Finding The RIGHT CrossFit Box

Every CrossFit “box” (aka gym) is independently owned and operated. While all CrossFit boxes operate under CrossFit Inc., each one is free to run their business as they like. This is really cool because each box you visit will be unique and personal. However, this also means that some boxes operate under higher standards than others. With CrossFit being so popular, you definitely need to do your research before selecting where you train.

First, click below to find a CrossFit near you and double check that the boxes you look into are certified CrossFit Affiliates:

Also find out how long they have been affiliated. Newer affiliates are often-times just as great as the tried-and-true boxes, but how long they have been established can make a difference in the quality of coaching and overall experience. CrossFit boxes are popping up everywhere, so you will undoubtedly run into many new ones. You should consider all of the factors in this article to make sure they will live up to your expectations. Excellent coaches are opening up new boxes every day (literally!), but affiliates that have been around a while may be a more stable choice. CrossFit Rockwall has been an affiliate since August 2007. We are among the first 3% of affiliates who opened! 


1.) Coaching:

The coaching staff is the most important part of selecting where you train. An amazing coach training out of their garage is head and shoulders above a sub-standard trainer working out of a state-of-the-art facility. The topic of good coaching is far too extensive to cover completely, but here are a few things to look for: 

Certifications – The coaches should hold a wide variety of certifications and pursue continuing education each year. 

Experience – The coaching staff should have experience with all levels and all types of athletes. Most importantly, they should understand how to safely scale workouts for beginners. 

Personality – It’s important to get along with and respect your coaches. They should also respect you! 

2.) “Intro” Foundations Program:

Good CrossFit boxes have a comprehensive “on-ramp”, “foundations”, or “elements” program that is designed to teach you the basic movements of CrossFit in a controlled environment. This program should make you feel safe and confident before entering the regular classes. It is vital that you learn proper mechanics before increasing the intensity of your workouts. Without a good foundation, you are much more likely to be injured or get burned out. 

We have spent years improving and perfecting our Foundations course based on feedback from new athletes. We limit our class size to only four athletes to ensure new clients receive plenty of attention & coaching. Make sure that the place you train values technique and consistency before intensity. 

3.) Programming

Exercise programming is an important part of your CrossFit experience. While “WODs” (workout of the day) can sometimes seem random due to the large variety of movements in CrossFit, they should not be! A good program requires a large amount of planning and experience. 

One of the biggest mistakes we see with programming is daily “beatdowns”. If the box is programming grueling 20+ minute workouts every day of the week, they may not know much about getting results. Some of the most effective training takes place in the 8-12 minute range. Workouts don’t always need to be long. In fact, they should rarely be over 20 minutes. 

Every class should include a programmed group “warm up” prior to the WOD which incorporates thoughtful movements designed to prepare the athletes body for workout of the day. It is also important that each class has a programmed group “cool down” or accessory work after the WOD has been completed.

There should also be a well-designed lifting program in place for all athletes. Look at their past programming and see if the lifting cycle is consistent and well organized. Good programs address all ability and skill levels and continue to challenge you over time. 

4.) Community

One of the best things about working out at a CrossFit box is the COMMUNITY. People cheer each other on, push each other, and care about each other at CrossFit. Can you feel that when you visit a prospective box? Each box will have their own culture, and you should feel comfortable there. We have some of the best people training at CrossFit Rockwall; and you will find other boxes with equally amazing athletes. Make sure that the culture of the box fits your personality. 

All boxes run their classes differently, so try out or observe a class or two to see if the culture of the box is something you will enjoy.

5.) Facility and Equipment

Owners and coaches should take pride in their facility. Clean floors, equipment, and bathrooms are a big predictor of how much they care, and how much effort they will be willing to put into making your CrossFit experience great. Is there blood and dead skin all over their barbells and pull-up bars? Can you easily find and get to the equipment you need? You should be able to tell right away if things are ship-shape or in complete disarray. 

Every box is set-up differently. Some have showers, some don’t. Some have air conditioning and heat, some don’t. Some have walls, some don’t! Go check it out in person to see if you feel comfortable in their environment. The bottom line is, find a place that takes pride in what they have and where you would feel comfortable working out. CrossFit Rockwall members who visit other affiliates always notice the cleanliness (or lack there-of) of their facilities! They are used to our clean floors, clean equipment, and clean restrooms, and it sticks out like a sore thumb when those things are lacking! 

6.) Will They Be There For YOU and Hold You Accountable?

Commercial gyms like 24-Hour Fitness have a business plan that will only work if you don’t show up. Most CrossFit boxes have the opposite approach – it will only work if you DO show up! Your box should not only be supportive when you join, but also after you have been there a while. The coaches should be there for you every step of the way!

At CrossFit Rockwall, we take pride in holding our athletes accountable. If you don’t show up to class, we promise that you will hear from us, know matter how long you have been a member! We regularly call/text, e-mail, and conveniently “run into” clients who have not been consistent. Look for an affiliate that will go out of their way to make sure you are getting the results you hoped for!