There are five areas you need to make sure to have on point at your Box. JP Pocock, the owner of CrossFit Katana, shares what they are from the perspective of a member looking for a gym:
These might seem like a strange requirement to start off with, but if you are looking for a Box you need to find one you can build friends at. The beauty of community-focused fitness is it contrasts between going to the gym with your headphones on to drag yourself through a lonely workout to going to see your friends and have fun doing a WOD. The staff may be very knowledgeable, but if they can’t make you feel welcome you are going to feel awkward every time you show up for a workout. With the right gym environment, you’ll look forward to seeing all your friends at a class as one of the best hours of your day.
You can buy a bar and a set of bumper plates for your garage or basement and pick up a jump rope at the local sporting goods store and do some variations of functional movements for intensity at home. If you are paying a premium for a CrossFit Box membership, you should at least have bars and plates, balance trainers, dumbbells, kettlebells, plyo boxes, rowers, air bikes, medicine balls and other unique items. That’s just the starter list. Many gyms will have another batch of tools that relate to their specialty bias; think gymnastics, strongman or kickboxing equipment. Don’t get greedy and expect a swimming pool though.
The more passionate about CrossFit you get, the more blood, sweat and tears you will shed doing it. Your gym should have someone cleaning all that up. Writhing on the floor for five or 10 minutes after a miserable workout is cool unless the floor is so filthy your sweat makes mud. And check the bathrooms; they will tell you a lot about how much a business values its clients.
A quick survey of a good Box’s athletes should reveal a variety of experience and performance levels. Don’t be too impressed if the gym has elite competitor credentials like Regional or CrossFit Games qualifiers. Chances are the high-level CrossFitters are training twice as much as you plan to. You want a gym with a coaching staff that is experienced at modifying workouts and building fitness in athletes with very little or no prior workout experience. Giving former college athletes a venue to stay engaged in athletics is great, but empowering grandparents with a level of functional fitness that enables them to roughhouse with their grandkids is better. Pick a Box that has members with the fitness you aspire to obtain.
This is a tough one to recognize or discover. Look at a gym’s website and social media platforms and try to find a mission statement or creed. A CrossFit Box is more than a gym: It is a community. It should be engaged in some community service. Good Boxes will show signs they support their members in ways that transcend fitness; great Boxes will show signs their members support causes and efforts outside of the gym altogether.
By JP Pocock, the owner of CrossFit Katana. Sponsored by Hedstrom Fitness and The Surge. For more information about unique training tools, click here.