I currently travel a fair amount for my full-time job. Keeping my fitness a priority doesn’t take a backseat when I’m on the road so I always make sure to find an affiliate where I can drop in. Back in 2008 when I first started doing CrossFit it was pretty rare to find a box to drop in on while traveling. Now, no matter where I go, I can usually have my pick of two or three boxes, most located within a mile of where I’m staying.
As soon as I find out I’ve got some upcoming travel, I go straight to Google Maps, plug in the address of my hotel, and click Search Nearby “CrossFit”. Most affiliates will have a drop in rate, some don’t charge, some don’t charge IF you buy a t-shirt, and others may have a special rate for visiting coaches from other boxes. It used to be customary for affiliates to accept a t-shirt from your home box in exchange for a drop in fee, but I don’t see this as much any more.
It is common courtesy to contact the affiliate at least 24 hours before dropping in to give them a heads up. At the very least, you should always show up about 15 to 30 minutes prior to class time to introduce yourself and fill out the waiver before you get jamming. Speaking from experience as a coach and a person who has dropped in many times, drop ins are ALWAYS welcome, but it’s a little inconsiderate to show up exactly when class time starts and expect to be good to go.
Because CrossFit gyms are affiliated and not a chain, you will never find two that are exactly the same. Sometimes I’ve been one of 20+ in a class, and other times I’ve been the ONLY one in the class. Some boxes have all the state-of-the-art gear, with brand new Rogue competition plates and Elieko bars. Other boxes have an arsenal of second-hand equipment, with homemade wall balls and squat racks. Some affiliates run a structured class, with mobility and warm-up drills that directly correlate to the workout, and coaches who provide the very best instruction. Unfortunately, I’ve also been to some boxes where the opposite is true and I’m left wondering “people actually pay for this?!”
Regardless, every single CrossFit box that I’ve visited has always demonstrated one common characteristic: a happy, welcoming, judgement free vibe.
Next time you’re traveling drop in on an affiliate in that area.
Karl Eagleman, USA Track and Field, Jam Master, Resident Tall Man