Robert’s Ramblings: Dropping In
We all have our regular CrossFit schedule. I’m a creature of habit, and it sucks majorly when something comes up and throws a monkey wrench into that schedule. For me, the main thing that pulls me out of my normal CrossFit class schedule is my work travel. However, not all is lost. Due to the popularity of CrossFit, literally most anywhere you may travel, there is probably a CrossFit box around to “drop-in” on. I recently traveled to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and dropped in at a box there several times. It’s a fun thing to do. I even got a team WoD in there.
We see people at our own box who drop-in to get a WoD in. For those of you who have only ever been to our CrossFit Phoenix 815, here are some of my observations and thoughts about dropping-in, and here are some things to consider and know before going.
- Let them know you’re coming: It’s always a good idea to give the drop-in box a call/message that you are going to be coming into town and you would like to workout. Having more than a days notice is ideal, however I’ve flown into some cities and contacted them that day. Just be aware if you contact a box the day you want to workout, they may not get back to you. Most have gotten back to me pretty promptly. I had one box ask for an email from one of our coaches to attest to my skill level, so that may take sometime (thanks Coach Emily for the fast response that day).
- Let them know your experience level: Dropping into a box, no one has any idea who you are or how long you’ve done CrossFit. Giving the drop-in box an idea of your experience level will help them ensure you don’t injure yourself. Are you a Games-level fire-breather? Have you done CrossFit for 5 years and are proficient with most movements? When I mean proficient, I mean do you know all the general movements safely enough that you’re not going to hurt yourself (are there things to work on, sure, but you don’t need a coach telling you what a clean is).
- You don’t need to be a fire-breather to drop-in: I feel it best that as long as someone knows the basic movements (been through on-ramp) reasonably well (don’t have to be perfect, but you know the vocabulary) is sufficient enough.
- Know how to scale your movements: At your home box, the coaches learn your ability level and can make suggestions. When you go to a drop-in box, they may not know that you need to scale pull-ups with ring-rows, or that you need to do American kettle bell swings instead of Russian. Give the coaches there what your typical scaling is.
- Let the coaches know your weaknesses: I always tell the box I’m going to that I tend to spread my feet out a bit too much and my right knee can cave a bit. It’s a good idea to tell them so they can keep an eye on you during class.
- Go with the flow: Whenever I go to a new box, I get a feeling of familiarity, yet different. Most boxes have the same general flow of class. Warm-up, skill, WoD. However, there are variations of that. Some boxes have a warm-up posted that you do on your own. Others you do it in a class. One had skill work after the WoD. Another box had a cool-down routine after the workout. I take the mentality of “When in Rome…”. And at the end of the day, they are fairly similar… but different.
- Introduce yourself: I typically tell people that it takes 2 months to get used to a new box. Unfortunately, you may only be in town for a day or two, and don’t have that chance to get used to the box. So make it a point to say hi to other people there. That will help make the place feel more like your home-box.
- Don’t be “that person”: Yes… “That person”, who thinks they are God’s gift to CrossFit, and think they know everything. Do the WoD, and let the cards end up where they lay. Don’t be an arrogant ass. You’re a visitor. Don’t make it into a competition. If you get the best time in a class, great. If not, oh well. You’re there to get a workout.
- Our coaches teach us well: I see this when I go to other boxes (and competitions). Our coaches do a good job teaching the fundamental and proper movements. Most times at other boxes, coaches don’t really comment on any of my movements (aside from normal tweaking things here and there). I’ve seen some atrocious forms before; our box does a great job ensuring that we are doing movements correctly.
- Pricing may vary: Drop-in pricing varies. I’ve seen them range from $0 to $25 per class (Some boxes in general have a “first class free”, so if you’re coming in for one day, you can usually get in on that). One place had a deal that if you buy a t-shirt, you could take a class for free. So at least I got a shirt out of it. If you’re going to be there for multiple days, ask them to see if you can lump classes into one fee.
- Give them a review: Did you like the box? The environment? It’s typically good form to review the box afterwards. I look at reviews before I drop-in on a box, so if you went to a particularly good one, let them know.
- They may have different names for the same movements: At one box, they had the complete warm-up routine on the board. I did not recognize any of them. However, as we got started, they were common stretching exercises we do. Note: they did not have “Emily Bombers” on the board.
- Ask people about the area: This is totally not CrossFit related, but I always ask people at the drop-in box about local restaurants and watering holes that they like. I like getting the inside scoop on where to go in the city I’m traveling to.
In general, enjoy the travels, and enjoy the experience of dropping-in. For me, it’s a great feeling to drop-in somewhere where we all speak the same “language”. I can get my workout in for the day, meet some new people, and experience a new place.Robert Sandoval