Over the next few weeks, throngs of travelers will navigate busy airports and highways en route to holiday celebrations. Indulging in an abundance of holiday cheer is part of what makes this season fun, but the long flights, rich holiday meals, family obligations, and that extra mug of your uncle’s famous spiked egg nog eventually start to add up.
One of my favorite things to do while visiting family this time of year is to drop in to a CrossFit affiliate in the area. Sneaking away for a quick WOD provides an hour of respite from holiday shenanigans and keeps my healthy lifestyle in check. (Read: counterbalances the massive amount of my parent’s biscotti cookies that I can’t resist during the month of December.)
There are more than 5,000 CrossFit affiliates throughout the world. You can click here to find one near you. Each CrossFit box is unique and there’s a great deal of variety in facilities, equipment, and culture, which is part of the fun of exploring a new environment. In general, the CrossFit community is welcoming and supportive; however, if you’re planning a visit to another box, here are some courteous tips:
1. Do Your Homework
Research drop-in policies and shoot the owners an email to give them a head’s up that you are interested in visiting. Inquire about drop-in fees and ask when is the best time to show up. The last thing a coach wants is for a guest who drops in during their busiest class to take attention away from regular, paying members.
2. Show Up Early and Communicate
Arrive at least fifteen to twenty minutes before the start of class to sign waivers, meet the coaches, and get a sense of the gym etiquette. If you’re nursing an injury or are uncomfortable with a movement in the workout, let the coaches know. Pay attention to how they run a class. For example, are people dropping weights? Are members doing mobility work before class? Do members wipe down equipment after the WOD? Take the initiative to introduce yourself to others and ask questions.
3. Don’t Brag
I don’t care how much you deadlift or what so-and-so Games athlete works out at your box. Show me that you can move well and safe and that you are capable of avoiding major technique disasters. If you can’t, be ready for a coach to call out your flaws. Remember that it’s not personal. They are just looking out for you and the safety of their community.
4. Be Prepared to Learn Something New
Each coach comes from a different background and looks for different things. The trainer may not be demonstrating a split jerk the way you would, but who cares? Be open to suggestions and learn from the experience. Sometimes hearing the same thing told a different way will turn on a light bulb in your head and help you grow as an athlete. Be open-minded. Whenever I visit a box I always think about what cool, new, fresh thing I can bring back to my classes.
At my gym, I love when CrossFitters visit for a WOD. I have a great deal of pride for my community and visitors seem to make everyone bring their A-game. When the timer counts down, don’t be afraid to attack the WOD and show your stuff. If you’re going out of your way to visit, you might as well respect the establishment and work at full capacity.
Think of visiting a CrossFit box like visiting your significant other’s family for the first time. Don’t be a jerk – be polite. With a little planning and effort you can ensure you’ll be a welcome visitor and not a holiday hassle.
Photos provided by CrossFit LA.