It’s a hot, humid July afternoon in Columbus, Ohio and I find myself standing in front of the large CrossFit box that is CrossFit Bexley. I showed up for the 4:30pm class and was greeted by one of their coaches, coach Amy, who was actually taking the class with me but was nice enough to get me a waiver to sign and check to see what my swag choices were (more on that later).
CrossFit Bexley is a place that I’ve been wanting to get to for a while, as I travel to Columbus frequently enough, at least before the pandemic. Now that travelling has started ramping back up I had another opportunity. The timing was good, so I was able to take advantage. I typically stay by the airport and it’s less than a 10-minute drive so, it’s quite convenient.
Let’s break this visit down into the usual categories. And here’s your regular reminder - all ratings are on a scale of 1-5 barbells.
I sent an email out expressing my interest in dropping in the week before I travelled and within 6 hours I received a response from one of the owners, Patrick Woods. He let me know he’d be happy to have me and gave me details on the cost and where to sign up. I asked for any information on the workout and he didn’t have it yet, which isn’t uncommon at all. I was looking for 2 days of workout information, as I wasn’t sure which day I could make at first. The day before I left, Patrick sent me the next day’s workout, which I ended up making.
Looking at their website, it’s easy to navigate with a clear calendar schedule and a drop-in option under rates. There’s a section for trainers that gives a picture and a full bio, including certifications, for each coach.
Overall, CrossFit Bexley was pretty clean. The coach asked us to wipe down our equipment after our workout. There’s plenty of spray bottles and rags. However, I did notice that several of the bars had a good bit of chalk on them. There was a little chalk on the rig but it’s almost not worth noting. I did not have an opportunity to inspect the bathrooms. No big issues here.
This category is a little more difficult. CrossFit Bexley is a big, beautiful facility. It’s stocked with equipment. There’s two large rigs on either side of this very open space. There’s loads of rowers and bikes. There’s plenty of dumbbells, kettlebells, and bars. I saw a fair amount of rust on several bars. That can be harder to keep up with in the humidity between all the perspiration and cleaning solution. The space is really nice.
The one downside is the flooring. The padding is quite thin, which I don’t necessarily mind. We did several warmup movements on the floor and there were burpees in the workout and I had no issues. The level of protection seemed sufficient. However, thinner flooring is more susceptible to expansion and contraction. In my opening I said it was a hot, humid day and I noticed in several places that the flooring rolled up, which could be a tripping concern. It wasn’t widespread but it was in more than one or two spots. So, I’d say be aware and watch your step.
The workout was “Lyon”, which was challenging. It’s 5 rounds for time of:
I had to scale, of course. However, to me it’s about the quality of the workout. I’m not looking to prove anything.
Coach David introduced himself to me prior to the class and introduced me as the class got started. He reviewed the workout prior to class and then ran us through a full warmup. He noticed a couple of things for me to correct and pointed them out to me. We also discussed how best to scale prior to the workout.
Coach David kept an eye on all of us and was encouraging. He communicated well during the workout, rest and cash-out to keep us motivated.
It was really difficult to get a sense of the culture only because there were just two other people in the class with me. It was 4:00 on a weekday so that didn’t surprise me. There were a few athletes working out independently, but they were in their own space.
I want to give them the benefit of the doubt because the few people I did get to meet were very pleasant. The two people in my class were supportive. Based on what I saw, I believe this was a sample of larger cultural makeup here.
The cost to drop in at CrossFit Bexley is a mere $15. A bargain. If you want to add a shirt, it’s only $10 more, which is also really good. However, swag availability was extremely limited. They didn’t have anything in my size. This isn’t uncommon. You usually can find plenty of small and medium in most places. After that, you need a little bit of luck from the CrossFit Gods. We’ll see how things look when I swing back around to Columbus.
CrossFit Bexley has a lot going for it. It was a positive experince. The communication and the coaching was very good. Although I only got to meet a handful of people, they were all friendly and welcoming. The facility was huge and well equipped. Yes, the flooring was a downside but I would still recommend CrossFit Bexley as a good place to workout in the Columbus area. And, I would ask the owners if they address the flooring issue to please contact me and I will gladly ammend this piece.
2903 E. 4th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43219
I didn’t realize how significant my first post-pandemic drop-in would be until I got there. Just to have that familiar feeling of the unfamiliar again; visiting a new place, getting in the flow of how they might do things differently. I’ve come to appreciate that in my drop-in experiences. What was familiar was the process in doing my research, reaching out to let them know we would be there and get details about the workout.
