When I first learned I had to go on a trip to San Diego (earlier in the year, before all of this craziness began), I enthusiastically started looking for places to drop in. I found Stay Classy CrossFit and loved the name. You know the owners must have a sense of humor. I was thinking “please have good reviews, please have good reviews” and I was in luck. There was lots of good feedback on them. So, they were my primary target…that and Belching Beaver microbrewery. I had to go there if for nothing else than the t-shirt. It shows you how important branding can be.
I reached out via email about a week before I went out and received a prompt response from Rachel. She was very welcoming and helpful, answered all of my questions and got me all of the information I needed.
Usually when I travel I have a rental car. As this was in downtown San Diego, it made more sense to Uber/Lyft wherever I needed to go. It was an interesting Uber ride to get to Stay Classy. They weren’t the easiest to find. The front of the facility was not on the street that it’s addressed on and it’s not well marked. We passed it a couple of times and I had to call to get some more direction. I walked through a garage to find it. But I did find it. Was it a concerning start? Yes. Was it a bad omen? No.
Let’s see the details. It’s been a while so I’ll remind you that all ratings are on a scale of 1-5 barbells.
This part is going to be a little unusual because they’ve changed their website since I was there. When I first researched them, they had a banner across the top of their site that welcomed drop-ins and had a link to click on to get started. It’s not on their new site. However, there’s a note on their schedule indicating there are current mandatory indoor facility closures. So, it makes sense that drop-in information is not available right now.
Their site details their programs and memberships, schedule and some information about themselves in the Who We Are section. It also has some great pics and has some fun references to the movie Anchorman, which you should definitely catch if you want a laugh.
What I would have loved to have seen is some details about their coaches and their credentials. Some notes on their site on how to locate them would be really helpful as well.
Personal communication was excellent. Rachel answered all my questions and sent me the workouts for when I would be in town. She said there would be no problem with helping me to scale in whatever way I needed to.
When I first walked through that garage to find them I wasn’t sure if the facility would be similarly garage-like in cleanliness. Fortunately, this was not the case. There appeared to be no cleanliness issues. It was an evening workout and I saw no key indicators that would say that the facility wasn’t kept clean – no chalk on the rig or barbells. No dirt build-up in the lesser-travelled areas. I didn’t have the time or occasion to see the lavatory.
I was talking to one of the members before class and he told me that this was a pretty new location for them and the most recent move of several because they keep growing. Always a good thing. The facility is long and sufficiently wide to have a rig running down most of the length against the wall and plenty of room to spare. It had a spot down some stairs that was kind of a lobby area but they also kept some GHD machines, which was a little bit out of the way. I saw an area in the back where some athletes were working out as a group, perhaps training for an event. They were really nowhere close to where the workout was happening so, there was plenty of space.
There was about a half dozen rowers that I could see and maybe a few more bikes than that. The barbells and plates were in good shape. There was also plenty of other hardware such as plyo boxes and kettlebells.
There was a lot to the workout on this day. There was a warm up, followed by some core strengthening work. Then we moved to the metcon, which started with cash-in of a 1,000 m row , followed by 3 rounds of 21 toes to bar, 15 deadlifts (185/135#) and 9 burpee box jump/step overs. There was an 18-minute time cap. Everyone was able to complete the workout.
Altogether, it was a full workout from beginning to end. We finished just on the hour and the next class came right it. I definitely got my money’s worth.
This is the first time where I couldn’t find the name of the coach in the notes. Usually I can find the coach on the website if I don’t have it. However, as I mentioned earlier, they don’t have details on their coaches on their site. So, in this case, we’ll just refer to him as “the coach”.
The coach did a fine job. He ran the class well and made sure I was all set for the workout. He discussed what weights I should use and he checked on me during class. He was encouraging and demonstrated a very good knowledge of the movements.
When I first arrived, I observed the interaction of the members. It was a pretty social group. I struck up a conversation with one of the members who I learned about Stay Classy’s growth and how they moved into this space.
During class there was also some interaction with members. Everyone was friendly and there was definitely some encouragement as well. There was plenty of kudos after the workout was over.
Drop-In Cost and SWAG
It’s clear that (under non-pandemic circumstances) Stay Classy CrossFit caters to drop-ins. San Diego gets a lot of visitors and Stay Classy does as well. Their drop-in cost was a very reasonable $15 when I visited. They also had a package with a shirt. I’m pretty sure it was another $10. And who wouldn’t want a Stay Classy CrossFit shirt? It was a very good deal.
Overall, it was a very positive experience at Stay Classy CrossFit. It was a little bumpy finding them, but I was told they would be opening up direct access to the street and some signage out front to make it easier to find. That will be a huge help.
They have a nice facility that is well laid out and I particularly liked their programming. The coach did a good job and the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly. I hope I get to make it back there when I get out to the west coast again.
Stay Classy CrossFit
1775 National Ave
San Diego, CA 92113
On December 26, 2019, I visited CrossFit OTG for a post-Christmas workout. This was my fourth visit to OTG and I was joined by my wife, who has come with me at least a couple of times. The family that works out together stays healthy together. It’s close to where my family lives, so it’s very convenient while I’m there.
CrossFit OTG is in Egg Harbor Township, NJ, which is about 15 minutes from Atlantic City and less than an hour east of Philadelphia. I was referred here by sister (yep, more family CrossFitters), who had dropped in several times previously. So, I didn’t do my usual vetting via Google reviews. However, in looking at the reviews, there’s plenty of drop-ins that offer their experiences and they’re quite positive.
