFit gets people out exercising, putting their joints through range, building strength and learning how to move properly. Sitting is the new smoking; it has the potential to cause so many physical deficiencies, which in turn can lead to chronic pain and injuries. We can all learn how to move better and care for our bodies!

Invest in yourself, give CrossFit a go!

 

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By Brian Hemeryck.

Many people take up CrossFit to lose weight – I am the opposite! This post is for those hard gainers, who are looking to gain muscle, strength and up their fitness, while still eating clean.

1. Eat a lot (of the right food)

I’ve been cursed blessed with a fast metabolism. A lot of people would do anything to burn calories like I do – I can eat until the cows come home.

Having always eaten a truckload, I wondered why I wasn’t gaining weight. People say it’s as simple as eating more calories than you burn. That’s true, but until recently I could not move the scale. What I found worked was eating the right calories. I used to eat a lot of carbs (during school I ate 12+ weetabix a day for breakfast!). Now, in addition to eating more calories, every meal I have has some protein and good fat.

If you find it hard to get those calories and protein / fat into you, try some of my staples below (these along with my regular meals of veg, fruit, eggs, meat and fish help me consume approx 7500 – 8500 calories a day):

Weight gain bars:

These are very simple and taste great. The measures below make one weeks supply for me (21 bars – 3 per day), so you can adjust as required. One bar contains approximately 370 calories and 13g of protein.

Ingredients:

  • 500g rolled oats (porridge oats)
  • 500g nut butter (I use peanut)
  • 500g organic honey
  • 200g ground almonds
  • Anything else you fancy – I add flax seed, cashews, raisins. Sometimes I’ll melt dark chocolate on top.

Directions:

  1. Mix the nut butter and honey in a large bowl until it is a consistent paste.
  2. Add the ground almonds and mix well again.
  3. Add the porridge oats and mix thoroughly – this is the toughest part, just keep mixing until the mixture is consistent and no dry ingredients remain.
  4. Line a baking tray and pour the mixture in. Squash it down, put in the fridge and enjoy whenever. No cooking required.

Special mention to this handsome guy for the inspiration!

Weight gain smoothie:

I drink  two of these per day. One smoothie provides approximately 1,100 calories and 45g of protein.

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 3 raw eggs (there are divided opinions on consuming raw eggs – it works for me but I do use my own free range eggs. You can always substitute for a scoop of protein powder)
  • Almond milk (as much as desired)
  • 1 heaped dessert spoon of nut butter (I use almond)
  • 1 tea spoon of organic honey
  • 2 tea spoons of olive oil

Blend all the ingredients together and drink. If you want something even easier to mix it up I’d recommend investing in a BlenderBottle – just add all the ingredients and shake it up.

2. Eat often

Short point but if you feel hungry it is too late! Try to graze throughout the day.

Two tips:

  • Nuts and nut butter! Plenty of protein, good fat and calories. I leave a bag of cashew nuts in my car to eat on the go. You’ll always find a bag of almonds on my desk in work.
  • Oils – olive oil, coconut oil all are high in calories and good fat.
  • Plan for your day / week.  Every Sunday I bulk cook lunch for the week. Cut up and roast a load of vegetables (sweet potatoes, tomatoes, courgette, peppers, etc) and stir-fry turkey / free-range chicken in coconut oil. Pack into containers and leave in the fridge – happy days.

3. Lift heavy as much as possible

I’m lucky to train in a great box (www.crossfit353.com), where the coaches know what they’re talking about and take everyone’s individual goals into account. Once I told them I wanted to focus on upping size and strength, they allowed me to modify the WODs. For workouts I try to pick a heavier weight and either decrease the reps or not get as much done in the same time.

Really focus on the strength element of each session. Get as heavy as you can. Dedication is key. Remember that a lot of what holds people back is in the mind.

So talk to your coaches and discuss your goals – they will help you in the right direction.

