Athletes after an outdoor workout on Remembrance Day 2010, our very first holiday workout.

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is the combination of a host of physical training methods into one program designed to increase your exposure to full-body movements and various types of training. By mixing these types of training, we avoid boredom and plateaus associated with traditional routines. CrossFit movements are selected for the ability to affect the body, and most of these movements are characterized by the use of large muscle groups. Some of the movements you will do include: squats, presses, pull-ups, push-ups, rowing, jumping, running, snatches, cleans and jerks. These movements are most often performed at high intensity—meaning the load, repetition scheme, speed of movement, combination of movements and the movements themselves are adjusted so each person is challenged at his or her own level. We promise fun, safe and intense workouts that will give you results.

Are there other CrossFit gyms in Winnipeg? Are they part of the same company?

There are many CrossFit gyms in Winnipeg, but they are not part of the same company. Each gym licenses the CrossFit name but is run completely independently. Membership at one gym does not transfer to another. Each gym has its own character, standards, strengths, rates and amenities, and its trainers have their own styles, personalities and skills. Different facilities will appeal to different people for different reasons. Joining a gym is an important decision, and we recommend you research all local facilities and make your decision based on quality. You should leave a gym feeling impressed. If you do not, keep looking. You’ll know which gym is right for you.

Is CrossFit too hard for me?

No. Our programs are designed to allow each participant to work at his or her own level. Our goal is to push you slightly further than you have gone before, but never so far that you feel injured, sick and extremely uncomfortable. Intense physical exercise requires effort, so you may experience tired muscles, minor muscle soreness or other signs of safe, healthy exertion. These are safe and normal signs of effort, and our trainers ensure that you are working within your limits at all times. We can modify any program to suit any individual, and all levels of fitness are welcome.

If you need to hear more, read this article.


Do I have to go through the On-Ramp?

In almost all cases, yes. The On-Ramp is designed to teach you everything you’ll need for success in group classes in our facility, and most athletes will greatly benefit from the personal instruction and graduated intensity. We’ve found that even experienced CrossFitters and CrossFitters who have taken an on-ramp elsewhere can benefit from our personal sessions where bad habits will be fixed. You’ll also learn the language our coaches use for instruction and all about CrossFit 204’s principles, which are different than other gyms. Finally, our on-ramps are tailored to the individual, so if you are experienced, you might find yourself perfecting the kipping muscle-up and full squat snatch rather than the shoulder press.

I’ve done an on-ramp at another CrossFit facility. Do I have to do the CrossFit 204 on-ramp?

In most cases, yes. CrossFit gyms are not related, and each one teaches things differently. We want you on the same page as everyone in our facility, and we are invested in your success, so we will not promise results unless you have the proper foundation we believe is necessary to the CrossFit program. The on-ramp is not a penalty but an investment in your own success. If you learn how to move correctly, your learning curve will be much easier than if you enter our classes unprepared and unsure of yourself. Most CrossFitters could use on-ramps involving 10 or more personal sessions, so doing two on-ramps is in no way a bad thing. More introductory sessions will give you a better understanding of your body and its movements. Finally, if you have completed an on-ramp previously and have good skills, your on-ramp coach will teach you advanced techniques and movements not covered in most introductory courses. For example, if your mechanics on squats, deadlifts and presses are perfect, your coach will teach you the clean and jerk. You will learn something in our on-ramp, and you will exit the sessions a better athlete.

Why does your on-ramp consist of personal training?

Through our own experience and consultation with some of the top CrossFit gyms in the world, we have discovered that personal-training sessions before group classes will help you get the most out of our program. Other gyms run different programs and have different on-ramp procedures, but we have seen a marked increase in the success of our new athletes after moving to a personalized and comprehensive on-ramp program. We are invested in your success, and we will tailor our program to your exact needs to make sure you achieve your goals.

So proud of everyone who represented CrossFit 204 at the Bridge City Beatdown!

What if I want to compete in CrossFit competitions?

We can help. Many of our athletes do CrossFit for general fitness and have no goals of competing. Others consider CrossFit their “sport” and compete regularly. We support both types of athlete equally. If you have goals of competing at CrossFit competitions, we will get you ready by identifying your weakness and eliminating them, and we will support you all along the way with extra work and coaching designed to help you succeed in competition. CrossFit 204 is incredibly proud of its competition team: We regularly place in the top ranks of the CrossFit Open team competition, and we have sent athletes to the Canada West Regional every year since 2011. Our regional team placed fifth in Western Canada in 2013, and in 2014 we sent four individual athletes to the event. We have also sent an athlete to the CrossFit Games in Carson, California, twice, in 2013 and 2014. You can view our 2013 results here: CrossFit 204: CrossFit Games 2013. You can view our 2012 team and results here: CrossFit 204: CrossFit Games 2012. We regularly send athletes to CrossFit competitions all over Canada. It should be noted that our competitors train the same way as our other athletes and do the regularly scheduled group workouts. We do not have a secondary “competitors stream.” Our workouts are designed to develop great athletes–whether they compete or not. Our competitor’s have the chance to do extra work in skill sessions that are programmed to reflect upcoming competitions, weaknesses that need to be addressed, technical movements and so on.

