Did you set a health or fitness goal for 2019? I did, too! But instead of starting on January 1st, I decided to start on January 8th, when the kids go back to school. If you’re like me, you may be wondering what, exactly, you’re supposed to do now.

For me, it’s a combination of working out and eating well. We’ll get to the eating well part in another post, but let’s focus on working out. I like to work out with people, in a gym. Specifically, I like to go to a CrossFit gym.

Finding a CrossFit gym, in January, is very intimidating. You have the super fit CrossFit athletes who have been there for years. Then you have lots of new people who are working on their resolutions. Combine that with CrossFit being full of terms and movements that weren’t taught in elementary school PE, and you are totally rethinking this idea. I know. I did too.

But, you can do this. And you want to do this, and I’m going to help you with how to do this.

Step 1: Sign up for my newsletter and download the 8 CrossFit Moves You Need to Know before your first class or assessment. Practice some of these moves!

Step 2: Go to www.crossfit.com and find an affiliate.

Step 3: Learn the lingo and sign up for the Morning Chalk Up, a CrossFit newsletter that will help get you familiar with what’s going on in the CrossFit world.

What to look for in a CrossFit Gym

I’ve been pretty spoiled by finding awesome CrossFit gyms on the first attempt. I think it’s because 95% of the gyms out there are awesome. But that’s not enough to go on, you need to look for these things:

  1. Community – When you walk in the door, are you greeted? Someone should say hello, even if it’s me while I’m sweating through a workout. You should feel comfortable when you arrive, you should feel welcome. And, in turn, you will be those things to other people when they visit.
  2. Class schedule – Most gyms post their schedule online so you can see what the class times are. You probably can’t commit to the same time every single day, but if none of the times work for you, that probably isn’t the time for you.
  3. Quality coaches – CrossFit coaches go through a certification process. You’ll want to check to see that the coaches are certified. (Level 1 is a must! Level 2 or higher or specialty certifications are ideal.) On top of that, you want coaches who listen to you, who push you, and who are on your side. Ones that talk to you about your goals and help you achieve them.
  4. The right focus – Here’s where I think my gym sets itself apart. Sure we toss about “It’s your fitness,” when teasing each other during classes. But the focus for everyone is their fitness. Yes, we have elite athletes in our gym. (Which is TOTALLY cool.) But we also have brand new athletes. We have athletes like me, who go 3-4 times a week, have to scale almost every workout and don’t want to be an elite athlete. But each person is important. And each person is valued. And each person is supported.

When to Ditch A CrossFit Gym

Not all CrossFit gyms are created the same. Here are the things that I would run from if presented to me during my initial visit.

  1. People don’t talk to you. I mean, you walk in the door and wait for more than a few minutes and people are there and not talking to you. Seriously, I’d walk out. You don’t want to be a part of that gym.
  2. They don’t offer a free trial. CrossFit is not cheap. But your health is important and if a gym wants you to sign a contract, you need to be able to try it out. I’d ask for 3 classes as a trial, but you need at least one. And an assessment.
  3. They don’t offer intro classes. In CrossFit, we sometimes call intro classes “On-Ramp” and it’s usually a 4-6 week session where you learn the basics. You’re with a very good (and patient!) coach and other new people. Then you’re ready to join the regular classes.
  4. You don’t feel comfortable. If, for any reason above or any other reason, you don’t feel comfortable at a gym, any gym. Walk away. Run away.

That’s pretty much it. Most CrossFit gyms are full of awesome and welcoming people. People who will cheer you on every step of the way. People who genuinely want you to succeed. These will become your people.

Your people don’t care what you weigh, how much you can lift, or how fast you can run. They care that you are trying, that you want to succeed and that you are having fun. Find your people. Join a CrossFit gym today.

If you’re in the Fort Gordon/Augusta, Georiga area, I go to CrossFit Growl at Greenbrier Fitness. Their sister gym is CrossFit Stars & Bars. Let me know when you’re in town visiting, or when you’d like to try a class and we’ll go together.

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