Top 8 things to consider before joining a CrossFit gym.
You’ve been trying to get back in the fitness game for quite some time and doing it on your own isn’t working. You’ve told yourself “I just need access to the equipment and I’ll go and get the work done” but it never pans out for you. Then the light bulb goes off and it hits you; “I need accountability and coaching!” You do your research and the same thing keeps popping up. CrossFit this, CrossFit that, CrossFit, CrossFit, CrossFit. Now you decide CrossFit is probably the way to go so you do a Google search for the closest one and voila, a whole bunch pop up nearby. Your next though is “Oh boy, where do I start now?”
I’m writing this because I believe everyone can and should be doing CrossFit…..somewhere. Once you’ve decided it’s the route for you it’s time to shop around. Yes, spend the time window shopping around online. If you can’t find the answers to all 8 of these from a website, that is a big red flag and your cue to move on to the next.
Here are 8 things to consider before joining a CrossFit gym.
1) How does the gym introduce you to CrossFit? Is it through a series of beginner classes (often called ‘On Ramp,’ ‘Elements,’ or ‘Foundations’)? A one-on-one session with a coach? Be cautious of facilities that throw you into regular classes right away, even when there is separate “beginner programming” within the class.
2) Get a feel for the community through the gym’s blog and Facebook page. Ask current members who may already be in your social circle what they think about the gym’s culture. Do the coaches shuffle folks in and out without taking time to learn names? Community, one of the key ingredients, is what hooks most of us from the start. It’s important that you find a gym community with which you click.
3) Is nutrition discussed? It is the basis of just about everything. Red flag any gym that refrains from having any opinion at all.
4) Is there a focus on mobility and movement preparation? Do coaches lead movement preparation as part of class, or are athletes expected to foam roll/stretch/warm-up on their own?
5) Is the programming dynamic? Does it change? Can the coaches talk with specificity about rhymes and reasons behind certain movements/skills and their inclusion in the cycle of programming?
6) What is the athlete to coach ratio during any given class?
7) How long did the coaches participate in CrossFit before becoming instructors? Note:At each CrossFit Level 1 Certification Course, the instructors ask the group, usually between 40-70 people, how many have never done CrossFit before and it is astounding to see how many hands go up.
8) What does it take for someone to become a Coach? It is more often than most would think that a gym owner encourages a member “who is pretty good” to get their CrossFit Level 1 certification and be coaching by themselves in less than a month. Some places it’s less than a week.
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