To the general public, unfamiliar with CrossFit, finding the best affiliate fit for your goals and personality can be a burden that can lead to inaction. Therefore, before you make the investment into joining the closest, or the one with the lowest rates; here are some things to consider before joining.
Each facility is a CrossFit affiliate, not a franchise. This is important to understand that each is an individually owned and operated small business. Therefore, you may find a great variety amongst each CrossFit affiliate, so hopefully the following will help you on your search.
The first thing I would recommend is finding an affiliate that offers some kind of “Fundamentals” or “On Ramp” classes for people new to CrossFit. These programs usually vary from 3-12 classes; either 1 on 1, or small group setting. The goal of these classes is to get the new member comfortable with common exercises, and for the coaching staff to get more familiar with the new member. Without such classes available to new members, many new members may find getting started overwhelming.
The experience of the coaching staff is another important factor to consider. An experienced staff is important, however, finding a staff that is well rounded in regards to nutrition, anatomy/physiology, healthcare, and other modes of exercise outside of CrossFit will improve the value of your experience. If coaches do not continue their education beyond the basics required to coach, the member experience may suffer.
Another thing that will add tremendous value to your CrossFit experience is if an affiliate offers classes outside of their regular group CrossFit classes. Additional options including personal training, Endurance classes, Olympic lifting, Kettlebells, Mobility, etc. are all classes that may help with your goals. Such class offering add great value to your experience, giving you options to further your learning in a particular aspect of CrossFit.
The class size/member:coach ratio is another item to consider. Unlike group classes at traditional gyms, or many “boot camp” style class offerings, the top CrossFit affiliates will work to keep their member to coach ratio between 8-12 to 1. Affiliates can control this in 2 common ways; either capping the class size, or adding coaches to help during the larger class times. The larger the ratio, the less time the coach will have to offer feedback and corrections for your particular needs.
Customer service should be high on this list too. Most people are used to the typical gym model of quantity over quality. Once you sign your long term contract, it’s rare that you’ll have much contact with staff members, and if you do, many times you’ll find yourself unsatisfied with the outcome. At the end of the day, you’re choosing a business to help you reach your health and fitness goals; and that business should be run professionally, not like a fraternity house. Staff should take your concerns seriously and offer solutions to problems in a timely manner.
You’re making an investment into your long term health when you decide to join a CrossFit affiliate. When you walk into our facility, our goal is to cultivate a relationship that will last for 10+ years; and you’ll be treated accordingly. There are other aspects of a CrossFit affiliate to consider, but these are some of the easiest ones to find answers too on your first visit. Many offer a complementary class prior to joining, and I encourage you to shop around before choosing an affiliate to call home.