Is CrossFit really a cult?

Hi everyone! With the much-hailed CrossFit Games coming up next week, we thought it might be fun to do a review on a local London Box as well as address what everyone is always asking me, ‘Is CrossFit really a cult?” The short answer is, “Of course not!” CrossFit, for those of you who aren’t already familiar, is a really popular branded workout that was started by Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai in 2000. Promoted as both an exercise regimen and competitive sport, CrossFit incorporates elements from Olympic lifting, gymnastics, high-intensity interval training, plyometrics and more. There are over 13,000 affiliated gyms (or ‘boxes’) worldwide, with an extremely devoted member-base to go along with it. Many of these boxes promote a family-like culture where members often, train, eat, work, and regularly hang-out together. I was a regular CrossFitter back in the U.S. and I loved the whole culture there. 

So, what does this have to do with all the London-ites in the room? Turns out, there are fair amount of CrossFit boxes right here in London and the broader UK. Notably, one Macacha team-member (that’s me!) just checked out one of the biggest and most well-known, CrossFit Perpetua! What was my take? I loved it! CrossFit Perpetua, for those who don’t know, is located just south of Chelsea Bridge. When you first walk in, it’s two large warehouse-like rooms full of barbells, boxes, weights, and pull-up bars. But don’t let this intimidate you! CrossFit is designed so that anyone can do it. Every workout of the day (or WOD if you will) has a ‘prescription’ or Rx version, and a scaled (down) version. This just means that if you can’t do a pull-up on that pull-up bar, don’t stress! The amazing and friendly coaches will have an alternative for you that you feel comfortable with but still kicks your butt! But anyway, back to Perpetua. The facilities are clean and spacious, with plenty of  natural light and air. There is a great bar with smoothies, water, coffee, protein bars, and any other healthy snack you could need pre- or post-workout. And there is enough room outside to do runs (usually between 200-1000 meters) required for many CrossFit WODs. In short, I was seriously impressed with the facilities in a city that is usually very tight for space. 

Perpetua Smoothie Bar

Now, onto my workout. I went on a Saturday morning, which usually means partner-WOD. And the great thing about CrossFit is, even if you’re the new kid in the room, someone ALWAYS volunteers to be your partner. This box was no different and I found myself introduced to a fun and energetic girl who had been working out at Perpetua for about a year. First up, we did that 400 meter run around the block to warm up and got right into our stretches. The coach went over every movement before we started and I felt very comfortable (if a bit nervous!) going in.

The WOD then progressed from there. The way this partner WOD worked was that you could only have one partner working at a time, but you could split up the movements any way you like. For example, in the first workout, we split each movement into 10 repetitions each and alternated. All told, the workout lasted 31 minutes total and we completed (as a team) 120 wallballs (throwing a weighted medicine ball to a 10 foot target on the wall and catching it), 60 power snatches (this is an Olympic lift that your coach will definitely walk through with you if you need it), 90 deadlifts, 60 calorie row (count calories on the rower instead of distance), 54 med-ball cleans (essentially picking up a heavy medicine ball from the ground and catching it at shoulder height), 36 burpees over the bar (do a burpee, jump over the weight bar – about 10 inches), 90 toes-to-bar (hang from pull-up bar and touch your toes to the bar), 90 kettlebell swings, and 90 pistols (one-legged squat).  I know this sounds like a ton, but when you are doing it with a partner who is constantly encouraging you, it is so much fun! I loved this workout and this box. I left Perpetua tired, sweaty, and pumped up. What a great start to a Saturday!

The other huge plus with CrossFit Perpetua was their coaching method. When you decide to sign up, you are automatically assigned a coach who will work with you one on one (for as long as you are a member) to improve your skills and strengths, and stay personally invested in your growth and goals. I don’t know about you, but I think this is awesome! And not every CrossFit box offers this piece, so if it sounds good to you too, Perpetua is where you want to go!

A few other notes: Perpetua has shower facilities, so if you need to work out and head straight to work, not a problem! They also have a pretty extensive pro-shop where you can purchase all your CrossFit needs. All-in-all, I give this box a 5-star rating. Great facilities, top-class coaches, challenging workouts, and friendly members – what’s not to love?! If CrossFit’s a cult, I’m sorry but I’m in!