I spoke with the owner, Nick before my first visit there. He was very personable on the phone and happy to have me join them.
CrossFit OTG is the kind of place where you definitely get your money’s worth from your workout. It’s common to get cash-outs and some fun warmups as well.
Let’s give you some details. (As always, all ratings are on a scale of 1-5 barbells)
In researching CrossFit OTG as if I weren’t referred there, all the information you’d need is on their web page. There’s a couple of links to get to the drop-in details. Their schedule offers lots of options. They also post the movements (but not the rep scheme) for their WODs for the entire week, which is convenient. You can sign up to drop in online to save you (and them) time when you arrive.
Nick (the owner) was happy to answer any questions when I first called. At that time, my sister had recently dropped in for a week and he remembered her. He was very welcoming.
Their web site offers details on each of their coaches, including their certification levels as well as background information and insights into their personalities as it relates to CrossFit. I haven’t seen many sites that offer more details on their coaches.
CrossFit OTG maintains a good level of cleanliness. Granted, you’ll see a fair amount of chalk but there’s a difference between well-used and dirty. If you look at an area of the floor that’s not too close to the rigs, you’ll see it’s clean. They encourage people to wipe down their equipment when done.
I have noticed a fair amount of chalk on the barbells. However, dumbbells, kettlebells, wall balls and cardio equipment all looked good. The bathrooms appeared to be in pretty good shape as well.
OTG is a large facility. There’s a warm up room and a spacious main area. There’s two rigs; one against the back wall and a free-standing rig on the side – plenty to accommodate a large class. They also have a dozen Echo bikes, more than a dozen rowers and plenty of weights and plates. You should have no trouble getting a set of dumb bells or a kettle bell in the weight you want to use.
Most things are in good condition here. I noticed some slam balls that were dead but there were several in good condition. They also have some soft boxes, which is very nice.
You’ll know you’ve had a workout when you’ve left CrossFit OTG. That’s not meant to scare you. It may just be a timing thing, but I seem to be there for a lot of “chipper” workouts. Guess I’m just lucky.
Seriously, I don’t mind long workouts. After all, I’m on a mission to build a better me. It’s also important to remember while the workout may challenge you, there’s plenty of ways to scale for your needs. The coaches will help you.
For this workout it was an ascending round of 10-20-30 wall balls and dumbbell snatches and descending 30-20-10 pull ups and no push up burpees. There was a scaled version on the board as well, which plenty of the athletes selected, myself included. The WOD was followed by a nice little cash out of ab work (v-holds, hollow rocks and Russian twists).
Nick was the coach on this day. I’ve also visited when Rob was the coach. Rob did a great job introducing himself, explaining the WOD and checking on us throughout the workout.
On this particular occasion, Nick had everyone gather at the display to explain the workout and then started warming us up. He went through the movements with us, breaking down the dumbbell snatches into its fundamentals. We warmed up on all the movements prior to the WOD.
It’s clear Nick enjoys what he does. You can tell he takes pride in his business and is passionate for CrossFit. He wants to challenge you and help you succeed. He’s encouraging and energetic throughout the entire workout.
As this location is close to the beach, they appear to get a lot of drop-ins. The coaches have routinely introduced me at the beginning of class. My wife and I both got a welcome back hug from Nick when he saw us. We saw him introduce a drop-in from South Carolina before the next class.
Every time I visit, I get to chat with people a little more. People are approachable here. And many have started to recognize us when we come. People encourage each other. There’s plenty of “good job’s” and fist bumps when the workout is over.
Drop-in Cost and Swag
The cost to drop in to CrossFit OTG is $20. However, if you are a Wodify athlete and sign in through Wodify it’s $15. They also offer a 7-day pass if you’re going to be in town for a week for $50. If you want to get a lot of workouts in during the week, it’s a great value. More details can be found at http://www.crossfitotg.com/drop-in-visitors.
As with many places, swag is a bit hit-and-miss here. It often depends on how picked over it is. They didn’t have anything in my size but I liked the design. Nick said new shirts were due to arrive soon. So, I’m sure I’ll pick something up next time I return. Shirts were $25 each or 2 for $40.
I enjoy visiting CrossFit OTG. Nick has a clear passion for CrossFit and I always get a heck of a workout there. The people are friendly. I feel more comfortable there with each visit. They cater to drop-ins and treat you like you’re a member. I will definitely visit them a fifth time and beyond.
Wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels.
3330 Bargaintown Rd Suite 1
Egg Harbor Twp, NJ 08234
My family went on a cruise in August, 2019. When we came into port at St. Thomas, did we want to go snorkeling? No. Did we swim with dolphins? Nope. Did we go sight-seeing? Well, yes. But that came later.
That morning, my wife and I were the second and third people off the ship (of about 4,000). We hopped in a cab and it was off to Reebok CrossFit St. Thomas (RCFSTT) for the 8:00am class. Our ship was docked in the Havensight port in the capitol of Charlotte Amalie. It was less than a 10-minute ride to the Antilles School, where Reebok CrossFit St. Thomas was located.
If you’ve read my other write-ups, you know I like to do my homework and for me, as this was a little different than dropping in somewhere in the contiguous 48. So, I wanted to be especially sure things were lined up. We were only in port for part of the day so timing was particularly important.
