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Katy Calcagni 06-03-2013 09:11 PM

What does a "good box" mean to you?
Hi everyone,

I'm someone who needs to work out with a coach. I need someone to push me, and hold me accountable or else I won't go as hard as I should. I started at a local box at the end of January, but lately I've been having second thoughts if I'm at the "right" place for me. Maybe my expectations are too high, and that's why I'm posting here to find out.

I think the world of my coach. :super: He's a great guy, and I know he writes good programming. I compare our workouts to other local boxes constantly, and I know our workouts are tougher. My problem is, is that's all we do. We warm up on our own, and follow the WOD, then put our stuff away and go home. There is never a day when we have skill work (ex, trying to get muscle ups, butterfly pullups, you either have them or you don't). When I asked my coach about this he told me I'm more than welcome to come in for private sessions, at a pretty hefty per hour rate. I also think there should be some kind of stretching/ mobility work each day, but alas there isn't. I'm clueless on how to get more flexible, and would really like some help. Basically, a lot of the time I feel like I'm just being brushed aside and not taken seriously

People talk about a sense of community at their box, but I just don't feel like its there. We do a team workout once a month, which is nice, but after going to 77 WOD's since I've started, I barely know 10 people. I moved here from another state, and that was part of the reason I started crossfit, to meet new people. I honestly still feel like "the new kid" or an outsider. It's like reliving junior high all over again some days.

I'm honestly so embarrassed to have to link my name to this post, because I would die if anyone at my box saw this, but I have no other choice. I've been so happy with my own personal gains since I've started, but I'm just not sure if I should continue to go where I go, or switch to a larger affiliate with more coaches. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but Ive already lost 20 pounds, can dead lift 235, back squat 225, front squat 195, and push press 125. (I'm currently 155 5'5", and hope to get down to 145). I don't think I'll ever make it to regionals on my own, but honestly think I'd make a great team member in a couple of years. I'm not stupid in thinking I did it all on my own, I know my coach has had a lot to do with it, but lately (the past 2 months) I've been questioning "is this as good as its going to get?"

Am I crazy to be questioning these things? Are my expectations unrealistic? And please, for the love of god, please pretend this post is anonomyous. I honestly don't want these things brought up to my coach, should anyone reading this actually know who I am, I'm just asking for clarification.

Joe Spinelli 06-03-2013 09:55 PM

Re: What does a "good box" mean to you?
I think you are right to feel this way. Without that sense of "community," it's just not right. You are really missing out on an important part of the experience.

From the very beginning, the people at my box were very friendly and very helpful. I have learned a ton from them, not just my coach. In fact, I have spent time outside of the box with several of the members lately, and myself and several other members are enrolled to play in an adult volleyball league together. They help to coach me, push me, and they help me do better than what I would do on my own. We laugh and joke and work our butts off, and then, after almost every WOD, several of us hang out a bit and shoot the $hit. I think this is what you're looking for.

Are you a Yelp user? When I was considering which box to attend, I read ALL of the Yelp reviews from local boxes. This will give you a good idea of the "vibe" of a box. Check out Crossfit Recoil in Los Alamitos, CA and you'll see what I'm talking about.

We have also been asking our owner to bring in some yoga or to coach some mobility work as well, so far, no luck. However, one of our trainers is mobility certified, so hopefully he can teach a class dedicated to flexibility soon.

Good luck in your search.

Mark E. Wallace 06-04-2013 08:10 AM

Re: What does a "good box" mean to you?
I'd say that a "good box" on a general level is one that helps its clients constantly improve on the Crossfit ten general physical skills.

* Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance
* Stamina
* Strength
* Flexibility
* Power
* Speed
* Coordination
* Agility
* Balance
* Accuracy

On an individual level, a "good box" is one that helps you meet your needs. Since everybody's needs are different, the definition of "good box" is different for everyone. The box that I go to, for example, doesn't put a huge priority on flexibility, but since I don't personally put much of a priority on that (my bad, but I just don't), this isn't really an issue for me.

The whole aspect of Community is a big deal for some people. Their box's community helps keep them accountable, motivated, and interested. For other folks though, community really isn't that important; all they really want/need is someone to do the programming and provide the space and equipment.

- Mark

Katy Calcagni 06-04-2013 09:42 AM

Re: What does a "good box" mean to you?
Thanks for the feedback guys. Joe I did a search on yelp for crossfit boxes in my area, out of the 6 boxes remotely close to me, there are only a total of 3 reviews, so I guess that idea is out. If I'm ever in your neck of the woods, I will definitely stop by and check out crossfit Recoil, you guys sound great!

Mark this is why I'm interested in the flexibility part: yesterday, the workout included OHS. The weight listed was 95/65. I'm a female, so I did 65. When I asked my coach "how come the weight is so light" (usually we go heavier on everything), I'm told, "because it's part of a metcon, and I want you to go everyone here sucks at overhead squats". Well it's a movement we hardly ever do, (I honestly think its been on the white board 3 times since January) so if he thinks we all suck at it, shouldn't we be working at it more? It was after all one of the movements in regionals this year. There's a video on his web page of one of the females in our gym conquering a 175lb overhead squat...pretty damn impressive! When I asked him, how the hell does she do it? His answer "she's really, really flexible."

