For the first time in nearly a decade, the CrossFit Games are moving. The first move was from Aromas to Carson California. Now seven years later, the Games will be moving to Madison Wisconsin. Our cows are mooing in excitement. And sorry California, our cows are the happiest cows on the planet.
If you didn’t know, Madison is probably one of the biggest small towns in the world. Home to the University of Wisconsin – Madison, you’ve probably heard of its reputation as party central. Over the past two decades it has placed top 5 nearly every year in polls ranking the top party town in the nation. What you probably haven’t heard is that it ranks just as high in polls ranking the fittest and healthiest towns in the nation. We believe this is precisely why Madison was chosen as the new home of the Games – because our mantra is “work hard play hard,” a philosophy that our fellow fitness companions relate with all too well.
Staying true to our mantra, we wanted to provide to you our favorite “work hard, play hard” combinations. You won’t find a CrossFit gym in this list, and you certainly won’t find any other popularized fitness trends. One of the reasons Madison consistently ranks as one of the fittest and one of the healthiest cities is because of the beauty of the city, and because of the numerous outdoor paths, trails, lakes, parks and more. Enjoy!
Work Hard – Take an early morning bike ride through the UW Madison Arboretum. The Arboretum boasts the oldest and most varied collection of restored ecological communities in the world. In the middle is a botanical garden with fields full of beautiful plants and flowers.
Play Hard – Stop at Mickey’s Dairy Bar, which is on your way back into town from the Arboretum. This is the place to go for breakfast while you are in town. Scramblers that are doing everything they can to stay on their plate, pancakes as big as your face, and last but not least, incredible malts and milkshakes. And if the breakfast isn’t enough, the décor is amazing as well; they still have menus hanging on the wall from decades ago.
Work Hard – Go sailing on Lake Mendota with UW Madison’s Hoofer Sailing Club. This one may take some smooth talking on your end as you might have to convince a couple college kids to take you out. But if you do it right, you might find yourself on a sail boat alongside a keg of Spotted Cow. Just saying..
Play Hard – If you weren’t lucky enough to land a keg in your sailboat, enjoy a Spotted Cow on the UW Madison Terrace. If you haven’t been to Wisconsin yet, Spotted Cow is our prized child. Born of the New Glarus Brewing Company in New Glarus Wisconsin, their incredible beer selection is only available in Wisconsin. So get your fill while you’re here, you won’t be seeing it back home. Oh, and we forgot to mention the terrace – its notorious for its colorful sunburst chairs and view overlooking the lake.
Work Hard – Take a hike to Picnic Point. At the tail end of UW Madison’s Lakeshore Nature Preserve you will find a number of fire pits overlooking the beautiful Lake Mendota. The sights at the destination point alone are enough, but the entire Lakeshore Nature Preserve is a mile long peninsula boasting amazing views the entire hike.
Play Hard – Stock a backpack full of your favorite camping essentials. I recommend S’mores. And either wine or whisky, depending on your preference.
Work Hard – Go paddle boarding on Lake Monona. The southern of Madison’s two lakes is home to Rutabaga Paddlesport Shop; if paddle boarding isn’t your thing they offer kayaks and canoes as well. Explore the beautiful waters and get your sweat on at the same time.
Play Hard – Get an Old Fashioned at the Old Fashioned. But don’t forget dinner, either. The Old Fashioned offers an upscale twist on traditional Wisconsin fare – Burgers and Mac and Cheese are some of our favorites, but don’t expect pub food, located on capitol square at the heart of downtown Madison, you’ll want to trade the workout clothes for something a little nicer this evening.
BONUS Play hard – If you are in town on a Tuesday night, you’ll have to stop at Wando’s just off of State Street. Why is that? Bacon Night!! With every beer you purchase, you get a free side of bacon. And let me tell you, it doesn’t matter if you are drinking the cheapest beer available; it goes down extra smooth with that side of crispy bacon.