On the Road: CrossFit in CT

Ever wonder what is going on at other CrossFit “boxes”?  Unlike “globo” gyms, CrossFit “boxes” are all uniquely different with some common threads among them.  I hit the road in November to find the answer to this question.   My journey led me to three CrossFit boxes in my surrounding area.  CrossFit Athleo, CrossFit Relentless and CrossFit Religion were gracious enough to allow me to photograph their spaces and the workouts of the day (WODs).  My initial thought was proven true, no matter how big or small, sophisticated the equipment, the CrossFit community that everyone talks about existed in the same form at every CrossFit box I visited.  At the end of each WOD, a small crowd of members gathered around the last member to finish and cheered them on.  Without fail this happened.  People who have never been part of a CrossFit box always ask me what it’s all about.  My answer always includes referencing the support of the CrossFit community.  It’s hard for people to understand this since they are use to a “globo” gym mentality, but it was great to see this universal support at each box.  The other common thread was that all of the members and box owners were seeking the same common goal of “forging elite fitness”.  Members had what they needed to achieve basic to advance CrossFit movements and workouts.

As a photographer during the 2011 Regionals, I covered four regions representing 29 States and over 1,000 “boxes”.  Documenting the athletes at the CrossFit Games expanded this reach to a worldwide audience and after capturing images of all these athletes, I thought it would be interesting to see where it all begins, in their local CrossFit box.  Hopefully, I will be able to visit other boxes along the way and share what I find, but here is my first installment.

 CrossFit Athleo – Berlin, CT
This new CrossFit box opened in July of 2011 and has been growing rapidly.  The space is great, with everything one needs to complete a WOD.  The slick logo and graphics were impressive and members were all having a great experience.  Coach and owner Marek Pawulski is representing the sport well and provides close guidance to all the new CrossFit athletes joining on a daily basis.

CrossFit Religion – Middletown, CT
Located on the second floor of an old industrial building, the space has some unique features, like the old wooden floors and large glass windows.  The building was once used to manufacture land minds and now CrossFit training along with parkour and martial arts dominate the space.  Thank you to Bryce Graskoski and Ross Plourde for showing me around and providing some top notch instruction.

CrossFit Relentless – West Hartford, CT
The largest of the boxes visited, CrossFit Relentless has ample equipment to cover all CrossFit elements plus a dedicated olympic lifting area.  Creators of “The Beast of the East”, a fall competition modeled after the first CrossFit Games that brings together athletes from across the nation to compete in various events.  The day I visited, the WOD was in honor of a solider who had lost his legs fighting for our country and the members were also collecting items to ship to a specific group of soliders linked to members of the box.  Owners Merle McKenzie and Glenn Perra are running an amazing box and I look forward to what they have in store for 2012.

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