So, my first official drop-in since last year was at CrossFit Mousetrap in Orlando, which is really right around the corner from Disney World. And that’s where we were on our first post-pandemic vacation. You can’t really beat the convenience of this CrossFit if you’re visiting “the mouse”.
So, on a Saturday morning before Epcot opened, my wife and I grabbed an Uber and took the 8-minute ride over for a long, hot, yet rewarding workout.
There’s lots to get to on this one so, let’s review the details. In case you’ve forgotten, all ratings are on a scale of 1-5 barbells.
I reached out to CrossFit Mousetrap way ahead of time; three weeks before we would be there. I sent an email to email@example.com and got a very quick response from Ryan (the owner), who sent me a link to schedule our visit. He told me when to contact him to get the workout so we’d know what gear to bring. So, a couple days before the trip I reached out again and Ryan got right back to me with the workout…and it was a memorable one but we’ll get to that soon.
In looking at their website, at first it appeared to be offline but that might have been a glitch because a couple of days later it seemed to be fine. There’s a banner right at the top of their home page which will take you to a form to let them know you’re interested in dropping in. Under About, you’ll find a bio on the owner and details on their coaches with all their certifications, backgrounds and specialties.
Their schedule is under More Info. It conveniently shows how many people are signed up for a class. It looks like their capacity is 15. We’ll say it’s “15ish”. Their pricing is there but doesn’t specify the drop-in costs (which is $20). Another way you can view pricing is when you go to sign up at https://mousetrapfitness.wodify.com/OnlineSalesPortal/Home.aspx. I will advise that if you know when you want to go you should sign up early because you’ll see on the schedule that classes can fill up quickly.
It’s difficult to keep any CrossFit clean, especially in a hot and humid environment. This is a fairly small facility (which we’ll get to) and there’s a lot of people using it, so I wasn’t expecting it to be spotless. That said, it could have been a little cleaner. You can see dust build up in certain spots. It’s not offensive. Just noticeable if you’re looking. Their bathrooms seemed clean and I gave the warm up area in the back a quick glance and it seemed quite nice.
As I mentioned above, this is a relatively small facility but I will give them a lot of credit in making the most of the space they have. They organize all their barbells, plates and other hardware in a good location off to the side so it’s not interfering with the workout. There’s a decent-sized rig just to the left as you enter and a small rig out the side door on an artificial grass surface. The main area is NOT air conditioned but they’ve got plenty of fans. It was humid that morning but honestly, with the workout we did it didn’t really matter. The warmup area that also had lockers and restrooms does have air conditioning.
There’s plenty of barbells that have been well-loved but not in bad shape. The bumper plates appeared to be in good shape, with a home-built plate rack to help neatly stack them. . I didn’t notice any splits. They have 6 rowers and 6 Echo Bikes. Plus, there was enough equipment like dumbbells and wall balls, which were not used in this workout but I took notice.
We had a full class. I’d say there was 16 or 17 people. The workout included a row but people were flexible and the coach made things work. Some of us rowed, some of us were on the bike and others ran. They moved most of the rowers outside to optimize the space.
The warmup area in the back was spacious enough and there was also a space for lockers with plenty of space to sit post-workout, if desired.
Lengthy workouts seem to follow us wherever we go. But that’s okay. We’re there for the workout so let’s get the most out of it.
This workout was a couple of days before Murph so the weights were a little lighter with the goal of keeping people moving without taxing them too much. As you can see, it was 25 minutes with some significant rep counts. I think I only got a few full rounds in and, although the weights were light (but got heavier over time), I’m not ashamed to admit that some of that workout was spent with my hands on my knees staring down at the bar willing myself to pick it back up again.
Did we get our money’s worth? You bet!
Coach Sam Ayala was running the class that morning and I’ll cut right to it; he did a fantastic job! He immediately greeted us when we came in, gave us a quick overview of the facility and made us feel at home. He also introduced us during the warmup. When the next class was gathering they had another drop-in and Sam greeted them with equal energy. This is the type of place that gets a lot of drop-ins and you can tell they’ve got it down.
As I mentioned, he had a full class and he did a great job at making sure everyone had space and equipment for the workout. Sam was very attentive and made sure he checked on everyone throughout the workout. He was upbeat and encouraging. There was an athlete that was struggling with some mobility issues and Sam came around to him several times to make sure he was okay and made sure he wasn’t going to hurt himself.
Sam is the type of coach that you want to have when you drop in. He knows what he’s doing and has a great energy. A rare 5 barbells for coach Sam! I hope I can get back there for another class with him.