I reached out to them via email a few weeks before we left for our trip. I got a response from the owner, Gilly. It took several days and she apologized for the delay. Not a big deal. People do get busy and I left plenty of time in advance, which I recommend for a trip like this. Gilly said she’d love to have us. We just brought the basics – wrist wraps and grips. Turns out we needed both.
Here's how our experience went. (As always, all ratings are on a scale of 1-5 barbells)
As this is a little different to get to, I thought an extra section would be helpful. No rating. Just some logistical details for you. I noticed two ports in Charlotte Amalie. One was in Havensight, where we were docked (and it appears most cruise lines dock here). It’s about a 10 minute ride to Reebok CrossFit St. Thomas from there. The other was in Crown Bay, which is a little to the west. Figure an additional 10 minute ride (total of about 20 mins).
There’s loads of cabs on St. Thomas. You shouldn’t have a problem getting one. And, what’s really important and really helpful is if you’re from the US, St. Thomas is a US territory so, your cell phones should work just as they do at home. You’ll want to double check with your cell carrier before you go. I use Verizon and have never had an issue. So, when you’re done your workout, it’s easy enough to call a cab. Our cab driver on the way over gave us his card.
We felt pretty comfortable with cab travel there, which was nice. One less thing to worry about.
It’s worth emphasizing again, because the chances are St. Thomas is not where you reside, do your homework well ahead of time. That will help give you a level of comfort. Look up their address and check out where they are on a map so you can see how far it is from where you’re staying.
As it’s a tourist destination, Gilly and her team is used to drop-ins and do have some details for you in the Visitors section of their web site.
There’s also an online form for questions. I encourage you to let them know when you’re interested in joining them and ask any questions you have. This will likely be a little different for you and I’m sure they get lots of questions so, don’t be shy.
Once I made initial contact, communication flow was thorough and responsive.
Their home page talks about community and if you look and they have lots of great pics to illustrate it. They also have a lot of details on their coaches. The only thing that’s missing that I would have love to have seen is the coaches’ CrossFit certification level.
Overall, with the homework and advanced contact, I felt comfortable going to a place that’s far away from home as well as getting there and back to the ship.
They do use the Triib app where they post their workouts if you want to see it ahead of time.
Reebok CrossFit St. Thomas is clean but well-used. The beauty of a CrossFit is it doesn’t have to be gleaming to be clean. There’s no over abundances of chalk anywhere or chalk buildup on the rig. The floor was clean as well.
RCFSTT isn’t a huge facility but they have three big bay doors that lead out to an area with a couple of rigs, rubber flooring and artificial grass, where we warmed up. Geographically, this is a good area to take advantage of the outdoors so why not?
The equipment was in pretty good shape. None of the plates or barbells appeared to be too weathered. There was plenty of equipment for everyone.
There was a warmup in the outside area that was appropriate in length and movements to get us prepared for the workout.
When on vacation, I’d prefer not to bring my Nanos so, I had running shoes and it was a good thing because running was part of the workout. I realize other workouts will be different.
On this day they had a lift of cleans for 1, followed by a Metcon that included cleans, running and pullups. It was a good mix and helped me to feel I was working off the cruise food, which was much needed.
Was it humid? Of course. It was August in the tropics. I would have been surprised if it wasn’t. No regrets. I will say, however, it was so humid that when I chalked my hands for pullups it quickly got pretty pasty.
Crystal was our coach. She’s strong and has a strong presence. This doesn’t mean she wasn’t friendly. She definitely was. But you can tell she knows her stuff and was completely comfortable. She introduced us to the class and was clear in her communication.
She helped us get set up, answered questions and offered suggestions for those needing to scale a movement. During the workout, she was attentive and encouraging. Although she was making the rounds to all of the members, I think she wanted to be sure my wife and I were ok. My guess is because they get their fair share of visitors, she wanted to be sure humidity wasn’t an issue. As it turns out, my wife and I aren’t strangers to humidity.
The folks here were quite nice. You could see there was a good amount of camaraderie. Someone had their dog with them, who appeared to be a regular. There was a lot of support and encouragement.
When the workout was over, one of the members offered to give us a lift back to the port, which was super nice. We had a chance to chat with him about living on the island. It was great. That said, I would never ask for a favor like this, nor would I expect it again. It was a very nice one-off.
Drop-in Cost and Swag
Their web site has most of the information I’m looking for in a drop in. It gives drop in rates ($20) under About > Membership Rates. It doesn’t mention it, but you can get a t-shirt with it for an additional $15. My wife and I took advantage of that. You can never have enough CrossFit swag and how often do we get to St Thomas?
As I often post, the inventory was a little picked over. I think they had one shirt in my wife’s size and one in the size and style I preferred. That was all we needed so we were happy.
Vacation is great and I think any coach will support recovery time but I think they’d be more encouraging of a workout to maintain consistency. It made us feel like we were back in touch with our health so our visit to Reebok CrossFit St Thomas was just what we needed. It’s a solid place in all aspects and not only would I go back there but I absolutely plan to when I return. I can go snorkeling some other time.
Wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels.
Reebok CrossFit St Thomas
7280 Frenchman’s Bay #16-1
St Thomas, VI 00802
(Located at Antilles School)
(340) 201 – 2782
Theoretically, it’s easier to drop in than ever before. You don’t even have to leave your house. There’s actually a little more to it than that but many CrossFits are offering live online classes right now. So, maybe you have a special place that you’ve been to and you want to workout with them and feel a little less distant.
