CrossFit Variance

Yesterday I shared some things I ate during my work travels this week, so today I want to talk about the workout I was able to squeeze in while in Massachusetts.  As soon as I knew I was traveling to the Boston area, I started checking out local CrossFit boxes.  Then I remembered that my buddy Meredith from CrossFit 516 mentioned her family goes to a box in this area, so I asked and she recommended CrossFit Variance.


I dropped into the 4:30pm class on Monday and was immediately welcomed in.  The gym isn’t huge, but I loved the open feeling of it and the floor to ceiling glass windows up front.  I also loved the flags hanging in the windows (American, Sept 11th and Wounded Warrior Project) and the inspirational quotes hanging on the walls.  I gave some immediate bonus points for the one with this Pre quote: “The only good race pace is suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die.”  

Coach Steve had me fill out a waiver and asked about my current fitness level and CrossFit experience.  I really appreciated that, because as you know…I’m out of (CrossFit) shape.  I explained that I had run the NYC Marathon 2 weeks ago and just made my return to CrossFit after about a month off.  I told him I was still sore from my first WOD back and he told me not to go crazy looking for max weights and to just ease into the workout.  

When it was time for class to start, Steve had us huddle up and he explained in detail what was going to happen.  We did a quick warm-up as a group, then paired up to work on the back squat portion of the workout.  


Although most people in the class were very experienced (and many of them had been doing a back squat program at Variance over the last few weeks), Steve still took the time to go through technique and expectations.  He explained why we do back squats and the reasoning behind the reps at each weight percentage.  If that part looks confusing to you, don’t worry–it’s still pretty confusing to me too.  Basically, you’re working to find the heaviest weight that you can complete one rep of.  So you start by estimating what 50% of that weight is, doing 3 reps.  Then increasing to 65% ,doing 3 more reps and so on…until you hit your highest weight.  

Steve and another coach (Paul) spent time critiquing and helping everyone as they built up weight, and were there as spotters once we got up to a heavy (possibly PR) weight.  I was partnered with a super strong girl named Grace, but kept myself in check and didn’t even dare try matching her weight.  Steve reassured me that I was just getting back into the swing of things and not to worry about how much I was squatting.  He stressed that we shouldn’t  “waste” reps (do them just to do them), which only further reassures me of their smart programming and training.  I ended up with a one rep max back squat of 115lb, which I’m more than happy with right now.  

After we finished the squatting portion, it was time to move onto the WOD.  It was 7 RFT (rounds for time) of 7 deadlifts and 7 pull-ups.  There was no way I was doing anything even close to the Rx (as prescribed) deadlift weight of 165lb for women, so I went with 105lb.  Steve told us to make sure we picked a weight that we could complete all the reps in each round unbroken (no breaks).  Anyone who didn’t have strict pull-ups (without bands) modified the pull-ups to ring rows.  

I finished the workout in 6:46 and felt pretty good the whole time.  I’m definitely still feeling those deadlifts in my hammies and lower back, but I was able to do them all unbroken and I’m happy about that.



After the workout, I rolled out a bit and chatted with some of the members, who were all so friendly.  I knew I could trust Meredith’s recommendation of CrossFit Variance, but it totally exceeded my expectations.  The coaches are ridiculously knowledgeable and I feel like I learned a lot even with just one class there.  They knew I was just dropping in once, but both Steve and Paul helped me with my form and gave me great advice.  It’s obvious that they’re genuinely invested in and care about their members.  They welcomed me back anytime I’m in the area and I will definitely take them up on that!  If you’re looking for a great CrossFit gym in the Beverly, MA area, CrossFit Variance is it.  

What’s your favorite strength movement?  Squats for days?  How do you fit in workouts while traveling?  Tell me about it!