Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Pam Martin

Integral CrossFit hosts "Open" workouts


Photo by Jim Pascucci “Friday Night Lights,” or the in-house intramural competition of the 2017 CrossFit Games, as played out at Integral CrossFit in Niwot.

The CrossFit Games are an international contest of strength and agility aimed to determine the fittest athletes on earth. The Games began in 2007, and will be held this year from Aug. 1 – 6 in Madison, WI. Designed for those rarefied elite athletes who turn the pursuit of fitness into a job, the Games require the hiring of trainers and nutritionists, while undergoing months, or more likely, years of grueling workouts to compete at the highest fitness levels imaginable. But for the rest of us, there’s a way to be involved on a smaller scale while still pursuing worthy fitness goals.

The Games start with a phase known as “the Open,” which began in late February and continues through March 27, with 350,000 people competing worldwide. Anyone can go online to CrossFit.com and look up each week’s workouts (a typical example includes 50 feet of weighted walking lunges, followed by 16 toes-to-bar and then eight “power cleans” or dumbbell lifts, with as many reps as you can muster in 12 minutes).

At Integral CrossFit in Niwot, there are 30 gym members who are competing in what owner and Head Coach Jim Pascucci calls an in-house intramural competition version of the Games, or what he’s dubbed, “Friday Night Lights.” Each workout is scaled to the ability level of gym members. “The point is, we want you to work,” Pascucci explained. “You’re being challenged while we’re building camaraderie within the gym.”

Pascucci isn’t interested in fostering a competitive atmosphere, and is using the Games as a motivator rather than a pursuit for glory. “If you come to the gym to work out, we ask you to leave your ego at the door,” he said.

For competitors, workouts are supervised by a certified CrossFit judge for compliance to the movement standards. According to Pascucci, “We do this every Friday night until the end of March. Friday Night Lights is open to anyone who wants to give it a try, they just need to let us know in advance and be prepared for us to ‘adjust’ the workout to their ability level.”

As an example of the kind of scaled workout he’s talking about, rather than touching toes to the chin-up bar, “a person can bring his knees up to above his hips,” Pascucci said. “It builds grip strength, and there’s a lot of flexibility and strength involved. We can take it down even farther,” he continued, “we can scale it down, but it’ll have the same movement, with the same goals in mind.”

For prizes, there’s a raffle held every week. This Friday one of Integral’s gym rats won a t-shirt (last week someone else won tickets to the Let’s Wine about Winter event).

For anyone who wants to drop in for a friendly intramural-type competition, there’s a drop-in fee of $20. Pascucci just asks that you call ahead of time, so there’s enough staff on hand because of the gym’s emphasis on “form before intensity,” he said—a specialty that comes, in part, from his work as a certified Rolfer (a type of bodywork).

“Our coaches are doing the workouts and we’re watching people. It’s about how to go quickly and how to go safely,” he said.

This year Integral CrossFit partnered with the Mountain View Fire District (MVFD), helping to certify 25 people in CPR/AED. Other programs at the gym include FasciaAgility, a no-barbell class that aims to increase the resilience of the soft tissue, or fascia, while returning balance and agility for people with recent injuries. SPARK Boot Camp aims to increase cardio endurance and strength through gymnastic movements, while burning fat. For more information call 303-678-7014.


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