Traveling Crossfitter’s Thoughts on Crossfit in Copenhagen

by Mike on May 4, 2012

From time-to-time I receive e-mails from travelers who are devoted to WODinng while on the road.  Every time I hear from such athletes, I’m just thrilled there are other people like me who enjoy traveling and understand why I like to stay in shape while touring the world.  This latest post isn’t from a long term traveler, but from a student studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark where the number of affiliates in this city alone, out number the affiliates in other countries.  The decision of choosing an affiliate can be a matter of personal preference rather than convenience.  Jamie, was kind enough to share her thoughts on why she chose the affiliate she did.

Enter Jamie from Southern California

There are three main Crossfit affiliates in Copenhagen:

  1. Crossfit Copenhagen which has six locations throughout the city,
  2. Butchers Crossfit (Butchers Lab & Butchers Garage)
  3. Crossfit 2400.

During my first few weeks in Copenhagen, I visited each location to determine which affiliate I would join for my time in Denmark.  I ended up becoming a member of Butcher’s Garage and have thoroughly enjoyed my time there although I will try to give an unbiased review of all the boxes I visited.

Crossfit Copenhagen’s busiest location is nicknamed “Kirkin” or “Church” because it is located in an old church building.  This was the first box I visited because I thought working out in an old church would be a pretty cool experience.  Although the architecture was great, I was not fond of the workouts at Crossfit Copenhagen.

The affiliate has more than 2,000 members and 50 coaches.  Working out at C.C. seemed more like going to a “globo gym” rather than a crossfit location.  You never saw the same coach or same members because there were just too many people around.  I definitely felt like I got lost in the crowd.  When I workout I need someone to tell me put on more weight, move faster, squat lower but here the coaches did not get to know people very well so it was difficult for them to provide that guidance.  On the up side, C.C. stresses the importance of proper technique so it is a great place for beginners to start.  The coach explains each movement in the workout in detail so everyone is on the same page.  This was great at times but there were some days that I couldn’t believe someone could talk about box jump or burpee technique for 10-15 minutes.  This is a good box for a more cardio type crossfit, rather than heavy lifting.  I quickly noticed that during my time there I barely ever picked up a bar; there was much more body weight exercises in the WODs.  Another plus is their schedule.  Like I said, C.C. has six locations and many locations have more than one room.  Classes run from morning until night so you are almost guaranteed to find a time and place that works for you.

I went to Crossfit 2400 for just one workout so I don’t have too much to say about it.  It originally began as a martial arts studio (csa.dk) and expanded to include crossfit training.  I was the only female in the class I joined so the box seemed to be dominated by men but like I said, I was only there for one WOD.  There was nothing I didn’t like about my workout but I just didn’t feel that connection with the other crossfitters to make me want to continue.

 

Butcher's Garage in Copenhagen

Butcher's Garage in Copenhagen

I then went on to try a WOD at Butcher’s Lab, which can be found in the old Meatpacking District of Copenhagen.  Honestly, I was completely disgusted walking into a stuffy room equipped with stainless steel counters and dirty tiles from floor to ceiling.  Trying to exercise in a former cow slaughterhouse made me sick to my stomach so I am glad the owners opened up a second location in another part of town!

Butcher's Garage in Copenhagen, Denmark

Butcher's Garage in Copenhagen, Denmark

I heard so much positive feedback about Butcher’s Garage that I knew I needed to give them a try too!  Butcher’s Garage is located in a two room warehouse in a part of Copenahgen called Valby and is complete with indoor turf, running tracks, sledge hammers, prowlers, strong men bars, tons of tires, wooden logs, ropes, pull ups bars…..Walking into the gym was a bit intimidating but I immediately fell in love! It became clear during my first workout that Butcher’s Garage strives to create a supportive environment because every crossfitter in the building was screaming and cheering me on.  Although I had no idea what everyone was saying (I speak absolutely no Danish), you could just feel the encouraging energy in the building.  A few things I enjoy about Butcher’s garage-

  1. We lift heavy weight EVERY single day.  Before beginning the WOD, we usually start with a 1,3 or 5 rep max of a lift.  I have seen dramatic improvement the past two months and have PR’d almost every time I pick up a bar!
  2. Language is NOT a barrier.  Although now I can understand some of what is going on around me in Danish, everyone speaks English and does not mind helping me out when needed.
  3. Coaches get to know the crossfitters personally and provide constant motivation to work hard and improve.
  4. Current crossfitters at Butchers Garage are extremely welcoming to new members.  It’s pretty much the same group each night so I look forward to seeing everyone for the WOD.

SIDE NOTE:

 Butchers Garage focuses on the strength aspect of crossfit.  Mobilization/ stretching is up to you so come a few minutes early to get warmed up and stretched out if needed.

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Thanks Jamie for sharing.  I’m sure some folks visiting Copenhagen will find the information valuable especially if they are going to be there several months.

Just to add to Jamie’s note about Butcher’s Garage, specifically note #2, I too, don’t find the language barrier a problem.  My advice for anyone contemplating on hitting a WOD in another country is to just hit it.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie Colombo May 17, 2013 at 4:36 am

I’m a special Ed teacher from San Francisco who has been crossfitting since December and would like to do some training while in Copenhagen. Do you have any suggestions for where a beginner should go?

Thanks,
Stephanie

Reply

Mike May 17, 2013 at 4:42 am

Congrats on starting CF and your desire to continue training while abroad. As from the post by Jamie, another female CFer who was in Copenhagen for a semester, I would follow her advice. I personally have never visited a CF affiliate in Denmark, but I trust Jamie’s advice. If you care to follow up her post, I’ll welcome any suggestions you have!

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Stephanie June 18, 2013 at 12:40 am

Thanks…I’ve been trying to email Butcher’s Garage, but can’t find an address online. I’ll keep trying to find something…not going to give up, but leave in a week so hopefully this will happen.

Reply

Mike June 19, 2013 at 11:08 pm

I have not been to Butcher’s garage so I can’t comment on them myself.

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Zuppy October 14, 2013 at 2:31 pm

I have to say the Butchers Lab was great. Massive set up and very friendly and welcoming today when I arrived. I tried to get to the kirkin but you need to call ahead and the welcome was ok! Didn’t try any other on but top marks to the Lab and it’s staff.

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Len August 16, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Butcher’s Lab was awesome. I think they have a great staff who are very friendly. It’s beginner friendly, but maybe not TOO beginner…I’d definitely hope you have had some basic training before trying to learn something in a foreign language.

They often always have their experienced guys in the back training, which is always impressive to see.

I’m definitely going back next week. I bought my shirt and the girl up front said I could drop in for free during my stay!

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Ceyda August 28, 2014 at 8:27 am

I’m in the midst of choosing a box in Copenhagen as a beginner. Have tried Crossfit Cph and didn’t like the teaching style mostly due to the points you have also mentioned. Now I wanna give Butchers a try. I live much closer to the lab than the garage though. You say the lab does not have the best setting but how about the atmosphere/the people in comparison with the garage?

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