When you go look for a gym, how do you know the gym is right for you? Not all gyms are created equal, especially with CrossFit gyms, as each one is individually owned and operated. Here are 6 Keys to finding the best CrossFit gym for you.
Key 1: Know What You Want
Before you go searching for a new gym, think about your fitness goals. Do you want to get into competitions? Do you want to work out with other people similar to your lifestyle? What does the crowd look like? For example, some gyms may be more into competition and that may not be your style.
A gym may be geared toward empowering women to get fit and healthy. I went to Glory Bound CrossFit in Denver, Colorado where it was specifically targeted towards women with only one class a week where men were invited to attend. CrossFit Babes Miami, owned by Revie Jane quotes: “all about building up self-confidence and living a lifestyle that aims to empower women to be the fittest and happiest version of themselves.” Pink Iron in Los Angeles, CA is another woman empowering fitness center which provides a variety of programs targeted at burning fat and having fun. There are many different cultures of fitness gyms all over the country and world. Discover what environment you are looking for and find a gym that matches.
Key 2: Go On a “Date”
One of the best things to do is to ask the gym owner for a free trial to see if it’s really a good fit for you. Find out if their class schedules match your busy schedule. Get to know some members and the coaches to see if you believe they will help you get to your fitness goals. You want to approach these communities similar to a new relationship. Sometimes the discovery phase is all about dating, so you’re testing the waters and seeing if you like each other enough to continue.
Key 3: Support Your Local Box
If you are interested in finding a gym, try out several of them. Many gyms will allow you to trial them out. As far as I know, most will even let you try their gym out for a free class or session. Be aware that some gyms will charge you a drop-in fee. From a cultural standpoint, CrossFit locations are very much a community-oriented environment and some let you drop in for free or if you buy a shirt, your drop in is “free”.
I’ve been CrossFitting and a CrossFit trainer for about eight years now, and thankfully I’ve only been charged a drop-in fee twice. I’ve been to dozens of CrossFit gyms throughout the nation. Drop-in fees typically run around $20 per class, but an opportunity to discover new friends and an awesome gym is priceless.
Key 4: Be Open to Special Training
Besides matching your schedule and liking the gym culture, another thing to look out for is if they have any particular goal program or track. What I mean by ‘track’ is basically some sort of fitness curriculum for people to follow that have different interests. Most CrossFit gyms obviously only do CrossFit. However, the gyms that stand out and I think are the best are the ones that add more value to their members. I am seeing an influx of CrossFit gyms offering spin, yoga, or olympic weightlifting classes to their members. There are even children fitness classes available at certain gyms.
For example, Brick CrossFit in West Hollywood, CA has over 600 members and their schedule includes yoga, cardio kickboxing, and endurance classes. What Brick CrossFit has been able to do is provide their members with different tracks or programs to follow. Let’s say one particular athlete is very much into CrossFit and that’s all they want to do, so that becomes their goal program or track. What I learned from Brick CrossFit head coach Caesar is that “Every person in there has a purpose. We sit down with the individual person when they become a member and say, ‘Hey, what is your goal here? Are you into just CrossFit? Olympic lifting? Kick-boxing? etc.”
As you can see, not all CrossFit coaches or owners are the same. When you find a gym, try to match their fitness track with yours. Who are the members you want to surround yourself with? What fitness goals do you want to obtain?
Key 5: Use a Gym Finder or Google
The best place to go is use the Maps app on your smartphone. Another search can be done at Maps.CrossFit.com, which has a section on their site where you can literally put in your location and it will give you a map of all the CrossFit gyms in your area. Google.com is a good resource to find more CrossFit gyms. Keep in mind that when you use google.com to find a CrossFit gym, you may find a gym that no longer exists. Yelp.com or the Yelp app on your smartphone will help you determine if a gym is still active, while you will be able to read member reviews or look at photos of the facility.
Key 6: See If It’s a Good Fit
Now you’ve found a gym, what to do next? Try the gym for a day or more. Possibly you start a membership but you only want to commit to a 3 month membership to see if you like the facility. Get to know the people and ask them what they think about the workouts and the equipment. What do they like and dislike about that certain location. Do the trainers or members greet you upon entering? That’s a big factor for me. When I first enter a new gym I pay attention to anyone that greets me, says hello, or even acknowledges that I exist there. It’s such a simple thing but a big sign nonetheless. A while back, when I was looking for a gym, I tried at least 7 different ones before I found a community that I really liked.
Greg Glassman has said that you could tell the quality of the gym by the cleanliness of their bathroom. I believe that as well. If the gym owner doesn’t pay attention to the quality of the gym, even down to what the bathroom looks like, then that’s a good indication that the owners don’t care. It’s the little things that make the big difference. The best thing you can do is check it out for yourself and go with your gut instincts.
Well, there you have it! The 6 Keys to finding the best CrossFit gym for you! I hope you find an amazing gym that is the best fit for you! WOD it up!
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