The 2022 Drop-In Awards
It’s time for our 3rd annual Drop-In Awards, and what a year it’s been! There’s 3 new places that I’ve visited twice this year, an “old reliable” that I’ve been to many times, and we’ve had our first ever-guest review.
So, who are this year’s standouts? What makes these CrossFits distinct? The answers will be revealed over the next seven days. I can say this much; It’s been a year of great experiences in parts of the country (and beyond) I hadn’t previously been to. Hopefully, you’ve found the reviews useful for your travels.
So, let’s start get started. You’ll see an award added to this post each day between today and New Years Eve. There’s some new awards this year and some established standards. As always, these awards are for fun…and a little bit of bragging rights.
Here are your Drop-In Awards for 2022:
The Good Things Come in Small Boxes Award goes to CrossFit Salire in Westmont, IL. This CrossFit is located in the western Chicago suburbs and, while it’s not too big in size it’s got a lot of great things going for it. It’s well-equipped and clean. The coaching is great and the people are friendly. This was definitely one (actually two) of the standout drop-ins of the year and they’re high on the recommend list.
The Location Admiration Award is one of the awards that we’ve had since the beginning. It’s designed to honor a CrossFit that’s optimally located for vacationing CrossFitters . This year’s award goes to CrossFit NOLA. If you haven’t been to New Orleans, it’s a great city. There’s so much to do, fantastic music and amazing food. All you need is somewhere to work out. CrossFit NOLA is the perfect place for that. Not just because of their location. They’ve got a great facility, the coaching is excellent and you’ll get one heck of a workout there. So, if you’re in New Orleans, please enjoy everything this city has to offer but it’s not a complete experience unless you drop in at CrossFit NOLA.
The Best Workout I Never Had Award is a new award this year. It might sound a little strange to have an award for somewhere I’ve haven't worked out at but it’s actually for the CrossFit with the best contributed writeup. I’d love this one to become an annual award so please contact me with your drop-in experiences and we’ll get them up on the blog.
But let’s give out the award. The first (hopefully annual) Best Workout I Never Had award goes to V&L Biloxi Fitness in Mississippi. This writeup was contributed by Honey Parker, who spent a lot of time at V&L so, she got a very good feel for everything they have to offer. This is a clean, nice-sized facility with very good coaching and a more than reasonable drop-in cost.
Congratulations to V&L Biloxi Fitness on being the first recipient of this award and thank you to our guest writer, Honey Parker.
The King of the Chippers Award has gone to CrossFit OTG in Egg Harbor Township, NJ for the past two years. And they’ve done it again! My wife and I went for the post-Thanksgiving workout this year and true to form, we got a workout and then some. CrossFit OTG is probably the place I’ve done the most drop-ins and it’s an easy place to visit. I’ve never had a bad experience with the coaches, the people or the facility. However, the workouts can be taxing at times. Hhence the award.
Congratulations to CrossFit OTG on this award and on being our first three-time winner!
The Coach’s Spirit Award is a new award that I expect will become a regular. It’s for those coaches that go the extra step to make drop-ins feel welcome. I’ve met so many great coaches so there’s no shortage of candidates for this one. But this one goes to coach Alicia at CrossFit Cayman. Coach Alicia is easy going, knows her stuff and is a fun person to be around. Congratulations to coach Alicia and to CrossFit Cayman for recognizing and hiring good staff.
The Elbow Room Award was started last year in recognition of the big spaces in CrossFit. After all, we have an award for smaller CrossFit so fair's fair. This year’s Elbow Room Award goes to Iron Flag Fitness (home of CrossFit Iron Flag), in Westmont, IL. Iron Flag has a sizeable workout floor for classes, plus other areas for open workouts, warming up and smaller instructional workouts.
I also want to give a mention for their work with the youth in the community. Good causes deserve recognition too and if we start giving out awards for philanthropic activities, Iron Flag is at the top of the list. Way to go on multiple fronts, Iron Flag!
