Every athlete dreams of having an edge. Whether pro, amateur, or recreational, the goal of many who set foot in the gym do so with the desire to find a way to be that much better, that much stronger and more fierce than the next. At Cross Fit Philly, Pamela MacElree is ready to show how Crossfit might be the best way to get that edge.
CrossFit Philly, located in the City of Brotherly Love, is coowned by MacElree and her business partner, Jason C. Brown. In addition to being home to the average recreational fitness fanatic, it is also where athletes of all stripes come to train; marathon runners, pro hockey players, and MMA fighters including Lamont Lister, who just signed on with the IFL, Anthony Gatt, and BJJ world champions Noah Spear, Tim Deangelo, and Ken Primolo. Equally impressive is the presence of “average” people, including the elderly, teens, and thirty-somethings who train together.
“We aren’t a typical gym by any means,” MacElree said, describing her 1,000 square
foot facility. “I’m slightly biased and would call it the perfect place to be, but others have walked in the door and with no encouragement, state ‘This is the place I’ve been looking for!'”
For anyone who wants to get into shape without the distraction of the meat-market culture prevalent in many yuppie-friendly franchise gyms, CrossFit might just fit the bill. Serving anyone and everyone who wants to get fit, the gym’s motto is “Creating Fitness from Chaos” and applies to all fitness levels.
The 1,000 square foot facility is lined with equiptment (including kettlebells ranging from 9lbs to 135lbs.), leaving the center floor space free for workouts. And if the classes become full enough, the overflow is taken outside to work; And the northeastern climate, freezing in the winter, sweltering in the summer, is enough to make any workout tougher. While many gyms give new members a quick tour, a brief tutorial on each machine and then leave them to their own devices, CrossFit
Philly gives newbies a mandatory class. “Elements” is a prerequisit to training, giving indepth instruction on bodyweight movements such as squats, lunges, pushups, and so forth. “Once their form is down, we progress to other movements that require the use of various weights, such as kettlebell specific movements, dumbbell training, and medicine ball training,” MacElree said.
The ‘Elements’ class also benefits those who are already in shape, but want to sample this style of training. According to MacElree, participants in combat sports would benefit from addding CrossFit to their regular training regime to build strength and endurance. “The Crossfit style of training should most certainly be used as a completment fight training,” MacElree said. ” Most specifically the Fight Gone Bad style workout. That being said, this style of training can also be used in its own discipline as a fitness program for the average person. I wouldn’t say that you could use this type of training as your only training for MMA or other combat sports.”
Crossfit, a method of exercise intended to develop the quintessential athlete, was created by former gymnast, Greg Glassman, in the 1970s. Nurtured in his home gym in Santa Cruz, California, Crossfit calls for proficiency in ten fitness domains; cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy. Using free weights, Kettlebells, gymnastics rings, pullup bars and calisthenics, Crossfit also demands its students to other “odd” activities like rowing, climbing ropes, and running or squatting with large objects carried above the head. If it all seems a little strange, it’s only because it is; at least in the sense that it is flying in the face of traditional approach to fitness. Crossfit is often seen as a reaction against the fitness industries’ conventional wisdom. Gyms specializing in Crossfit often use scoring and ranking systems, and the training itself is emerging as a sport in its own right. This might make gyms and trainers who prefer the more traditional means of strength-training a bit nervous, if not downright hostile. But for MacElree, there is no arguing against success. Crossfit has gained a slow but steady growth since its birth, thanks to the visable and rapid results experienced by its participants. “It’s hard to ingnore something when it’s results are staring you in the face,”MacElree said. “Crossfit is also one of those programs that, if done inside a ‘regular’ gym, heads will start to turn and comments will be made. There’s always a level of curiosity when people are doing different things that most people aren’t accustomed to.” MacElree, who trains and competes in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, has personally benefitted from crossfit and kettlebell training. Having been athletic throughout her life (her interests in high school included sports, soccer, track and field, and especially swimming), in college she “drifted away” from her activities. Her absence didn’t last long, however, and in the years after college she jumped into strength and conditioning, which led to working out with the kettlebell. She describes the workout, and the results, as ‘Fantastic’! “It was completely different than any other type of workout of strength training I had ever experienced,” MacElree said. “I saw the gains that could be made by incorporating the kettlebell into workouts. So to test it, I worked out with only kettlebells for about eight to ten months solid, no other equipment except for including bodyweight movements. I was the strongest and leanest I had ever been.” MacElree was so impressed by the changes in her body composition that she quickly got certified to train others with the kettlebells. Before long, MacElree’s business was booming, training clients both outside and in their homes.
“I was then introduced to the methodologies of CrossFit by my business partner, and really found this type of training to be important.” MacElree said, and harkened back to her days in the high school weight room, where “…we never followed a program. We just had challenges with each other to see who could leg press and bench press the most weight. I look back and wonder how much better we all would have been if we knew even just a little bit of what I know now.”
Crossfit Philly is located at 7224 Germantown Avenue Rear(entrance on Nippon Street).
PHONE: Pamela McElfree, 215.248.2130
CHECK OUT PAMELA’S REGULAR BLOG ON FIGHTERGIRLS.COM: “CONDITIONING CORNER” FOR GREAT FIGHTER TRAINING/EXERCISES!