I’ve heard CrossFit is just ridiculously hard workouts for crazy military people. Is this true?

No. While CrossFit can be used by elite athletes and professionals to improve their conditioning, it can just as easily be used by the average person. The workouts are challenging, but they are designed to challenge you at your own level. Anyone can create a hard workout; that doesn’t mean it’s a good workout. For a person who can do 90 pull-ups, 100 pull-ups will be challenging. A good workout for someone who can do 10 pull-ups will look much different. We will challenge you at your level whether you are a retiree, a parent, an athlete or a soldier.

Is CrossFit just another fitness trend?

No. “CrossFit” is another name for “functional training.” Athletes and smart people have been doing functional training for decades. It doesn’t matter if functional training is considered sexy now because Jillian Michaels tried it (we would have stopped Michaels and corrected her form at least twice in the workout) or because Rich Froning Jr. is in People Magazine. We will be doing CrossFit and functional training whether it’s trendy or not, because it works. To give you some perspective, our gym looks like gyms used to look in the the 1960s. In fact, old-school strength coach Bill Starr said this of a photo of our facility: “What a neat gym. A throwback. … Not a machine in sight. My kind of weight room.”

Warming up!

Is CrossFit like a conditioning camp, bootcamp or high-intensity circuit?

Absolutely not. CrossFit is a strength AND conditioning program. Our goal is to create great athletes who are strong, powerful, agile and fast in workouts lasting from 60 seconds to half an hour. We are about improving a host of athletic attributes, not just the cardiovascular and muscular endurance emphasized by bootcamps and circuits. Our goal is not to burn calories or achieve a certain physique, even if improved body composition is one benefit of our program. Please realize that a good workout is more than just breathing hard for 20 minutes. If you are not interested in the prospect of coming in and doing a 5-rep-max deadlift one day, a three-movement workout the next and some Olympic lifting the next, our program is not for you. For the archives of the workouts we do every day, click here.

Do you yell at people?

No. We do not believe yelling at athletes gets results. We treat every participant with respect and tailor our coaching to his or her needs. Some participants enjoy aggressive encouragement, while others require a softer approach. We recognize this and pride ourselves on learning who needs what. You will never be criticized or treated with disrespect. Overall, we will be positive and encouraging as we motivate you to improve your health and fitness.

Brett squats 385. Notice how tight his upper body is.

Do I have to be in shape to come?

No. You do not need to “train” to come to our classes. If you are currently sedentary, deconditioned or unfamiliar with many movements, we may arrange a time for private instruction to ensure you are comfortable with all movements and develop a foundation for fitness. In your first classes, you are encouraged to pace yourself. High-intensity activity can leave you sore, and you should ease yourself into any regimen. We will help you with this.

No pain, no gain?

This is inaccurate. You will never be asked to work through pain. Pain is bad, and we require you to tell us if you are in pain so we can help you. You will, however, be asked to work, and work is less comfortable than sitting on your couch. Physical work and careful training challenge your body and produce the physical adaptations that we call “increased fitness.” To lose weight or gain weight, or to increase your strength, speed, endurance, stamina, power and agility, you must push your body, raise your heart rate and test your muscles. This might feel uncomfortable, but we will help you do it safely, and we guarantee you will feel better afterward. Replace “No pain, no gain” with “No work, no reward.”

Can I drop into your facility for a workout?

Not without making an appointment. We’re passionate about bringing CrossFit to new people, but our first commitment is to provide outstanding personal attention to our existing members and allow them first access to our class slots. We will reserve a number of drop-in slots for the Sunday-morning 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. sessions, but interested people must contact us ahead of time to book a slot. Please contact us well ahead of time. We would hate for you to show up unannounced to a full class. To ensure safety and high standards of instruction for all athletes, drop-ins are not accepted at other times. To book an introductory session, email info@crossfit204.com well in advance of the Sunday you would like to attend. Please include your athletic history/fitness experience/recent fitness training and injuries/medical conditions you have.

I’m a CrossFitter from another town. Can I drop in?

