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A Visit to CrossFit Shadyside

15 Oct

A few weeks back, while traveling for work in Pittsburgh, I had some unexpected free time.  So what did I do?  Immediately googled local CrossFit gyms.  A quick search revealed a box not even 2 blocks away from the hotel I was staying at! Boom! I took my chances that they’d let me drop-in without advanced notice and showed up at a 6:30am class.  I was greeted by Erin, one of the coaches, filled out a quick waiver and had no issues joining the class.


Crossfit Shadyside is actually located in the bottom part of Ryer Martial Arts Academy. and initially was less than half the size it currently is.  I snapped some pictures of the space to give you an idea of the layout, but it’s a decent size and has lots of equipment tucked away that you can’t see.  IMG_9418[1]




One of my favorite parts of the gym (and something that immediately caught my attention) was the “Box Rules”.  They’re so perfect for anyone just joining CrossFit and a good reminder for those who have been doing it for a while.  🙂IMG_9415[1]

The WOD (workout of the day) started with 10 minutes of mobility work (rolling, stretching), followed by 4 rounds of max effort Handstand Push-Ups (for me, modified by using a box), 2 minutes rest, then 8 bent over rows (using barbell), 30 russian twists (I used a 20lb med ball).  Finally, we completed a max effort 1000 m row, rested 5 minutes and finished with 4 RFT (rounds for time) of 3 push presses (85% of our 1 rep maximum weight) and 15 toes-to-bar (knees to chest for me).  I can’t remember the weight I used for push presses (maybe 55lb?), but I know my shoulders and armpits were sore for days after this WOD.  Hello, handstand push-ups!

There were probably only 5 people in the class I took, so I can’t say how it is during more crowded sessions, but Erin made sure to check everyone’s form and give us feedback, critiques and encouragement during the workout.  She also made sure I knew where to grab equipment from, which was much appreciated because I was so unfamiliar with their gym.  At first, I couldn’t figure out where the med balls were–they’re kept in a wooden box built into a wall!  Erin has been a coach at Shadyside for about two years and really seemed to know her stuff.  I definitely think it’s important to have someone coaching who not only knows about crossfit movements, but isn’t afraid to correct you or make sure you have proper form.

After class, I got to chat a little more with Erin about the history of CrossFit Shadyside, and she took me upstairs to the giant martial arts area.  Of course, I also took the time to snag some Shadyside tees for the boyfriend and myself!

I’m so glad I was able to check out another box during my work travels (see my last box review here), and highly recommend CrossFit Shadyside if you’re in the Pittsburgh area.  I know I’ll definitely be back!

Do you like to explore local gyms during travel?  What do you look for most in a coach or fitness instructor?  Tell me about it!



Brooklyn Half Training Week 10

12 May

Week 10 of training…AKA the week I lost all my confidence.  I’ve had a great training cycle, up until this week when my runs were just plain bad or non-existent.  I no longer feel like I’m capable of my Brooklyn goals (which I’ll be posting soon).  Someone tell me this is normal and I’m not totally crazy!  Let’s recap this past week:

Monday 5/5: CrossFit.  We did more squat lessons, then a tabata workout that didn’t look so bad at first glance…but was actually pretty brutal.

It was 8 20 second rounds of each: squats, KB swings and flutter kicks with a 10 second break in between.  Holy crap…my hips, abs and lower back were on fire after this!  And in a post-WOD blur, Liz and I finally signed up for CF…dun dun dun!

Tuesday 5/6 (AKA My Birthday!) Coach had 5 miles with ten 1-minute pick-ups at 8:00 pace on the sched.  I did nothing like that.  I was super sore, didn’t feel well and was tired the entire time.  I did 5 pickups (barely getting down to 8:00 pace) and then mentally gave up.  I even ended up walking my last mile because my mommy called and I chatted with her instead.  Oh well, shitty runs happen…right?

Wednesday 5/7: CrossFit.  You guys!  This was supposed to be the very last beginners class for us…THANK GOODNESS!  But I was in no mood for it.  The classes had become repetitive for CF buddy Liz and I because of the way we were able to attend them and I just wasn’t interested in push-pressing a PVC pipe anymore.  The CF gods must have been listening to us before class, because Logan (owner/coach) told us to just jump in with the regular class!  Woohoo!  I was pumped at first…and then realized I had gotten just what I wanted.  I wasn’t push-pressing a PVC pipe…I’d be doing it with a real bar (plus weight) 150 times.  Ha!  The WOD was:

A) 5 RFT with 4 minutes rest between each round:

30 Push Presses (I used 35lb)

20 KB Swings (I used 25lb KB)

10 Burpees

B) 3 x 400m run with 4 min rest between

Score= Slowest of A+B

For me, that was 3:24 and 2:24.

Although I’ve done “real” classes before, this was my first one with CrossFit 516, which I feel marks my start as a legit CrossFitter.  Onward and upward from here! 🙂

Thursday 5/8: 4 easy + 4 strides  Rest. Oops.  I was just exhausted and had a lot to do….and didn’t feel like it.

Friday 5/9: Rest.  I had to drive upstate after work, so no time for a workout!

Saturday 5/10: The plan was 8 miles (6 easy, 2 @ 8:45).  The reality was awful.  I was upstate for my friends baby shower so I headed over to the Auburn Trail, an awesome 9 mile stretch that crosses streams, a golf course, etc.  It’s really pretty.




Great place to run…awful run!  Here come the excuses:  I headed out a little late, and it was already 72 degrees when I started running.  I was still tired, probably from working 8 hours Friday then jumping in the car and driving for 6.5!  My first 2 miles felt okay, there was a little bit of a breeze so it wasn’t too warm.  Then I fell apart.  I got hot, I had no water, my head hurt and I knew there was no way I could do 8 miles.  Oh, and I stepped on a snake!  So I once again, I quit.  I just wanted to be done and get back, get ready and celebrate with my friends.  A failed last long run is a good sign, right?

Sunday 5/11: Rest.  And 6 more hours of driving.  But I got to spend some time with my family and see this little guy too:


The cutest.

That’s that.  5 DAYS UNTIL BROOKLYN.  And hopefully plenty of sleep til Brooklyn! 😉

Have you had a bad week of training?  Tell me I’m not totally crazy and my race will be fine….PLEASE.