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Old 01-30-2012, 08:38 PM   #1
Derrick Lockhart
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How to pick the right gym

I will going to a intro workout and meeting with a trainer this week. This will be my 1st time at a crossfit gym. i am not sure what i should be looking for(sign of a good gym)
how do you know if a gym is a good or right for you. I am going to go to a few before i pick which one. I have a few in my area
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:13 PM   #2
Kellie Moore
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Re: How to pick the right gym

Hey Derrick,

I think it's great that you are checking out the gyms in your area. Once you have worked out and met the coaches and gotten a sense of the atmosphere, I bet you will just know which one is for you.

Have fun with it!
It doesn't have to be fun to be fun.
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Old 01-30-2012, 10:29 PM   #3
Mark E. Wallace
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Re: How to pick the right gym

I wrote this for a friend who had the same question.

- Be able to clearly describe your goals
- Find convenient CF locations near you.
- Interview owners/coaches at those locations. Describe your goals and ask how they would help you meet them.
- Ask for a free workout. Most locations will either offer you a free trial workout or let you know when they have free open community workouts. Those are usually held on Saturdays.
- Ask the owners if you can "interview" some of their customers. Ask for the opportunity to talk with short-, medium-, and long-term customers. Ask those people about their experiences at the gym and how well/poorly the coaches have assisted with meeting customers' goals.
- After all of this, you'll have a ton of information to use in selecting a gym. You should have a feel for how satisfied each gym's customers are, with how well the gyms' programming aligns with your goals, with how well the gym culture matches your personality, and with how much CF itself fits your needs/desires.
- Select the most convenient one that gives you the best feel
- Get started. Most gyms have some sort of on-ramp program that they put you through before you join in with the main class. Depending on the gym, your fitness level, and your schedule, on-ramp might take anywhere from a week to a month. On-ramp classes are used to teach you the different CF movements, help acclimate you to the program, and give you the chance to decide if CF is really for you.
In reading back through it, I would add:

1) Be willing to go to a less "convenient" or more expensive location if that location looks like it is the one best able to help you meet your goals. I've seen too many people choose the nearest or cheapest location only to find that that location doesn't really align with their goals.
2) Don't overlook how a gym's culture might affect you. I know multiple people who have left a box (different boxes) for reasons including "I just felt like a number there," "The place was just way too 'cliquish' for me," and "Everybody there has a foul mouth." These may seem like trivial issues, but the common theme is that you need to feel comfortable at the box that you choose. Gaining that level of comfort can be difficult in the short amount of time that most people invest in choosing a box.
3) See #2 : Don't be in a rush to choose a box.
4) When you interview the owners/coaches, ask them what their goals and top priorities for their gym are. An owner's goal of "We just want to build CF Games-winning athletes" may not align with your goal of "I just want to be able to walk up the stairs without getting winded and not die in the next three years."


"Ima champ Still pushin Strong, Remember You only get what you train FOR>"
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:23 AM   #4
Derrick Lockhart
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Re: How to pick the right gym

Thanks for all the help
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:37 AM   #5
Michael Kelley
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Re: How to pick the right gym

I would add that a single workout session may not be enough to make an informed decision. I'd ask for 2 or 3 sessions, and try different gyms over a period of a couple of weeks. One workout won't tell you too much about coaching, atmosphere, etc. The free Saturday workout is also not exemplary of what you will see on Tuesday at 6am or Thursday at 6pm, or whenever you intend to go. In my opinion, a gym owner who thinks they have a good product that will make you a paying monthly member should have no objections to more than one free session.
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:58 AM   #6
Steve Loeding
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Re: How to pick the right gym

I agree with Mark's list - it's very good.

I've noticed most people do not have specific goals when they start - even when asked to clarify, they can't come up with anything more specific than get strong, get lean, get muscular, etc.

I always tell a potential new client what our CrossFit Box / gym's goals are - strength, olympic lifts, benchmark wods, the goal board, etc.

People usually come up with more specific goals (oly lifts, training for a run, etc) after a month or two, and from there we can tailor programs - though we usually do them in groups.

I agree that the culture, location, and programming should be factors, as well as price
Steve - Top Gun CrossFit - Mpls MN
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Old 01-31-2012, 11:02 AM   #7
Erin Crocker
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Re: How to pick the right gym

I am relatively new to this, but have tried a few different places. For me, it is so much about the people / culture and I find that is what makes it fun and motivating. It also may take a a while to see if you like the programming and if your coaches can give you the guidance you need on learning form etc.
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:20 PM   #8
Luke Sirakos
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Re: How to pick the right gym

If you are knowledgable about lifting and fitness you can tell a lot by looking at the programming. Most gyms post their workouts to their websites so you can scroll through a history of those to see what you think. The next thing I would look at is the facility. The box I go to has air conditioning (a HUGE plus for the Texas heat), plenty of space, and all the equipment you could need. The other thing I would look at is the coaches. I know a lot of people would put this much higher on the list but it wasn't that important to me as I had been lifting for years and wasn't so much concerned with working on my form (sure it can still use some work but the I had the basics down). I also like how the box I go to is real relaxed in that I can do a different workout that day if for some reason I want to and that is nice if you have specific goals.

Of course it all depends on you. I just picked the place closest to me and it happened to work out great.
Deadlift: 475 | Back Squat: 405 | Front Squat: 320
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:38 AM   #9
Shawn M Wilson
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Re: How to pick the right gym

Make sure find out what kind of trainers are at the gym.

Are they ones who stand by and just tell you the WOD.

Do they critique your form when your not doing something right?

Do they scale stuff based on an individuals ability to move safely, and the appropriate load to have a great workout?

A great gym/box is more than just new gear, the latest stuff. Make sure the trainers can understand your goals, and help you to reach them.
Pastor - Saved by Grace - Building the Body & Soul one day at a time!
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:30 AM   #10
Daniel Dang
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Re: How to pick the right gym

My recommendation is book a flight to San Diego and check out the Box where I attend. That ought to give you a taste of what a properly balanced approach to classic CF is like. Good scaling. Good community. Good sweats. Positive culture. Balance between Oly and metcons. Strict form and technique. My favorite test thing: make sure the owners are coaches. The few goofy boxen I have visited had mystery owners and hired coaches only. That is when things run the risk of going off the rails more.

Also, lastly, I find that is great tool for member research into any Box. For example: Our Yelp page is pretty OK if you look around. A Box will not get more than 20 people consistently saying great stuff about them online unless the folks are doing something really outstanding. Note our current figures.

Good luck!
Yes, that is a 60 pound vested burpee, not fatness : CrossFit San Diego :
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