Posts Tagged ‘melbourne’

This is way over-due, and for that I’m sorry.

Australia at first glance seems like the perfect place to survive the zombie apocalypse: it’s a massive island/continent/country that is mostly self-sufficient and has some of the coolest/most laid back locals ever… The differences of the cities is unlike anything that I have experienced anywhere else:
Melbourne- the hub of art, dance, theater and culture.
Adelaide- a sleepy and charming town with acres and acres of vineyards and amazing zoo,
cairns- the gloriously sunny beach town where it’s advised to not swim in the croc-infested waters but instead to gaze at the sunrises and go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef.
Sydney- where everyone goes for a holiday due to its mixed abundance of things to do,
Alice springs- with it’s super dry climate, heaps of wild life (camels!) and really laid back locals with the deliciously adorable accents,
Darwin- croc and party central. (Because those two things go together so well!)

However, after living there for 5 months I can tell you that while I ADORE oz, could see myself living there for a really long time, I would definitely leave the second z-day happened. Here’s why:

Australia in General:
46/70

*Location: 8/10
The location is actually pretty good. Keeping in mind that Australia is HUGE (bigger than the continental US) you have all sorts of climates to choose from. The weather stays about the same on the coasts (Sydney, Brisbane, Byron bay, cairns, etc.) as where Melbourne gets cold during their winter (June-sept) and hot (where the sun feels like a laser beam!) during the summer months (nov-feb). There aren’t any natural disasters except bush fires during the dryer months (which could be disastrous- but once the population dies off, you should be ok.) the only bad part of Australia is the HUGE desert in the middle (the outback). Unlike in the states and going through Nevada, you could go 300-500km without seeing anyone or anything. Including service stations. So be prepared. Being fuel and water with you if you venture into the bush.

*Water: 8/10
Most of Australia is in a constant state of drought. (It’s actually kind awesome that everyone i met only takes 7 min showers. and they do this instinctively.) however, while drinking/purified water is limited the place is an island- surrounded by water. Making it easy to get on a boat and sail away to somewhere else.

I should note: I never visited Tasmania- which may be a better option for the apocalypse- but I don’t know.

*Lodging: 9/10
The lodging (overall) is as sturdy as you would get in any first world country. Built to code, multiple accesses, some creative shops with apartments on top, etc.
In cooper pedy the houses are built underground (because it can get upto 45 (113F) degrees on the surface during the summer months.) I don’t know if zombies can melt- but this is the only place I found that is “bunker like” in Oz.

*Food: 8/10
Oh. Em. Gee. The food in oz is amazing. The agriculture is plentiful and is mostly organic/real food (no gmo food here.) the meat you can eat is also tasty and endless. Kangaroo, croc, emu, camel, pig, cow and lamb are all readily available. You would be able to plant/grow your own food- but you have to be careful during the summer months (which are the driest.)

*Costco/equivilant: 3/10
Big super-stores don’t really exist- but the towns are built in a way so you can walk down a single street and get everything you would need: grocery store, market, butcher, hardware store, 2-dollar store, pharmacies, banks, gyms, coffee shops, liquor stores, etc. all on a single block.

The first place that Australia loses my vote for “best place to be during zday” is because of the lack of guns. There is no where to readily get a gun/ammo. Unless you’re in the bush and you know a guy- there aren’t stores that you can loot to defend yourself against the ___12 million___ people/zombies that live in oz.

*Non-dead dangers: 1/10
Here is where Australia loses. Home
To crocs, sharks, 9/10 most deadly snakes, heaps of poisonous (and/or wicked scary) spiders, drop bears, mosquitos with dengue fever…. I’ve said it before and ill say it again: I think the Australian army should lease themselves out to fight wars with unstable living environments- because the Aussies are the most badass set of people that I know. Not scared of anything, really. However— with that said- do you really want to fight those types of people once they are undead and after your brains?

*Locals: 9/10
Oh, Australia. The winter gave me the blues hardcore when I first got there- but the people made up for it ten-fold. Depending on what your crowd is- you could party all night and day with Aussies- and they will love you. You could also just sit around a cuppa and talk until you’re blue in the face- and they will also love you. I lived in Melbourne for a while– and since I love “culture” (theater, music, dance, art, etc) this was heaven on earth for me.

