If you are thinking about starting an exercise program and considering CrossFit, how-the-heck do you choose a gym that will be right for you? And if you don’t even know what you don’t know, what information would help you make a better decision?
Tip #1: Make a list of your goals, and use those goals during your conversations with potential coaches.
Before I started at CrossFit Local earlier this year, I made a list of my goals and discussed them with the owner, Chad Edwards. Luckily Chad was patient and asked me lots of questions in addition to telling me his opinions. It wasn’t all about him and his philosophy, but rather it was primarily about how CrossFit could be used to meet my needs.
From Stephanie Sharp, owner and coach at Ross Valley CrossFit:
Tip #2: “Look for a coach that understands that it’s about the athlete. Too often, I see CrossFit coaches, either out of inexperience or ego, think that the client must assimilate the coach’s training style, or the coach’s idea of what CrossFit SHOULD be. Yes, we have a specific methodology, and yes part of our job is to push the athlete into new territory of intensity, challenge and effort, but at the end of the day, we, as coaches, must remember that the first order of business is do no harm.
Tip #3: Look for a coach and gym that is a good match for your personality and style. Not every athlete needs to be pushed verbally. Not every athlete needs or wants to be cheered. Not every athlete will benefit from being pushed every day. Just because it makes the coach feel good or adequate, it doesn’t mean that it’s what’s best for the athlete.
From Jenny Werba at United Barbell – CrossFit SOMA:
Tip #4: Look for gyms that discuss all aspects of a healthy lifestyle – sleep/nutrition/recovery/warmups.
Tip #5: Avoid gyms that do long metcons every day.
Tip #6: Avoid gyms where the members praise their inability to move for days on end from perpetual soreness.
Tip #7: Avoid gyms that overemphasize competitiveness and highlight top athletes over everyone else.
Tip #8: Ask about the methodology behind their programming. Who creates it? Why do they follow that particular program style? Read over their programming.
Tip #9: If they have a blog – read it. Their values should be clear.
Tip #10: Coaches should ask more questions about you than they tell you about themselves (or their gym).
Tip #11: Talk to their members to get some good feedback.
From Robb Wolf’s podcast 106:
Tip #12: “Try it out and see how it goes.” Assuming that you feel good about the gym, you are ultimately going to have to invest some time to see what the actual workouts are like and if the gym is a good fit.
And lastly, Tip #13: Read this article from Becca Borawski at Breaking Muscle. It has a number of additional ideas for picking the right CrossFit gym.
What tips did I miss? I know a lot of people could benefit from your experiences in seeing both good and bad coaches and gyms.
photo credit: Jessica Camacho – Girl Walks Into A Bar(bell)