The Nostalgia Award is our final award for 2022 and it’s new this year. I visit lots of places annually and there’s a growing list of CrossFits I’d love to return to. Frankly, there’s so many candidates for this one that it’s difficult to choose. I’m sure this will become an annual award.
In reflecting on it, I can’t think of a better first recipient of the Nostalgia Award than CrossFit Beyond in Albany, NY. My first drop-in was at CrossFit Beyond and if the experience weren’t as good as it was, I probably wouldn’t have tried it again. My positive interactions with the coaches and athletes there set me on a course that’s been pivotal in maintaining my health on the road and that consistency was the spark that brought Drop-In Diary into existence. If that’s not worthy of recognition, I don’t know what is. Thank you, CrossFit Beyond!
And there you have it! Our 2022 Drop-In Awards. Lots of great adventures and experiences this year. Congratulations to our winners for their well-earned awards. Readers, please keep them in mind for when you’re travelling. There’s a reason they’re award-winning CrossFits.
If you’re out there and have a great drop-in experience, we want to hear about it. Please contact me on the socials or at email@example.com. Maybe that will be the next Best Workout I Never Had.
I hope you’ve all enjoyed this year’s awards and reviews. All the best to everyone in the new year. Let’s do this again next year!
As we celebrate the second year of Drop-In Diary I look back and it’s been another year of challenge. However, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been fruitful. Doing a very social thing in a time where social things are not always encouraged means you must take extra measures and give extra consideration.
As you know, it was a year of ups and downs in terms of safety and the effect of the pandemic. While the global situation ended the year on a down note, there were definitely positives. Many restrictions were reduced, allowing drop-in visits to occur, and they certainly did.
So, let’s focus on those positives. That’s where I like to live and there were a lot of blessings to count. While I wasn’t able to travel as much as I would have liked, I was able to get to several new locations, including 3 islands. What’s not to like about that. I was also able to stop in on some old friends like CrossFit for the People and CrossFit OTG; Two of my favorite places.
I changed jobs at the end of 2021. Sadly, Drop-In Diary doesn’t pay the bills…none of them. This job change means that I won’t be getting to the upstate New York area nearly as much. But now I get to the Chicago area frequently and there’s lots of places to visit there.
As I reflect back, I also think about the original mission for Drop-In Diary, which I remain focused on. There’s lots of people that travel and many that don’t feel comfortable with the unfamiliarity of dropping in. By visiting places and trying to provide a comprehensive picture of what it’s like at a given location, my goal is to provide some familiarity and comfort so that athletes can maintain a better workout consistency and better overall health.
The unexpected and tremendous dividend for me has been getting to know athletes, coaches and owners, finding new friendships and getting a better understanding of the CrossFit world. It has made me love this venture even more and has motivated me to keep going.
What’s in store for 2022? We’ll have our first guest drop-in review, which is very exciting. I can’t be everywhere and if we can expend our coverage through the feedback of others, I’m all about it. I’d love that to be the start of a trend. Safety protocols have become a relevant consideration so, I will include more information about them from my drop-ins. Also, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So, more pics when I drop in to give you as complete a picture of a place as possible. I’m also lining up more gear reviews and want to include a couple more nutrition pieces as well. And, of course, as many drop-ins as possible!
So, I want to thank my growing following and anyone who has supported me. I hope you’ve found Drop-In Diary to be a useful tool. If you can, I’d love more feedback so Drop-In Diary can be even more helpful.
I look forward to bringing you more in 2022. As always, wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels.
The 2021 Drop-In Awards
It’s hard to believe another year has passed already. And we’ve had another year of trying to navigate around the pandemic to stay fit. It turns out, I was still able to get in a number of drop-ins this year and there’s been some award-winning experiences. I hope you’ve had fun reading about them and I hope they’ve been informative for you.