4. See Results:

A combination of eating a lot of the right foods and focusing on heavy lifts has seen me gain approx 12kg / 26 pounds of (mostly) muscle in the past 4 months. My current goals are all around max lifts and building strength, which in turn should result in more gains – as long as I keep fuelling. Like anything, dedication and focus pays off.

P.S. I’m not in any way a nutritionist, the above are just some tips based on my own experience and what worked for me. If you have any good recipes / weight gain tips, it would be great to hear them – just post a comment below.

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By Rory Dungan

Crossfit is indeed a strange love. Hence the Kubrik reference above. One month in. I’ve gone from being one of those people who mocked the ‘cult’, to being an addict! But how often can you say an addiction is actually a positive one?!

I’ve always been into fitness…but not THAT into it. I’ve always gone to the gym, but not THAT often. And I’ve always played sport…well you can see where this is going…

I was tempted to try Crossfit 353 by a mate. I was seriously dubious at first, and actually rebuffed him several times before cracking. I went along purely ‘just to see what it’s all about’.

And now I don’t know what I’d do without it. I push myself ten times harder than I ever would on my own. And it’s not just the group mentality and the encouraging words of the wonderful trainers, Gary, Peter and Royce. It’s the inventiveness of the exercises. The cleverness of combining movements that work multiple muscle groups all at the same time, making for a more efficient (and exhausting) workout! It’s intense, and I initially struggled for a few days after each session with stiff muscles but it actually started getting easier about two weeks in! One hour in Crossfit is equivalent to my previous week worth of gym visits! And I’m now doing Crossfit three times a week! And one of my other worries, that I might actually do myself damage or put my back out was put to bed straight away. Peter and Gary both took an age with me, going over the exact techniques for all of the lifting exercises and making sure my form was correct, they’ve been supremely patient as it’s still very much a work in progress

I can understand the skepticism of those outside the community, but I really would recommend joining, or at least trying it out. It’s a very sociable way to exercise and everyone encourages each other hugely. There’s a really shared feeling of a job well done at the end of each session.

I’m 33 now, I only wish I’d started earlier! I’m an absolute convert! And I’m embracing the ‘strange love’!

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Barbells & Brooklyn

By Grace Fox

If you told me one year ago that I’d be looking up local boxes to train in on my vacation I might have responded in one of a number of ways:

 

– Eh thanks but I’m more of a “prosecco over brunch’ kinda gal on my vacation

– I wouldn’t have time in the day, between applying sun lotion and swimming in the sea to fit the gym in

– I don’t think you can just invite yourself to someone else’s gym…

– Isn’t crossfit more aimed at the competitive/sporty kind of girl?

– what’s a box?

 

Yet here I find myself, with a growing list of 7 boxes in 4 destinations down and 7,993 to go.

Like most girls, I’ve spent six weeks out of every year since my mid-teens preparing for the dreaded ‘bikini week’. Typically this has consisted of 3-4 day spurts of extreme dieting (I’ve pretty much tried ‘em all) combined with a handful of treadmill excursions and the odd plank thrown in there.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been into sports and have never been without a team to affiliate with but no one ever told me there was a ‘sport of fitness’. And that anyone can do it, pretty much anywhere in the world.

Now back to my CrossFit vacation. Its really not as extreme or unpleasant as it sounds. My boyfriend and I, who are at very different CrossFit levels (I’m way better at double unders ;)), had been working out in CrossFit 353 on the lead up to our Florida vacation. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I wasn’t concerned about the size of my bottom, instead I was concentrating on reaching my personal best on deadlift and focused on nailing my kipping pull-ups.

So there I was, sunscreen and beach book at the ready to lounge by the pool when fate struck us. As we pulled around the corner to where we were staying in Del Ray there it was – CrossFit Del Ray Beach with about 10 – 15 sweaty CrossFitters mid WOD… I was home! We decided to stop in to say hi and the next thing I knew we were signed up for the 8am class the next morning.

