SuitcaseFriends!  The Crossfit Games & Cali Drop ins

Aside from the sweet traps, washboard abs, sqaure jaws and thick thighs, the Crossfit community is arguably the best part of the Crossfit culture.  I have the authority to say this:  I travel, drop in, meet a variety of Crossfitters and the experience is generally the same: a welcoming group, looking to help where they can.  If you can imagine that this culture exists when you drop in to a gym with total strangers, imagine the connections you make with those you suffer with, week in and week out.

This is all a prelude to say thank THANK YOU.  I can take no credit for the write up that follows and must direct you to Ashley @aarnett3 (instagram).  She’s the be(a)st.  She and her motley crew took a week and change to attend the Crossfit Games and hit a number of local boxes in the process.

Take a read and a page out of her book if you’ve got your sights set The Games…as an attendee : )


Crossfit Games:

Overall it was a great experience and wouldn’t trade it for the world. As you know, this was the 10th yr for the games which started at a ranch in Aromas, CA and now resides at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA. The Games will most likely not be in Carson next year as a few locations have placed bids on the event for 2017. I’m not really sure why they would ever want to move this.  Carson has the perfect set up! The Soccer stadium is really nice and literally 5 steps away is the tennis stadium.

When you first get to the CrossFit games you enter through a massive village full of vendors. Everything and anything you could possibly think of is there (Rogue, Progenex, Caffeine for Kilos and many more). Within the vendor village you can try equipment you may have never seen before, like the Pig! It IS as hard as it looked on TV!. To enter the Stubhub center, Reebok is the last vendor and is bigger than any Reebok I’ve ever been in.

Within the StubHub center the food options were ENDLESS! It was super awesome to see so many healthy options! Power Supply meals, BBQ, Ice Age Meals and something I’ve never seen before which was acai bowls. Acai bowls were literally the best thing I’ve ever eaten! Not many places back here (Baltimore) have them so I will be trying to make my own. They did also have some unhealthy options like nachos, hotdogs and soft pretzels. Oh and can’t forget of course they had beer and liquor 🙂 It was amazing to be at an event where I could get food that didn’t make me feel like a fat slug so it was great to have so many healthy options.

In the soccer stadium the seats are first come first serve so we would try to sit in the shade but with the best view possible, of course. My favorite events in the stadium to watch was Murph (watching them run in from their last mile was super intense and exciting). Also I loved the sprint race, it went quick but man was it intense and it kept you on your feet.

Being in the Tennis Stadium was AMAZING!!! But also hot because there is literally no shade while you watch. You just kind of have to hope the sun goes down before events start which did happen on Friday and Saturday. Being in the Tennis stadium you feel like you are literally on top of the athletes. Also where we were located in the stadium was close to the athlete warm up area. If we ever left our seats to go get food or something we ALWAYS saw the athletes lined up to come out of the tunnel. Seeing them come out was super cool, the best part by far was watching Josh Bridges fist bump and tell everyone good luck. It just shows that even though they are competing against each other the community and love is still within the games competitors.

Drop ins:

While staying in Cali we dropped into a few boxes. I loved them all for different reasons.


First stop: Crossfit Redondo

Five of us dropped in together. I actually contacted them prior to our drop in since we were a large group. Spoke with Stephanie who is the owner, she just had a baby but was kind enough to get back to me super quick. We showed up about 10 mins before the class started. This gym was pretty small (especially compared to CFH my home gym). They accommodated well, we warmed up together, everyone was very friendly and made us feel at home. We then did an emom of L sit hold on the rings, strict HSPU and chin ups. After that we did the wod which had to be a sprint and unbroken thursters no matter what! Since they were smaller I had to share a box with my “twin” Hailey but we didn’t mind because we are used to woding together and each other’s pace. Overall I would totally recommend this gym to anyone coming from out of town they were nice and the drop in was the cheapest of the trip! ($10)

Cons: small, not much parking

Crossfit South Bay Torrance:

Nine of us dropped into this gym which was super beautiful to a person like myself. It was very big and wide open with tons of garage doors! You could workout inside and outside with no problem, simply beautiful. While there they were supposed to have a class but they cancelled it so we did our own wod (which we really wanted to do anyway). Also we saw Christmas Abbot and Elijah Muhammed there doing a photo shoot. You couldn’t really tell who was coach, member or a drop in there, it was kind of set up like an “open” gym all day. This place was super clean, you could leave and get a protein shake on your way out or snacks. The only down fall was that they had no dairy so pretty much paleo only if you wanted something. They had all the equipment you could possibly think of. I did not care for their rig though, they had some weird pull up bars. Oh and they had ample parking which was great!

Cons: Very pricy! It was $25 for a drop in

Crossfit 310:

This place was very special! All the atheltes were very friendly (probably the most friendly of all places). The coaches weren’t scared to give points or advice to make you a better Crossfitter. They were awesome! We dropped in here Monday after the games (3 of us total). I contacted this gym as well before dropping in, the gym owner actually text me within 30 mins of requesting a drop in sometime that week. He was also ok with a large group class if all 0 of us decided to drop in together prior to Monday. It was $15 for a drop in and they did have the T shirt option for a little more money if you wanted to do that. The warm up was written on the board and we warmed up as a class. There was ample parking for customers but the gym was a little tricky to find. Once you get to the address there is signs to help lead you the way to the gym, its down below the building under all the shops in the parking lot. One thing that was really cool was the running was all in a nice cool tunnel area so it was never too hot in there. Also they weren’t a gym that had “fancy” rogue equipment but their pull up bars were amazing! The sand them down on the regular and since they’re so close to the beach the owner said the salt water helps keep them “oxidized”. In other words a homemade speal bar! They were probably the best bars I ever used for toes to bar or pull ups other than the rogue speal bar. During the workout the coaches came around, cheered everyone on, pushed you and gave pointers. Overall this gym was great and I highly recommend it to anyone in the area.