When you have a CrossFit that gets a lot of drop-ins, you can either have a group that’s either kind of to themselves or quite welcoming. It’s not easy when you regularly don’t recognize several people in your class. However, there were plenty of people here that introduced themselves and asked where we were from.
There was also lots of camaraderie among the regulars. You could see there were several strong bonds among the group and they had a good rapport with the coach as well.
Post class, there was a lot of acknowledgement and congratulations. Getting through 25 minutes of that workout was no small accomplishment.
As mentioned, a single drop-in costs $20, which is pretty average. They don’t appear to have a multi-session drop-in fee, like if you were going to be there for a week, which kind of surprises me but they may not get too many requests for that. They do have punch cards but they start at 12 punches. So, if you’re in that area for a longer time, that might work for you.
They have t-shirts, mostly of one style and a handful in a couple of other styles. The cost was $25, which is at the upper end of average but we liked the shirts so we each got one.
First off, it was such a great feeling to be able to drop in again. CrossFit Mousetrap was a memorable place to start things back up. Yes, it was hot and humid (it is Florida, after all). Yes, it was a little crowded. And yes, it put me through my paces. To me, those are some of the things that give CrossFit its character. It was a challenging workout in a good environment with good people.
I can’t say enough about coach Sam. He’s the kind of coach I can appreciate. Information ahead of the workout was easy to access and the folks at Mousetrap are quite responsive to your inquiries.
It just so happens I’ll be back in the area very soon. Will I stop back? I’m certainly going to give it my best effort.
What a year it’s been! I started a blog about dropping in to various CrossFits throughout North America, then COVID hit and it got tremendously difficult, if not impossible to drop-in. Even with that limitation, I hope I’ve been able to share a lot of good content with you. I’m currently hard at work to get you more.
It’s the end of the year and I think it would be fun do to something on the lighter side. So, here it is. Your 2020 drop-in awards! These awards don’t go to the CrossFits that have the best facility, coaching or programming. Frankly, all the places I’ve been to have been consistently good.
These awards embrace the fun things that stuck out to me with some of my visits. If a CrossFit I’ve reviewed isn’t on this list, it’s not because they’re not deserving of an award. They’re all excellent. It just means I’m not creative enough to think up something. But I have another year to ponder.
So here are your 2020 Drop-In Awards:
1. The Most Indestructible Rig Award goes hands-down to Hunters Creek CrossFit in Orlando, FL. I’m not sure what they have stabilizing their rig but I think you’d need explosives if you want any hope of dislodging it. This is a great CrossFit that has a lot going for it.
2. The Drop-In Gets to Pick the Music Award – Little things mean a lot. And I was pleased to be asked to pick the music genre for the workout at Beacon Community Fitness in Portland, ME. You’ll find super nice people here and it was a great workout as well (to very good music).
3. The You Can’t Get Any Cleaner Than This Award – I’ve been to a lot of clean CrossFits but holy smokes, CrossFit Schenectady in NY was like 5-star luxury hotel kind of clean. It’s almost like this level of cleanliness doesn’t belong in a CrossFit. Well done, CrossFit Schenectady!
4. The King of the Chipper Workouts Award goes to CrossFit OTG in Egg Harbor Township, NJ. I’ve worked out here several times and have been joined by my wife and my sister on occasion and we all say the same thing; We never walk out of there feeling like we’ve been shorted on our workouts. Nick (the owner) is a great guy and is passionate about what he does. And you will most certainly get your money’s worth if you drop in at CrossFit OTG.
5. The Most Fun CrossFit Name Award goes to Stay Classy CrossFit in San Diego, CA. I can appreciate good branding. And I really love this CrossFit’s name. You can tell that they are fun as soon as you see it. This is a great nod to a fun movie set in San Diego. It’s referenced throughout their web site. I’m sure it’s reflected in their t-shirt sales as well.
6. The Most Fun Ice Breaker Award goes to CrossFit for the People in Albany, NY. CrossFit for the People (CFTP) has a great culture. I’ve dropped in several times and every time we’ve stood in a circle before class and introduced ourselves and answered some sort of inconsequential question about ourselves like do you prefer ice cream in a cone or a cup. I’ve heard of this in other places, but this is the only place I’ve seen it in consistent practice. CFTP is a great overall CrossFit experience and I can’t wait to return.