CrossFit Del Ray Beach holds a special place in my heart since that trip. It was the first box I ever did a drop in with and I think the experience we had there helped us both get even more hooked on the community as a whole. Our coach Laura was incredibly down to earth and very approachable. She took the time to give us some new tips and help improve during our skill and strength phases. We did a partnered WOD that day and I got partnered with a lovely girl who was only just coming back to CrossFit after a one-year break. Peter partnered with an older gentleman who was 63 years old and his two kids were CrossFit coaches too!

After our WOD we both got the usual post CrossFit rush of endorphins and headed off for a whopper brunch on the beach followed by some an incredible day.

After the high we got from CrossFit Del Ray Beach, we decided we had to continue the trip in that vein; quick and dirty WOD in the morning followed by a day of endorphin-fuelled fun!

Next stop was CrossFit Blueprint South Beach Miami! We had tickets to the Miami Heat Basketball that night and were staying over for the weekend. We anticipated it being quite a heavy weekend so wanted to get our CrossFit in early. When we arrived to Blueprint I was absolutely blown away by the box. It was huge! All their branding was blue and pink which was very impressive to me, being your stereotypical ‘girl’.

Our coach could be described in no other way but ‘COOL’, she was wearing great chunky glasses and had a great, energetic attitude. Given that it was early on Saturday morning she got stuck straight into a quick warm up and WOD. The WOD was touch and left both Peter and I lying on our backs wondering what had just happened! After the WOD we got chatting with some of the other crossfitters and they informed us that there was a local CrossFit competition on just down the road in CrossFit Soul. So off we went. If you’ve never been to a CrossFit competition, which we hadn’t, you simply have to go to the next one on near you! The atmosphere was electric, the sound of barbells dropping, supporters cheering, clocks ticking, competitors shouting…thinking about it now makes me want to go back.

We had a fantastic time in Miami, between the openness and friendliness we received in Blueprint and the atmosphere and fun we had at the competition (and the Heat game) it was one of those weekends you don’t forget in a hurry!

So we hit the road again, back to Del Ray for the next week of our holiday. Although I’m an awful creature of habit, Peter suggested ‘we’re on our holiday and should be adventurous’! So it was with great reluctance that I agreed to try some of the other boxes that Del Ray had to offer. Over the course of the next week we tried three new boxes. CrossFit Hardcore, CrossFit Boynton Beach and Jaco CrossFit (home of the famed MMA team the Blackzillians).

As we pulled into CrossFit Hardcore there was a group mid WOD running up the street. You get those pre-WOD butterflies in your stomach when you don’t know what’s to come and contemplate whether you should just turn around and go home. I’m so glad we didn’t. The group we trained with at Hardcore was great and we got some cool recommendations for bars to visit in NYC from a really friendly Firefighter that was really psyched that we were Irish!

The last leg of trip was NYC. We were going to stay in Brooklyn with some buddies from home. We flew into JFK at around 6am already in our gym gear ready to go and were firstly shocked by the temperature drop between Florida and NYC (I know, pretty dumb right). We swiftly dumped our luggage and hopped in a cab to Brick NYC, which had only opened about 2 or 3 months at that point.

I don’t even know where to start – what a box! Firstly, let me tell you, I work in marketing and am a sucker for good branding. Brick, you’ve nailed it! When you walk into Brick you enter an orange and black jungle of coolness. The staff were all very friendly and we got the grand tour of the changing rooms and where to go. That day we did another partnered WOD and Peter and I buddied up. It was actually one of the only times we’ve been partnered together (the other time was on valentine’s day in crossfit353 by the way…!). We went straight from there to the bar to meet our pals from back home and got back to our Brooklyn vacation.

Last month I was on a work trip to Boston and made it my business to make time for a drop-in. I contacted CrossFit Reebok Back Bay and did a great WOD there on Saturday morning.

