March 29, 2012
CrossFit Fenway Reflects on the Open
By Kyle Smith

"I love the challenge of figuring out how to help people of all abilities move better little by little and as a result change their whole perception of fitness and themselves," Coach Erika Snyder of CrossFit Fenway in Boston, says.

She says she loves the Sport of Fitness, and was introduced to it by a good friend and fellow coach Joe McGhee.

"Seeing other people work hard makes you want to work hard."


"As a coach, I have high expectations for my athletes,” McGhee says. “I expect people to work hard, and I try to push them to do so."

McGhee, a former baseball player, clocked 14 minutes on his first Karen. On Open Workout 12.4 he did 150 wall balls in 6:05, rocked 90 double-unders, and made it through 17 excruciating muscle ups. "I try to practice what I preach. I can't expect high effort from the people I train if I'm not willing to put forth the same effort and don't know what it felt like to do so."

Snyder recognizes the benefits of getting better as an athlete and a coach, "I find they go hand in hand, if you are constantly learning about yourself as an athlete, you’ll be that much better as a coach and vice versa."

She insists CrossFit is for anyone. “If you have any interest in being able to move better, tackle day-to-day physical tasks with ease, improve your mental/physical strengt, and achieve things you never thought possible, CrossFit could be the program for you."


CrossFit Fenway is located a block away from the Fenway Park to which it owes its name, and according to its coaches, is full of the best people on the planet. McGhee wouldn't be the athlete he is today without the inspiration he receives from his athletes everyday, he says. "When I coach other people and they set PRs or get their first pull-up or HSPU, it puts things in perspective and reminds me how much fun we get to have doing this,” he says. “Being a coach definitely makes me a better athlete."

Synder says the members push the coaches to use their creativity constantly while teaching. She uses a different technique to encourage community and gain trust. "I enjoy bringing strangers together by allowing them to bond over how insane I am."

Having fun is vital at CrossFit Fenway. It's how they build friendships and grow as competitors.


The Open has renewed the spirits of CrossFit Fenway coaches and athletes. "Seeing other people work hard makes you want to work hard,” Snyder says. “Not only do they constantly make me want to improve as a coach for them, but I continue to strive to be a better athlete. They might not actually know they push me to be better."

She also sees the benefits in the ups and downs of competition season. "It almost gives us more credibility as coaches and athletes when they see us succeed and fail at goals we set for ourselves,” Snyder says. “They see it really is no different from their goals to get better."

McGhee has been impressed by his athletes' improvements in work ethic and competitive spirit. "Most people competing in the Open don't have a chance at making it to the CrossFit Games, but they all still show up and strategize and work their ass off to crush the workout, just to prove to themselves that they can do it,” he says.

Synder agrees. "I think for all of them, they are using it to push a little harder and really focus on where their holes are. They see what a competition workout calls for and it’s showing them more things they need to improve on."

Competition in CrossFit has fueled them as coaches and athletes. "If I didn't compete I wouldn't take it nearly as serious as I do,” McGhee says. “I enjoy being healthy, but when I workout I am generally working on the things I am bad at so when they show up in competition I'll be ready."

It's clear the Open has had a positive impact on CrossFit Fenway where they don't have goats, they have Green Monsters.