For the majority of your training, your local Crossfit box is your bread and butter. It’s where you’ve developed relationships with coaches and athletes alike, it’s where you track your progress, and it’s where you celebrate when you PR or go for your first competition. For nomads and other frequent travelers, a “local” box may feel more like a rare luxury.
The beauty of Crossfit is its community, right? There are boxes everywhere around the world. No matter where you are, you’d be hard pressed to not be a stones’ throw from a Crossfit affiliate. When you’re on the road, here are a few tips for how to find a good box for your drop-ins to keep your training moving forward (just like you!).
Do your research
Before I travel, I always plop my hotel or AirBnB on the map and do a quick search to pull up any boxes in the nearby vicinity. Once I have that list, I start to work through each one to see what their schedule is like, what their WODs are, and if they have any information about drop-in classes. Depending on the area, some sites will let you know their drop-in rate and others you’ll need to contact to find out.
Once you’re familiar with your options, do you homework on the area. How long does it take to get to each box? Will you have a car or do you need to rely on public transportation? If you’re planning to take a 6am class, but it’s a 20 minute walk, make sure you’re prepared and organized to get there on time.
It may seem unnecessary, but getting in touch with the boxes before you get to your destination serves two purposes: one, it lets you know a little bit more about that box, their philosophy, and any logistics and, two, it lets them know you’re coming.
When reaching out, it’s really helpful to give a sense of when you’ll be visiting and which class you’ll join. Likewise, always mention how much experience you have with Crossfit already. A drop-in from someone who’s very new to Crossfit requires a different level of attention than someone who’s been training for four years and is planning to come to one of the least busy sessions of the day.
Show up early
When I reach out to a box that I may be visiting, I like to double-check what forms I may need to fill out and how much earlier they’d like me to arrive. Sometimes there are unavoidable delays, but showing up last minute puts the coach in a position where they cannot properly evaluate your experience and any special needs that you may have while they try to balance the expectations and needs of the rest of the class.
Giving yourself about 10 to 15 minutes to pay, sign any forms, and meet the coach is a good rule of thumb that helps both you, and the trainers you’ll be working with.
If you’re shy like me, it may be tempting to just try to blend in with the crowd. Breaking into a new box can be intimidating – everybody knows each other!
That said, I’ve never visited a single box where athletes weren’t excited to meet a new student. It’s fun to meet knew people that you can share with and learn from, even if only for a day. So when you arrive, be sure to, at the very least, let the coach know who you are, especially since he or she will need to know a little bit about your history. After that, spend some time getting to know some of the other athletes in the room. It makes the visit even better and you never know what connections you’ll make.
Be an active participant
The first rule of thumb, in any Crossfit class, is to listen to the coach. Whether you’re a guest or if you’re in your home box, the coach is there to guide you, protect you, and help you grow. (Unless, of course, they’re telling you something that you know doesn’t work for you or your body.)
As a visitor, it’s even more important to practice good manners and respect. You’re with a new set of athletes, new coaches, and new programming – this is your chance to learn something new! Keep your ears and mind open to try new things and test out new tips. This can help your progress so much.
On the flip side, don’t hesitate to share with the coach or students around you, in a non-disruptive way. If you have a tip you’ve learned from your coaches that you think might help your workout partner, let them know. It’s an exchange of minds in one big ol’ community. Don’t just go through the motions, participate fully and get all of the benefit of training in a new space.
That’s it! And, as always, pay it forward. If a friend or someone you know is traveling somewhere you’re familiar with, pay it forward. It’s aways helpful to have recommendations and second-hand experience when you’re in a new city.