After what was truly an eye opening ‘CrossFit vacation’, let me revisit some of my earlier thoughts :

– Eh thanks but I’m more of a “Prosecco over brunch’ kinda gal on my vacation

This statement is still very true, in fact probably even more so now than before I started CrossFit. Any Crossfitter will tell you, when you workout hard on vacation, the reward of lying by the pool, cocktail in hand is even more enjoyable and rewarding….

– I wouldn’t have time in the day, between applying sun lotion and swimming in the sea to fit the gym in

False, I found that by starting our days with CrossFit we were both much more energized and ready for the day so we ended up getting more activities squeezed in

– I don’t think you can just invite yourself to someone else’s gym…

False again, that’s the absolute beauty of CrossFit. It’s a huge community and positive, energetic people who (in all my experiences so far) are more than happy to have drop-ins. Not only do the coaches and staff welcome you but also the other athletes are always delighted to have new faces down

– Ain’t CrossFit aimed more at the competitive/sporty kind of girl?

This can be true or false. I find that CrossFit is what you want it to be. You can compete with others in your class, you can compete with yourself or you can do your own thing and take your time and just enjoy it.

– What’s a box?

Visit one and find out!!

 

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CrossFit 353; A Love Story.                                                      

By Katie Fanagan.

As I walk through my hall door after another intense 353 class, protein in hand, with some delightful scars all over my arms, I am greeted by my mother. “Oh Kates what are you like?”, she asks, “Don’t go getting all manly on me”! The tone of sheer worry brings a smirk to my face. What am I like? What have I become? From the young school-girl who avoided physical exercise at all costs and echoed a ‘time of the month’ excuse at any mention of breaking a sweat, to the person I pride myself on today, a genuine lover of Crossfit. It really has been quite the journey. Joining on a whim, following from a ‘merry’ conversation one night with Mr. RBF himself, turned out to be a defining moment in my life. I kid you not. This sentimental and somewhat dramatic profession of love is no word of a lie.

Thinking back to 10th October 2013 and my first class is a distant memory at this stage. I should take this opportunity to admit that I am in no-way claiming to be a ‘Crossfit Queen’ at present. A need has possessed me to discuss the unique place that is the familial institution at CrossFit 353. Thus, a reflection of my personal journey will act as my starting point. My inability on day one to perform a basic squat caused the coaches to share worrying glances. Let’s not even begin to discuss my total lack of strength; my arms, legs and overall physical ability was at a level which caused my ‘core’ to appear non-existant. At the time, of course, I was under the impression that I was “nailing it” as the coaches shouted encouraging words in my direction. They never let me believe that, in reality, I was useless! Only recently have we embarked down memory lane and I have become privy to their so-called first ‘Crossfit impressions’ of me.

Trinity College gym was certainly not a dear friend of mine. It was my sworn enemy. Frequenting it sparingly, due to a constant nattering in my ear that I needed some fitness/sports related activity in my life, was the sad reality. I would stroll in with an air of clueless confidence, (I had nothing to be confident about), and spend approximately 10-15 minutes on ‘the stepper’(I had been told my ass would reap the benefits of such a workout). After a few droplets of sweat gathered on my forehead, I would make my way casually over to the weights section and embark on lifting a 3kg weight a dozen times on each arm. This was how I intended to become a ripped version of myself. I had no determination and no one to push me forward. This has been the blessing of CrossFit 353. The essence and the mentality of the team lies in two simple yet weighted words; support and encouragement.

Peter, Gary and Royce, while all being bred from the love of the sword, are incredibly different and unique coaches. Peter stands as the father-figure of this establishment, guiding us through life, one clean at a time, and filling us with the encouragement we need for all of the various pursuits. Gary’s clear and concise explanations of some rather technical manoeuvres gives him the ‘teaching role’ of the three while his constant utterances of “You’re doing a bloody incredible job” keep you smiling and assured. Last, but certainly not least, is Royce. No matter how unwell and dizzy I feel coming close to the end of any WOD (Workout Of the Day), he will manage to instill in me the determination to keep going. Quite possibly out of fear of his ability to hurt me; but whatever it is, it works! As a threesome, they are the perfect combination. CrossFit 353 is unique because of them.

