CrossFit — the workout regimen known as much for its hyper-intensity as its practitioners’ fanatical devotion — started in the United States in 2000, and turned up in the Philippines about a decade later, but it’s really only started to enter the mainstream in the past few years.
Nowadays, CrossFit (CF) gyms (or “boxes” as they’re known among the initiated) have popped up across the metro, bringing the brand’s ass-busting routines to Filipinos wanting to get Instagram-worthy bods while making new friends in the process.
Despite the strength and conditioning program’s justly deserved reputation for intensity, unfit noobs need not fear. That’s because most beginners are required to take foundation classes, where the proper form and execution of each exercise is taught. After this, they can progress on to CF, or a version that’s not quite as tough as the real deal (more on that later).
Coconuts Manila asked a couple of people from the CrossFit community where clueless couch potatoes like us can try CF within the metro. The places they mentioned stand out from the rest of the pack because of the people, the location, and the quality of the equipment that they offer. But take note, especially if you’re a beginner: CF boxes are pricier than conventional gyms, so expect to shell out at least PHP500 (US$10) per training day in these places. But with WODs (workouts of the days) getting you swimwear-ready after the spare tire you packed on from all those yummy desserts over the holidays, the steep price may just prove to be worth it.
So, without further ado, here are the gyms — sorry, boxes — that Manileños love.
Pioneer Street in Mandaluyong has transformed itself in recent years from a sleepy area into a hub of high-rise condos, offices, and restaurants. A welcome addition to the area is Avante Garde, a box frequented by professionals working and living in the area. The place is fantastic for getting your blood pumping in the morning because classes start as early as 6am, but they end as late as 9pm if you prefer to do your exercising after work (no shame, we’re not morning people either).
If you’re a newbie, this is a good place to get acquainted with CF because this is the box where the 2019 national champions Justin Hernandez and Kirsten Lin — both of whom repped the country at the Reebok CrossFit Games — teach. What’s more, the community here is tight, so expect to make a lot of friends in the process. The rate is PHP4,250 (US$84) for unlimited classes in a month, with a six-month commitment.
Spending the whole day behind a computer while munching on unhealthy snacks is a sure-fire way to pack on pounds. But we’ve got good news for professionals working in Bonifacio Global City: BGC is the home of Central Ground CrossFit, an easily accessible box near offices and hotels that’s open seven days a week. The earliest class starts at 6:45am on a weekday, while the latest is at 8pm.
If you need someone to guide through your workout, there are a total of six coaches of varying experience on the roster. While most people drop by for CF, you can also stop in for personal training or to train competitively (yup, there are CF competitions).
This being BGC (AKA expat central), the price is quite steep, with classes priced at PHP7,000 (US$138) per month. If that’s too much, you can buy a six-class pass for PHP5,000 (US$99).
This box is the home of some people who have lost serious amounts of weight, so if you’re looking to get fit with a vengeance, this is a good place to start. Aside from the actual CF classes, they organize workshops that teach students basic weightlifting moves like the clean and jerk, and the snatch. If you’ve been following the community for a while, you’ll get to see some competitive cross-fitters in action here. But don’t worry if you’re a newbie — we were told they’re equally welcoming as well to those who are just learning the ropes!
First classes start at 6:45am, and the last class ends at 9:30pm. Rates start at PHP4,000 (US$78) per month.
Chowing down is what everyone seems to do on Tomas Morato Avenue, a place known for its stylish hotels and fantastic restaurants. But CrossFit Insurrecto gives people another reason to visit the street, with its welcoming community of fitness enthusiasts. They have seven coaches on board, so you’ll be guided through the rudiments of the sport. Earliest classes start at 7am, while the latest starts at 8:30pm. (But if you want to lose weight, be sure to avoid all the cafes and diners that surround the gym.)
Expect to shell out PHP4,800 (US$95) per month for unlimited classes, but rates are cheaper if you commit for a year, with classes priced at PHP3,700 (US$73) per month.
With its padded floors and green-and-black interiors, this is a great place to work out if you study at De La Salle University or work at nearby government offices like the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. People like this place because its first class starts at 6:30am, which gives most Crossfitters enough time to finish a workout before heading off to work or school. Aside from offering CF classes, they also have foundation classes and CF Lite sessions, so anyone who wants to slowly ease into the lifestyle can do so. Classes, we heard, are a good mix of young and old, so no one should feel out of place.
Eighteen sessions of CF Lite cost PHP2,290 (US$45), while the same number of regular CF classes cost PHP2,890 (US$57). They also have one-month unlimited classes for students (PHP2,990/US$59 for Lite) and professionals (PHP3,490/US$69).
Solid Grip is probably one of the more affordable CF boxes in the metro, with monthly fees starting at PHP2,000 (US$39). Those who are just starting with their practice will be happy to know that they also have CF Light classes (where you can work out without lifting weights), as well as the “regular,” more intense CF sessions.
They’re open as early as 6:30am, with last classes ending at 8:30pm.
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