7. The Most I Wish I Were There Every Day Award has to go to Reebok CrossFit St. Thomas. This one’s kind of a layup. I mean, it’s St. Thomas. Such an amazing island and I was very happy to get off the cruise ship and work off some of that cruise ship food there. If you go to their web site or follow them you’ll see that it’s not uncommon for them to do a beach workout. I think Reebok CrossFit St. Thomas will hold on to this award for a while. At least until I can get to a place like Hawaii to possibly challenge them. I definitely want make a return visit for both the atmosphere and the CrossFit experience.
So, there you have it; Your 2020 Drop-In awards. Despite all of the obstacles that have gotten in our way this year, I hope you’ve been able to stay safe and get some good workouts in, wherever you are. I hope you’ve enjoyed the information Drop-In Diary has shared with you so far. Most of all, I hope you have a very safe, happy and healthy 2021. See you next year!
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.
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.
With each day we find ourselves in new territory, not entirely sure what progress, challenges and setbacks we’ll encounter. We see this in our own personal dealings with the pandemic and how it’s being handled throughout the world. On the positive side, the pandemic has inspired creativity and innovation. New problems have inspired new ways to address them.
In the CrossFit world, we’ve seen online classes, daily programming to work out on our own and outdoor classes. One approach that I’ve yet to see elsewhere is from my home gym, Blackbird CrossFit. They’ve not just brought classes outdoors, they’ve moved everything needed for their classes outside.
Conditions were very well aligned to favor this setup, which otherwise may not have been possible. The landlord where Blackbird is located has a fenced area in the rear parking lot. In mid-May Matt and Rebekah Titus, owners of Blackbird CrossFit, struck a deal with the landlord to move items they had stored in the fenced area inside Blackbird so they could move the rig outside. To date, they’ve elected to keep classes outside to reduce opportunities to spread infection.
The setup is impressive. The “birdcage” as they call it, has a tent over the entire rig. They secured the rig to the ground and brought out mats from inside. There’s spaces marked for social distancing to accommodate 8 people under the tent and another 4 within the enclosure.
Inside the birdcage there’s two sink cabinets connected with a hose. People wash their hands both before and after workouts. After each workout, the athletes wipe down their equipment and spots on the rig. I’ve seen everyone doing this. No exceptions. The coaches cover their faces for the entire class and spray down the mats with a cleaning solution after each class.
Matt Titus also got creative with transporting barbells and plates. He built several carts that can accommodate two barbells, plates of all sizes and collars. It even wheels out on a pair of 45 lb. plates that can be removed for workouts. Very practical and useful. The carts are wheeled back in at the end of each day and, although the fence is locked when the area is not in use, no equipment is left outside.
The birdcage has worked very well since it’s been set up. There’s still space inside if it rains. A dozen people can workout inside with sufficient social distancing, if necessary. They’re very good about following state guidelines. You work out in a designated space. While in that space you don’t need to wear a mask but outside of it you do. You also enter by one door and exit by another if the workout is inside.
Everyone is doing their best to stay safe. Owners have to balance creating the best workout environment while keeping risk at an absolute minimum. Blackbird CrossFit has done a great job of seizing an opportunity. It’s understood that many affiliates don’t have these conditions available to them. Most don’t have a fenced-in area or the ability to move their rig. I applaud Blackbird for their creativity as well as all other affiliates who are doing their best to help their members stay safe and healthy in the midst of the challenges we’re facing today.
It was a hot summer day in early September 2019 when I found myself in Newport, Kentucky looking from my hotel across the Ohio River at Cincinnati. Only 3 or 4 blocks away from my hotel was NewCov CrossFit. I had contacted them a few days ahead of time to let them know I was coming. They were very nice on the phone and the location was perfectly located for me.
Newport is a growing area with plenty of restaurants, an aquarium, a distillery, a few nearby microbreweries and shops. There’s a great view from the levee. I didn’t have a lot of time to explore but I was impressed with all the options.
When I arrived at NewCov, I went to the front desk, paid my drop-in fee and signed the waver. Someone (I believe one of the coaches) took me back to the workout area and introduced me to the coach for the class.
Here’s how the rest of my experience went. Ratings are on a scale of 1-5 barbells.
I had no problems getting in touch with someone to address my questions prior to my arrival. They were very cordial and were happy to have me.
Their web site is among the better ones I’ve seen. There’s a section for drop-in fees on the home page (you’ll see a group of links and it’s the bottom one) or under ABOUT on the main navigation bar. There’s lots of drop-in options with multiple days and combinations with shirts. Once you’ve settled on an option you like, it will link you to a page to process payment. I haven’t gone past this point but you should be able to reserve a class at that point. You’re also able to view their schedule from the main navigation bar. Their schedule has lots of time options. BTW, Saturday classes are free. A nice bonus I haven’t seen anywhere else.
