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Old 11-02-2013, 08:01 AM   #11
Brendan McNamar
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Re: Choosing the right box

Avoid gyms that want a lengthy commitment or negotiate a short commitment in case it isn't right for you. Tell them you just want to pay for 1 month to try it out. Doubt any gym can say no to that. If they do walk away. Be careful of cancellation policies. A local gym here has a 30 day cancellation policy so if you sign up for 1 month they automatically get you for two unless you only pay for the month without auto renew.

Second is watch the members and their interactions with the coaches. What you want is a gym whose coaches are good at teaching/coaching other people. If the coaches are skilled in this you will see it in their members.

When I go to competitions or fund raisers it is easy to spot the members from a well coached gym. They stand out for having good movement patterns, they scale the weight correctly and usually have a lot of people cheering them on.

Coach to member ratios are important. I find no more then 12 to 1 and if it is a skill based workout like Olympic lift 1 RM then we want 8 to 1. If the classes are big it is OK as long as there are multiple coaches per class.

If your first gym isn't wonderful then switch. My goal is to have the hour my members spend in my gym be the best hour of their day.
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Old 11-02-2013, 08:42 PM   #12
Michael Cook
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Re: Choosing the right box

One thing to look at is whether the coaches spend time with all the athletes. A good coach will spend some time and offer corrections and encouragement to beginner, intermediate and advanced athletes. Eventually, you won't be a beginner, so you don't want a box where the coach only spends time with the beginners.
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Old 11-02-2013, 11:42 PM   #13
Tate Dimech
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Re: Choosing the right box

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendan McNamar View Post
Avoid gyms that want a lengthy commitment or negotiate a short commitment in case it isn't right for you. Tell them you just want to pay for 1 month to try it out. Doubt any gym can say no to that. If they do walk away. Be careful of cancellation policies. A local gym here has a 30 day cancellation policy so if you sign up for 1 month they automatically get you for two unless you only pay for the month without auto renew.

Second is watch the members and their interactions with the coaches. What you want is a gym whose coaches are good at teaching/coaching other people. If the coaches are skilled in this you will see it in their members.

When I go to competitions or fund raisers it is easy to spot the members from a well coached gym. They stand out for having good movement patterns, they scale the weight correctly and usually have a lot of people cheering them on.

Coach to member ratios are important. I find no more then 12 to 1 and if it is a skill based workout like Olympic lift 1 RM then we want 8 to 1. If the classes are big it is OK as long as there are multiple coaches per class.

If your first gym isn't wonderful then switch. My goal is to have the hour my members spend in my gym be the best hour of their day.
Hi Brendan,

Thank you so much for your help mate I really appreciate it. I really love how much this community comes together to help other people out! In regards to commiting I have 5 options so hopefully I'll know what one but I definitely won't be commiting for an extended period when I first join anyway.

In terms of competitions etc where you can see the peoples strong points do you notice that some people are either strength or oly lifting biased, and is this a bad thing?

Well the people at your gym are very blessed!

Regards,

Tate
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Old 11-02-2013, 11:44 PM   #14
Tate Dimech
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Re: Choosing the right box

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Originally Posted by Michael Cook View Post
One thing to look at is whether the coaches spend time with all the athletes. A good coach will spend some time and offer corrections and encouragement to beginner, intermediate and advanced athletes. Eventually, you won't be a beginner, so you don't want a box where the coach only spends time with the beginners.
Hi Michael,

Thank you for your reply mate and I'll definitely be looking at that,

Regards,

Tate
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Old 11-03-2013, 10:37 AM   #15
Brendan McNamar
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Re: Choosing the right box

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Originally Posted by Tate Dimech View Post
In terms of competitions etc where you can see the peoples strong points do you notice that some people are either strength or oly lifting biased, and is this a bad thing?
When a gym is well coached I can see it in the members in the scaled division. People with high level competitive aspirations will seek good knowledge and technique. It is when the average members go to a fund raiser and do a good job you know a gym is well coached.
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Old 11-04-2013, 07:25 AM   #16
Miles Roberts
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Re: Choosing the right box

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Originally Posted by Tate Dimech View Post
Hey Miles,

Thank you for sharing your experience. How do you find the culture and people at a new box because one of my options is a brand new box that are starting everyone from scratch with a number of on ramp classes etc

