You’ve probably seen the name in recent years: CrossFit. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve wondered–what the heck IS CrossFit? Is it a gym? Is it a club? Is it for pro athletes or halfhearted exercisers? As it turns out, a new CrossFit facility is opening in our area, and I’ve got the full scoop on this fitness program that’s taken the nation by storm!
Kristin and Donald Steinmetz of Mountainside, along with partner Jason Chandler, are the brains (and brawn, truth be told!) behind CrossFit TreeHouse, which is set to open on July 12 in Kenilworth. Husband and wife Kristin and Don were members of a local CrossFit “box,” as each facility is known, where they met Jason, and the trio became fast friends and later, certified CrossFit trainers. Six months ago they started their own box, CrossFit TreeHouse, in the very basement of the Steinmetzes’ house! In no time at all they had 20 members coming to work out in their basement 5 nights a week while their young children slept upstairs. Needless to say, they are thrilled to be moving into their shiny new 4,000-square foot facility in Kenilworth.
I asked Kristin to give me the lowndown on this thing called CrossFit. I had no idea it’s been around since 1995 after starting on the West Coast and now has over 9,000 affiliates. According to Kristin: “CrossFit is small group training led by a certified trainer who programs workouts of the day (aka WODs) filled with constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity. CrossFit blends movements using your own body weight with weightlifting and metabolic conditioning to prepare your body for any daily activity you might encounter. Doing CrossFit, you’ll improve your flexibility, muscle strength, and cardio endurance.”
I asked Kristin if CrossFit is only for people who are already in decent shape, and I absolutley loved her response: “There is no appropriate age or body type. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, can CrossFit! One of the best things about CrossFit is that every movement and workout can be scaled to your ability. We have everyone from a 60-year-old grandmother to stay-at-home moms to ex-high school athletes doing the same workout, scaled to their abilities and skill levels.” Wow–this means my current fitness state of eating-chips-while-watching-reality-TV need not inhibit me from trying CrossFit! And Kristin stresses that the atmosphere at CrossFit is convivial and enthusiastic; people cheer each other on and give high fives, so it’s much more of a team spirit than a typical gym where you avoid eye contact with pretty much everyone.
If you decide to join CrossFit TreeHouse, the first two weeks of your membership will include the Roots–six sessions during which new members get familiarized with the standards of movement, the terminology, and the equipment. After completing the Roots, you can then attend any of the 11 classes they offer daily. And unlike at some big-box gyms, you don’t have to be tied down to year-long contracts at TreeHouse.
Kristin broke down the CrossFit schedule for me: “Classes are held in one-hour increments. For the regular weekday classes, this includes stretching, a warm-up, time to either practice a skill or do some strength training, and the WODs–that’s the ‘cardio’ or metabolic conditioning component. A WOD can last anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes–and YES, that’s enough. Come do an 8-10 minute trial to see how much you can sweat and breathe heavy in such a short amount of time. The weekend classes tend to have longer WODs and a more team-like component.” Okay, 10 minutes of cardio I can handle, people!
In addition to the standard classes, CrossFit TreeHouse will be offering “Climb” classes, but don’t be fooled by the name, these aren’t mountain-climbing classes! Like the regular CrossFit classes, Climb sessions are rooted in varied, functional movements performed at a high intesity, but there are NO heavy weights or complex barbell movements, which can be intimidating for many people. Climb will be offered two nights a week and on Saturday mornings.
And look out for yoga coming to CrossFit TreeHouse as well, which will be offered at a discount to box members, but open to the general public as well.
If you’re even a little curious about CrossFit, come on down to the FREE Grand Opening of CrossFit Treehouse this Saturday, July 12, at 725 Lexington Ave in Kenilworth. You just might bump into me getting my sweat on! For more information, visit their website atwww.crossfittreehouse.com or like them on facebook.
Here’s a list of goings-on at the opening:
9:30 AM: Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony with Mayor Scott Klinder
10-12 AM: Free face painting by Fabulous Faces
10:15 AM: Trial Class (walk-in)
11 AM: “Eating for Energy and Optimizing Performance” — free seminar
by Sarah Dade of Integrative Wellness Advisors
11:30 AM: Climb class demo (please register through Eventbrite; for more
on Climb, please check out our website)
12 PM: Music & Food arrive — courtesy of Kettlebell Kitchen and Limitless Entertainment
12:30 PM: Progenex presentation from NY/NJ rep Nick Walters
1 PM: Yoga mini session from Donna Wolfe (please register through
Eventbrite; bring your own mats, please)
1:30 PM: Trial Class (walk-in)
2:30: Competitors arrival — mobility and standards
3 – 5:30 PM: Team Throwdown