Things I Learned From Dropping Into Other CF Gyms!

Have you ever dropped into another CrossFit gym while on vacation?

Doing a drop-in is when you pay the daily fee to go to a Crossfit class at a local CF gym while you’re out of town and already belong to a box like ours (box is the in-crowd term for a Crossfit gym).

For Katelyn and I, it is one of our favorite activities to do together when we’re on vacation. It’s something we did before we were gym owners and it’s something we will continue to do. While going as a gym owner has changed our perspective on it. “What is this gym doing amazingly that we can bring back home to our community?” being a common thought we both have at some point after walking in. I’m gonna tell you about things that make it a great learning experience as an athlete!

Here are the things that have learned from dropping into other boxes as an athlete:

CrossFit Gyms are like asking a room full of people “How Do You Make A Hamburger?”

What would happen if you asked 10 different people how to make a hamburger from scratch? Everyone is gonna say a patty and bread, that is a given. But, everyone is going to give you different answers beyond that!

Some people will say that mayonnaise belongs on a burger, others will say lettuce and tomato is a must, and you’ll probably split the room on if cheese is a necessary part of crafting the perfect burger!

The exact same thing can be said of CrossFit gyms. Every box owner believes that constantly varied functional movements at high intensity is the basis for an awesome workout routine (the patty and buns), but we all implement it is a slightly different way! 

There are boxes that use sandbags, others that lift every day, and you’ll definitely split the room on which gyms regularly program the snatch!

And just like burgers, it is always fun to experience those different mindsets on what makes the perfect CrossFit class!

CrossFit Makes It Ridiculously Easy to Make Friends (and gain local knowledge!)

Being a Vegvisir athlete, you’ve learned how to move well and create habits that promote long term health success. Did you know that you’ve also been taught a weird sub culture’s language?

The CrossFit community is large, 15,000+ gyms to be exact! And we all speak the same language, regardless if you’re in Brazil, France, Egypt, China, or Australia. 

When you walk into a CrossFit class at any CF gym, we all know these facts:

“Air Bike sucks, burpees are worse, and thrusters will ensure that the walk to the car is slow!”

“Workout next to the fan! It’s the best space in the gym!”

“The last person working out ALWAYS deserves to be cheered on even more than the person who finishes first!”

These are all things that every CrossFitter on Earth knows, even if their gym isn’t quite exactly like ours! Which means, when you walk into a class, you can instantly strike up a conversation with someone in the class you attend! 

Starting off that conversation with something like “Man, those hang cleans look brutal today!” can lead really quickly into “you have to try out Martha’s B&B for brunch! Their Huevos Rancheros are TO DIE FOR!”

Plus, if you return the next day you’ll have a built in friend, giving you that home away from home feel for the week!

Dropping-In Contextualizes Your Fitness

Everyday we workout with the same people. We have our friends that we always try and make it to the same class as, the same person we compare our scores to on the Wodify leaderboard, and the same awesome coaches that we trust with our fitness!

When we enter a different box, all the things we are used to change a bit. The coach starts the class a little differently, your barbells feel different, and you definitely don’t recognize anyone! 

That means that all your usual measures for how you’re doing in a workout have changes as well…good!

For me when I train in a different gym, I tend to learn a lot about what I’m capable of because I’m out of my groove. I’ll push for bigger sets, chase different athletes, and learn different techniques to accomplish tasks just by watching the other athletes as I workout. Sometimes this shows you that you’re much fitter than you think and others there is a different area of weakness you should focus on. Either way, it’s a learning experience!

There Is Something New To Learn From EVERYONE!

My absolute favorite part of dropping into a gym though is learning the different perspectives that coaches all over the world have to offer. 

Fitness is a huge field and knowing everything is just not possible, no matter how dedicated a coach is! Every coach has strengths and blind spots just like everyone else, which means when I go to a different CrossFit gym, I’m always looking to learn something new! 

For instance if you’ve noticed a new band warm-up popping up around the gym recently (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch Brian or I warm-up before our classes and you’ll see that routine). I actually learned that routine from a back squat warm-up that I hadn’t seen programmed before and it was at CrossFit 88 in Park Ridge, IL (Coach Dede was the one who implemented it). 

It’s a simple routine that involves stretching the hamstring of each leg in the 3 extreme end ranges of motion that muscle goes through, then applying it with 10 squat presses into the band. 

I kid you not, the 1 rep max back squat I hit after it was game changing. I had never been able to have my femurs relax that much to keep me upright in a squat. 20# PR that day and now we use it here when I notice someone who suffers from the same hip/hamstring tightness I have. 

And that’s just one example! 

I’ve had moments like that countless times throughout my CrossFit career because great coaches exist everywhere! And at a bare minimum, if ya don’t learn anything factual, you do learn about whether you do or do not like an experience, which is valuable in its’ own right!

So, if ya get the chance while you’re out of town, give a drop-in a go!

Just remember to email or call the gym before hand (give them about a 24hr heads up if possible but 2 hours at a bare minimum) to let them know you’re coming and they will help you drop-in to their facility!

Go in with an open mind and have fun! 

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