Tis the season! The season for family, friends and travel. AAA forecasts 107.3 million Americans will take to planes, trains, automobiles and other modes of transportation during the year-end holiday period from Saturday, December 23rd through Monday, January 1st.
With all that travel and over 13,000 CrossFit affiliates in 120 countries, you can bet there will be tons of drop ins. Dropping in to a CrossFit gym is like a science. You want to be a branch of your home gym's community and culture. One of the best things about CrossFit is that just about any town you happen to find yourself in, there is a CrossFit nearby and while coaching styles, programming and locations may vary, the community is always there. It's like a "home away from home."
Here are our tips to master the drop-in:
1. Do your research: With 13,000 options out there, it's easy to become overwhelmed. Use this tool: https://map.crossfit.com to refine your search This website allows you to search for the closest gym to where you'll be staying. Once you have it narrowed down to a top 3-5, check out their social media, website and programming. Find the gym that you feel has the best 'vibe'.
2. Call ahead: I've been a coach, head coach and now a manager. The one thing that has remained a constant is the headache of having someone drop-in unannounced. Some of the more popular gyms even have times, days and classes that don't allow drop-ins. An email or phone call ahead of time goes a long way in making everyones life a little easier. It also helps to give them a little bit of your background with CrossFit.
3. Show up early and introduce yourself: More often than not, you'll run into gyms that only have one or two coaches in the gym at any given time. You know you're going to have to fill out waivers and liability forms. You'll also want to scout out the facilities, use the bathroom, etc. Don't roll up 1 minute before class starts and expect them to roll out the red carpet. 10 minutes is a good start, 15 minutes is even better. Chat with members, share your story and make new friends.
4. You'll have to pay. Most of the time: In the early days of CrossFit, it was like the wild west. Drop-ins were free and memberships were whatever you could afford. Things have changes. It's a business now. Every gym has their own rules and fees, but it's usually 20 bucks or buy a t-shirt. Sometimes, they will cut military members a break, just depends. No matter what, expect and offer to pay. These are hard working individuals, much like yourself
5. Don't be a "no-show" This one is obvious. If your plans change and you went out a little later than you wanted to the night before, have the decency to let them know that you can't make it in. The sooner, the better.
6.Scale just like you would at home. The coaches there definitely won't know you very well. They won't know that you usually do Fran with 65 pounds, not 95. They won't know that pull-ups bother your shoulder. We know dropping in is exciting and fun but its not a chance for you to scale up just to make a statement. Err on the side of caution, you may not even know yourself as an athlete at some gyms based on climate, altitude, et cetera. Those factors will definitely make any workout harder. Just have fun.
7. Review your experience. If you can't stop talking about your amazing experience at CrossFit XYZ, let THEM know. Yelp, google, or Facebook review the gym a 5-star rating and tell them why you loved it. To the contrary, if you didn't enjoy your experience, let them know. Otherwise, you're just perpetuating lousy experiences as an acceptable standard. Trust us, gyms love feedback. Sometimes, its not easy to hear but in the long run, it makes things better. You can also show them some love on social media. Tag them on Instagram or Facebook.
8. Have fun! The final step is an easy one. Let loose, have some laughs and keep it as stress free as possible.
Crossfit is built on community. Not just here at CrossFit PR Star, but at gyms around the world. Get out and check out some of the other amazing affiliates.