CrossFit has been around for quite some time and now the number of boxes across the country and world have sky rocketed. The same cannot be said about the quality of the services provided in these boxes. Not all CrossFit Boxes are created equal.
I think with high intensity workouts quality is a must. This can be quality from a business, coaching, programming and facilities standpoint.
Here is a list of 5 reasons why you may need to find a new CrossFit Box
- Coaching Experience
CrossFit has become so popular that for awhile people would take their Level I’s, go home and open up a gym. That was it. No requirement other than the certification. No requirement of an associates degree or bachelors degree. No training in anatomy, physiology, exercise science, etc. Don’t get me wrong, these are not 100% essential if you find a coach that is dedicated to continually learning. Ask your coach questions about their credentials and experiences to get a full grasp of their coaching experience. Also note, previous high school or collegiate athletes do not always make the best coaches. Look at Michael Boyle. http://www.bodybyboyle.com/staff
CrossFit is “constantly varied functional movement performed at high intensity.” This is somewhat misleading. Even at CrossFit Level I, they start to teach how to properly program weeks, even months in advance to decrease the possibility of injuries. There are coaches out there that put little, sometimes no time or effort into their programming. This is frankly dangerous. I can speak from experience. The first CrossFit I became a member at… Literally the morning of, the coach would create the workout or find a random one off the internet. This was without analysis of previous workouts in the days before. I remember a workout where it was medium weight snatches with burpees and shoulder presses. Then the following day the WOD was 100 medium weight snatches for time. Not only is the snatch a very technical lift, but this sequence of WODs is asking for the shoulder to get beat down leading to injury.
3. Safety First and Pain
Safety should be a topic of discussion in any CrossFit gym. There should be a conscious effort to watch and aid all participants in every class. That even goes for the seasoned veterans that think they are always doing things right. Everyone should have a pair of eyes on them, since they are paying for it… See #5. CrossFit requires a lot of strength, flexibility, mobility, stability, focus, etc. CrossFit is even demanding on the uber athletes. Now, think about yourself or the people working out next to you. Most of them are average Joes. I have found many people that participate in CrossFit are accountants, engineers, stay-at-home mothers, and the list can go on. Not once in there did I say professional athlete and that is because this is NOT the norm. Most people have aches and pains before they even start their first WOD. So, finding a gym that takes safety serious is important. Anything beyond average muscle pain is not good and a good coach will help you find the facilitator to help find the cause.
4. More Reps / More Weight Mentality
Some gyms have a lot of competition, but there is a difference between healthy and unhealthy competition. A good coach or Box will watch the competition and intervene when they think you’re doing too much weight or doing too many reps. They also shouldn’t be getting in your face screaming for you to do more. I have also seen this first hand. A client that had terrible form in almost all the technical lifts was egged on to do more reps with horrible form. This is just a poor mentality and bad coaching. Actually it isn’t coaching at all.
5. Dollar Bill Y’all
As many of you know CrossFit is not cheap. Many people pay a lot of money to be members at their local Box, but are they getting their monies worth? Do you feel like there is a value in the services you are getting? Make sure your gym thinks of you more than just a dollar bill. They get to know you. They don’t sit back and watch while you’re sweating. They coach your movement. When it comes down to it, do they care about you? CrossFit isn’t just a gym. You’re paying for coaching, proper programming, good sound advice and a great atmosphere. These are some of the characteristics of a client-centered Box.
Do your self a favor and look over this list. The list is also not exhaustive as there are many reasons that a gym can be good or bad, but this was written to get you to pay a little more attention. Are you a part of an awesome Box, or do you need to find a new one?
Joshua Thorp, D.C.