My journey to find work experience as an Exercise Science major had started with a simple email. Earlier in my exchange program I purchased the book ‘Becoming a Supple Leopard’ written by Kelly Starrett. This book is a complete encyclopaedia of improving and restoring physical mobility, injury rehab and keeping your body nimble while we experience chronic desk riddance. After a few weeks of following the exercises and painfully applying pressure with lacrosse balls to notoriously tight spots (try putting pressure with a lacrosse ball between where your back and rear shoulder meet, have fun), I was delighted to find out that the man himself who wrote this book runs his business San Francisco CrossFit in the Presidio.
I envisioned this as a perfect opportunity to try and get some work experience from the very person who’s book had dramatically improved my life. A little backstory about Kelly, he has trained many elite athletes some which winning Olympic gold medals, run a successful business and considered a ‘guru’ by many in the exercise science field. Sure enough I promptly got an email reply, allowing me to shadow a few classes temporarily but unfortunately no time with Kelly. Something is better than nothing right? I headed down early to the gym, which by the way has a spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge and only to find out that the trainer I was going shadow had cancelled and Kelly came down to fill in. Fate smiled on me that day, it only got better. This was the type of gym many would look at and think “huh, where is all the machines and stuff”. This gym was built for high performance, functional training with dozens of barbells for Olympic lifting and plenty of open floor space. It was a refreshing change from a gym I train at close to SF State that is bluntly overcrowded and packed with egocentric lifters.
The class I thought I was going to shadow turned out to be me joining the class ‘metabolic conditioning’, basically a sciency way of saying endurance and this gonna hurt. 45 minutes later and floundering like a fish out of water I was spent, this class was intense completely different than regular weight training I’m sure a lot people are currently doing. Upon returning to a conscious state I asked Kelly if he were free for a few questions and I got the response “I have a podcast I need to do then a business call, if you’re down to train in hour and a half with me you can ask anything you like”, this was a golden opportunity for some quality experience. Later it was time to train and Kelly trains completely different than other trainer I know. Warm included several sets of assisted handstands using gymnastics PVC pipes that had a giant ‘cheese grater’ rolling mat (picture being in kindergarten again). Later into the workout it was composed of bench pressing with a vertical (not horizontal) barbell, with chains attached to the ends followed by a 1km ergo in between our sets. I realised that question time was going to be scarce. Now thoroughly exhausted I had managed to squeeze out some brilliant answers about nutrition, business and training methodology and surpassed everything I had previously anticipated about the experience.
While it may be on the pricey side, this gym has it all. Every trainer is a physical therapist, personal trainer and requires 160 hours of shadowing in the gym just to become a qualified instructor, these people know how to get you fit, strong and nimble. I would highly recommend this place if you are bored with your regular weights routine and want to try something different!