The first thing you need to know about a gym is that it’s not just some place where you go to get your workout done. A good gym will have many things going for it.
It will have a variety of classes offered, from yoga to Zumba. You’ll probably see a wide range of people there: men and women, young and old, fat and skinny. Some gyms even offer special programs for children or those with physical challenges like autism or cerebral palsy.
Crossfit boxes are usually open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They’re often located in malls or other places frequented by families. Many have free weights and cardio equipment available. Others might only have weight machines and no free weights at all.
Most gyms offer a variety of different workouts, including ones designed specifically for beginners, intermediate trainers, advanced trainees and elite athletes. And they’re not limited to just one type of training; some gyms offer everything from strength training to gymnastics routines.
Does the gym have a kids’ workout group? What about pre-natal fitness or parent-child exercise classes?
Those are two things you definitely want to see. In fact, any kind of class that targets specific audiences is important to look for.
You also need to make sure the gym’s hours of operation fit your own. Some gyms open early in the morning and others stay open late at night. It’s a good idea to find out which hours are the busiest so you can schedule your visits accordingly. If you want to workout in the middle of the day, you want to make sure the gym isn’t typically empty at that time.
Some gyms offer childcare while you’re working out. This is especially important if you’re a new mom who wants to get back in shape but can’t find childcare. Other gyms will allow you to leave your children in the childcare room with a monitor while you work out. Once again, make sure the hours of operation work for you.
If you’re a college student and on a budget, you need to find a gym that offers the services you need at the price you want to pay. If free daycare is a necessity, you might have to settle for a gym that doesn’t have as many classes or fancy equipment. You might not have your pick of hours either.
If you can afford a higher priced gym, you might have access to more classes and equipment. You’ll also have more freedom in choosing the times you can go work out.
Also, consider how many members the gym has and what their ages are. The more members a gym has, the busier it will generally be. That comes with pros and cons: the gym will probably be cleaner and there will be more assistance available if you need it. However, the crowd that regularly goes there might be a bit intimidating if you’re not used to working out in front of other people.
Some crossfit boxes have everything you need while others are missing one or two key pieces. Don’t assume a lack of equipment is a deal breaker though. As long as you have free weights and a place to do pull-ups and running, you’ll be able to get in a good workout.
Websites like Yelp! can help here. Look up the gym’s page on Yelp! and see if other people mention what the facility is like. You can also leave your own review of the gym when you’re done with it.
How Does It Work?
If you’ve never been to a crossfit box, you’re in for a treat. They tend to feel more like a social club than a gym. The atmosphere is supportive and challenging at the same time. It’s a place where people of all shapes and sizes come to break a sweat and test themselves.
When you first walk in, you’ll probably notice all the unique equipment readily available for your use. The beauty of it is you don’t need any special skills to use any of it. Of course, you’ll probably feel a bit intimidated if this is your first time. Don’t worry, everyone feels that way when they walk through the door for the first time.
The coach will probably wander over to you and ask you a few questions. They aren’t trying to interrogate you, they just want to get to know you and what your fitness goals are. When you tell them you’re a boxer, they’ll probably tell you to try out some of the boxing bags located around the gym.
After you’ve warmed up a bit, the coaches will likely assign you a couple workouts. These workouts will help them figure out where to place you for the next session. Don’t worry; there’s no test to pass or minimum performance level to achieve. They just want you to try a few of the workouts so they can see what your pace is and how well you work with the rest of the class.
As far as payment goes, most crossfit boxes are on a pay-as-you-go basis. You’ll probably be charged a little bit more if you need your first visit to be with a coach, but after that it’s just a flat monthly rate.
Your First Class
Your first class is the most important one. It’s where you’ll spend the rest of your classes, so it’s important that you feel comfortable and connected with your new box. After all, fitness is a very social activity and you want to make sure you’re getting that aspect right.
When you arrive, introduce yourself to the coach and ask them any questions you may have. They’ll take you through the first workout and explain how things work. You’ll have a chance to socialize with the rest of your new classmates after the workout.
This is a great time to make friends, but don’t get too caught up in the conversations. The coaches will be coming around to check your form on a regular basis. If you’re caught slacking off, they’ll probably remind you to pay attention. After the workout, you can ask any remaining questions you may have and go home. It’s that simple.
Who Should Join One?
Crossfit is about community, hard work and challenging yourself. If any of those things sound appealing to you, then crossfit may be the right fit for you. It doesn’t matter your gender or age; everyone is welcome at a crossfit gym.
During the first class, you’ll go through a thorough safety briefing and be split into appropriate groups based on your experience level. The people there are friendly and supportive of each other. You’re sure to find someone at your skill level to work out with.
The coaches will help you if you have any questions and can offer advice when you’re struggling with a particular piece of equipment or movement. They’re very approachable people and always happy to see you when you come in.
Make sure you show up on time and keep your attendance up. This is the best way to ensure that you get the most out of your crossfit experience, as it allows you to form relationships with the other members that will help you stay motivated.
Don’t forget to order your crossfit gym apparel when setting up your first appointment. Pick a quality sports watch or your favorite pair of running shoes for the next month. They’ll help you reach your goals faster.
Sources & references used in this article:
Inside the Box: How CrossFit® Shredded the Rules, Stripped Down the Gym, and Rebuilt My Body by TJ Murphy – 2012 – books.google.com
CrossFit: Fitness cult or reinventive institution? by MC Dawson – International review for the sociology of sport, 2017 – journals.sagepub.com
Investigating the organisational culture of CrossFit by B Bailey, AJ Benson, MW Bruner – International Journal of Sport …, 2019 – Taylor & Francis
New Gym in the Neighborhood by JC Herz – 2015 – Harmony