Zona-E in San Gil combines a great Crossfit Program with making the most of the surrounding natural landscape and using their fitness outside of the gym. On the weekends the community get together for trail runs and mountain biking to explore the rivers and canyons. I would strongly recommend joining if you get the chance.
Zona-E might be everything you need to keep you from leaving San Gil for a while, so be prepared to extend your stay.
When I visited in February 2019, Zona-E were using a temporary location which seemed like it designed for retail. However, even in this smaller space, I loved every minute of training here. Now that they have moved into their bigger, permanent location, I 'can't wait to get back.
Zona-E has a community which, for many, is about more than merely training in the gym. They get out into the stunning Santander landscape where there are dramatic rivers and a vast canyon to explore. Every Saturday & Sunday the gym organises trail runs and mountain biking for its members. I would strongly recommend joining if you get the chance.
As for the training program, I enjoyed it immensely. There was a nice mix of Olympic Lifting and conditioning. I had the opportunity to work at a reasonably heavy weight in the Olimpic Lifting section often programmed before the main conditioning piece. Meanwhile, the first-timers which I brought with me from my hostel got plenty of guidance from coach Andreas on the more technical movements. They both left buzzing, with huge smiles on their faces.
They have a couple of Concept2 rowers, dumbbells, a GHD, kettlebells, decent barbells and bumpers plats, high rings and pull up bars mounted onto the walls.
San Gil is a hub of adventure, and I found working out in the morning, followed by a walk to a waterfall, or a rafting trip down the Rio Suarez to be the perfect day. There are also several options for Mountain Biking, Gorge Walking and Kayaking. Even two separate bungee jumps to keep the blood pumping.
Workout of the day
I always recommend starting with classes when you arrive at a new gym. 'It's an excellent way to begin integrating with the 'gym's community. I always get a lot out of getting to know the coaches and members at a new gym when I visit. At Zona-E San Gil this was the case even more than usual. I never wanted to miss a class. They were small, always very welcoming, and as an intermediate Crossfitter, I felt that the programming was applicable to my level.
While I was only able him to train her for a week or so, my impression of the program was that each class generally included a portion of Olympic Lifting followed by some conditioning. It was fun, dynamic and seemed to address the full range of time domains which we see in Crossfit.
My personal favourite was a lovely little sprint Metcon before the main conditioning piece:
4 Minutes to complete:
15 power snatch
Max overhead squat in the remaining time
If 'you're looking for a more volume & intensity, there was a group of more advanced athletes who trained from 3 pm to 4:30 pm before afternoon classes start. The 90-minute session packed in a lot. Olympic Lifting, skills and conditioning. So much so that I would undoubtedly consider basing myself here long term to progress my training while also making the most of the other activities on offer.
On the other hand, if you are keen to follow your own programme, this will be the time to do it.
What it like?
San Gil is a tiny city close to the Majestic Chicamocha Canyon. However, you do not have to head all the way to the Chicamocha Canyon to experience the beautiful landscape closeby. It's straightforward to leave the town for a walk, run or cycle through the countryside. Be sure to you explore the rivers and waterfalls.
Where to stay?
Zona-E San Gil is close to the main square in town, maybe a 5-minute walk. While there are hostels close to the gym, I 'wouldn't let that be a significant factor in dictating where you stay. The town is small enough that no hostel/hotel close to the centre is going to be too far.