CrossFit King of the Beach opened in the West End this fall and I began an experiment soon after to see what this “fad fitness” trend was all about. I considered myself in good shape, having been a long distance runner, surfer, and snowboarder for years, and figured I would join up just to stay in shape during the winter.
One thing’s led to another, and I’ve been derelict in my duties about putting up a review of sorts on the fitness program itself, the gym, and the coaches.
But then this happened, and I feel I’ve got to pipe up. Full disclosure, I’m an active member of the gym, and have not received nor expect to receive any compensation for this post. My opinions are my own and do not represent those of the gym management, ownership, or other members.
Without getting into all the hype around CrossFit itself, CrossFit King of the Beach is just a gym and another business in Long Beach. Sure, it’s a specialty gym that mixes body weight exercises with Olympic lifting, plyometrics, and gymnastics, but first and foremost it’s just another business in the cramped and noisy West End.
For a quick background about what CrossFit is, the training regiment splits an hour class into a strength component (picking up heavy things with exercises like back squats and dead lifts), an endurance component (mixing running, rowing, jump rope, etc) and then a “workout of the day” which is basically timed circuit of two or three exercises, done at a high intensity.
After a week of workouts at King of the Beach, I was both crushed in discovering I could be winded by a 10 minute workout, and addicted to the extreme challenges that constantly varied workouts posed.
And then a very small number of King of the Beach’s neighbors started complaining.
Here are where some of the differences are where CrossFit’s neighbors have started to balk at. CrossFit expects high intensity out of every member; otherwise a ten minute workout is useless. CrossFit utilizes bumper plates that allow weights to be dropped instead of dangerously having a partner spot them when failing on various lifts. And here’s the biggest difference: CrossFit King of the Beach is not a going-out-of business nick-nack shop that was lucky to get a customer a day.
CrossFit King of the Beach, because of the skill of its coaches and amazing results it gives to its clients, and because it fosters strong social bonds between each and every member, has exploded into a packed house and has quickly out grown its space. Moreover it’s become a social hub for Long Beach residents determined to make themselves better, no matter where they are along their own personal fitness journey. Parents bring their kids. Weekend workouts are followed by grilling. It’s a rallying point before going out to party on a Friday night.
Like any other storefront in the West End that’s a successful business, people come and go, crowds assemble, and noise is made. The dozen or so bars and restaurants in the West End are overflowing on the weekends (and some weeknights) into the wee hours of the morning with drunken revelers, live music, and all forms of other chaos. The Beach House is across the street. Swingbelly’s is three storefronts down.
CrossFit King of the Beach opens its doors at 6am Monday-Friday and 9am Saturday and Sunday. It closes them at 9pm the latest during the week, and generally by noon on the weekends.
I’m not going to attempt to debunk, the claims made by “financial guru” Joseph Hamlet in the New York Post, or the other unattributed and unsourced quotes in the Post, because from what I’ve seen, all complaints about noise and vibration have dismissed by the police as within the allowed levels during business hours (strangely not something mentioned by the Post).
I’m also not going to go into the awful characterizations made by that world renowned bastion of journalistic integrity, the New York Post, and several Long Beach residents referring to the members as “muscle-bound meathead(s)” and “muscle-bound freaks.” I guess I should actually take that as a compliment because I’ve always been called scrawny.
I’ll also not address claims that the gym is somehow “harming the plaintiffs’ businesses” because frankly I’ve never noticed that the shops were open before. I would assume they have better bookkeeping to document their sudden drop in business now that hundreds of new people are frequenting their block in the West End.
And I’ll also refrain from getting into how it’s impossible for a 45 pound rubber plate to “collapse a sidewalk” as was also suggested. Has anyone ever actually looked at the condition the West End’s sidewalks are in?
Yes, weights drop, music is played, and noise is made. From what I’ve seen, every effort is made to mitigate it as best as possible. The owners of the gym themselves invested thousands of dollars into a complete overhaul of the gym’s floor, separating it from the adjacent business to help reduce noise and vibration. Exercises have been changed and adjusted to encourage “quieter” workouts. The heaviest days where weights are dropped are more the exception than the rule.
You’ve got to wonder though: is this really more noise than when the Inn has a band playing at full volume, with 300 drunken bar-goers till 3am? Certainly not. The neighbors are complaining because what was formerly a quiet failing business, has now been replaced by an busy, active, and thriving one, that brings the noise and traffic one would expect from such a successful shop. I cringe to think if a restaurant moved into the space instead of the gym and what the complaints would be like. “The air smells like garlic too much now!” “I’m losing customers because they are too distracted by delicious food next door.”
Considering Long Beach is in the midst of its worst financial crisis in years, it’s interesting to see some residents of the City opposed to one of the fastest growing and most successful businesses to come to the barrier beach in years. One that actually pays its taxes.
In November it was reported that more than a dozen storefronts in the West End were dark. What kind of message would it send to future businesses looking at Long Beach to see all the negativity projected at a young business owned and operated by youthful entrepreneurs and Long Beach residents? What kind of message does it send if one business has to follow a different set of rules from every other business?
And now back to talking about this as a gym and not just as a business.
CrossFit King of the Beach’s incredible coaches (part fitness experts, part motivational speakers) have guided more than a hundred members into losing hundreds of pounds, building muscle, increasing flexibility, and improving overall quality of life. They teach functional movements that mimic the motions one encounters in everyday life and are practical for people of all ages: picking things up, running, jumping, squatting, and throwing. They welcome people of all ages, from high school students to retirees, and people of every size and shape. They promote a healthy diet and lifestyle, recently confirmed by a national news story, and they’ve brought neighbors together over a joint interest in fitness and fun.
I’ve watched myself get faster and stronger, and then been able to apply those new strengths and skills to every other part of my life. I’ve watched other members who started the same time as me shed dozens of pounds while they’ve become new more confident people.
What started as a little experiment for me into this “fitness fad” has become an important part of my lifestyle. Go down to the West End and check it out for yourself. You’ll have a lot of fun in the process. CrossFit is not a crime, and I hope the rest of Long Beach agrees.
h/t Kzone for the headline
CrossFit King of the Beach
901 W. Beech St
Long Beach, NY 11561