Outside My Box: WOD at CrossFit Union Square

Selfie at CrossFit Union Square
Tired. Sweaty. Accomplished.

I’ve become somewhat of a box nerd, although I’ve discovered CrossFit is a sport for nerds (WODbooks to keep track of workouts, apps to calculate 1RM, all that good stuff). So now, when I travel, I want to hit a box in the area if it fits into my training schedule. On my last trip to New York, it fit perfectly, so I hit up a Monday morning WOD at CrossFit Union Square in Manhattan.

CrossFit Union Square is in the basement of the Reebok FitHub store on the southwest side of Union Square, and it’s easily accessible by subway. It’s a truly gorgeous, well-equipped 7,500 square foot box with locker rooms, showers, and all the equipment you can imagine. I felt a little lost – and a little intimidated as I cozied up to a foam roller and other CrossFitters came in, casually flipped up to handstands, and chatted.

I was even more intimidated when I saw the WOD. The strength portion wasn’t going to be too bad: a clean complex consisting of a power clean, low hang clean, and hang clean. I can do that, and I did, working my way up from 35 pounds to a 55 pound set. That’s more than half my body weight (I’m a hobbit), so yeah, I swore a bit when I couldn’t get the 60 pound barbell up to my shoulders, but: rookie.

No, the WOD was a double Fran:

  • 400m run
  • Fran 15-12-9 (thrusters & pull-ups)
  • 400m run
  • Fran 15-12-9
For starters, Fran doesn’t have a very good reputation. She’s an evil witch who brings grown men to their knees. She’s the original “meet Pukie” WOD. The run, not a problem, except remember how I said CrossFit Union Square is in the basement? That meant jogging up the stairs, doing the 400m on Manhattan sidewalks (thankfully, at 6 am, there weren’t a lot of people moseying around), then jogging back down to get my tail whooped by Fran. (I finished in 17:46, using a 25 pound barbell and a big rubber band hooked around a pull-up bar. Beginner, mediocre, but survived.)
The coach was Christian Espinal. He’s a Level 1 coach with a long list of certifications, and he saw that I was pulling too soon on my cleans. That’s an ongoing problem of mine, which is why I haven’t been able to get under that bar. It’s bad enough where I have CrossFit homework, according to my regular coach (muscle cleans with a baby barbell – I do a couple sets in between work tasks. You know, answer a bunch of emails, get some coffee, do some muscle cleans – you mean not everyone does that?).
Anyhow. I liked Christian. He’s a quieter coach than I’m used to, or maybe it was the enormity of the box. I chatted with a guy with a British accent who is also a copywriter, although he does advertising copy and I’m a long-form B2B tech copywriter, but we both speak the same language. Overall, it was awesome to take in a WOD at a different box and not feel totally lost (just a little lost!) I strolled in reppin’ Texas with my awesome NASA workout tank, and when I finished my workout, I did buy a CrossFit Union Square tank. And did I mention it’s a beautiful box?
CrossFit boxes always make me happy. This is CrossFit Union Square.