Category: Australia

17 Aug


Australia: CrossFit 224 + Better Environments


CrossFit 224

CrossFit 224
Location: Situated conveniently in Melbourne’s bustling CBD (central business district) at the intersection of Lonsdale and Queen street, CrossFit 224 is a relatively new addition to the CrossFit scene in the recently renamed, “world’s most liveable city.”

Ownership/Affiliation: Co-owners (and former gym coworkers) Frank Cisternino and Dan Lempriere launched the converted bank vault turned box with an official kickoff party in early June of 2012. With over 10 years of experience in physical therapy and personal training, Lempriere began incorporating CrossFit principles into his client sessions with great success. It was only a matter of time before he decided to make CrossFit his full-time pursuit.

Lempriere writes the majority of the programming for CrossFit 224’s 60 athletes (60:40, women to men), tweaking it to accommodate new members with little CrossFit exposure, “We’re mixing in plenty of elements but still following a solid basic template,” he explains.

In addition to on-ramp and WOD classes, CrossFit 224 also offers personal training, mobility sessions and a CrossFit Endurance team to target emerging triathletes.


Fight Gone Bad WOD

WOD (August 15th, 7:45am):

Fight Gone Bad
1 minute AMRAP, each exercise for 3 rounds:
Wall Balls (9kg)
Sumo deadlift high pull (35kg)
Box Jumps (20″)
Row (calories)
Push Press (35kg)
1 min rest

My visit to CrossFit 224 landed mid-Paleo Challenge (running August 1st-31st) and they surprised me with a beautiful Paleo breakfast spread. Julia prepared all kinds of delicious paleo fare (see photo!) and Mandy brought in some homemade pumpkin bread.

Paleo spread

Paleo spread: fresh fruit, paleo pancakes (almond butter, banana, eggs), coffee with almond milk, hardboiled eggs with spinach+sweet potato and paleo pumpkin bread!

Paleo challenge competitors are asked to register in advance, take before and after photos, and log all of their food intake for the entire month. The top three finalists are voted on by the box athletes and the champion takes home a $100 gift certificate to a local restaurant and free month’s membership.

Frank and Dan plan to run challenges every quarter and encourage their athletes to maintain good nutritional habits through a paleo facebook recipe page.

Despite being a new box, the community at CrossFit 224 has blossomed into a tight-knit, super friendly group. Greeted by incredibly kind athletes the moment I stepped foot into CrossFit 224, I felt unconditionally welcomed and immediately at ease. “Everybody is friendly, everybody is inviting, everybody really gets along… We’re so supportive here,” Lempriere confirmed.

“Saturday WODs are a great community experience,” Lempriere said. “Our workouts are in groups or teams and it ends up being pretty social.”

Outside of the box, CF 224 athletes recently tackled a local 10k fun run and plan to participate in an upcoming Tough Mudder endurance obstacle challenge.

Global Sport Culture:
Lempriere acknowledges that CrossFit faces an uphill battle in gaining a firm foothold among Australian sport culture.

“Some have an issue with the idea of shorter, more intense work periods and longer rest. It goes against everything they’ve ever learned but it’s impossible to argue with the results,” Lempriere says. “You just can’t ignore the workloads these athletes are handling… Show me another sport where the athletes are completing a triathlon and then another three full days of brutal competition on such short rest,” he continues. “You can’t.”

Co-owner Frank knows that some of the bigger Australian Football clubs have started to incorporate CrossFit principles into their training, “You’ll start to see the bigger clubs adopt it and then it will trickle down,” he says.

“CrossFit will have its place, eventually,” Lempriere says. “We’ve done market research and we believe the ‘traditional’ gym will fall away and be replaced by CrossFit and MMA-type gyms.”

“We [CrossFitters] just care more about the members. It’s a better community, a better environment.” If the atmosphere at CrossFit 224 is any indication, the sport has bright future indeed.

13 Aug

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Australia: CrossFit Victoria + Protecting The Status Quo


CrossFit Victoria main

CrossFit Victoria mainLocation: Stationed just one block off trendy Brunswick street in the Fitzroy neighborhood of Melbourne, CrossFit Victoria has an established presence, registering as the third affiliate in Australia and ranking among the first 80 worldwide.

Co-owners Scott Waugh and Adam Stanecki founded CrossFit Victoria back in 2006, expanding into their current location in Fitzroy in 2008. Previously housed in the state weightlifting center in Hawthorn, CrossFit Victoria’s humble beginnings are rooted in the fundamentals of Olympic lifting.

Waugh and Stanecki co-author the programming for CrossFit Victoria’s 170 members (60:40, men to women). Says Waugh, “Our programming is more strength-based. We program for health and fitness first, rather than for the ‘sport of fitness.'” Waugh and Stanecki’s team of 7 full-time trainers (and 3 interns) keep the members fit with 6-8 week blocks of Olympic lifting classes, kettlebell classes, and mixed martial art sparring. There’s also an elite team of 15 athletes who follow rigorous Games-focused programming incorporating principles of west side periodization.

WOD (August 13th, 12:30pm):
Snatch-grip deadlift 3RM (3-3-3-3-3)
1/2 gassers (100m sprints) for time, every minute on the minute for 8 minutes
Whole 30 header
CrossFit Victoria runs regular Whole 30 challenges (absolutely no dairy, no sugar and no grains) with great success. Waugh, in the midst of a Whole 30 Challenge, even gave up coffee during his current challenge, “Coffee and alcohol are the big ones for me! Especially in social situations,” he laments.

Waugh describes the character at CrossFit Victoria as community-based, “Most of our members are here to improve their general health and fitness,” he says. “We want them to live a balanced life. There are other boxes that are more focused on competition but that’s not us. We want it to be accessible to everyone.”
CF Victoria banner
The community extends beyond the box; every Friday night 10-20 athletes gather at a local cafe to indulge in $20 steak night.

Global Sport Culture:
“The main focus here is Australian Rules Football,” Waugh explains. “It’s hard to find a place for CrossFit in the AFL dominant culture. AFL strength and conditioning coaches are so protective of their jobs, of their status quo. They just don’t want to see anything change.” To develop new business, CrossFit Victoria sponsors athletes from different disciplines (mountain bikers, marathoners, cross skiers, martial artists and rowers) to grow into new markets.

Waugh foresees more local competitions in CrossFit’s future, “Now that we’re more established, I can see our box spearheading a competition circuit. We want to expose our elite athletes to more competitive events to prepare them for a run at the Games.”