BeFitness in Granada, Cali is a cool, open and airy gym in one of the nicest areas of the city. Cali has no shortage of CrossFit boxes, however the vast majority of them are in very residential areas, much further out from the centre of Cali and not somewhere that you are likely to stay when you visit this unique city. BeFitness Granada is one of a small handful boxes within reach of the popular San Antonio neighbourhood, and it clearly stood out against the others I visited.
I was welcomed by a wide smile at the reception and the coaches were attentive, giving some valuable pointers during the classes. Whilst there did seem to be conditioning focus to the programing, this was made up from a nice balance of gymnastics and weightlifting. There is no dedicated time for open gym, however classes only use a small amount of floorspace and the majority of rig space, and equipment was free to be used at anytime for you to do you own training.
The monthly price at the bottom of this age is a special deal for tourists, so please mention Box - 2 - Box when you arrive.
Open & Airy
Back-to back-conditioning Metcons
Big space for training out of class
Showers and changing
Very friendly and welcoming
Friendly, eager-to-help coaches
Great location surrounded by restaurants
In most places that I visit, coaches and athletes alike react really well to anybody who arrives with a smile on their face and wants to push themselves during training. BeFitness was no different. The whole team made me feel very welcome from the moment I walked through the door. The downside of this was that I managed to earn myself 80 burpees when I repeatedly left things behind after I left for the day.
The space is really unique. They have suspended a roof over a large traditional courtyard which I imagine once belonged to a neighboring house. The result is a gym which is full of natural light, feels uniquely Colombian, and doesn't get too hot.
On one side of this coughtyard is a large open floor space, typically used for classes. The other side has much more rig space, high rings, GHDs, rowers, Airbikes, sleds etc. I loved training here and supplementing classes with your own training was welcomed. It was very common for people to stay on after class and do a bit of extra training after class.
It did, however, seem like the only gym I had come accress where members didn’t seem to be in the habit of putting equipment away after they had used it. If you train here, please lead by example. In a similar fashion, the barbells and bumpers looked a little tired, but I never struggled to find a decent set, and it certainly didn’t affect my workout.
This is also the training place of Team Colombia, and regional team athlete @cheli.fit. She’s a friendly face who will occasionally coach classes and is very well known within Colombian CrossFit.
Workout of the day
The class programming at BeFitness tended to be great, conditioning-heavy workouts. They tended to be programmed in a way which was always challenging, and certainly gave you plenty of room to push yourself. Whilst I was there we had a nice mix of sprint interval workouts and longer chippers.
An example from one day was:
AMRAP ( 10 mins )
5 Power Cleans
5 Front Squats
5 Push Press
8 - 6 - 4 - 2 Clean & Jerk
15 Toes to Bar
10 Pull Ups
5 Devel Press
Deadlift, Handstand Hold, Plank
It's not always going to be three Metcons, but whilst I was training here we didn't do any heavy lifting in the class.
Another example of the programming from a day is:
Double Under Technique
AMRAP (15 Mins)
20 Wall Balls
15 Box Jump Overs
10 Burpee Pull Ups
50 Double Unders
3 Rounds for time
400 metres run
15 Burpees over the box
30 KB swings
Another day: had 3 x 4 Min AMRAPs with a minute rest in between, and followed that up with a 12 EMOM of core.
As you can see it’s a lot of work, but if you want to focus on getting strong you may want to supplement this with some heavier lifting after class.
If you are looking for a gym to follow your own lifting program outside of classes, this is a great option. Whilst BeFitness doesn’t have a designated time for ‘Open Gym’, guests and members are welcome to use the other half of the gym whilst classes are going on.
Where is the best place to stay in Cali?
When you are looking for a place to stay in Cali, you are most likely going to be drawn to one of two areas. San Antonio, or Granada (or potentially the weird area with lots of traffic straddling the two).
San Antonio is very pretty. It’s an old area of the city full of colourful colonial lanes of cute buildings with courtyards. It has little cafes, restaurants, gift shops and art galleries. Unlike further north in Colombia, nowhere in Cali is particularly touristy, but this is the more touristy area of the two, and I suppose it has a bit of hipster vibe.
Despite San Antonio being more central, I have always stayed in the Granada area which is about a 15-20 min walk to the west. It’s quieter, the hostels tend to have more outside space to chill, there are more boutique cafes and healthy restaurant options. Maybe most importantly, it’s where the gyms are.
Granada also backs onto Parque Natural Bataclán. A wooded park covering a large hill which rises high above the city. Walking or running up to the top of ‘Tres Cruces’ (three crosses) monument at the top of here is a nice way to escape the city and something which many Caleños will do on Sunday morning. Parque Natural Bataclán is also the home to Cali’s Mountain bike park - something which any keen mountain bikers should check out.
There are a couple of hostels closeby worth mentioning:
Rollin Keepers Hostal.
This is less than 100 metres away from BeFitness. I haven't stayed here because I couldn’t easily park my motorbike. However, they market themselves as an adventure sports hostal so they would be a great option to make the most of mountain biking, kitesurfing and the surrounding landscape.
About 10/15 mins walk from the gym. Kalie Hostal has a swimming pool and a reasonable kitchen. It’s entirely run by volunteers which gives it a great community even in low season when they might not be many paying guests.
This is probably about a 25 minute walk from the gym, but they have a really nice hammock area which was a great place to chill out. The downside was the triple bunk beds. If you want to train somewhere closer, and slightly cheaper, Calium is closer to TotalBox.