Summer is winding down but many of you are still travelling, seeing the world and visiting CrossFit gyms! Awesome! Last I checked there were more than 13,000 CrossFit gyms worldwide so, you’ve got many to choose from.
If you’re like me, the first thing that I do when travelling to a new city is to check out the local CrossFit gyms in the area.
As an owner I love visiting other gyms and seeing how they do things. Usually I’ll steal some cool coaching cues, a great warmup (our short shitty warmup) or just get a feel for things that I like or don’t like.
As members visiting other gyms maybe you’ll get a new cue that gets you your first muscle up or just improves something that hasn’t been improved upon in a while. Hearing things said in a different way from another coach can sometimes be just the thing that you need to switch the light on between your ears and drive improvement.
So, please, by all means, once you’ve finished your private training, fundamentals, on-ramp or whatever your gym calls it, get out there and visit as many gyms as you can!
But…before you do here are a few tips that will ensure that your visit goes smoothly, you have a great time and that you’re welcomed back in the future!
- Do your research
In some cities there are dozens of CrossFit gyms to choose from and if you plan on visiting Southern California they’re on every corner! Literally hundreds to choose from in San Diego alone! How do you choose which one to go to? I usually find 3 or 4 that are pretty close to where I’ll be staying and then I start researching their facebook page and website. Do they post their workouts online? Most do. You can then get an idea of how they program and if you think it’s a good fit for you. Once I’ve narrowed down my choices then I’ll start to check out their drop in policy. Some require a letter from your home gym attesting to your experience and ability!
I love that and will gladly write an email in that case and I’ve done it before. I’m also looking at their pages to get a feel for their community and vibe of the gym. For me that’s important. I want to have a good time as well as get a good workout in. I don’t care so much if they have coaches or athletes that have been to the Games. I want to work out with a fun group of people, not be uber competitive – It’s vacation time! Having said that, one of my favorite gyms to drop into back home has regional athletes and a regional team every year!
- Contact them!
There’s nothing worse than coaching a full class when a stranger walks in with no clue what’s going on and wants to jump in and join the class. The coach wasn’t expecting them and doesn’t know anything about their ability or experience. We still always welcome those that do this and try to accommodate them but it’s difficult. Don’t be difficult! Most gyms have their drop in policy listed on their website. Read it! Here’s ours:)
- Plan on getting there early
You’re in a new city. You don’t know where anything is. Give yourself time to get lost and still get there on time. You’ll be able to fill out their waivers, if required. You’ll have ample time to change and mobilize before class starts and you’ll be able to meet the coaches.
- Join the class!
One of the best things about CrossFit is the community. You won’t get to experience that if you’re in the corner doing your own thing because you can’t miss a day of your Invictus programming. If you are following your super special competitor programming from home, missing one day of it by throwing down with the mere mortals in the group class isn’t going to make you less fit. We get emails all the time asking if people can drop in and just “use our space” to follow their own programming. Nope. Sorry. I always, more than gladly, direct those people to other gyms that I know allow that. We don’t. We treat everyone that walks through our doors like family. We want to work, suffer, get to know you and sweat it out with you. You might just meet some cool people and discover some things about the city that you never would’ve learned otherwise!
- Smile and introduce yourself
Chances are that the other members will come and introduce themselves to you. If not, go and introduce yourself to others standing around waiting for the class to start. Nothing breaks the ice like a smile and a handshake. The world is small and the CrossFit world is even smaller. Who knows, you just might find out that you both know another coach, athlete, gym owner, whatever.
- Respect the equipment
Don’t walk in and start throwing bars loaded with 5kg plates around. Ask if you can first! Believe it or not, many gyms in Europe don’t allow bars to be dropped due to being in close proximity to others. When in doubt look around and see what others are doing or just ask!
- Don’t expect freebies
We run a business. Yes, you might get to train for free. You might get a free shirt. Sometimes, I’ll even buy visitors a beer in our cafe. I’ve also paid for people’s taxis before because they didn’t have the local currency but don’t expect it! Offer to pay, be humble and gracious and sometimes you just might be surprised. That applies to all areas of life not just visiting CrossFit gyms!
- Take a group pic
Without proof that you were actually there no one will believe you!:)
There you are. 8 steps to make your drop in experience more enjoyable! Wherever you’re vacationing this year chances are there’s a CrossFit gym nearby. And if you’re a super obsessed exerciser, you’ll start planning your trips around which gyms you really want to visit!
Happy holidays and keep on CrossFitting!