From Candida Mannozzi. You can reach her at [email protected].
Borderstan, let me admit it right at the outset: I like to work hard and I play just as hard, too. So, when it comes to my choices for sports, ways to keep fit and maintain or improve my health (which, well into my fourth decade, seem ever more important), I tend to gravitate toward intense, demanding and, by the same token, rewarding workout or sports routines.
On that note, CrossFit MPH is not an athletic program for the faint of heart, but it’s why I chose it. And Borderstan, do you know that we have one of the premier CrossFit outfits of the DC metro area in our very own hood?! Let me backtrack a bit, assuming that many of you may not be familiar with what CrossFit actually is. It was not a clear or known concept to me either, until just a few months ago.
What is CrossFit?
CrossFit is an athletic program that combines basic gymnastics, running, weightlifting, rowing and powerlifting movements in a vast number of combinations, adding repetition, weight or resistance and speed to achieve a broad response in the body of the athletes practicing it. Improving overall health and fitness, as well as developing the skills to become good at a number of different things (i.e., run a marathon, increase your overall strength, acquire explosive skills) are the goals. Improving your heart-rate, losing weight, gaining muscle mass, looking better, finally getting those six-pack abs, those are correlated results that come with a CrossFit practice, but they are not the goals a typical CrossFit athlete sets for him- or herself.
Feldman: “CrossFit is just inherently better than regular workouts — those endless bicep curls facing a mirror — this is closer to real sports, to actual movements. It reminded me of martial arts when I first started.”
So, this article will not be about commercial gyms or personal training sessions, va bene (OK)? A new year is in the offing and I am offering you a way to try something new, to push your limits, maybe even to explore a whole new community of folks in 2012.
CrossFitMPH (MetamorPHitness, indicating the transformative power of this athletic practice) is owned by John Main and co-managed by Melody Feldman. The two certified coaches are ably supported by Rebekka Ellman. The gym opened in July 2009 and is located just inside the corner of 15th and Church Streets NW. It has been attracting a growing number of dedicated athletes to their challenging, rewarding and collegial workouts.
Main and Feldman live in the neighborhood. So when, in 2008, they decided to open their own athletic facility, they found themselves increasingly gravitating to the Borderstan and Logan Circle areas of DC. MPH is more than an athletic facility, it is a community. Nothing proves this more than the fact that the demo and build-out of the space took a month and was a joint effort by these coaches, who relied also on the support of their former clients from the commercial gym where they had trained for over five years.
MPH’s space is multi-functional, sparsely furnished and supremely flexible. At first glance any observer will understand this is a no-frills environment, focused on the safe and efficient movement of its athletes, coaches and gear. It can accommodate an amazing variety of set-ups, which are easily assembled and broken down, fitting beautifully with the flexibility and variety that a CrossFit practice requires.
Who Can Practice CrossFit?
Feldman: “Sometimes, the less experienced someone is when they come to CrossFit, the better opportunity they have to acquire the basic movement patterns that are the building blocks for any CrossFit workout. They’re working from a clean slate.”
Main: “CrossFit has a reputation for being dangerous. Practiced or coached incorrectly, this reputation is deserved. There is an inherent risk in what we do, as we work with free weights and body weight, and add speed and intensity to most workouts; so posture, movement mechanics and awareness are all essential. When coached correctly, CrossFit is safe and suitable for everyone.”
That’s the key. With coaches like John, Melody and Rebekka, CrossFit is an adventure in self-exploration and growth. Based on your registration for a particular workout, the coaches will have prepared variations to fit your individual fitness and strength levels. No time is wasted during class adapting the challenge to each athlete’s skill set and this allows the coaches to do just that: to coach — properly and attentively.
CrossFit is an exciting journey down the road of self-discovery and self-improvement. Some basic requirements: being self-motivated, being collegial, enjoying challenges (personal or imposed) and wanting to acquire new skills and capabilities.
So, Borderstan, if any among you are looking for a way to challenge and explore your physical and athletic limits in the new year, CrossFitMPH lies right in the heart of our ‘hood — a part of ours, ready to welcome you into the community.