A Crossfit expert from the Reebok Crossfit Enduro Box demonstrates the workout of the day.
We meet Juria at the Crossfit gym, or The Box, as each is called. Like the Crossfit facilities we’d seen in videos, this one doesn’t look anything like a traditional gym. No mirrors, air-conditioning, machines to isolate muscles, stationary bikes or display cases full of expensive powders and bars. The Box is mostly open space, with bare walls, a rubber floor, high ceiling and equipment – barbells and plates, kettlebells, medicine balls, jump ropes, rowing machines – stacked neatly around the perimeter.
Beginners are supposed to go through an assessment test and fundamental classes, but due to time constants, we skip the assessment test and am put through a fundamentals crash course instead. Juria shows us how to execute the basic movements properly. “This isn’t too much of a sweat,” we think. But she seems to read our thoughts and says: “This is only the beginning. Your hell begins now.”
Juria turns on some house music and hands us a cylindrical rod (also known as a dowel). She tells us to go for the sumo deadlift high pull – a move that starts with a deadlift but requires an extra movement to bring the dowel up to your chin.
“Tired?” asks Juria. But before we can reply, she rolls over a 9kg medicine ball and tells us to do the medicine ball clean – a complicated movement that involves lifting the ball from the ground to our pelvis, shrugging the shoulders, letting the ball go, then rapidly squatting to catch the ball at our chest level and quickly standing up. “Amrap, five minutes with 30-second breaks in between. Let’s go!” she yells. We’re exhausted but refuse to give in.
Wod is the highlight of each class. It can vary from class to class, but it’s the most intense session, explains Juria. Our Wod, according to her, is simple compared to what they usually do – a series of exercises. It’s just one exercise, the medicine ball clean, but faster and more intense. We’re to do as many reps as we can in eight sets of 20 seconds, each separated by a 10-second break, for four minutes. “Just go and stop when I tell you,” she says.
We grunt and groan through my last four sets, and our sweat flecks the gym floor. We only manage three reps per set in the last four sets. At the last rep, we put the ball down, collapse on the ground and pant our lungs out. We’re thankful our vomit isn’t all over the floor, but we can’t seem to feel our limbs. We look up at Juria smiling down at us. “Well done! Will I see you next week for a regular class?” she asks.