Sharing Our Sport at Crossfit 813

When planning our trip to Florida for Olympic trials, we a few goals in mind: to get on the water, and to get fitter, faster, and stronger. Once we had secured locations for rowing, we had our next challenge: where would we complete our twice-weekly lift? We knew we needed a facility that would have the proper equipment and could accommodate our large group without breaking the bank.

We were incredibly fortunate to have CrossFit 813 open their (garage) doors to us during their Open Gym hours. Their generosity has allowed us to maintain our regular lifting routine during our time in Tampa. While we weren’t about to jump into their ‘workouts of the day’ (2k in the middle of a circuit workout, anyone?), they have everything we could need: Concept 2 ergs, Olympic lifting equipment, and plenty of space.

The advantages of training at CF813 have been huge; not only have they been kind enough to lend us space and equipment for our lift, but they have provided us with an incredibly positive and energetic environment. One of the great parts of traveling to row is connecting with other inspiring athletes and our experience at CrossFit has been no exception. Each time we are there we are amazed by the skills and strength of their athletes, as well as the encouragement and teamwork that goes into their workouts.

While the philosophies behind crossfit and the sport of rowing differ greatly (‘routine is the enemy’ vs the repetitiveness of the rowing stroke) the physical components have many similarities. Many rowers have done Crossfit type lifts as a part of their training, or at least heard of Crossfit athletes competing on the erg. The erg is where rowing and crossfit overlap: ‘How fast can you go?’.

In exchange for our gym time, we hosted an erging clinic at CF813. On a Sunday morning after pieces, we headed to the gym to give instruction and feedback to any interested crossfit athletes. We had seen the clinic advertised on a chalkboard inside, but we weren’t sure what kind of turnout to expect. But if anyone wants to make their legs hurt on a weekend morning (other than a rower) it’s a crossfitter, and the turnout was so high that we had to assign 3 people to each erg to alternate. Judith, our head coach, first walked the group through the basic technical components while the HPG athletes gave feedback and tips. Once everyone had a general idea of how to be most effective on the erg, we let them loose for a few max watt and 500m pieces. The feedback we received was incredible--we had some 500m PR’s!--and the athletes were thrilled to be more efficient. When they expressed amazement at the workouts that we do on the erg, we told them the feeling was mutual--I can’t imagine lifting nearly as much as they do!

We’re wrapping up our last week of living in Tampa, and will be lifting at CF813 for the last time this week. We will be sad to leave, and are so grateful to have been welcomed into the crossfit community, if only for a short time. Thank you so much to CF813 for having us!

By: Mary Foster