NewCov’s website also offers their workout of the day about a week in advance, which is a huge help if you like to plan ahead. They have bios on all of their coaches. The only thing that appears to be missing is the coach’s CrossFit certification levels.
At the time I visited, I didn’t have my mental check list established yet because this blog hadn’t been contemplated. So, although I didn’t check the bathrooms, the rest of the facility was clean. Not a lot of chalk dust. Nothing glaringly unclean.
They encourage wiping down equipment at the end of class. When I was there, they had spray bottles and rags. I saw just about everyone using them.
NewCov CrossFit is big. One of the largest facilities I’ve been to. They have a large, open area with high ceilings. I think you could have 2-3 classes going on there if you wanted to (not that they do). During class, there were several people lifting on their own and they weren’t really near us. There’s also a smaller area where different fitness classes are held. This was not as open but certainly big enough for a class. They have shelves to stow your bag/gear. Everything was well organized.
There’s a big plate rack close to the middle of the main workout area. It’s got kind of a mix-and-match of plates but they seemed in good shape and there was enough for everyone. There were at least a dozen people in our class.
They had a load of rowers. I didn’t count how many bikes they have but it didn’t strike me as a particularly small or large amount. Their rig was against the wall. There was plenty of space for it.
I mentioned it was hot. As luck would have it, I came on a day where their giant ceiling fan was broken. When you get a large open space like that and add heat it becomes a bit like an easy-bake oven. Nevertheless, we persevered.
The workout was pretty straight-forward. There was a strength portion which was clean and split jerks and an AMRAP of clean and (push) jerks and rowing. There was some time spent on warm up and then we got to work. I personally like a class with a strength portion before the metcon. There was more than enough time to do our lift and get the AMRAP in, with time to clean up before the next class.
In looking at the programming on their web site, NewCov seems to change things up and offers plenty of variety.
Again, I didn’t take all the notes then that I do now but I’m pretty sure that Erin was the coach. She was knowledgeable and confident. However, NewCov was the first place I’ve dropped in to where the coach didn’t introduce me to the class. It could have easily slipped her mind but without the intro I felt a little on my own.
On the strength portion, she gave me some suggestions that have stuck with me and my split jerk is better for it. She also kept an eye on everyone throughout the class. During the AMREP, she pushed and encouraged people to try for their best results.
Lack of introduction aside, the coaching was quite good.
I always say that one drop-in is a moment in time and doesn’t always give the full picture. The folks in my class on that day pretty much kept to themselves. The hot conditions may have contributed to that. It was more like being a guest rather than part of the group.
After the warmup, someone did introduce themselves to me. It turned out to be another coach that was taking the class. That helped me to feel a little more welcomed.
When the workout was over, I had a rag and spray bottle and wiped down a couple of people’s rowers. They thanked me and gave me a “good job” on the workout. So, not a bad experience. Just not as social as some other places. But, I’ll end as I began. It was a moment in time. It would not keep me from returning.
Drop-in Cost and Swag
Finishing strong. The drop-in costs at NewCov CrossFit are very reasonable. One class is $15 and $25 if you include a shirt. They also have two and three-day and week-long packages with options with and without a shirt. The week-long package without a shirt is $55. I haven’t seen many options better than that.
I opted for a shirt. You really can’t beat the price. It’s a tri-blend so, it’s nice and soft and they had plenty of inventory. I’m a big fan of the drop-in/shirt combo.
NewCov CrossFit has some really good things going for it. It’s a big, well-equipped facility (I’m sure the fan is working now). The staff is friendly and knowledgeable and the coaching was hands-on. I wouldn’t let anything about the culture put you off. It was a hot day and not a single person was unfriendly. I would certainly return. Their web site has just about everything you’ll want to know ahead of time and the drop-in costs are excellent. If you’re in the Cincinnati area, I’d recommend giving NewCov CrossFit a try.
Wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels.
15 West 6th Street
Newport, KY 41071
The title is reminiscent of one of those reports you had to do in grade school; “what I did with my summer”. But, as with so many things in life, the decisions we make can send us down many new paths. My first ever drop-in was definitely one of those decisions.
I mention in my bio that I’ve always traveled a lot and early on in my CrossFit experience I felt like I would get back to the gym after being on the road and it was like I was starting from scratch. Pushups, sit ups and air squats in my hotel room was helping but not enough. I was looking for a more complete workout. Doing a lot of CrossFit-type workouts in hotel fitness centers wasn’t always easy due to lack of space and equipment. And, not that it was a big deal to me, but people looked at me as though I was nuts.