Their craft beer selection is limited- but super tasty. their wine selection is bigger and even more tasty. Music sounds like western music (unless you talk about aboriginal music.)

I should also note that Oz DOES have some of the cutest animals (as well as some of the most deadly) on the planet. I mean– LOOK AT THIS FACE!

With all that said- the continent isn’t nearly as populated as other places (it has roughly the same population of texas) so you don’t have to get rid of a lot of people before having a whole place to yourself.

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After a pretty hellacious day (all rain, just miserable in general) I rode my bike to 8848 which is down the road from my house. I got there, drenched, about 4 minutes before class started, filled out the paperwork and jumped into class.

The box is pretty nicely sized. Divided down the middle by racks/bars, the class was on one side with pvc practicing power snatches. I was greeted by Darren and Clare and the rest of the 8-person class (ranging in all ages) watching us do our skill wod. (Something I always like is when you have a skill wod– something like “every minute on the minute, do 3 power snatches, for 12 minutes” or whatever…. as opposed to “work on ____ lift until 15 minutes go by”.

After surprising myself after the 12 minutes (I always feel more confident when I have to do [math hard] a crap ton of the same movement), we started the wod:

4-rounds of:
-500m row (I didn’t want to run in the stupid rain… It’s cold enough as it is.)
-15 over-head squats
-15 abmat situps.

Afterwards, I felt energized and pumped. It was a great wod for such a crappy weather day. 🙂

————-

Onto the whole “what makes this box different?” part of our program:
1) They have a “bootcamp” program. A few boxes do this (calling it “crossfit 101”, “crossfit essentials”, or simply “introductory class”. Something where you, the beginner, goes in and learns all the movements at a slower pace (along with a bunch of other n00bs) to make sure you have the movement down before “being thrown in with the dogs” (which ALWAYS leads to injuries!) I’m a huge fan of this, and so are they! Not only do they have a safer box, but this is where people start to build the community aspect of crossfit (which is just as, if not more, important!)

2) The other (awesome) thing about 8848 is they have a “kids program”– where I was working out with people of all ages, but, more notably  teenagers! “kids” that are in highschool that are trying to get better at footy/drop-bear-wrestling/(insert random australian sport here). All their WODs are totally scaleable and made for all ages.

Some boxes have the whole “leave your ego at the door” and you need to be reminded of this. Not at this box. It’s more of a “come in, have fun, smash your Wod out*, cheer everyone on!” box. Clare and Darren are smiley, enthusiastic, love what they do and it shows. Definitely one to check out if you’re in the area. 🙂

*if you aren’t familiar with Aussie-slang, that sounds really dirty.

When I walked into Crossfit Sandringham I felt like I was part of a family that was waiting for me to come home–which just reinforced how valuable I think the crossfit community is, as a whole.

I would also like to point out how different every box is from each other. Just because one place (regardless of what the gym is. It could be “fitness first”, “golds gym”, “curves”, “cuts”, “my neighbor’s backyard”, or whatever else…) every place is different. Try different things until something sticks! Don’t just say “well, exercise isn’t for me!”

Moving on!

Sandringham started out as, literally, a warehouse (or, rather, a shipping container!) and have grown into their new space off Bay Road (which is close to the Southland Shopping Center. If you rely on public transport, like me, this is pretty awesome).

For as small as the box is (about 30-40 subs a month, class size varies from 2-12 people) they have a very diverse set of coaches (5 on staff) which I find helps my form dramatically. Because different coaches see different things (the more educated eyes on things the better, imo) the more variety of vocal commands I’m able to be told in different ways. For me- this helps a lot of mental barriers of “just not getting it” which helps my brain make different connections and, therefore, my forms are getting stronger/better.

 

In addition to all this- they have coaches that specialize in various other “sports” like Mixed Martial Arts and Running. One coach (Mandi) runs an endurance program (for those criminally insane who want to attempt to run a Marathon…..) while Lisa and Dave are starting up a “CrossBox” class (which mixes crossfit and boxing!).

