Last week on the blog, I gave the first 2 Tips For Joining A CrossFit Gym and now, I’m here with two more.
3) Make Sure They Require An On Ramp Course
At this point its an unofficial rule that all CrossFit gyms should have an on ramp, fundamentals, or elements course. Usually this is anywhere between 3-10 classes or one on one sessions to teach you the basics of weight lifting and introduce you to the CrossFit methodology.
THIS IS FOR YOUR BENEFIT.
Don’t feel like you’re being demoted when the coach tells you you need to take fundamentals during your intro session. Even experienced collage athletes are required to take this course because unless you’ve actually had specific olympic weight lifting coaching you just don’t know how to properly perform these movements, and thats ok! We all gotta start somewhere.
There is so much to learn about functional movement. A fundamentals course by a well ran gym is an amazing opportunity to learn how the body works and gain a new level of exercise appreciation.
At our gym, we require 5 introductory small group classes total. Its starts with the one on one intro session. After that, you take four additional small group classes focusing on different movements in each: body weight exercises, deadlift, front squat and clean, snatch and overhead squat, and overhead press and jerk. By the time you finish the last fundamentals you should feel confident to go crush a regular CrossFit class.
This is a perfect way to integrate new members into the community and program as well as prepped them physically to fully experience all the benefits of high intensity functional training that CrossFit offers.
However, not every gym does this. Believe it or not a lot of gyms just throw you right into class with zero training in any of the movements listed above. This is not okay in my book. By the time you enter a CrossFit class you should know that everyone in there has completed an on ramp course and is on the same page.
PRO TIP: Check out their website or give them a call to inquire about their on ramp/fundamentals program. If there isn’t one, Keep looking.
4) Make Sure They Have A Program
This might seem obvious, but its not. Constantly varied shouldn’t mean random. The truth is, sports science is increasingly pointing to muscle confusion as the most effective way to to trick the body into burning fat and building muscle. However, without a scheduled program you run the risk overtraining certain muscle groups while under training others.
In good programing, variation comes built into the overall arch of the program. This is what distinguishes a good CrossFit program from a basic fitness class. You wouldn’t go to a collegiate level sports team and find their strength and conditioning coach winging it everyday with random workouts made up on the spot. This is because any coach at that level knows that “the magic” is in the structure of a program. In other words, you can’t manage what you don’t measure.
A well thought out 6-12 week program reduces the margin for error, creates measurable results and delivers a safer and more effective experience.
PRO TIP: Ask them who does their programming and what kind of cycle they operate on. Also, if they have workout tracking software like Beyond The Whiteboard or Wodify.