It is the people and the environment that makes 353 a special place. Mixed workouts would not have had the slightest bit of interest for me in the past. The presence of any male, attractive or not, watching me sweat, to the extent one does during this beautiful sport, was to be feared.  However, this is the most natural environment where one should exercise. Putting it simply- it works. The atmosphere in ‘the box’ (Crossy lingo- yes I am THAT person) is intense, hard-working, full of energy yet with an air of frivolity to it. At one moment your body will be on the brink of bursting into flames as you scramble to get in as many rounds as possible that time permits. Then the next moment, you are partaking in musical bear crawls to the 5ive megamix. Singing along is also highly recommended. Perhaps I take that aspect a little too far! The classes are constantly varied with each individual searching for their strongest workout while also working strenuously on their weakest. There is never a point at which you have reached perfection. To be constantly striving is the aim of the game and everyone has bought into it. That is the beauty of it. Everyone is there for the same reason- to work bloody hard, while making some new friends along the way.

“You always know someone does CrossFit because they never stop talking about it”; this  snide remark is regularly spoken by those non-crossfitters amongst us. No one can argue with it. I can speak honestly and say once you have become active in such a community it is difficultnot to want to share your enthusiasm with others. That’s all it is. Sheer enjoyment. If I wanted to leave now, I simply couldn’t. Albeit its individualistic nature, reaching personal goals and striving for your one rep max, we are a team. Of course, the odd social night out adds to this experience. It increases the support and makes us far more determined to push each other and ourselves. Maybe we are obsessed, but let’s not forget- “Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated”.

Thank you 353- Jackie Perez here I come!

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Incredible

Our first open at 353

I want to start off by saying how proud team 353 is of all of our athletes. The progress that has been made since starting is incredible. The most over used word in sport is incredible, but it is the only word to describe our community, our passion and our pursuit of fitness.

Where do I begin? It has been an amazing 5 weeks. We have shared the highs and the lows, the successes and the struggles but most importantly have emerged the other side, better athletes and people. Those who participated in the 2014 CrossFit Games Open took a huge leap of faith. Entering a global competition and testing their fitness against the entire CrossFit community pushed us all out of our respective comfort zones. We tried reps, loads and movements perhaps previously avoided (and set a serious number of PR’s along the way).

Looking back to where individuals started on their first day at 353, to where they are now is incredible. Seeing people snatching, stringing together double unders, doing heavy overhead squats (that were previous one rep max’s) is so encouraging. Not to mention all those that achieved their first chest to bars, their PR deadlifts for reps and those painfully slow toes-to-bar. As a coach all you can ask for is 100% every session, and that’s exactly what we got.

People will emerge from the open no longer afraid of going after their weaknesses. Not afraid to hang from the bars, not afraid to move weight overhead, not afraid to try new exercises and experiences. The open encouraged us to do these things. It helped us out of our comfort zone. It challenged us. It’s important to take these learning’s, apply them in class and continue to improve. Attack those weaknesses moving forward.

We CrossFit to try and improve everyday, to continually get better at life both physically and mentally. Sharing struggles and successes with such a strong community has been amazing. Something words can’t describe. Being part of people’s transformations is also very special and something we don’t take for granted at 353. We want to invest in ourselves not only the hour that we are throwing down during class but also the other 23 hours in the day.

We are so proud of every athlete. So proud of the collective and individual journeys to date. We are privileged to continue to share that journey with you. Representing CrossFit 353 in the 2014 CrossFit Games Open was amazing. I know I’m looking forward to next year’s competition already.

We have grown as a CrossFit gym and as a community. We thank you all for everything to date.

Supporting you always,
Coach Gary
“Be the black sheep of society. If you love your life, and love what you do, then you are a black sheep”