How to Choose the Right CrossFit Gym
Shopping for a new gym is an important task. For some, it is priority number 1 if they are relocating or switching gyms. For others, it may be your first experience with a CrossFit or similar-type facility. Besides the basic factors such as proximity to your home or job, class times and prices, there are some other things to consider once those criteria are met. First, let’s say this together: “not all CrossFit boxes are the same.”
Being that we do almost everything online these days, a gym’s website should give you a good idea of their values, services, and how to go about getting started. Still, there will be a lot left to the imagination until you experience the gym in person. I recommend taking advantage of whatever trial period, free class, or consultation is available. Use this as a test to look at a few different things.
First, what is your immediate impression when you arrive. Is the place clean and sanitary? How are you greeted? Are you greeted at all? Now, keep in mind that many CrossFit boxes don’t have the frills of your commercial gyms such as staff who are paid simply to welcome you at the door. Regardless, a coach or staff member should be quick to introduce themselves. Take mental note of this interaction and whether the coach seems excited to meet you. This should be nothing short of warm and welcoming.
Second, are you asked any questions before you start working out? Any good coach should, at a minimum, ask you about experience level and if you have any injuries or limitations he/she needs to be aware of. This is just safety 101. Assuming you are brand new to CrossFit or weight training, there could be some demanding exercises that will need to be modified to your skill level. That brings me to my next point!
Whether you are brand new or experienced, you should be receiving quite a bit of attention during this trial phase as the coach gets to know your abilities. He or she needs to provide you with specific instructions on how to complete the workout of the day along with the modifications or “scaling” that are appropriate for you. Personally, I err on the side of lower intensity for my new folks because I’d rather underestimate their abilities than put them in over their heads when starting out.
Lastly, how do the people around you interact and make you feel? One of the big draws of CrossFit gyms is being around people with whom you share common goals and get along. You likely aren’t going to make a best friend on Day 1, but there should at least be a feeling of camaraderie and encouragement. CrossFitters want to help each other, so be open to the people around you.
When it comes down to it, you’ll need to choose the gym that you are excited to attend. Driving an extra couple of minutes or paying an extra few bucks a month will be worth it to enjoy where you workout and who you are around while doing it. So go out there, try some gyms and be ready to receive some high fives during your new experience!