How Do I Choose A CrossFit Gym?

by John Vivian | Feb 9, 2019 | General | 0 comments

Why this guide?

Choosing a CrossFit gym is a pretty big deal. You’ll be spending a fair bit of time there, not to mention some of your hard-earned cash.

So, it only makes sense to make sure the “box” you choose is the right one for you.

Based on our own experiences running a CrossFit gym since 2005, numerous conversations we’ve had with people from other gyms, and chats with gym owners themselves, we’ve built a list of 10 unique factors that can be used to evaluate a prospective gym.

The 10 Factors

1) Facility

The first place to start looking is the facility itself.

It should be organised and easy to navigate, clean, and have proper lighting among other things. Things don’t have to be sparkly, shiny and new, but the place definitely shouldn’t be dark, dirty or messy.

The gear should be of a decent quality and variety, and properly maintained.

It should be easy to get at, and in sufficient quantities to meet the needs of the classes (alternatively, the coaches should be able to make on-the-fly adjustments to accommodate shortage issues).

2) Programming

There is no single best way to structure a training program. However, there are elements that should always be present.

You’ll want to make sure that there is a common structure to the classes, and that sufficient time and focus spent on strength training and skills development.

3) Coaches

Of course it’s important to make sure your future coaches are properly trained. But, it’s also important to make sure they have the right skills & attitudes.

Actively continuing their education is a must. They also need the ability to coach and communicate effectively with all levels of athlete and trainee that will be in the classes.

You’ll want to ensure that the coaches can all provide modified versions of exercises and workouts to suit.

4) Convenience

Not necessarily the first thing that pops into mind when thinking of gym evaluation criteria, the convenience factor should not be overlooked.

If you’re serious about your fitness, you’re going to make it part of your regular routine. The more convenient the gym’s location the more likely you are to continue going.

Conversely, the more out-of-the-way the gym is, the greater the chance you’ll find an excuse to stop going.

CrossFit Toronto Social at the Barrel House

5) Community

One of the things that sets CrossFit boxes apart from most other gyms is the community element.In gyms with a good community, friendships form, people help each other out, and informal social events are common occurrences.

A good gym will have friendly, helpful members that support and cheer each other on.

Ideally, there will also be regular social events both in and outside the gym.

6) Memberships & Contracts

Although CrossFit gyms are much different than standard “big box” gyms, they’re still businesses.

Most CrossFit gyms have several different training options, with many of them offering contracts.

Make sure you understand exactly what’s on offer, and what your options are.

Also inquire about whether you can suspend your plan if you’re ill or travelling.

Familiarise yourself with their membership policies and any other terms & conditions.

7) Reputation / Reviews

It only takes a few minutes to check online for a gym’s reputation.

Google, Facebook, and Yelp are some of the top places to get the dirt on prospective gyms.

While not a perfect solution, reviews can give you a pretty good idea of what members (present and past) think.

8) Feel & Fit

The best facility, gear, coaches, and community in the world don’t amount to a hill of beans if it’s not the right “fit”.

Call it the “vibe”, call it the “atmosphere”. Whatever you call it, it had better feel right.

If you can’t check out gym when there’s a class taking place, try to schedule your visit just before or just after a class, then arrive a little early or stick around after.

Does the gym feel comfortable and inviting?

Can you see yourself getting along with the coaching staff?

Can you see yourself getting along with the other members?

9) Professional Relationships

Although CrossFit is a multi-disciplinary approach to training, a good gym will recognise both its strengths and its limits.

A proper gym will have a network of other health & fitness professionals (therapists, nutritionists, etc.) they will refer and defer to when appropriate.

10) Extras

While some elements are not necessarily essential, there is definitely something to be said for the little (and not-so-little) extras that some gyms offer.

Is there chalk and tape? Towels?

Can you manage your member profile and schedule classes online?

Is there a workout tracking app?

Sometimes it’s the small things that make a big difference.

Bonus Factor: You

It’s time to evaluate yourself.

Before you make a decision, you should take a moment and be truly honest with yourself about how much you want this and what you’re willing to put in.

Give these questions some serious thought.

  • What are my goals?
  • How much time am I willing to commit?
  • What am I willing to spend?
  • What am I willing to give up make room for CrossFit in my life?

Conclusion

Finding the right CrossFit box is an important decision, but it doesn’t need to be a difficult one.

Do your homework, be honest with yourself, and get ready for an awesome time!

We hope you find guide useful, and locate the right box for you.

What do you think of this guide? Let us know in the comments.

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John Vivian

John Vivian

John is an owner and co-founder of CrossFit Toronto and Primal Athletes, and a Certified CrossFit Trainer Level 3 (CCFT).
John Vivian

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