Many people would assume that all CrossFit gyms are identical. Like going to a McDonalds or an F45. In reality they are independently owned and operated in whichever way the owner sees fit with no input from CrossFit HQ.
As such each gym is fundamentally different in their own unique way and it is important to find one that is going to suit your individual goals and needs. Some CrossFits are more targeted to the Elite Sport side of CrossFit whilst others specialise on beginners and looking after people who seek a healthy lifestyle.
Here are our top 6 things to look at when choosing your CrossFit gym:
1. Social Media and Website content
This is most people’s first stop. Find all the local CrossFit’s in your area and look through their photos, videos and posts. Does it feel welcoming? Is there a good cross section of the community or is it all super ripped guys doing Muscle ups and Snatches?
How a gym portrays themselves can tell you a lot about their target market and who they prioritise as a member.
2. Does the gym have a beginners/elements/on-ramp program?
The days of throwing people in a class hoping for the best are gone (or they should be). We’ve all tried it over the years. It doesn’t work, and it leads to more issues than benefits. A good CrossFit gym will have a separate and structured program which all beginners are required to do before they are able to participate in the regular classes.
3. How are you greeted when you walk in for your Free Intro?
Are the coaches which are taking your intro prepared and did they know your name? Did the members smile when you came in and said hello? Did the coaches ask you about yourself and make you feel comfortable? Did they make you feel welcome or did they make you feel like an inconvenience? These little things can tell you a lot about the culture in the gym. First impressions can tell you a lot.
4. Is there enough space for the number of people or is everyone crammed in?
Space is relative. You could have a giant gym that’s poorly used or a tiny one that is so well organised that everything just works. The question to ask is whether each person looks like they have enough space to be safe and are there enough coaches for the number of people.
More than 15 people per class with only 1 coach? That could be a red flag.
5. Is the gym clean and organised?
The days of grungy CrossFit gyms are pretty much gone. If a gym is clean and well organised that is generally a good indication that the owners care about the little things and as such are organised enough to look after you as a client.
6. Did they take the time to explain each movement step by step?
If the coach of your intro session has just brushed through everything and sent you off on a workout not really knowing what to do then that is a massive red flag. If they can’t get the coaching on that first session right, then how are they going to look after you as a member?
At the end of the day the most important thing is whether you feel comfortable. If you don’t feel comfortable and welcome, then you won’t keep going and you won’t reach your goals. I recommend visiting all your local CrossFits. Have a chat and try an Intro class. The one you choose will be a personal choice for yourself and might be completely different to someone else. Whichever one you choose, you’re going to be in much better hands than just paying for a cheap 24hr gym membership which you never use.