By Rachel Strickland
When people think of CrossFit, they typically think of the muscular young men and women on TV flipping enormous tires and lifting incredibly heavy weights at the CrossFit games. CrossFit is not so intimidating at TNL CrossFit Tampa. Instead, it has an inviting atmosphere, friendly coaches, and a community focus. TNL’s convenient times and intense workout help athletes achieve their personal goals.
Going to TNL CrossFit Tampa is not like going to a regular gym; garage doors are open to let in light and fresh air, and portions of the workout are often done outside. Inside, upbeat music is played to help keep athletes going strong. The equipment is decorated with graffiti-like paint, which helps create the sense of toughness that comes with doing CrossFit. At the beginning of each class, there is a social minute, where everyone greets one another, which gives people a chance to meet newcomers. Coaches and fellow athletes alike offer encouragement and motivation throughout the workout and after it is finished.
An important aspect of TNL is that, when one enters, there are no young men showing off their muscles in front of huge, wall-length mirrors as often seen at gyms. In fact, there are no mirrors at all at TNL. This is to keep athletes from focusing only on their own image, creating a greater sense of community. The concept of a community is stressed at TNL. The community atmosphere is carried into the WOD (workout of the day) with many of the workouts involving pairs or teams of athletes. New people will not get lost or confused during the class because partners are there to help.
The WOD can be difficult, but the whole workout is explained and each exercise is demonstrated before the workout begins. Each hour-long class consists of a warmup and the actual workout. There is always running in the warmup, usually 200 or 400 meters. Running is followed by a few easy exercises, such as jumping jacks or pushups, and some light stretching. Next is the regular workout. This is most often done in short intervals of a few seconds to a few minutes with a short time to rest in between. The training done in these workouts exercises the whole body with movements that often include weightlifting, running, burpees, and squats. Although these workouts can be tough, most exercises can be scaled down either by decreasing the number of repetitions, reducing the amount of weight, or by just doing a similar but easier exercise.
The certified coaches at TNL are very personable and encouraging. They learn athletes’ names almost immediately and truly care about helping them meet their personal goals. If an athlete is doing an exercise incorrectly, they are quick to explain how to do it correctly to prevent injury. They learn what athletes are physically capable of and will change or scale a workout according to their personal abilities. All of them clearly enjoy what they do which makes the classes even more fun.
Classes run for most of the day during the week, the first class beginning at 5:00am and the last beginning at 7:30pm, so athletes can pick the times that are most convenient. Weekends are a time to rest as regular classes only run from 8:00am to 10:00am on Saturdays and they are closed on Sundays. The ability to choose the time of day and how often to go can help one achieve their goals faster. For the first free trial class, arrive about ten minutes early to fill out the necessary forms. Also, those who have never been here before should plan on spending few extra minutes finding the place, as it is hidden from sight in an office park. After turning into the office park, look for a sign telling where to turn and which building TNL is in, and it should be fairly easy to find from there.
TNL CrossFit Tampa is a great place to go if you would like an intense, structured workout alongside encouraging athletes and coaches. More information such as coaches’ bios and a full class schedule can be found on TNL CrossFit Tampa’s website.