 

I also REALLY APPRECIATE any box/coach that, like a cover-band, takes suggestions. Keeping in mind that I’m American who is visiting Australia- no one did Memorial Day Murph* (because, uh, they don’t have Memorial Day here)– but I suggested it for a Saturday morning. After much complaining we set out to run it and everyone completed in under an hour—with no vomiting! Woot!

 

I like these guys a lot. I like the support. I like the banter. I like the encouragement. I like the location. I like the coaches. I like the box. Come and visit if you’re in the area and you won’t be disappointed.

 

*Murph = Run a mile, 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 squats, run a mile. If possible- all in a 20lb weighted vest.

Recently I was in the world’s first amateur production of Phantom of the Opera in Melbourne, Australia. It was put on by Cloc which is made up of ALL volunteers (and some of the best people I’ve ever met).

Now– coming from Video Game development (and trying to explain this to my dev-friends) I couldn’t help but draw similarities between the two. Allow me to visualize this for you:

Both are immersive but in different ways. In theater you are (usually) a voyer… Watching what happens on stage. In video games- you are the protagonist (ignoring the annoying recent fact that many video games are just cutscene after cutscene) and you decide the fate of the story.

Illusions. Video games is (kinda) easy because the illusions are digitally created. You can shoot someone in a video game and see blood (or oil in Germany). In theater- the illusions need to be pieced together out of real objects- making it more like magic.

Acting. Obviously in theater there are a lot of different roles and characters that are portrayed. This is the same in video games- except for the whole linear vs non-linear thing. I would argue that non-linear is more difficult to achieve because of all the unknowns. A decent example is the last game I worked on (Nike+ Kinect Fitness) where “Good job!” had to sound natural after running in place vs doing 2 pushups vs doing 500 pushups. The number of heads/testing/writing that goes into video game voice-over should not be ignored. The actor’s job is then to sound as natural and genuine as possible in certain situations- and then give me a totally different read on the 2nd time. A theater actor’s job is to define perfection and then keep hitting that bar night after night (which is also super difficult!)

Long nights and long hours. Bump in/Bump out for theater is when you move the set/everything from the rehearsal space to the theater and set up. Theater also has rehearsals/dance sessions/etc that could last all night. You keep working until the person/group gets it, until the set piece is done, or until the curtain rises… Living on lollies and red-bull to stay awake/sane. Same with Video games- you work through the problems, sleeping at your desk- living on donuts and red-bull until a producer comes in and says “ok. we need to ship it now”.

SPACE! In theater- it’s about literal space as there is only so much room behind the stage/in the wings to hold set pieces/props/etc. In video games, each department has a budget that they shouldn’t go over (but usually do) so they can all fit on the disc.

“Crunch” (my favorite part, personally)– where you need as many hands/feet/bodies on set/stage/etc as possible. Even for just a moral boost- you need people there to carry things/pick things up, to bring you wires/hammer/grapes. This is where the going gets tough for everyone– and where you meet your best friends.

This is all I could think of at the moment. Comments/suggestions? Anything I’ve missed?

 

 

I went to a lunch wod at Moorabbin where I was joined by 3 other people in their gigantic box. They have been open for about a year, have 100+ monthly members, but a load of classes where their athletes get personal time from the trainers (Kyle and Matt)  to work on their goals (which are all posted on the wall, IN SHARPIE, for everyone to see!)

The skill part of the wod was pretty interesting: Weighted pushups. I’ve done banded pushups before (which is where you have a band go across your back and it’s part of resistance training) but weighted pushups is where you place a weighted plate on your back and do pushups. It actually forced me to “not peel” when I do pushups. (Basically, without realizing it, I’ve been “sealing” or “cobra-ing” when I come up from the ground. Doing this exercise (even with a 5kg plate) forced me to keep my whole core/body tight.

After that we did an amrap of burpees and wall-climbs.

Dear GAWD! I HATE WALL CLIMBS. I swear this is a form of torture. If it isn’t, it should be introduced as one because I’m pretty sure water-boarding is less painful.