If you ask my immediate family or close friends, you’d know I’m a researcher. I like to know exactly what to expect in order to have a level of comfort. It’s one of the principles that Drop-In Diary is based on.
So, research I did. Many of my travels bring me to upstate New York. I asked a couple of my coworkers, researched online and made calls. I settled on CrossFit Beyond in Albany. I called and spoke with owner, Joy Smolinski. She spent a few minutes on the phone with me and gave me her background and shared the upcoming workouts with me, which made me feel more comfortable coming in.
I was definitely nervous when I arrived. This was new territory. I knew no one. However, everyone was friendly and I was quickly greeted by Joy. I signed the waver and paid my drop-in fee. The rest is below in the usual format. All ratings are on a scale of 1-5 barbells.
Keep in mind, it’s been a while since my last visit there. So, some of this is to my best recollection. Also note that some things may have changed since my last visit. I’ve been there a few times so, this based on my collective experiences.
Joy is very good about responding to voice mail. I haven’t contacted them by email to date. I would more likely email ahead these days and give more notice than I did back then. But the number is on the site so it’s whatever you’re comfortable with.
Their web site is fairly basic in design but gives you all the essentials; class time, contact information, drop-in costs. It also has information on all their coaches, including their training credentials and a little background.
You can sign into classes online but it’s not super easy to find. You’d have to go to Join CrossFit Beyond in the top navigation bar, click on the link provided and it takes you to another page, click on SIGNUP/VISIT and select DROPIN.
When you walk in, you might think that it’s not a super shiny facility and it’s definitely an older building (more on that in the next section). However, there’s a difference between the age/condition of the facility and cleanliness. I’ve never really noticed any issues here.
I thought about this one for a little bit. Again, your first impression is this place is old or not the prettiest. However, it’s a CrossFit gym, not luxury a car showroom. It looks like it may have served as an auto shop in a previous life. Honestly, at the time I had only been to a couple of other facilities and it’s kind of what I’d expect a CrossFit facility to look like; a place to lift heavy stuff and work hard. Subsequently, I’ve learned in my travels there’s so many different looks and feels to places and there’s not one proper setting.
It’s a medium-size facility (not too big but not tiny at all). There’s plenty of room for everyone. There’s a main area in the rear and an area in the front that has a couple of pullup bars and bikes/rowers. The front is a little bit disconnected from the rest of the facility but it’s useful.
The main area has a wall lined with pullup bars. There’s a small free-standing rig outside. The floor is open and roomy. The equipment is a bit of a mix when you look at the dumbbells and plates. Some pieces are older and more weathered than others. There’s metal and rubber plates. However, there’s plenty of equipment. Also, keep in mind it’s been over a year since I’ve been there and they may have upgraded some of their hardware. I’ve seen this happen more than once on return visits.
They also have soft boxes, which not all places have, plenty of squat racks and a good amount of machines.
I can’t recount the specifics of each workout for you but I do recall a good amount of variety.
In my visits, I’ve done barbell workouts, dumbbell workouts, partner WODs, pull ups, sit ups, box jumps and running. There’s been cash-outs on some as well. So, they’re pretty thorough. There also is a warmup at the beginning of each class.
I will say I once had to do a workout there exclusively to music of Britney Spears. Funny…but not terribly fun. I appreciate the sense of humor.
Again, I’m going to best recollection. I’ve worked with a few coaches there. There was maybe 3-4 months of CrossFit under my belt when I first dropped in. Everyone worked with me on scaling and was very patient. I received feedback on my lifts. It always felt like the coaches were attentive, which I was especially tuned in to as early as it was in my CrossFitting days.
The culture here was one of the big factors that kept me coming back. As a first place to drop in, I distinctly remember my sense of comfort was naturally tied to my sense of how welcomed I felt. I was made to feel as I was a part of the class rather than a visitor.
The coaches introduced me at the beginning of each class. People introduced themselves to me each time I was there. On the evening of a partner workout, one of the members approached me to be his partner. There was plenty of congrats after each class as well as the occasional post-class chatting. This is a really good group of people.
Drop-in Cost and Swag
The cost to drop in on their web site is $15. It specifies you must have CrossFit experience, which is reasonable. My recollection is my cost was $20. It’s possible they’ve changed their price on the web site since I’ve been there or the listed price isn’t accurate. Either way, it’s a fair price. However, you might want to get that clarified. Joy also said I could take a class and just purchase a shirt as a drop-in fee. Unfortunately, they didn’t have anything in my size at the time. Perhaps on my next visit.