I contacted Kayla, the owner of CrossFit For the People because I was aware they were doing live online classes, I really enjoy the folks at CFTP and, of course, dropping in is what I do. They’ve always had good programming. Kayla was as gracious, as always, and let me join in. So, my wife and I jumped in for one of their Saturday morning class.
CFTSP’s workout was consistent with their on-premise workouts. Our coach was Joe, known as “the king of warmups” and he was true to his title. A good long warmup and into an even longer workout of KB swings, jump rope, pushups, sit ups and man-makers. It was a partner WOD but your partner didn’t have to be in the room. Fortunately, I had my partner with me. I imagine the logistics would have been more difficult with an online partner. Even as a partner WOD, this was still a chipper. The workout moved along smoothly until we got to the man-makers. It got a little (or maybe a lot) slower at that point but luckily that was the last movement.
I was really glad we got to do this workout. It was nice to see some familiar faces and have that feeling of dropping in, or close to it. The coach and everyone online was very nice, as always. I’ll try to drop in to another session with them soon.
Conceptually, dropping in online is pretty easy. However, if you’re interested in trying it, there’s some things to keep in mind.
There’s another really good alternative for you. Not all places are live online. However, some still have great programming so if you follow them on Facebook or Instagram, you can get their workout details and do it on your own. Nick at CrossFit OTG in New Jersey has been religiously posting a video each day on his workout and gives you all the details. I’ve also seen really good posts from Reebok CrossFit St Thomas, CrossFit Beacon (Portland, ME), CrossFit Crosscheck (Mississauga, Canada) and Stay Classy CrossFit (San Diego), to name just a few.
There are owners and coaches are still working hard to bring you excellent programming. The important thing is to keep moving and stay consistent.
Please stay safe, stay healthy and stay strong in mind, body and spirit.
It’s pretty much a given that no one is going anywhere right now. It’s our new reality, at least for the moment. This is a blog about travelling and staying healthy, right? So, what’s a traveler to do? Continue to stay healthy, of course!
This is really a blog about staying healthy, oriented towards travelers so we can remain consistent and maintain our regiments. We can still do this. We just don’t happen to be travelling right now.
You’ve surely heard the phrase “necessity is the mother of invention.” I see lots of CrossFits getting creative, posting home workouts and even holding classes online. This is great news, as we need this consistency for mind, body and spirit. The same principles as working out while travelling.
This is a bit of a case study of my home gym, Blackbird CrossFit and how they have approached the situation. I’m not in the business of promoting a product or a particular CrossFit. My goal is to report what I encounter that might benefit you. However, I can honestly say they’ve done an excellent job of programming and adapting to the online environment. Here’s what they’ve done.
First, Blackbird has lent out equipment to its members at no charge. This is a big deal and I expect many CrossFits are not in a position to do this for various reasons. There’s certainly some risk to this on their part. We had to sign an equipment lease agreement, which is reasonable. Speaking for myself and my wife and several members that I’ve heard from, this has had a massive positive impact.
Next, they have programming each day to keep us going. And this isn’t just burpees and air squats. Many of these workouts are pretty darn tough. I’ve seen many CrossFits offering this as well, which is great. Because they’ve lent our equipment, Blackbird offers options and adaptations for those who have a barbell, or dumbbells or no equipment at all (i.e. backpack shoulder to overhead) with each workout.
They have three live online classes per day (two on Saturdays) where you have a coach to help you warm up and go through the movements with you. They will also suggest any corrections to your form, start your clock, cheer you on throughout the workout and discuss feedback with everyone once the workout is over. You can also see your fellow athletes for community and encouragement. They record the morning session each day if you can’t make one of the live classes. I’ve used the recordings and they definitely help. Other CrossFits are also holding live classes in varying frequencies. I’ve even done a virtual drop-in (look for an upcoming piece about that). Please check with your preferred CrossFit for details.
Blackbird, as well as other CrossFits are offering virtual memberships. This is fair and reasonable, considering they must pay their coaches for their time and are offering good programming. Another very important point is we want all of our owners, many who are like family to us, to make it to the other side of this. Blackbird’s online unlimited monthly membership is $95. And the nice thing is you don’t have to be a regular member to have a virtual membership. If you’re interested in learning more about their program, please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d love to hear from other CrossFit owners to let us know what kinds of things you’re doing. Please feel free to comment on this post. If you have a preferred CrossFit, I encourage you to reach out to them. I also encourage you to pass this along, whether it’s Blackbird’s program or another one.
These are unusual times. We need to stay consistent for our physical health and, quite frankly, our sanity. Now more than ever. We also can’t do this without our CrossFit owners. We need to help each other through the storm so we all emerge from this a healthier and stronger community.
As my usual closing remark of wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels does not apply these days, I will instead wish for all of you to stay safe, stay healthy and stay strong in mind, body and spirit.
It’s only natural to think about what gear to bring with you on the road.
Knowing you’re going to drop in, you want to be prepared but there’s a balance of not wanting to bring too much. So, the simple answer to the question is, it depends. Part of it is personal taste. What are your must-haves? If you must have your Nanos, for instance, then by all means bring them. What you’re comfortable with is going to dictate your priorities. I would not want to dictate it for you.
Rather, I’d like to discuss your options and let you prioritize from there. I personally place a priority on portability. So, I’m going to make that a foundation for my packing decisions.