After resting for 3 minutes we then did interval running. Since I’m training for a marathon in August, this was awesome to just see what my “over-all average 400m run” is.

For those interested:

  • Run 400 meters. mark down your time.
  • Rest for timeX2.
  • Run 400 meters. mark down your time.
  • Rest for time2.
  • Run 400 meters. mark down your time.
  • Rest for half your time3.
  • Run 400 meters.

There are all sorts of different combinations and extensions of this to make it “moooore fun” (see what I did there?), but this was at the end of a WOD.

The added benefit to Crossfit Moorabbin is the location and how close it is to the Moorabbin Farmer’s Market- Where you can get produce FOR THE CHEAP! (Which is something that my life was missing until now.)

Another thing I wanted to point out (because I think it’s effin’ cool!) is “mommy crossfit classes”. Specifically designed for mothers who can bring their kids in (and receive free kid-care) to get rid of their baby-fat! I’m new to this area, but that seems like it would work no matter where you are!

You can check out their well documented testimonials here if you’re interested. Moorabbin seems to have a great community who encourage each other and have a lot of fun.

Red Bluff is one of those boxes that you know the owners spend a great deal of time thinking of everything that they can do to make their athletes stronger, better, faster and just more amazing in life.  Pete and Adam (brothers) co-coach the box while one is doing one-on-one with any newbie while the other coaches and gives (super useful) suggestions on movements, posture, tips/tricks on how to get better, etc.

The skill were deadlifts. This, apparently is common for this box as they believe that being strong/having a strong core/body is the first thing that you need in order to be an excellent athlete. (kinda like a cook will say that you need to start with great ingredients to make an excellent meal… this is kinda the same logic.) They also don’t waste a single moment in the gym. “Your hour, when you come in here, is all used up. We try to maximize every second we can with you.”

During the skill, we had a little of one-on-one time with the coach to see about scaling options. Because I can’t link my toes-to-bar yet, Adam suggested that I try to do them on the rings for now. This was actually an awesome suggestion! Toes to bar is really hard on your shoulders and this allows your core to move a little more (with the kip) but also your shoulders don’t need to be activated the whole time. (WIN!)

Tuesdays is “partner wod” day. I was paired with another American from SF, Tessa. (She’s a power-house!).

12 min amrap:
1 person holds a 155lb deadlift. other person does:
12 toes to bar
12 box jumps

The hardest part of this wod was the grip. My hands started to tear and scream arguments at me no matter what exercise I was doing.

 

After all this was partner 400m runs. (They weren’t kidding when they said that they maximize your hour!) If you are looking to become a better athlete, become faster or stronger… Or maybe you have a marathon that you are training for- you should check these guys out.

(p.s. you should do it on Thursdays, because that’s when they have their bbq)

Crossfit St Kilda is located off Inkman street right off the tram. Very easy to get to and, if you’re a backpacker, you should stay at Habitat HQ and walk across the street to go work out.

I was really excited about the St Kilda box because I had heard so much about it. “Great coaches, great space, great location”, etcetc. All of these things were true. The only thing I thought was a little off-putting was the WOD wasn’t as “difficult/sweat-inducing” as I like my wods to be. With this said, it was probably my fault because I didn’t push or scale myself as much as I should have. (Something about the metric weights keeps throwing me off).

With this said, the “skill” part of the wod was interesting in that it was “EMOTM: 1 squat clean. Increase the weight every minute. You have 2 tries if you fail the first time. After you fail the 2nd time, you do dead-lifts for the remaining time.”

This is a creative part wod/part skill way of introducing weights. It made me nervous that we (9 athletes) were all throwing weights (75-80% max) at the same time. This is just an example of my American brain going into high anxiety mode. Nothing happened and the professionals there knew what they were doing, so I should learn to chill out. 😛

 

The WOD (after the skill):

21-15-9 front squat with slam-ball

12-9-6 Hand Stand Push Ups

 

I managed to finish this in 3:40. Not terrible- but I didn’t have that “wow! I just did a bunch of work!” feeling that I’m used to having after a workout. Regardless, I would recommend checking out this box if you’re in the area.