It’s said that first impressions are lasting impressions. This was definitely the case with CrossFit Beyond. I may not have continued with dropping in without the great start that I experienced here. It's very well run. The workouts are thought out and the people here are fantastic. I’ve visited several places in this area but I definitely want to make my way back to CrossFit Beyond.
Wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels.
Albany, NY 12207
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
In July, 2019 I was doing some work in Portland, ME and had the opportunity to get in an early morning workout at Beacon Community Fitness, formerly CrossFit Beacon. I think it’s worth mentioning that Portland is a great town. It’s right on the water. Plenty of great food and shops. There’s also lots of places to visit both north and south of the city and costal Maine is absolutely gorgeous.
There’s lots of CrossFit/workout options in the Portland area. I was staying by the airport and had 3-4 within a 10-minute drive. I settled on Beacon due to their volume of high online ratings, their responsiveness to my call and their scheduled workout for that day. When I called ahead they gave me all the details I needed and the person I spoke with was quite upbeat. They said they’d be happy to have me workout with them.
It’s easy to get to, just of I-295. I arrived a few minutes before it opened and there were a couple of people waiting in the parking lot already. When they opened up, I introduced myself, paid my drop-in fee and signed the waiver and went to warm up.
Here are the details. (As always, all ratings are on a scale of 1-5 barbells)
I initially called and left a message and was responded to promptly. I reviewed the workout with them and let them know which class I’d be at. Everything was smooth there.
They’ve got a clean web site that’s easy to navigate. There’s some info on all of their coaches, lots of testimonials and a class schedule. There’s a section for drop-ins right on their main navigation bar. It’s got all the details and contact information.
There’s a section on the main navigation bar for the WOD as well. It indicates the workout for the current day and past days.
It’s also worth noting that the communication I’ve had with them since my visit for additional Q & A has been exceptional.
Beacon is quite clean. Granted, I was there for the first class of the day but you can tell they take care of the facility. No residual chalk or dirt buildup that I could see. I’d say more here but there’s not much else to say. Less is more in this case.
Beacon Community Fitness is a somewhat different facility. It looks like a business front when you arrive with windows up front. It’s a stand-alone building. When I walked in, there’s a room with a handful of rowers and assault bikes and a small open floor. At first, I was wondering what else there was. Then the coach showed me through a doorway with a few steps up to the back room.
This room was much larger. It’s not massive but it was a pretty decent sized class and we weren’t on top of each other. They don’t have a traditional rig. They have a line of free-standing racks that are anchored to the floor, each with a pullup bar. There’s also stations along the wall with wallball targets. Everything is pretty well organized. The equipment appeared to be in good shape. No signs of abuse or neglect. The building is situated right in front of a running/biking trail, which is great for running workouts.
We warmed up with stretches and a run. From there, the strength portion was a sled push. We had a little extra time so we did some tire flips as well (always fun).
The metcon was more aerobic capacity. It was several rounds (I believe 5) of 10 burpees, 100m run, 10 air squats, 100m run, 10 push ups, 100m run, 10 box jumps, 100m run. So, we used the running trail. The interesting part was when we retuned from the run, we came in through the front section and ran across it, and up a ramp to the back. This kept people from running into each other when they were entering and leaving for the run. It all worked out.
As a separate note, Beacon is one of the places that has religiously posted workouts daily during the pandemic. I did a couple of them. Extra credit for reliability!
I was greeted by coach Tyson. His official title is a coach/lightkeeper. I’m told he’s one of the founders and “continues to be that steadfast person who continues to keep the light on for us all!” How can you not like that?
Tyson is the type of person who makes you feel comfortable. He was quite hospitable and introduced me to the class before we got started. He said their drop-ins pick the music genre for the class. I went with rock. Wanted to go with something with as much universal appeal as possible.
Tyson was quite attentive to everyone throughout the workout. He was good about answering any questions I had.
Beacon has a friendly culture. You can see there’s a sense of community here. They’re quite outgoing and I had the opportunity to interact with several members. The coaches help facilitate this culture. I was made to feel welcome and a part of the group. There was plenty of encouragement among members during the workout and post-workout congratulations.
Drop-in Cost and Swag
Drop-in costs are slightly higher than I usually see at $25 but not unheard of at all. They do offer a couple’s drop-in rate of $40 and weekly individual classes for individuals and couples at $60 and $100 respectively, which is pretty good.
I don’t have clear notes on the swag cost but I recall it was a good rate. I believe around $15 with your drop in.