Now I normally could care less about my flexibility as well. But pretty much this is what I got out of it: you suck at OHS. Everyone here sucks at OHS. You all suck because you're not flexible...well then shouldn't this be something we are working on? It just really confused me, and I know it's only one movement, but if I had to give an example of the amount of times I've felt like this, we'd be here all day.

David Barnes Langston Jr 06-04-2013 10:04 AM

Re: What does a "good box" mean to you?
I think a good box is one that hardly uses burpees in the programming!:D

Seriously though, I get what you are talking about. Tough situation. At least you live in an area where there are choices. For me there is our box and then an hour to the next one so for some of us it is do it at the box, at home, or not at all.

Our box has al the stuff you are looking for so if you go up I-75 sometime you should drop in.

Mark E. Wallace 06-04-2013 11:05 AM

Re: What does a "good box" mean to you?

Originally Posted by Katy Calcagni (Post 1169582)
Mark this is why I'm interested in the flexibility part:

No need to explain why you would want that. Flexibility is important. I just hate stretching & mobility stuff. It bores me, so our gym's relative lack of focus on it doesn't bother me. Others at our gym rightly feel differently.

- Mark

Phil Washlow 06-04-2013 11:24 AM

Re: What does a "good box" mean to you?
I felt that way at my first box. The programming was great (except sometimes one of the coaches couldn't figure out what the other one had programmed!) but I never felt a sense of the community. This was very important to me because I have no trouble pushing myself and only joined a box to be around other people who love CrossFit as much as I do. I decided to leave and joined a different box that had opened closer to my home. I was pleasantly surprised with how open and welcoming the members/coaches were/are. We do not do as much mobility/skill programming but I have talked to some of the members/part time coaches about doing extra sessions ourselves focused on weaknesses/mobility/skills and we are planning on starting it next week. Perhaps you could take a proactive approach along those lines, assuming your coach will allow you to spend extra time at the box.

Brian Strump 06-04-2013 11:27 AM

Re: What does a "good box" mean to you?
I think alot of people would feel the OP does, since it does not meet your needs.

As an affiliate owner, with many different people coming in; I think it's a mistake to try and cater to every single need of its members.

Like Mark, some of what would bother you; does not bother others. I think doing what you did; bringing it to the owners and/or trainers is the correct thing to do. Sometimes our members bring great ideas that I wouldn't have thought of; and we make those changes.
Other times, they may say, "CrossFit XYZ does this, and I think it's great". There are many reason I would not choose to do what another affiliate is doing.

In the end when searching, understand that that there's a wide array of people the affiliate attempts to keep happy, healthy and referring their friends. If you're not happy with how the trainer responded, I would suggest looking to other nearby affiliates, as they may offer more of what you're looking for.

Brian Liang 06-04-2013 11:47 AM

Re: What does a "good box" mean to you?
I would just check out different boxes if I were you. If I were you, I would also do a seach of the affilates through the website (wfs). As I have found, some of the newer boxes don't show up on google or yelp just yet.

All boxes are different. I have been to 5 different boxes in the past year (just because I am in a different city for work right now, so I figured I since I am away from my home box, I would rotate to experience different coaches).

I have noticed some boxes really have a perfence for some movements. One box we did a lot of pull ups, another one running was big, and another on anything with shoulders was came up more often in their daily wods. And some boxes group skill work was really imporant & you would warm up individaul, and other boxes group warm up was really important and skills wasn't as big.

I my mind, the right coach. Is always on the top of my list. I have left a box, that I really enjoyed the programing at, just because I didn't like one of the coaches.
Imporant aspects that I like in coaches:
- Easy to talk to, and always giving tips and tricks to make you better. I don't like coaches that just operate the timer. Its good to seem them walking around and given people advice, and not just saying don't stop the whole time.
- Always supportive and trys to motivate you to push yourself and go heavy. There are times to scale down, and there are times when you have to progress.
- Realizes that everyone is different. And willing to addapt to your needs. (For example, if you consider doing "hips tough" when you are doing cleans vs. not hitting with your hips. I perfer coaches that they say who cares if your hitting the bar your hips or not, the important thing is to figure a way to get the weight up that works for you).
- I also truely believe that coaches should have been doing crossfit for a while.

Alex Romero 06-04-2013 12:44 PM

Re: What does a "good box" mean to you?
[quote=Katy Calcagni;1169464]There is never a day when we have skill work (ex, trying to get muscle ups, butterfly pullups, you either have them or you don't).

I'm surprised nobody jumped on this sentence. No skill work?? it sounds like you're not really being coached. If you pay to train at an affiliate, part of what you are paying for is to get better at Crossfit, and it's hard for that to happen when there are no skill sessions. I would suggest looking elsewhere. You aren't getting your money's worth at this box.

The sessions at the box I go to are very structured and fully coach-led (they are one hour sessions). You do a quick on your own warm-up if you get there a few minutes early, a coach led group warmup, a few minutes of instruction on a particular movement, followed by a 15-20 min strength/skill session, and end with the WOD (which always incorporates whatever we did for strength/skill). Maybe someone more well-traveled can correct me if I'm wrong, but I imagine a large percentage of boxes operate like this.

There are also a few hours a week where the gym is open for members to lift and/or practice a specific skill

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