We are happy to welcome experienced CrossFitters or CrossFitters visiting from other affiliates but reserve the right to evaluate form and technique on a case-by-case basis. To ensure safety, full participation in classes is not guaranteed if technique is lacking. If you have CrossFit experience and would like to make an appointment to visit us, please email info@crossfit204.com with your request at least 24 hours in advance. We cannot respond to drop-in requests with less than 24 hours notice as our first priority is ensuring class spots are available for our members. Please include the date and time of your intended visit, describe your CrossFit experience, and include the name of your home affiliate and head coach. Please note that if you drop in, you will do our scheduled workout rather than your home gym’s workout or programming of your own design.

The grass sled push!

Is CrossFit dangerous?

No. Even though every physical activity comes with some inherent risk, those risks can be minimized through competent instruction and close supervision. You will get that at CrossFit 204, and our primary concern is your health and well-being. We will make every effort to ensure your safety at all times. And while accidents are unavoidable, studies have shown that weight training has less injuries than many other sports. You can read a summary of one such study here: Brian P. Hamill. “Relative Safety of Weightlifting and Weight Training.” Journal of Strength Training and Conditioning 8(1): 53-57, 1995. We firmly believe the risks of activity are grossly outweighed by the risks of inactivity—heart disease, obesity, etc.

Can I work out if I am injured or rehabbing an injury?

Ask your doctor. We do not diagnose or treat injuries, though many of the movements we do can be very useful for rehab and strengthening, particularly in the core region of the body. You doctor will be able to tell you what you can and cannot do. We are more than happy to work with your health-care provider to help you repair your body.

What are we paying for?

In a traditional fitness facility, you are not given individual instruction and constant supervision and motivation. You are given a locker and a towel. We believe that our coaching is worth more because we are more invested in your health and fitness than the desk attendant at a different facility. We hope that you will see the difference in your first session with us.

Can I do my own thing?

No. Our fitness program is based around creating a community, and that means all our athletes participate in group classes, where they have the benefit of support, camaraderie and friendly competition. One athlete doing his own thing will never match the intensity of five who are pushing each other. Within the group, our coaches strive to tailor each workout to the individual by making adjustments to the prescription. For instance, an athlete who is a great runner but lacks strength might get less running and more lifting in a workout that includes both. Back squats can become overhead squats, push-ups can become pull-ups and so on. If you have specific goals or are training for a certain event or competition, we can fine-tune the group workouts accordingly, and there are opportunities for extra/additional work, especially on Sunday mornings at Dale’s Garage. Furthermore, athletes interested in competing in CrossFit competitions receive additional/remedial work to help prepare them. Our athletes and teams have had great success in local and regional CrossFit events, and they do the same workouts everyone else does. We’re passionate about creating a community, and we are 100 percent confident we can help you achieve optimal fitness in a group setting.

Tricia skips with her “entourage.”

With an unlimited membership, can I work out twice a day or seven days a week?

No. Our program is too intense for you to do it every day, and you will be required to take rest days. Our coaches evaluate athletes for overtraining every day, and if you are pushing your limits too far, they will speak to you to ensure you are training optimally. We recommend at least one to two rest days per week, and many athletes need more than that. At certain times, top competition athletes may work out twice a day, but we believe this is an unsustainable practice that’s useful only in preparation for specific CrossFit events requiring stamina in a competition lasting two days or more. Athletes working out twice a day may do so only with the head coach’s permission and are strictly monitored for overtraining. Most athletes will never need to train more than once a day. More is not better.

Winnipeg’s “Dan Brown” knows the secrets hidden in the 400-meter plate run. Awesome job, Frank!

Do you offer diet plans?

No. We do not offer specific meal plans and dietary advice that is outside our scope of practice. We are happy to suggest basic strategies for nutrition and additional resources for you to consider, but we will refer you to a registered dietician for specific diet planning.

Do you recommend the Paleo or Zone diets?

We believe every body is unique and requires a unique approach. No one dietary prescription will work for every person. We encourage you to look at the Paleo and Zone diets, as well as any others that appeal to you. We believe good nutrition and healthy choices are important, and we will give you every reference we can to help you decide what diet is right for you.

Do you only do CrossFit workouts?

No. “CrossFit” is an all-encompassing term that represents the intersection of a host of different training methods. No one method works for everyone, so we will expose you to a wide variety of training. We tailor our training to the needs of our participants.

Are your trainers certified?

Yes. Our trainers are all certified through various nationally and internationally recognized organizations including the Manitoba Fitness Council, Can-Fit-Pro, the National Strength and Conditioning Association and CrossFit Inc. You can view the certifications of each coach on the Trainers page.

Do you offer individual or small group training?

Yes, but most of our training is done in the regularly scheduled classes. To make other arrangements, please e-mail info@CrossFit204.com.