You ready to try this new fitness craze everyone is talking about?
Have your crazy CrossFitter friends been begging you to come to a class?
When surfing Instagram are you bombarded with pictures of shirt-less bodies moving big black bumper plates?
Yup, I hear this all the time and it is my personal opinion that everyone should try CrossFit in a Box at least once.
And NO..you DO NOT…NEED TO…GET IN SHAPE FIRST: That is the *%&$^&*#$*&#$ point. Sorry…Moving on…
CrossFit is taking the fitness world by storm with over 5000 gyms in the world and new opening every day. With so many new businesses, and business owners, it’s more important than ever to evaluate all of your options when choosing a gym. You are trusting a gym with your financial information and your physical safety; I recommend you choose wisely.
Consider yourself lucky that the cosmos led you here =D. I’m going to give you some insight into what you should look for in a CrossFit gym. Before I owned a gym I scouted out many gyms around the country, and when I travel I usually drop in to a local gym to get a WOD in.
I’m not going to give you a lame-ass checklist of absolute do or do not’s regarding what makes a good or bad gym. That would be a diservice to you. It will be up to you to do your homework and make an educated decision.
The preference of taste varies among individuals and CrossFit is no different; there are many flavors of CrossFit affiliates. Some gyms are hardcore, some are full of average joe’s, while others are right in the middle. The key is to find the one that works for you.
How to Find a Gym (Affiliate, Box)
Gym Website: Does the website look professional? Is it easy to find directions and contact information?
Google Maps: Search for the location and view the business page listing and any reviews that may be posted.
*Don’t let negative reviews prevent you from trying a product. Bad reviews are typically left by disgruntled customers and represent a small % of total customers; take these with a grain of salt.
2. Call And Schedule An Appointment: Was it professional?
Professional staff implies a professional business, a better product, and better customer support. Lean towards joining a gym that conducts itself as a business and is professional. It will benefit you, the client, in the long run.
3. Show Up To Gym: Did someone greet you or did you stand there and stare at the wall?
- Upon arrival did you have to ask for help or did someone help you first?
- Was it apparent that someone was in charge or worked there or did everyone look the same?
This is a pet peeve of mine. Recently I went to one of the biggest gyms on the east coast and stood around for 15 minutes without receiving a nod or a wave. Really?
With that being said, it can be hectic in a gym, especially around class times. I would give the benefit of the doubt and forgive quickly on this one if given the opportunity.
4. Take A Free Class
- Did you get personal attention during and after class?
- Did you receive actual coaching of movement such as a coach correcting your form?
- Did you receive motivation?
- Did you enjoy it?
- Did you break a sweat?
These are all questions you should ask yourself and I won’t give you the perfect answer to them because it is based on your personal opinion. Use these questions to determine your overall ‘feel’ of the class.
While I don’t want to give you any absolutes this is exception: You must train safely. It is the job of the coach and the business to make sure you move safely and the environment is safe.
- Scaling reps and weight
- Scaling movements
- Providing proper equipment that is deemed safe for use
- Stopping you if you are in risk of injury or if you are near over-training
If you didn’t feel safe during the class this should raise a red flag. If you didn’t mention it to the coach and it was an oversight by him or her than that is your fault. If you spoke up and nothing was done, well I would be weary of joining that affiliate.
6. After Class: Did someone talk to you about membership options?
This process will depend heavily on the affiliate. Some business will try to sell you, some might offer a free week trial, others might not say anything and expect you to call when you are ready to sign up.
You might have to take the initiative and ask for more information. Most gyms have a ‘When they are ready’ type of attitude and don’t press the membership option very much.
7. Is The Gym Clean: Check the bathrooms too…
I’m sure you can guess that a cleaner gym is a safer gym. That is all I will say about that.
8. Is There Adequate Equipment For All Athletes? Is it in safe-working condition?
You are going to need proper equipment to get the job done. Make sure you choose an affiliate that takes care of its equipment and replaces broken equipment. This may seem obvious, but I’ve seen and heard of many gyms that skimp on things like this because the owner(s) had to take every extra penny out of the business to support themselves. In instances like this the business will usually suffer.
My advice: Find a financially stable business with good management.
9. How Are The Other Members? Are they Friendly? Inviting? Helpful?
Or are they egotistical, fire-breathing douchers? Opt for the former.
A CrossFit gym is a community. A tribe. The biggest aspect of your personal success will most likely be attributed to the community and your involvement in it. This is why people stick with CrossFit. They train side by side with friends and family and keep each other accountable.
*Find a gym with a great community. This is my #1 recommendation.
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