Thanks again,

Tate
Tate, I very much enjoy the culture where I am going. If it is a new one just starting up, I'd suggest looking into the owner as much as you can. FB/Twitter/google/etc. Before I committed to the box, I did a lot of research on her, and in the end, it seemed like she was mostly just a motivated, driven person, who wanted to go out on her own, albeit in a very competitive area (many boxes in my area). She worked out at a box for years that's only a few miles from the one she opened. It was an old-school sweat and iron gym that converted to a CF box - but they still hold weight lifting classes. I got the impression from her that it kept the mentality of the old-school gym, and she wanted to foster an environment that was more suited to CrossFitters and people looking to get into fitness (beginners). I think she is doing very well.

A few ways I got lucky that you might also find...

1)Good introductory rates. Someone opening a new box will be anxious to get money coming in. Her "introductory rates" were about 15% cheaper than other boxes around me, and another 20% off that if you signed up for 6 months. So I got in at like 40% cheaper than other boxes.

2) she saw me workout at a Saturday "open" workout, and told me I could skip the "intro classes" and jump right into the normal classes. That saved me $150.

3) because it just opened, classes are still very small. MWF @ 6:00 I'm usually the only one there. This has helped tremendously with my Oly stuff - the only stuff I really wasn't comfortable with.

4) this is just general - but she has her website up and running, and updates it regularly. It also shows very clearly what the rates are. She also created a FB page and Twitter account for the box, and both are updated regularly. I immediately crossed one box off the list because their website said nothing about rates. Even after going in and asking directly about the rates, the guy was vague aside from telling me it was $300 or something for the two-week on-ramp period, and then from there on out, it was charged per class, and there is no "unlimited membership". F that noise.
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:12 AM   #17
Amanda Rappuhn
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Re: Choosing the right box

Make sure their payment process isn't sketchy. I never signed up for automated monthly payments, but they ran my card and it was declined. I then received an email asking why basically, but I was pretty annoyed and not sure if maybe I did accidentally set up the auto renew (second guessing myself). My card was declined because of an unrecognized transaction and I emailed him back saying that I would take care of the payment today and explained that I was out of town so I have not had the tools to resubmit a payment. I then find that at 8:48 this morning my card had been ran again and was declined. I specifically stated I would make the payment through their website and he said "I can run the card tonight or in the morning." I never replied as I was not home until 5am this morning. It's now 11am that I'm finding this out. I'm very mad that he ran my card without my approval, and am sort of laughing because I haven't even called to have the security freeze removed yet. I can not believe I specifically said I would do it, I never set up an automatic payment (mainly because I'd like to use a different form of payment at different times.)

The problem is I like the people at this box, but the owner is the bid who did this. There are many members, I haven't even been since Oct 31st so I haven't gone to anything unpaid, so why so unprofessional?
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Old 11-05-2013, 03:17 PM   #18
Paul Gowder
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Re: Choosing the right box

I think the biggest thing to look for is scaling. Are people who are less fit finishing about the same time as those who are more fit, and scaled appropriately? If not, there's a big risk of injury, or burnout...
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:06 PM   #19
Erin Potter
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Re: Choosing the right box

When I first started out in March, I thought I did my homework. I spent a lot of time getting information about the local boxes and ended up going with the one that had been around the longest. They had introductory sessions for free and three week basics sessions to get me started.

What I didn't pay attention to was the WOD programming. Although the basics program workouts were programmed wonderfully and never overworked muscle groups, the programming for the regular WODs was very repetitive and overworked the same muscle groups. The trainers weren't receptive to requests for scaling or modifications. And there was no skill building or mobility work taught.

The new box that I'm at has all of these things - skill work, mobility work, scaling/modifications, trainers who pay attention, and great programming that is checked over by physical therapists that attend the gym.

Everyone has different needs and is comfortable at different places. Just make sure all of your needs and wants are going to be met.
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Old 11-06-2013, 05:41 AM   #20
Brendan McNamar
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Re: Choosing the right box

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Originally Posted by Paul Gowder View Post
I think the biggest thing to look for is scaling. Are people who are less fit finishing about the same time as those who are more fit, and scaled appropriately? If not, there's a big risk of injury, or burnout...
This is an excellent point and a sign of a well run class/gym.
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