If you’ve read some of my other posts, you’ll notice a running theme of communicating with the places where I might want to drop in. This will help both you and the CrossFit you are looking to visit. And there is definitely a give-and-take to the transaction. So, here’s some thoughts on communication.
Let's start with the obvious – As of this posting, places are just starting to open back up now. Different states have different rules and different CrossFits are moving at different paces. Most places won't be ready for drop-ins for some time but as things improve, you'll definitely want to find out what an individual CrossFit's stance is on dropping in. They will almost certainly have limited class sizes for a while.
Let them know you’re coming – While you can drop in unannounced, it’s definitely good etiquette to let your host to know that they’ll have a drop-in and give a reasonable amount of nitice whenever possible. In a recent interview with CrossFit owners (more from that in an upcoming post), I was told the ideal notice before dropping in is to contact them the week before. This gives them time to respond.
There may be something special going on that’s not mentioned on the schedule. For instance, they could be preparing for a special event which may affect their ability to accept drop-ins at that time.
It's also a good opportunity to let them know if you have circumstances they should be aware of like a mobility issue.
You’ll know what to expect – There’s many places that don’t list their WOD on their web site. It may be on an app that you don’t have access to it. Also, per the above special circumstance scenario, you have the opportunity to learn if there’s anything you need to expect. Calling ahead is a very good opportunity to ask any other questions that may not be addressed by their web site. For instance, some sites don’t list their drop-in fees.
Getting a hint of the culture – It may sound odd that you can get a sense of the culture from a phone call or an email but if you pay close attention, you can learn a lot from how the person responding to you communicates. Do they sound welcoming? Do they say things like “we’d love to have you”? Do they have a few minutes to answer your questions and give you details? Are they willing to help you if you need to scale a workout? If so, these are good signs. If they sound like it’s an inconvenience, you may have caught them at a bad time or it also might be a sign that you want to keep looking.
Bringing the right gear – As many of us are flying to our destinations, it can be helpful if you can pack lighter. If you know there’s not going to be double unders or heavy lifting and you can leave the jump rope and weight belt at home, that’s always a plus. If there’s going to be a run as a part of the workout, you can decide if you’d prefer to bring running shoes.
Finding the right workout – I recently called a place and they had a WOD scheduled that was very similar to what I had done the night before at my home CrossFit. Two days in a row wouldn’t have been a great idea. So, while the CrossFit checked off all the boxes for the type of place I wanted to visit, the workout wasn’t right on that day and I kept looking. (Don't worry, I'll be back.)
You may have certain things that you want to work on or want to avoid because it might exacerbate an injury. That communication will be important for you. If the workout isn’t right for you on that day, maybe you go on a different day or at least you'll know to have a scaling option or, if there’s other drop-in options in the area, perhaps you want to look further.
Communication is an important tool in finding the right places to help you stay fit in your travels. There’s a lot you can learn from an email or a 5-minute conversation that will not only help you make the best choice for you but to better assure that the place you select will get you a result you'll be happy with.
Please contact me if you have any questions on this or other drop-in/travel topics at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels!
You’re on the road. You’re busy. There’s lots on your mind. So, why spend time to drop in?
There’s plenty of reasons. Not the least of which is it will help you both physically and mentally, thereby increasing your opportunities for success. It’s not easy being on the road, work the whole day and then work more in your hotel room at night. Lots of times the work we would have otherwise done in the office piles up, leaving us with little choice but to work in our hotel room at night. While you want to keep on top of things, it’s just plain unhealthy for your body, mind and spirit taking the all work and no play approach. It’s a different kind of stimulus.
I get it. It’s easy to get cooped up in the hotel with your work; a personal size pizza and the TV as your only company. But what if you got out there and spent just a little time doing something for yourself? From personal experience, I can tell you there’s tangible payback. Let’s count the ways.
What about if you’re on vacation? It’s a great idea to drop in if you can while on vacation. There’s lots of reasons. But that’s a topic for another day.
Wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels.
Author: Matt C.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.