Now it’s time to reflect back and honor the best drop-ins of the year. This was a fun and popular event last year so, why not make it an annual thing? No, this isn’t the Oscars. There’s no statuette given to each winning box. This is for fun… and a little bit of bragging rights.
Just like last year, these awards go to things that particularly distinguished a CrossFit. Any CrossFit that I’ve been to in 2021 qualifies, even if I’ve been there before. Some of the award categories remain the same and there some new ones. But who stands out from the pack in each category? We’ll give one award every day between Christmas and New Year so be sure to check in each day to find out.
Here are your 2021 Drop-In Awards:
1. The Home Away from Home Award goes to my good friends at CrossFit for the People in Albany, NY. They won the Most Fun Ice Breakers Award last year. I had the opportunity to drop-in this past July and it was like coming home.
My work used to bring me up there all the time and I’ve had many visits there. The athletes and owner, Kayla are some of the nicest people I’ve ever worked out with. Sadly, I’ve changed jobs and won’t have the opportunity to make it back anytime soon. I will certainly miss them. So, there’s some nostalgia in this award. Congratulations to you, CrossFit for the People. Stay fantastic!
Want to learn more about CrossFit for the People? You can find my full review at https://www.dropindiary.com/blog/crossfit-for-the-people.
2. The Good Things Come in Small Boxes Award goes to Happy Hour CrossFit in Nassau, Bahamas. This is a small facility but you get just as much quality here as many of the big boxes in the states. It's Boxing Day and it’s no coincidence that this award goes to Happy Hour CF today. I’ve been to Nassau on Boxing Day before and it’s a celebration like no other. I highly recommend it if you can make it there. And I highly recommend Happy Hour CrossFit.
Check out the recently-posted full review at https://www.dropindiary.com/blog/an-island-drop-in-at-happy-hour-crossfitwww.dropindiary.com/blog/an-island-drop-in-at-happy-hour-crossfit.
3. The King of the Chipper Workouts Award goes to CrossFit OTG, in Egg Harbor Township, NJ for a second year in a row. Our first two-timer! It’s always well-earned. I love visiting OTG and interacting with the great athletes after I’ve peeled myself off the floor from one of their workouts. Keep up the good programming, Nick. Thank you, sir. May I have another!
It's been a while since my last full review on OTG but things have remained pretty consistent. Check out the full review www.dropindiary.com/blog/crossfit-otg.
4. The Elbow Room Award goes to CrossFit Bexley, in Columbus, OH. We had a small box award. It’s time to represent the other side of the fence. If you like wide open spaces, prefer to social distance or just like a nice echo, CrossFit Bexley doesn’t disappoint. It's got two sizeable rigs and a whole lot of space in between. This place would make Batman reconsider his accommodations. And I’d go as far as to say it’s got more cool toys than the Batcave too.
Haven't had a chance to see the full review? Look no further:
5. The Lives Up to the Hype Award goes to CrossFit Mile Zero in Key West, FL. When I told people I was going to drop in at CF Mile Zero, many said that they had heard about them or had heard good things about them or that they’d like to go there. Of course, they’d like to go there. It’s Key West.
So, when you think of Key West you’re thinking laid back, cool people and just a good vibe. All true! I’ve witnessed it myself and I would do it again in a heartbeat and hope I can. That doesn't mean they're laid back during the workout. It is CrossFit Mile Zero so you'll get your money's worth. Owner, Jeff is a really good guy and the athletes there are all super nice too. Way to go, CF Mile Zero!
Want more details? See the full review at https://www.dropindiary.com/blog/vacation-drop-in-at-crossfit-mile-zero
6. The Location Admiration Award goes to Rock Life CrossFit in St. Thomas, USVI. This was originally called the Most I Wish I Were There Every Day Award (long-winded but still applies) and I thought it was going to go unrivaled for quite some time. I didn’t expect to be back in St. Thomas so soon. Rock Life is an amazing CrossFit in all categories, and you can’t beat the beautiful location. If you get to visit St. Thomas (and I hope you do), you don’t want to miss this place.