The other factor is a little research. In the piece I wrote about finding the best places to drop-in, I discuss finding out what the workout(s) will be ahead of travelling if at all possible. Part of it is because it will help you in your packing decisions. For instance, if I don’t need my jump rope you can bet I’m leaving it at home.
Fortunately, there’s lots of useful gear that’s compact and easy to travel with. Let’s examine the possibilities. Keep in mind, you’re getting my perspective and these are tips based on my approach. You should make your decisions based on what’s best for you.
So, there’s lots to think about when preparing to drop in for your next trip. Hopefully, this will help you to consider some of your options. From there, it’s up to you to decide what’s important to have with you. My final suggestion here is to think about bringing what will help facilitate a successful workout.
Wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels.
I made my second visit to CrossFit Schenectady on November 7, 2019. It was one of my first drop-ins a while back so there was several months between my first visit and this one. A couple of coworkers from my office in Albany are members there and one of them recommended them to me.
On opportunities where I can make a return visit, I’ll always say it’s good to come back because it allows me to see how consistent they are. In this case, the consistency was a good thing, as I had a positive experience each time.
CrossFit Schenectady is located, where else, but Schenectady, NY. It’s close to Albany and maybe a 15 minute drive from the Albany airport.
When I called ahead each time I left a message and the owner, Helen, got back to me quickly. I typically don’t have to ask what the WOD will be because they usually post a few days ahead on their web site. I still like to call to let them know that I’m coming. That can be telling as to how welcoming a place is (no issues in this case).
When I arrived for the 5:20pm class, Helen asked me if I was Matt and welcomed me. There were three or four members in the lobby area and she introduced me to them.
I then proceeded to get a wipe for my shoes, coming in from the outside, as that’s their policy and I knew the drill from my last visit. The first impression you’ll get when walking out on their floor is clean.
But let’s save that for the details. (As always, all ratings are on a scale of 1-5 barbells)
There’s two big positives here. Helen is responsive and the web site has a good amount of information.
When I call, she’s always gotten back to me quickly. She’ll answer any questions about the workout. The first time we spoke a while back she gave me some background information on herself. She also gave a good sense that they are quite welcoming of drop-ins.
The web site gives a lot of information. The WOD is posted on there. Sometimes there’s a few days in advance posted. There’s a section on coaches that offers their approach and coaching philosophies. At first I thought the sight offered no specifics on their coaches/certifications. There are some pictures on the page that you have to hover over to get the coaches name and click on to see their individual information.
There is a means of signing up for a drop in online, including signing their waiver and paying.
There’s only one word I can use to describe the cleanliness at CrossFit Schenectady – IMMACULATE. I’ve never seen anything like it and I’d be surprised if I ever do again. I came in for a 5:20 pm class and it looked like no one had been on the floor all day. This place literally shines.
Helen and her coaches are disciplined about cleanliness and create a culture where members take care of the equipment. If you wear your CrossFit shoes in from the parking lot, you’ll wipe down the soles of them prior to stepping on to the floor to work out.
After using equipment, you are either told to get a wipe or a wipe is handed to you to clean up what you’ve been working with.
Some may see this as overzealous. However, this is someone’s business and I think it’s a good practice to preserve an environment that has to take some punishment. I’m pretty stingy on handing out a 5-barbell rating but there’s no question here.
This is a pretty decent size facility. It doesn’t feel crowded. Although I haven’t been there for a class of more than 10, it looks like it can handle more comfortably.
The cleanliness approach at CrossFit Schenectady carries over to equipment condition. Nothing looks abused. Everything is well taken care of.
When I went there earlier in the year, I recall they had some older plates but it appears they’ve upgraded some equipment.
There’s plenty of plates and barbells. I noticed four rowers but may not have seen them all. There were no problems with equipment availability. There’s two rigs on opposite sides of the floor – and not a trace of chalk on anything. Everything is very well organized.
This workout was strictly strength; Clean and Jerk. It was during the open and just after a clean and jerk week. Helen wanted to focus on technique, as it’s common to sacrifice quality of movements while working for speed during the open.
We started with rolling out on our own and then stretching as a group. We then spent the remainder of the first half of class working on proper technique on the clean and jerk. Then we worked on the lift for the remainder of class. We ended on a quick 3 rounds of sit-ups and air squats.
Just as Helen is meticulous about her facility and equipment, she is focused on proper technique and movement. There was a lot of repetition in her warmup and one move built on the other in her instruction. I mentioned this isn’t my first time here and my experience with the other coach (Tina) was similar.
Helen worked her way around the class (there were about 8 of us) and I noticed she was giving me a scrutinizing look. I was working on my clean and she said “I normally do screw with my drop-ins but…”, to which I replied by all means, I welcome any feedback. She then proceeded to point out something I needed to fix. I’m always grateful for feedback and I’ve accumulated several bits of helpful knowledge in my travels. Sometimes, someone can expresses something in a way where it clicks.
Although, I don’t know the membership numbers here, CrossFit Schenectady has a small community feel. Everyone seems to know each other. Several of them sit together before and after class to chat (I noticed this both times I’ve visited). Everyone was friendly and welcoming.
In class, there was some commenting back and forth between members. It wasn’t too much and it wasn’t distracting. There was also encouragement among one another.
