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.
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″)
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 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.