How To Choose a Crossfit Trainer (and Gym)
A Crossfit gym is realtivly easy to find. They are starting to become like Starbucks (with one on every corner). Finding a good one is harder. Want my advice? Start by finding a quality Crossfit trainer.
I’ve been Crossfitting for a couple years now and like all good Crossfit-ers I can’t shut up about it. Seriously I find a way to work Crossfit or something that happened at my local box into pretty much any conversation I’m in.
Crossfit is intensely personal, sure you workout in a group, but everyday when you step into the gym and start the WoD…it’s you vs. you.
Because I do nothing but talk about it, non-Crossfitt-ers consider me the de-facto “expert” on all things Crossfit. One of the questions I get alot is, “What have you heard about Gym XYZ?” or “Do you think I should go to Gym 123?” For awhile, my dedication was to my home box and I would religiously preach “You should go where I go…”
The more I thought about it though, I realized that wasn’t the right answer. Crossfit is intensely personal, sure you workout in a group, but everyday when you step into the gym and start the WoD…it’s you vs. you. It’s a personal battle and as such, you need to feel comfortable where you are. So, after doing some thinking I’ve changed my answer to this question. My answer now is “You need to go where you can relate to the trainer…”
Let’s face it, all Crossfit gyms are the same. They all have bumper plates, pullup bars, boxes for box jumps, rowers, etc… The gym is the equipment. Crossfit training is a relationship between you and your trainer. With that being said, here’s a few tips to help those trying to find and connect with a Crossfit trainer in your area.
1. Ask Around about local Crossfit Trainers
Ask folks you know who Crossfit not only about their gym, but about their trainers. Ask what their attitude is like. Are they a drill sergeant? calm and timid? somewhere in between? My personal preference is someone who is going to push me…so I lean more towards the drill sergeant side, but find what makes you comfortable.
2. Can you take criticism from this person?
If you’re just starting out at Crossfit, you’re going to do something wrong that needs correcting. Be it form, intensity, etc… you will be corrected. What you need to ask yourself when evaulating trainers is are you okay with them telling you that you’re wrong? This is a personal thing. As sexist as it seems, some guys aren’t comfortable with women correcting them (and vice-versa) so for those folks, they are going to want to seek a male trainer. Also check out the attitude of the trainer…do you like how they are correcting others? If not, chances are you aren’t going to like it when they are correcting you.
3. Try the Free Class
This is probably one of the best way to evaluate trainers in the area. Most Crossfit gyms will offer a free introductory class. Go take it. You get to meet the staff, ask them questions, and see how they interact with folks. Now a few things to bear in mind here. You’ll want to note how the staff reacts to you (the “Free Class folks”) and the gym regulars. Are you being treated the same? Are the regulars being treated different? Look around, be observant. How the regulars are being treated is how you would be treated. If you don’t like it, don’t join the gym.
4. What’s the Foundations program like?
Not all gym’s Foundations programs are the same. Some may not even have them! (this is bad…stay away from those gyms). A good Foundations program will scale you through not only the WoDs, but also teach you, progressively, the 9 fundamental movements of Crossfit. Gyms that have good Foundations programs tend to have good trainers that focus more on the mechanics of the movement than the pounds you’re lifting. This brings us to our final point…
5. Safety. Is the Crossfit Trainer pushing Quantity over Quality?
This is probably the most important point of this whole article, and I can’t stress this enough. Crossfit Trainers need to focus on the mechanics and accuracy of the movements that you are performing in your WoD…not the weight you’re lifting. It doesn’t matter if you’re snatching 205 overhead if you’re doing it incorrectly. You’re going to get hurt. Proper form may or may not lower the total weight that you can do for that movement (depending on the movement) but in the long run, it’s going to make you stronger. Moving the right way is all about efficiency which also lends itself to heavier loads being lifted, more often over time. The key takeaway from this point is this: Pounds aren’t important…they’ll come later. Do the movement right.
Well there’s 5 points in helping you choose a Crossfit trainer and gym. Hopefully they’ll help you on your journey to find a gym. If they did, let me know in the comments below. If any readers have any other suggestions, feel free to post those as well.