When I reflect on a drop-in, I find that a big measure of a drop-in is how comfortable I felt. Beacon Community Fitness is an easy place to feel comfortable. I really like the coaching and the people here. Those are two of the top criteria for me. I hope to get back to Portland soon and I’d love to visit Beacon Community Fitness again.
Wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels.
Beacon Community Fitness
341 Marginal Way
Portland, ME 04101
I know I may have said this a few times before but really like returning to places I’ve dropped in to previously. My return visit to Hunter’s Creek CrossFit in Orlando was especially important to me because Hunter’s Creek was the first CrossFit I had ever written about. The first time I had dropped in there I was only contemplating blogging about my experiences. So, I was sure there were observations I hadn’t made the first time around. And, after several visits to other places since my first visit there, I knew I would come with a different perspective and would be able to make more educated observations.
This write up will compare and contrast some of my previous observations to my first visit. A lot of the ratings for Hunter’s Creek have gone up in this review, so please reference this write up when making your drop-in decisions for the Orlando area.
Ready to see what happened? Me too.
The communication was good the first time. This time I contacted them via email and received a direct response from their owner, Daniel. I had a particular concern due to an injury and Daniel assured me he’d be able to help me modify and still get an “amazing workout”. Frankly, his reassurance was the difference between me going vs. sitting it out.
I signed in to class and paid my drop-in fee online so I was ready to go when I arrived. I had previously wrote that this option was not available. So, either something changed or I missed it, which is more likely the case.
I wanted to get a closer look this time to my last visit. I poked my head in the bathroom, as that can be telling. No real issues there. This is a busy, active facility. However, they manage to stay on top of things. The floor was clean as well as the equipment.
Again, not the largest place I’ve been to but it doesn’t have to be. I did observe on my first visit that some of the rubber plates were loose on their steel hubs. Some of those plates are still there but it appears they’re “thinning the herd” and there seemed to be a greater proportion of newer plates. There’s not a great abundance of machines (rowers/bikes) but they have a few. I may have missed some but I did look around.
I also mentioned in my last write up that the rig “appears to be solid”. I got to use it this time and I want to amend that statement. This rig would most likely require a shifting of tectonic plates to move. It’s the most solid rig I’ve ever experienced. It’s got supports on top of it that I haven’t seen anywhere else. It’s not going anywhere.
There’s a good layout here. The rig is in the center with plenty of space around it. So, if you have a workout that involves pull ups and a lift, everyone can be stationed around the rig and they don’t have to navigate around other people to get back and forth to their stations.
Hunter’s Creek seems to have a good formula. It started with a thorough warmup followed by a review of all the movements for the workout.
This workout included a lift progression of push press, push jerk and split jerk. The metcon included push press, push jerk, burpees and jump rope, which I modified to the ski erg to accommodate my leg injury. It felt like a complete workout.
My first time at Hunter's Creek I had a really good experience with their coach. This time the owner, Daniel, coached the class and the experience was very similar. I had mentioned that I had a mobility issue this time around. (It seems I often do - Things get more interesting when your age starts with a 5.) Daniel gave me a means of modifying while, as he promised, still getting an amazing workout.
When class first started, Daniel introduced me and another drop-in to the group. He gathered everyone around the board to review the workout. He warmed us up and went through all the movements we'd need for the class.
We matched up with similar height partners for the lift. Daniel did an excellent job of making the rounds with everyone to observe and encourage them both during the lift and the workout. It’s a very hands-on coaching environment at Hunters Creek which I particularly appreciate.
Special thanks to Daniel for helping me get some pics after class, as my arms were too shaky after all that shoulder-to-overhead.
I really like the people at Hunter’s Creek. They’re friendly and they’ve got great energy. You can tell they’re proud to be members there, as you’ll find in more close-knit CrossFit communities. One of the guys I was partnered with for the lift gave me a helpful tip.
In between rounds in the metcon I looked up and received a couple looks of encouragement from nearby members. There was plenty of congrats after the workout was done.
Drop-In Cost and Swag
No real change here from my previous visit. $20 to drop in and $25 for a shirt. However, they did have a shirt in my size this time so I was happy because I really like their logo design.
I get to the Orlando area a lot in my travels and I’m honestly torn between making Hunter’s Creek my go-to place and checking out other places to experience, as that’s now what I do. It’s nice to have a place that I know will be consistently good and I’ll feel comfortable with. I’m sure I’ll return. If you’re looking for a place to try in the Orlando area, I think you’d be very happy with Hunter’s Creek CrossFit.
Hunter’s Creek CrossFit
2120 Orinoco Dr #200
Orlando, FL 32837