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BoxSlut - CrossFit Bologna by Nativa, Italy

The question I am often asked is which CrossFit Box I train at. I usually get this question, while at yet another box, and the (erroneous) implication is that I belong somewhere.

I am not, however, ready to make that kind of commitment yet. I wander in, and waltz out. I date around. My relationship with any given CrossFit box is fairly casual, some would even say promiscuous.

I am a CrossFit orphan. Mutt. Gypsie. Roadie.

Box slut.

Small boxes, large boxes, busy boxes, empty boxes. I love them all.

Within GTA alone, I have trained at CrossFit Toronto, CrossFit Liberty Village, CrossFit Solid Ground, Crossfit Newmarket Central and Vaughan Strength & Conditioning. I have trained at CrossFit Vancouver, Calgary, Boston, Montreal and New York.

And now… my first box outside of North America – CrossFit Bologna by Nativa.

After looking up the address in Bologna, I realize that the box is only 5.5km away from where we are staying, so I decide to walk, instead of figuring out the transit. It’s overcast and a bit rainy – in other words, a perfect day. I start out with a walk, which turns into a jog, and five minutes later, I am peeling off layers at a bus stop, and stuffing them into my daypack.

Now, running through the streets of Bologna, in a workout tank top and capris, and with a backpack, I stick out among the locals, who are bundled up in winter jackets and scarfs.

The area turns increasingly more industrial, so I know I am on the right track, although the actual street is covered in trees.


I am here! [In few moments, I will find out that the impressive looking athletes on the billboards outside are the owners – Riccardo Donati and Eliza Donati].

I am here for 11am class, and as I walk in, 6-8 people are going through another WOD of heavy deadlifts, sprints, snatches, pull-ups and double-unders under the guidance of Riccardo Donati himself. He is easy to spot, wearing CrossFit gear from head to toe – pale yellow t-shirt, shorts and weightlifting shoes.

Eliza will be leading the 11am WOD – 15 minutes of practicing the legless rope climb and handstand walk, followed by 18 minutes AMRAP of 1 rope climb, 10m handstand walk (which everyone in the group has to modify), and 100 double-unders.

Good thing I packed my jumping rope! And learned how to do double-unders!

CrossFit Bologna seems like a strong box, as far as athletes go. In fact, this is the best snatch form I have seen at any box, regardless of weight – in both advanced and beginner CrossFitters. Few women in the other group are working with the empty bar (35-45lb), yet boast fantastic form – something I credit the trainers for.

I also spot another grey Spartan finisher t-shirt, worn by a petite woman. This confirms my hypothesis – if you want to find local obstacle racers, a local CrossFit box is a good place to start.

Some of the most effortless double-unders that I have ever seen…

After the WOD, I stick around to watch the other group finish their workout. As they head outside to do sprints, I tag along. The group takes turns, tagging each other after each lap.

I take off for a lap with Riccardo. As we charge forward, I start gaining on him with unexpected ease. “Faster!”, I holler. He looks over his shoulder, without slowing down, and smiles.

“Injured”, he says simply, pointing down at this leg. “Ah, well, that explains it”, I think to myself.

As we finish the lap, Riccardo clarifies that he recently fell off his scooter, and hurt his calf. I notice two sizeable scrapes on his knee, starting to scab over.

I ask if he will be doing the CrossFit Open next year. He nods affirmatively, then hesitates.

“I do Crossfit Open last three years”, he says, lifting up three fingers, as if apologizing for the slightly broken English. “But… I am 34”.

“Yes”, I laugh, slapping his shoulder. “That’s old!”.

He is serious.

“Not old here”, he says, pointing at his chiselled chest.

“Old here”, he taps a finger against his temple.

Ah… That kind of old.

I know that kind of old. That kind of old leads to jaded posts about your sport, and existential crises during races. The only way I found to manage that kind of old is to keep finding the why. Again and again.

I hope Riccardo finds his why.

And if he does not, that’s ok too.

As a Serbian poet Dejan Stojanovic puts it:

“There is always the question why And there is always life, Which doesn’t need an answer.”

Thank you, CrossFit Bologna for your hospitality and an amazing workout.


  • CrossFit Bologna is located at Via dell'idraulico 4/b, Bologna, Italy

  • You can contact them at and (please) like them on Facebook.

Coming soon - Crossfit Milano! Hugs, Solo


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