Cons: No water fountain (you can buy water or use the bathroom sink)

Crossfit Costa Mesa:

Anthony and myself were the only ones to get to drop in at Costa Mesa. The gym was close to our hotel and a friend from Baltimore trains there. This was a no brainer to drop in. The Cost for a drop in was $15 but if you wanted a shirt it was $25 (I think). They don’t have many selections on shirts which is odd because they’re a popular gym in my opinion. They have a team and individual athletes go to regionals or the games every year. They were a very clean gym and had at least one of everything you could possibly imagine at a CrossFit gym. It was the first time I got to use a sled ever which was awesome. We did a little version of the rope chipper from the games that day. So that means we got to use skiergs! For some strange reason I love the skierg, I think it is just so much fun…probably because I don’t get to use them often. We did warm up as a class but the instructor did not introduce us when we dropped in like the others, and she assumed we knew every movement she was saying during the warm up. The bathrooms were clean, they had ice baths (not full at the time) which I thought was neat because I love a good ice bath once in a while. As for parking there is ample amount of parking so you don’t have to worry, and they have plenty of outdoor space for wods as well. Overall I would only recommend people who are experienced at CrossFit to drop in here.

Cons: not very friendly/welcoming (coaches and members), limited number/sizes in shirts

Crossfit Invictus:

Anthony and I got the chance to drop in at both locations in San Diego. They were both great in their own way. The drop in fee is $20 (drop in only) but the shirts/gear you can get there is endless! We both got a shirt for an additional fee, they also have Nike cool gear shirts for a little more money.

The Point Loma location had a small class, we did the noon time so that could be a factor. There was ample parking. We had a younger coach named Bryan but he was very helpful. We warmed up together as a class, then started an emom. Our emom had muscle ups within it and that is something I personally struggle with. I told him I could probably only do one at a time but he told me to go for it. Once I started to struggle he spotted me and helped me with my transitions. The wod was a good little burner/sprint. Overall this gym was clean, friendly and id recommend it to any newbie or experienced Crossfitter.

The next day we adventured down to the original invictus location which was downtown before heading to the airport to head home. We were charged another drop in fee of $20, this gym was literally 3 times larger than the other location. Anthony asked and he was told it was 18,000 sq feet. We didn’t notice parking except for street parking which you had to pay. You walk through garage doors and thats the main area where the classes take place. As you walk back there is another room with another rig and more equipment, it was literally a crossfiters heaven! We had a much larger group of people there than the other location, this gym reminded me of CFH the most. Everyone was friendly, you warmed up together, did strength and partnered up then we went into our wod. After the wod we cooled down together. Our coach was Nick who is a little scary at first but man does he know his stuff. I got a lot of great pointers in going overhead and my power clean. The bathrooms were amazing, VERY clean and multiple showers and lockers if you needed.

Cons: limited parking at downtown location, no t-shirt w/ drop in (had to pay extra)

“No, it doesn’t ever get any easier. You wouldn’t want it to either”

Greg Glassman

To Ashley & Company:  I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again- thanks thanks thanks.  I met Ashley, her husband Anthony at my first box in Baltimore and, while we don’t all connect too frequently, she was kind enough to provide this write up.  What other fitness modality has done more for communities of people….that’s right, silence.  Just a small example of this community helping one another.

Stay focused on whatever goals you’ve set for yourself.  Enjoy the performances of the elite athletes and give yourself credit for your daily victories.  Happy drop ins, friends.

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We are busy. We are overbooked. We are traveling. We are unmotivated. We are tired. We are agitated. We are unproductive. We are overweight. We are unhappy. We are why. I'm a pharmacist, I travel regionally for work and have been all of these things. What elevates me from these emotional ditches? Good health. My nearly 100 year-old Italian grandmother "Nana" said a long time ago: "If you don't have your health, you don't have nothing." Considering she still rakes leaves and gives me hell for, well, just about everything, I think she's pretty damn sharp and fit. On the other end of the spectrum: My dad died at 65 from a heart attack. He was a diabetic, a previous smoker, a recovered drug addict, a food addict, hypertensive, arthritic, immobile nearing amputation and, simply, wasn't living. For all intensive purposes, I'm fit and healthy. Armed with degrees in biology and pharmacy (read: loans) and these two family stories, you'd think staying on track is easy. Newsflash: it's not. Traveling / Working / Fathering / Mothering / fill-in-the-blanking are obstacles we all have to overcome. So, how do we do it? Suitcase Fitness was born from the hope that by sharing my small health and fitness victories while traveling, others may be inspired to find new ways to stay engaged with their health. My vision is that others will use this venue to share their "baggage" and small steps taken to overcome health challenges. I get by with a little help from my friends. - The Beetles The things that last, never happen overnight. - Slaves

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