CrossFit Schenectady has a relaxed vibe. They take their workouts seriously but it’s not intense. There’s no pressure and it’s easy to feel comfortable there.
Drop-in Cost and Swag
The cost to drop in to CrossFit Schenectady is $20. They also offer a 10-visit punch card good for use over a year for $99, which is an excellent value.
I purchased a shirt on my first visit and, to the best of my recollection, the cost is $20. There seems to be sufficient supply and a few different options.
CrossFit Schenectady is a good place to get a great workout. It’s a little off the beaten path but not far enough where it’s a deterrent if you’re in the Albany area. I’ve never seen a cleaner CrossFit. For overall experience, CrossFit Schenectady checks off all the boxes.
Wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels.
296 Morris Road
Schenectady, NY 12303
I was speaking with a friend recently and he said he would be travelling and will need to find a place to drop in. This naturally peaked my interest, so I started to do a little research. How I find places to drop in is no secret and I don’t want it to be. You should have all the tools and information at your disposal to make the best decisions for you.
Realistically, if you invest only a little time, you will significantly improve your opportunity for a good experience.
Where to start? I always start with a search on “CrossFits near” my destination. The “near” is important because if, for instance, you search on CrossFits in Deer Park, TX chances are you’ll get CroffFit Deer Park in your search result and nothing else around it. CrossFits near___ will more often than not get you a list of choices
as seen here.
If you zoom out in Google maps, it will populate with more options. You can also move and/or zoom in.
In some less populated areas you might have to search on CrossFits near a larger city like Houston and drag to the area you’ll be going to. From there, you can set your boundaries based on how far you’re willing to travel.
Which one to select? That’s a matter of taste but I find the Google reviews to be of great value. Things I look for first is the number of stars (the more, the better of course) and the other thing of equal or greater importance is the number of reviews. Ideally, I look for places with roughly ten reviews or more. Anything less than that could be reviews from mom, cousin Billy and their three closest friends. It doesn’t mean it’s not a good place to try. There’s just less data for you to make your decision. If you see a couple of really good drop in comments, you might want to give them a try.
What are people saying? This is important. You could get 5 stars or 1 star with no comments and have no idea why that particular rating was given. The person that gave 1 star could have been having a bad day or an isolated experience. Context is valuable. What people say and how they say it is very telling.
I look for people that say they’ve dropped in to a particular location. You can have regular members that have been there for years giving great reviews and that’s great but they can have established friends and their experience is going to be much different for them than someone who has never been there before.
Even if one location has a slightly lower overall rating than another, if the drop-in comments are strong, as long as a place is well-rated, I’d definitely consider it. A 5.0 is great but doesn’t tell the whole story.
Keep in mind some locations don’t get a lot of drop ins so that information may not always be available to you. Look for details on coaches, programming, how friendly the members are and other things that are of particiular importance to you.
Here’s a couple of examples:
Language you want to avoid is anything negative, of course. But also, some owners choose to fire back at a negative review. That’s understandable. There’s two sides to every story. But having the debate online isn't the answer. I personally prefer to avoid the drama. If you see an owner respond with something like "I'm sorry to hear you didn't have a good experience. Please contact me and we'll do what we can to make it right for you" that's a good indicator that the owner has a good head on their shoulders. They see there was some dissatisfaction, they want to fix it and they want to take the conversation offline. I admire that approach.
Think you’ve found a good location? Great! You’re almost there. The next thing you’ll want to do is go to that CrossFit’s web site to get some key information. Does their schedule fit with yours while you’re there? If not, you may have to find a different location that starts earlier or ends later.
Next, what's the drop-in fee? If there’s language on their site welcoming drop-ins, that’s even better. That means they’re thinking about people like ourselves. Can you sign wavers and pay online? A nice-to-have for sure. Maybe you don’t know what time you can get there. I haven’t been to a place yet that hasn’t been flexible about when you drop in as long as it’s a CrossFit class and not a specialty class. They may also have options like a mini punch card or a week-long fee if you’re there for more than just one visit.
Have they posted the WOD? It’s always good to know what you’re in for. Optionally, if you can’t find the WOD, you can call in and ask. I prefer to do this but I realize not everyone wants to make a project of it. Another factor in my personal decision making is how responsive a place is in getting back to me, how welcoming they sound over the phone and their responses to other questions like do you mind if I scale my workout?
How much time to invest in your search? Realistically, you can probably locate and research a place online within 10-15 minutes. A little more if you call them. However you decide to proceed, the research will be well worth your time. It sets you up for a better experience and gives you the opportunity to find a great workout.
What next? Let them know you're coming. Even if you're not 100% sure you'll make it, you should try to communicate with them to let them know they'll have a drop-in. It helps them more than you might think. I have a piece on this very topic at https://www.dropindiary.com/blog/communicating-before-you-drop-in. Please give it a look.
After you're done...If you liked the experience, give them a nice Google review. You'll be helping the CrossFit you visited and next person looking for a place to drop in.
If you have any questions, please contact me at email@example.com.
Wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels!
I visited CrossFit for the People for the fourth time on November 5, 2019.
I had good experiences there in the past and this was no different. Having the opportunity to drop in more than once at a location gives me a sense of their consistency.
CrossFit for the People (CFTP) is located in Albany, NY about 10-15 minutes from the airport. It’s easy to get to but you’ll probably want your phone GPS to guide you there.
CFTP is relatively new (just over a year old as of this post) but already has an impressive membership of about 150+. The location is spacious with several large garage doors, which are kept open in nice weather.
