Luckily for the wandering CrossFitter, there are thousands of affiliate gyms across the world—more than 5,000 are located in the United States alone! You can’t travel far without stumbling across a local box that has the resources you need to train, but also a whole new code of conduct to abide by. With help from CrossFit Coach and frequent explorer Ryan Engelhardt of CrossFit Kennesaw in Marietta, Georgia, we’ve compiled a list of ten simple rules traveling CrossFitters should follow.
Once your vacation is planned check out map.crossfit.com to find the nearest box. Get to know the gym through online research—explore the website, read about the coaches, and check out any photos they may have posted. Most importantly, note the gym’s hours and class schedule.
2. Learn the Rules
Some boxes may have a code of conduct listed on their website or inside the gym, but rules can also be passed along to members via word of mouth. If you don’t see rules posted, ask. Inquiring about the law of the land is not only a sign of respect, but will also keep you safe.
3. When in Rome
Remember that you’re in someone else’s house, so don’t insist on acting like you’re at home. Coach Engelhardt gives this example: “Just because everyone warms up barefoot in your home gym, doesn’t mean you should walk around barefoot in a gym you’re visiting.” Upon arriving at the gym, take a moment to observe your surroundings to find clues about the gym’s culture.
4. Call Ahead
If you’re a more advanced athlete and are working with a coach on a specific training schedule, it’s best to give the gym you’re visiting a heads up. Call ahead and ask if the gym has any open hours and then explain your training regime. Most boxes will be happy to accommodate you as long as they know what to expect.
5. Be Flexible
If you don’t have a specific training schedule and simply want to drop in on a scheduled class, be flexible. The WODs at the gym you’re visiting may be much different from the WODs at home. Ask questions if you’re confused and enjoy a break in your routine!
6. Be Punctual
Show up early for scheduled classes to give yourself plenty of time to meet the coaches, learn the rules, and understand the workout. Walking into a class late can leave a bad first impression with the gym you’re visiting.
7. Take Advice
Always defer to what the coach is telling you, unless you’re being directed to attempt something dangerous, then use common sense. Coach Engelhardt explains, “If a coach tells you, “I’d like you to reduce the weight you’re lifting, because I don’t like your form,” do it. Even if your coach at home approves.” It’s important to respect the coaches on site.
Coach Engelhardt reminds us, “ego is an athlete’s worst enemy.” Visiting a new gym and checking out stronger, more advanced athletes may inspire you to push yourself too far. Take a deep breath and remember you’re off home turf before attempting to break any local records. “Sometimes a vacation is a good excuse to get some rest in,” adds Coach Engelhardt.
9. Enjoy Yourself
Your gym can start to feel like a second home, so visiting a strange box can be nerve wracking. Remember to enjoy yourself! Visiting distant CrossFit gyms is an excellent way to connect with fellow athletes and shake up your routine.
10. Safety First
In addition to learning the rules, it’s also important to be aware of your own capabilities before squatting at a different gym. “I would caution beginners who have not completed an introductory course at their home gym,” warns Coach Engelhardt. Learning CrossFit techniques and lifts is best done at your local gym, and not at a strange box while on Spring Break.