You won't want to miss the full reiview either. https://www.dropindiary.com/blog/dropping-in-at-rock-life-crossfit-in-st-thomas
7. The Better Than Mickey Award is our final award of 2021. Some people love a certain mouse in the Florida area. But there are others worth visiting. I’m speaking about MouseTrap Fitness, home of CrossFit MouseTrap in Orlando. This excellent box is right around the corner from the parks and you don’t have to wait in long lines or pay exorbitant prices for a great experience. The people are cool, the workout is hot, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Learn what makes CrossFit Mousetrap as good as they are. Check out the full review at www.dropindiary.com/blog/crossfit-mousetrap-getting-back-to-dropping-in
Once again, this has been a challenging year to drop-in, but we have persevered. There have been some unforgettable experiences in 2021. Congratulations to all of these award winning CrossFits. I hope you will have the chance to try some of these places out. If not, maybe you’ll find some drop in adventures of your own. If you do, please let me know about it. I would love to hear from you.
What does this mean for the awards from last year that weren’t presented this year? Well, I guess you get to keep your title. Keep on bragging because I haven’t found anyone who could top your award-winning characteristics.
I hope you’ve enjoyed all the posts and I hope you all have a safe, happy, and healthy 2022!
I can’t believe it’s been a year since Drop-In Diary launched. I also can’t believe everything that’s happened since then, as I’m sure most of us can’t. When I first set out, I wanted to help travelers feel more comfortable about dropping in as an overall way to help people stay healthy. A new location, new people, different styles of coaching and programming can be intimidating. I had to overcome that intimidation and knew if I could others could as well. As a pretty average CrossFitter, I found that sharing my experiences was a way I could give something back that would be helpful.
Who’d have thought that a couple of months later there’d be no dropping in? For a while we couldn’t even go to our own gyms, let alone try a new one. Fortunately, I had something to keep Drop-In Diary going…a backlog of notes and experiences I could share. I also had material for product reviews, nutritional information (with some help from my nutrition coach) and other general observations.
While I was still able to post, like everyone else has experienced, conditions weren’t optimal. Afterall, it’s a lot more useful to read about a drop-in experience when we’re actually planning to be in that area. Fortunately, these experiences will still be valid as we begin to return to relative normalcy…hopefully soon.
As an addition to the “conditions weren’t optimal” category, I had learned in the middle of the year that I needed hip surgery for a torn labrum. And, just for good measure, a couple of weeks before the hip surgery I learned that I needed hernia surgery. So, in three months I had two surgeries that didn’t allow me to truly do CrossFit workouts again for about four months.
However, lemonade out of lemons. It was an opportunity to share a different set of experiences, as I’m not the only person to need surgery so I started the Rehabin’ Diary to document my recovery process. Unlike Drop-In Diary, I was hoping I would run out of content in a relatively short amount of time. Thank goodness that seems to be the case.
Personally, I’ve felt very fortunate to have been able to interact with athletes, coaches, owners and experts in new ways and learn different perspectives. I’ve received great feedback from people who have read Drop-In Diary content. My most surprising discovery was how useful some of the owners had found my feedback and how it helped them make some positive changes.
What’s in store going forward? Believe it or not, I still have some backlog reviews and additional content that you’ll be seeing soon. I plan to continue to help those who have apprehension about dropping in to feel more comfortable. If it’s worthwhile content, perhaps I’ll even expand beyond dropping in. I’m passionate about giving back in the best way I can.
I particularly want to thank all of those who have read content on Drop-In Diary, shared their feedback, given my posts a like, contributed their knowledge, rooted for me during my recovery and supported me in even the smallest of ways. I encourage you to keep checking in and I would love nothing more than if you join the conversation. Your feedback only helps make the information more valuable to everyone.
Here’s wishing you a safe, healthy, happy and successful 2021.
The 2020 Drop-In Awards
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!