When I first found this box, it was the unique name that caught my attention. They do a pretty good job of branding themselves. I did my usual research; looked at Google reviews, went to the web site and called/left a voice message. The owner, Kayla, texted me back quickly and started communicating with me on the WODs, drop in fees, etc. She was very accommodating.
Since then, I’ll send her a text when I’m in town and she’ll let me know what the upcoming WODs are. They also post their WODs in SugarWOD, with is a gym management program. It uses a free app that you can download to see their upcoming programming.
For this visit, I arrived about 15 minutes prior to the 5:30pm class and was greeted by Kayla who was chatting casually with some of the members between classes. She immediately welcomed me and included me in the conversation about what ridiculous hypothetical scenario I would prefer given a choice of two. I felt that relaxed, comfortable feeling very quickly, even with people who didn’t know me.
Not to ruin the surprise but this box scores consistently well across the board. Let’s look at the details. (All ratings are on a scale of 1-5 barbells)
I mentioned that Kayla was quick to respond to my initial voice message. She’s also been very quick to respond to any subsequent communication. Additionally, she’s always communicates that she’d glad to hear when I’m returning.
The CFTP web site offers a good sense of their environment. It talks about encouragement and community. Their culture backs that claim up.
There’s no information about drop-ins on their web site, which would be a plus. There’s some information on their coaches. It has Kayla’s certifications and details on coach Joe and minimal information on their other three coaches. I don’t want that to take away from the communication, which is otherwise great.
Kayla runs a clean ship. Yes, you can tell that the gym is well used but she is vocal about cleaning up after workouts and keeps all that nice shiny equipment looking new. They have rags and cleaning solution readily available and members appear to be good about using them. Oh, and by the way, the bathroom (at least the one that I was in) was clean as well – important.
A couple of visits ago, Kayla was touting her new floor scrubber and it appears it’s still being used consistently.
CFTP is at a little bit of an advantage because they’re just over a year old but I see no signs of misuse of equipment. The plates aren’t cracked. The barbells and dumbbells don’t look weathered.
There’s a large rig in the middle of the floor that is very sturdy and in great shape as well. There’s plenty of rowers and assault bikes – more than average. There’s also ample plates, dumbbells and kettle bells. Everything is neatly placed.
CFTP stands out in this category.
The warmup started with a run around the rig where we would switch up our cadence and movement from high knees to side step to butt kicks, etc. That got the heart rate up and warmed up the legs. We then did a series of stretches. It was a thorough warmup with sufficient time spent.
The workout on this visit was a lift then a metcon. It was a 4 x 4 back squat followed by five rounds of descending reps of double unders and kettlebell swings. I’m still working on my single unders and was able to scale to that. I shared a bar with two others for the lift and we helped with spotting each other.
The only thing of note is the location was once used as a garage and the floor on my side of the rig that night is slightly angled towards the rig (presumably for drainage in its former life). It’s very slight but I just had to focus a little more on planting my heels on the back squat.
Kayla was the coach for this class. She reviewed the workout thoroughly. There were options offered for scaling the jump rope. I let her know that I still pretty much suck even at single unders at this point and she suggested to give it several tries but don’t kill myself. Prior to class, she watched my single unders and offered some suggestions.
She was attentive during class and came around several times to check on everyone. She made sure I was comfortable with my back squat weight. She was also encouraging throughout the workout.
One of the things that they consistently do at CFTP that I’ve not seen anywhere else is simple but impactful. Everyone gathers in a circle at the start of class and answers the “question of the day”. It’s usually something simple like do you prefer your ice cream in a cone or a cup. But everyone either gives their name or the coach asks your name and we go around the circle. It’s a nice ice breaker and for a drop-in it’s another way to feel comfortable and part of the class.
I mentioned Kayla actively engages with the members. I’m starting to recognize a few people there and some are starting to recognize me. My workout was slow this time and happened to be the last one to complete it. But most of the class was cheering me on at the end.
A couple of people came up to chat with me after the workout. That’s happened on previous visits as well.
Drop-in Cost and Swag
Cost to drop in is $20. Pretty standard. Or you can purchase a shirt, which is $20-$25. To me, it’s kind of a no-brainer but some people aren’t in to picking up shirts. You really can’t lose either way.
The first few times I visited there was limited shirts/sizes. But, they’ve recently gotten in some new ones and there’s a couple of styles and several colors to choose from. The state of shirt stock at any CrossFit is always fluid.
Kayla has a passion for what she does and it shows. For a first-time visitor, CrossFit for the People is a welcoming environment with a great facility and a close, inclusive community. If I lived in the area and were looking for a CrossFit to call home, CFTP would easily be a front runner.
Wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels.
CrossFit For The People
24 Lisha Kill Rd
Albany, NY 12205
I dropped in to Hunter’s Creek CrossFit in Orlando on October 23, 2019 for a 6:00 pm CrossFit class. They’re just west of the Orlando airport. Despite the typical rush hour Orlando traffic, they’re not too hard to get to. It’s about 15-20 minutes from the airport hotels and about the same from the Disney, depending on the resort and Universal studios as well. So, if you’re craving a workout while vacationing in the Orlando area, this may be a good option for you.
