Thursday, May 10, 2012

CrossFit Cannes

Tire flips up the stairs in Cannes

CrossFit Cannes, located in Cannes, France, was the first CrossFit box I visited outside the US!  It is the only CrossFit gym located along the southern coast of France.  It is pretty new.  Their grand opening was in late January of this year.

When I looked up its location, I was surprised to find it so close to our apartment, less than 200 meters!  When I arrived in Cannes, I thought how could a CrossFit gym exist here?  Cannes is pretty packed.  Space is tight.  CrossFit Cannes is located in Le Suquet, which is the old part of Cannes and also where most people visit.  The Palais de Festival and the beach are a 5-10 minute walk.  Its prime location made visiting it easy!

UPDATE 9/5/2014: This CF box is closed and is now CrossFit Monaco.

I came in both days while in Cannes.  Michael let me come in early to get some squats and skill work in too!  Afterwards I did the noon class.  This is what we did:

  • Warm-up: 400m farmer's carry, shoulder passes, movements review
  • 15min AMRAP:
    • 5 Pull-Ups
    • 10 Push ups
    • 15 one-arm KBS
    • 20 Wall Ball Shots, to 10ft
Tuesday: Tire flips and man makers, outdoors!
  • Warm-up: roll tire to bottom of stairs.  The distance had to be way more than 400m.  Haha, I had such a hard time.
  • For time: Tire flips up the stairs.  In between each set of stairs, 10 man makers.  There were five sets of stairs (so four sets of 10 man makers in between).
  • Afterwards, on the way back to the gym, 5min AMRAP: running up and down the stairs with KB's and a round trip agility traversal with the KBs.

Some things I really liked here:
  • The trainers.  Michael owns and runs the box.  He was really helpful and it was immediately obvious that he knows his stuff.  He quickly noticed all my flaws that I get yelled it about at home all the time and gave me new tips and cues to correct them.  Bene, the other trainer, was also really sweet and helpful.  They both also speak English really well!
  • Accommodating and really helpful!  When I expressed interest about stopping by, Michael quickly responded and even offered to help us find a place to stay!  He even let me come in early on both days to get some back squats and skill work in, which he gave me a ton of feedback on!  Since I didn't know I had to inform them ahead of time that I wanted to use a squat rack, Bene and Michael were my human squat rack!
  • Prime Location.  Very tourist friendly and so easy to get to!  It is within walking distance from the train station, the beach, shopping, and probably your accommodation.  The neighborhood is also nice and safe.
  • Creative programming.  Since space is limited and equipment is hard to get, programming gets creative.  A lot of WODs are done outside, on the streets of Cannes!  The class hauls the equipment to some area as a warm up.  Haha, rolling that tire around the narrow, hilly streets sure got my heart rate up.  Flipping the tire up the stairs to the view of the city was one of the highlights of my trip!
  • Equipment.  It was very garage gym like and I like that feeling.  There were a lot of barbells, weights, rowers, and all the equipment you typically find at CrossFit gyms.  But there were a lot of multi-purpose equipment.  For example: tires, for box jumps and for conditioning.  Some of their equipment added a new level of difficulty, like the med balls.  The lack of extra padding in these made wall balls really tough!  Rings are hung outside since the ceiling is low.  Doing muscle ups on them caused quite a bit of attention!
  • Super clean and organized!  Equipment is neatly stored in the back and is easy to find.  Plates are stored on a dolly for convenience.  Chalk is next to the pull-up bar and by the door (for muscle ups) along with tape.

Some things that could use improvement:
  • Small space.  I guess that's the trade off for being located in the old town and near the beach!  They handle it well though.  Some larger equipment like squat racks are stored offsite and are brought in when needed.  Rings are hung outside from the 2nd floor neighbor's balcony!  And a lot of WODs are done outside.
  • A class before 12pm.  Morning sessions are not well attended by the locals.  Most businesses do not open until late in the morning.  I guess that is the culture there.  However, since there are a lot of tourists, perhaps it would be nice to have a class before noon.  Sounds like it is in consideration.  I see a 7:30am class listed as 'coming soon' on their website.  

Some pictures:
2. CrossFit Cannes in Le Suquet.

3. View from the front/back.

4. On-site storage.

5. 1-on-1.

6. Squat racks were offsite, so Michael and Bene were my human squat rack!

7. 12pm crew doing pullups.

8. Baby med balls made wall ball shots tough for me.

9. Day 2 - manmakers and tire flips outside!

10. Class photo.

11. The owner, Michael, and I.

12. I thought doing MU on the streets of Cannes was pretty cool.

I had a really, really great time here, and I especially enjoyed working out outdoors.  Love the garage gym/small box/homey feeling.  It is amazing how much more difficult a movement can be with slightly different equipment.  Since the Côte d'Azur is pretty much my favorite place I visited to date, I am sure I will be back!  Way to bring CrossFit to Southern France!