The Hippo


Jun 1, 2020








New Hampshire CrossFit gyms
Battle CrossFit 2008 Dover Road, Epsom, 888-805-5114,
CrossFit Bedford 337 Route 101, Bedford, 471-9278,
CrossFit Free 7 Delaware Drive, Salem, 365-5724,
CrossFit Portsmouth 210 West Road, Portsmouth, 531-9899,
CrossFit Reclaimation 2 Kingsway Ave., Exeter, 630-4073,
The Fort CrossFit 5 Owens Ct., Hampstead, 303-9290,
Granite State CrossFit 21 W. Auburn St., Manchester, 518-7175,
Nashua CrossFit 106 Perimeter Road, Nashua, 978-707-9348,
The Savage Society 250 Commercial St., Manchester, 759-6335,

More ways to get physically challenged
Fit to be Toned (200 Elm St., Manchester, 505-0042, offers a boot camp class that incorporates kickboxing into a fitness routine with core training, squats, lunges and leg conditioning.
Get Fit NH Boot Camp with Dean and Nancy Carlson (287 S. Main St., Concord, New Orchard Road, Epsom, 344-2651, offers boot camp classes Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at both locations.
Fitness on Wheels at the Goddard School offers an Outdoor Fitness Boot Camp (, 234-9669) E-mail for session dates and times.
Or check out On the Move Fitness & Conditioning (289-3088,, which offers an Extreme Fitness Boot Camp, a Women’s Fitness Boot Camp, Boot Camp Basic, and Team Fitness Boot Camp.
Training Effects NH (434-9281, in Londonderry offers group boot camp program to promote cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance, flexibility and balance that meets Fridays at 9:30 a.m.

Upcoming BOW activities
Keep tabs on for workshop dates and deadlines.
The upcoming Fall BOW Weekend in September is already full. Spaces typically fill very quickly for this weekend of fishing, hiking the great outdoors. However, there might still be room in one of the many other programs BOW offers.
Introduction to Trapping is Saturday, Sept. 29, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $25. This one-day workshop will teach women the basics of trapping, which includes identifying fur bearers and their tracks, what habitats they live in, and how to set traps in the ground or under water. Registration opens Monday, Aug. 20, and the workshop is limited to 20 participants. It takes place at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Headquarters, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord.

Possible future workshops (dates not yet set) may include an intermediate fly-fishing weekend, nature photography, waterfowl hunting, turkey hunting, overnight backpacking/navigating and a workshop titled “Cook like a wild woman.” (See for an entertaining read on how to get a fire going and cook corn on the cob, barbecue eggplant, pizza and more.)
The Winter BOW program is typically held in February and offers activities such as ice fishing, snowshoeing, tracking and “shoe and shoot,” which is snowshoeing and target shooting.

Besides BOW
There’s a family survival weekend with Children of the Earth Foundation Friday, Oct. 26, through Sunday, Oct. 28, with the Appalachian Mountain Club ( Cost is $200 per person and the event takes place in Hollis. To register, call 701-1799 or email
There’s also AMC’s Excursions Winter School Friday, Jan. 18, through Sunday, Jan. 20. Choose from seven classes. For skiers and snowshoers of all levels, the weekend is full of field exercises and lessons on subjects such as navigation, nutrition, winter backpacking, hiking and weather. Cost is $160. Email or call 225-5921. Visit
NH Fish and Game offers Let’s Go Fishing classes on how to fish. Upcoming classes are Monday, July 30, Tuesday, July 31, and Wednesday, Aug. 1, at Bedford Library, 10 a.m. to noon. Call 569-1035 or visit To acquire or brush up on hunting skills, try the Traditional Hunter Education courses at NH Fish and Game.
The New Hampshire Audubon Society offers guided hikes and classes on aspects of outdoor life, from photography to identifying animal tracks to cooking with herbs. Visit Massabesic Audubon Center at 16 Audubon Way in Auburn, 668-2045, and see

Indoors and intense
CrossFit makes you do it all


A few months ago, I watched the CrossFit Games on TV from a barstool at Strange Brew Tavern in Manchester. I sat in awe as women my age climbed up a rope, without knots, and then climbed back down to immediately do a few dead lifts with barbells that likely weighed more than I do. They ran across a beach, stopping only to do more than a dozen pull-ups and push-ups and run again.

Two months later I found myself at Granite State CrossFit in Manchester, sweat dripping down my back and my quads burning as co-owner Matt Murray taught me the proper form for an air squat, while “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 blared from the stereo.