I found Hunter’s Creek CrossFit when I was looking at the Google reviews for another gym. It said while the gym I was reading about was good, Hunters Creek was the best in the area. I called them and spoke with a very friendly employee (Rose) about the upcoming WODs while I was in town. I like to call to get a sense of the WODs. It gives me a feel for their programming and their responsiveness if I leave a message. I also listen for how welcoming they sound and get other details like cost.
Consequently, I called 4 other gyms, as there were others closer to my hotel, and only one had voicemail (but they never got back to me). The others either didn’t have voice mail, their mail box wasn’t set up or I got a strange message that tells me that mailbox wasn’t set up properly. Sometimes it’s the simple things that can cost business. And it’s not just drop-in business. If I were looking for a new CrossFit home and encountered any of the above for those 4 gyms, I’m moving on.
I arrived about 10 minutes before class. There wasn’t a whole lot of parking designated for them but there was parking for other suites in the strip. Being that it was after work hours, I didn’t have an issue but I could see where it might be if you’re there earlier in the day.
When I arrived, I was greeted by Rose, who I spoke with a couple of days earlier. She had me sign in at her desktop. Their tablet wasn’t working but no big deal. They’re a Wodify house, so it was easy for me. She then brought me out to the floor. I was immediately greeted by Daniel Maldonado, the owner and he introduced me to coach Matteo, who would be coaching my class. He’s level 1 certified, and although he’s not listed on their web site, Matteo did an excellent job. More on that shortly.
Let’s go through the details of my experience. (All ratings are on a scale of 1-5 barbells)
Heck, they picked up the phone. That’s a great start compared to their competition. They were friendly and welcoming.
Their website gave a good sense of the environment. They have a wide range of programs there. It wasn’t easy to find information on the coaches right away – it was actually under the Blog heading. It would have been good to list their CrossFit certifications. However, that information was not available.
Their website also does not seem to specify drop in fees. While some sites allow you to sign up for a class and pay your drop-in fee online, it’s not an option here. To me, these aren’t major things but just something to keep in mind, as you'll want to allow yourself enough time to sign in when you arrive.
You could tell it was a 6:00 pm class rather than a 6:00 am class. However, they were in pretty good shape. It was clear that they don’t let the place go very long without a proper cleaning. They have rags and spray bottles to wipe down the equipment after the workout and members were actively using them.
The facility isn’t huge but there was plenty of room. It didn't feel cramped. Looking at the equipment, while overall things were in pretty good shape, several of the older rubber plates were coming off of their steel hubs. Barbells looked older but in decent shape. The workout didn’t involve the rig that evening but it appears to be solid from observing others using it.
Plates seemed to be plentiful. I only noticed a couple of rowers, a handful of assault bikes and one Ski Erg. There may have been more that I didn’t see. It wasn’t a part of the work out on this night. If needed, it may just require a little rotation planning.
There was some time spent to warm up; a couple of short runs, lunges, pushups, Sampson stretches, bear crawls and a few more items (not in that order). I felt sufficiently warmed up.
It was a strength workout. We started with an EMOM (every minute on the minute), 15 minutes of three movements. First was :45 pistols, followed by :45 wall walk. I have mobility issues with my wrist, so the coach had me do a high plank/shoulder taps. Then :45 hollow rock. We cycled through those movements 5 times.
This was followed by a 7-minute AMRAP of 7 dead lifts, 3 strict press and 7 back-rack thrusters. The Rx weight was 75# for men and 55# for women.
It was definitely a challenging workout but I found it doable, with lots of options to scale if you needed to. I felt I got my “money’s worth”.
High marks on coaching here. While coach Matteo seems like he might be newer to coaching, his communication and involvement was very good. He brought everyone up to the board to go over the warmup and later for the workout.
He understood my personal needs with my mobility issue and gave me a good alternative to scale with. He asked if there was anyone else with mobility issues, which there was so he worked with that individual as well.
Matteo also came around to everyone during the workout several times to see how they were doing. He checked with me on the EMOM to be sure I was comfortable with my movement and offered me alternatives to that if I needed them.
During the WOD I was gassed on the Rx weight about three rounds in and he helped me quickly change the plates out. He also was encouraging to everyone during the workout and congratulated everyone afterwards.
One of the first things I noticed was there were several social conversations going on. Not to the extent where it interrupted the workout. The point being you can tell there’s a good sense of camaraderie at Hunter’s Creek CrossFit.
I personally received a fair share of post-workout fist bumps and saw it among others. Although I really didn’t get involved in any conversations, the folks here were welcoming.
The coaches set a good tone of support and encouragement and it’s clear that it flows to the members. I appreciated the owner (Daniel) introducing himself to me before the workout and checking with me after to see how I liked it.
Drop-in Cost and Swag
A pretty standard drop-in cost of $20. They don’t offer any package with a shirt, which some boxes have.
The swag was nice. They have a good logo and many of the members were wearing their shirts. However, they had none in my size and very few in other sizes. If you go there, they may have stocked back up so you should take that into consideration. Shirt availability at any CrossFit is often hit and miss. Hope to get one on my next visit.
I realize swag is not their bread and butter. More of a nice-to-have. Their shirts cost $25, which is not uncommon.
Overall, this was a good experience with a challenging workout, a positive environment and very good coaching. I would recommend Hunter’s Creek CrossFit if you want a good workout in the Orlando area. I’ll return if I get the opportunity.
Wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels.
Hunter’s Creek CrossFit
2120 Orinoco Dr #200
Orlando, FL 32837
Author: Matt C.
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