In the class with me was Nikki Toli, 27, of Goffstown — a nurse who had done a lot of outdoor workouts while living in San Diego and first attempted CrossFit in Concord when she moved to the Granite State. My first day was her first at Granite State CrossFit.

“I hate the gym,” she said. “It’s boring.” Toli, who still considers herself a CrossFit beginner, said the fitness regimen has helped with an old IT-band injury.

“It makes your whole body stronger,” she said.

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is a combination of high-intensity workouts created to improve strength and conditioning. The official equation of the sport (yes, some consider it a sport) is “power = weight times distance divided by time.”

“Every workout fixes something in the equation as a way to increase power,” Murray said.

Murray and Mat Cote opened Granite State CrossFit in a 3,000-square-foot space on West Street in Manchester in mid-January; both are certified CrossFit coaches.

Cote said while he could talk for hours about what exactly CrossFit is, the definition is “short and sweet”: “Constantly varied functional movements at high intensity.”

Other than the results, the structure of the sport is what people are drawn to.

“I say, ‘3, 2, 1, go!’ and the sport comes alive,” Murray said. “It literally becomes a sport because you’re competing against time and someone else.” The names of all CrossFit participants are written on a wall-length dry-erase board at the gym; under their names their times and weights are listed for motivation.

“Whether you’re competitive or not, it’s an atmosphere that makes you work harder … that by itself breeds results,” Murray said.

Where do I start?

Most CrossFit gyms offer classes for beginners that cover the definition of the sport and the proper forms and mechanics of each exercise for safety; they’re called Elements classes at Granite State. CrossFit, Murray said, is recommended for all fitness levels.

“We want to take the endurance athlete and power athlete and put them in the middle somewhere,” he said, adding that a CrossFit athlete could be successful at both a 10-mile run and a 300-pound bench press.

Murray kicked off the workout portion of a recent Elements session with air squats (squatting with your feet at shoulder width, without letting your knees go over your toes, while also keeping your back straight), and continued on to strict presses, keeping our elbows tucked in and popping the practice PVC pipe bar over our heads.

The final move Murray demonstrated was the box jump, where we were asked to bend our knees and propel ourselves onto a wooden box (20 inches is the standard height for women, 24 for men).

He asked us to repeat each exercise 15 times to build muscle memory, then sent us out for a 300-meter run before we began performing three reps of each exercise — 21, 15, then 9 — and capped off the workout with another 300-meter run.

All CrossFit exercises can be scaled to an individual’s abilities.

“We take a reasonable approach but push people to push themselves — that’s the whole idea of the workout,” Cote said.

Row and jump and pull

CrossFit is a minimalist program. It has no fancy equipment.

As the exercises do not call for the isolation of muscles but instead require powerful movements, you won’t find the machines that are used at a standard fitness gym. Instead, a CrossFit gym is lined with barbells and rubberized bumper plates, wooden boxes, pull-up bars, rowing machines, medicine balls, jump ropes and, hanging from the ceiling, gymnastics rings.

Eric Fasciani said the community of a CrossFit facility makes it stand out from other gyms. Fasciani saw such an increase in participation at CrossFit Nashua after he opened in February 2011 that he moved his gym from a 2,000-square-foot space to a new 8,000-square foot space on Perimeter Road.

“It’s not just walking on the treadmill with your headphones in,” he said. “It’s just the intensity of it — you’re definitely pushing yourself farther than you would at any other gym around.”

You can even do most CrossFit exercises at home (the majority of the programs are listed on and purchase most of the necessary equipment.

“When you do it by yourself, it’s hard to push yourself,” Murray said. “It’s high intensity and the coaches here help push you.”

Health benefits

Murray said while he is unsure exactly how many calories can be burned in a CrossFit session, the practice will allow you to burn more calories throughout the day through excess oxygen consumption. The exercises, he noted, are good for toning and weight loss.

“You’re building lean muscle and burning fat,” he said. “Every workout will make you stronger, faster and healthier.”

Members are encouraged to stretch before and after each session. “It’s very important because with such a high intensity level you need to let the body bounce back and react,” Cote said. “You need to let oxygen and blood into the muscle or lactic acid will pool up and [the workout] will not be as beneficial.”

Fasciani suggested participating in CrossFit sessions three times a week to achieve the best results but noted that some of his members come in for as many as six sessions a week.

“The more you come, the better,” he said. “You definitely start feeling better within two weeks, and the results keep coming and coming.”

Within a year of consistent CrossFit sessions, Fasciani said to expect to see significant, perhaps drastic, results: “Maybe you will lose 50 pounds,” he said. “You can make some pretty big changes.”

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