I visited CrossFit for the People for the fourth time on November 5, 2019.
I had good experiences there in the past and this was no different. Having the opportunity to drop in more than once at a location gives me a sense of their consistency.
CrossFit for the People (CFTP) is located in Albany, NY about 10-15 minutes from the airport. It’s easy to get to but you’ll probably want your phone GPS to guide you there.
CFTP is relatively new (just over a year old as of this post) but already has an impressive membership of about 150+. The location is spacious with several large garage doors, which are kept open in nice weather.
When I first found this box, it was the unique name that caught my attention. They do a pretty good job of branding themselves. I did my usual research; looked at Google reviews, went to the web site and called/left a voice message. The owner, Kayla, texted me back quickly and started communicating with me on the WODs, drop in fees, etc. She was very accommodating.
Since then, I’ll send her a text when I’m in town and she’ll let me know what the upcoming WODs are. They also post their WODs in SugarWOD, with is a gym management program. It uses a free app that you can download to see their upcoming programming.
For this visit, I arrived about 15 minutes prior to the 5:30pm class and was greeted by Kayla who was chatting casually with some of the members between classes. She immediately welcomed me and included me in the conversation about what ridiculous hypothetical scenario I would prefer given a choice of two. I felt that relaxed, comfortable feeling very quickly, even with people who didn’t know me.
Not to ruin the surprise but this box scores consistently well across the board. Let’s look at the details. (All ratings are on a scale of 1-5 barbells)
I mentioned that Kayla was quick to respond to my initial voice message. She’s also been very quick to respond to any subsequent communication. Additionally, she’s always communicates that she’d glad to hear when I’m returning.
The CFTP web site offers a good sense of their environment. It talks about encouragement and community. Their culture backs that claim up.
I've ammended this post since it first went up. When I first dropped in there was no information about drop-ins on their website. Now, there's a pop-up when you first go to their home page specifically for drop-ins. Also, originally there was limited information on their coaches. Now, they have details on each coach. Only a couple list their certifications but it will help you feel familiar with each coach. There's plenty of info to get you started and the communication is great.
Kayla runs a clean ship. Yes, you can tell that the gym is well used but she is vocal about cleaning up after workouts and keeps all that nice shiny equipment looking new. They have rags and cleaning solution readily available and members appear to be good about using them. Oh, and by the way, the bathroom (at least the one that I was in) was clean as well – important.
A couple of visits ago, Kayla was touting her new floor scrubber and it appears it’s still being used consistently.
CFTP is at a little bit of an advantage because they’re just over a year old but I see no signs of misuse of equipment. The plates aren’t cracked. The barbells and dumbbells don’t look weathered.
There’s a large rig in the middle of the floor that is very sturdy and in great shape as well. There’s plenty of rowers and assault bikes – more than average. There’s also ample plates, dumbbells and kettle bells. Everything is neatly placed.
CFTP stands out in this category.
The warmup started with a run around the rig where we would switch up our cadence and movement from high knees to side step to butt kicks, etc. That got the heart rate up and warmed up the legs. We then did a series of stretches. It was a thorough warmup with sufficient time spent.
The workout on this visit was a lift then a metcon. It was a 4 x 4 back squat followed by five rounds of descending reps of double unders and kettlebell swings. I’m still working on my single unders and was able to scale to that. I shared a bar with two others for the lift and we helped with spotting each other.
The only thing of note is the location was once used as a garage and the floor on my side of the rig that night is slightly angled towards the rig (presumably for drainage in its former life). It’s very slight but I just had to focus a little more on planting my heels on the back squat.
Kayla was the coach for this class. She reviewed the workout thoroughly. There were options offered for scaling the jump rope. I let her know that I still pretty much suck even at single unders at this point and she suggested to give it several tries but don’t kill myself. Prior to class, she watched my single unders and offered some suggestions.
She was attentive during class and came around several times to check on everyone. She made sure I was comfortable with my back squat weight. She was also encouraging throughout the workout.
One of the things that they consistently do at CFTP that I’ve not seen anywhere else is simple but impactful. Everyone gathers in a circle at the start of class and answers the “question of the day”. It’s usually something simple like do you prefer your ice cream in a cone or a cup. But everyone either gives their name or the coach asks your name and we go around the circle. It’s a nice ice breaker and for a drop-in it’s another way to feel comfortable and part of the class.
I mentioned Kayla actively engages with the members. I’m starting to recognize a few people there and some are starting to recognize me. My workout was slow this time and happened to be the last one to complete it. But most of the class was cheering me on at the end.
A couple of people came up to chat with me after the workout. That’s happened on previous visits as well.
Drop-in Cost and Swag
Cost to drop in is $20. Pretty standard. Or you can purchase a shirt, which is $20-$25. To me, it’s kind of a no-brainer but some people aren’t in to picking up shirts. You really can’t lose either way.
The first few times I visited there was limited shirts/sizes. But, they’ve recently gotten in some new ones and there’s a couple of styles and several colors to choose from. The state of shirt stock at any CrossFit is always fluid.
Kayla has a passion for what she does and it shows. For a first-time visitor, CrossFit for the People is a welcoming environment with a great facility and a close, inclusive community. If I lived in the area and were looking for a CrossFit to call home, CFTP would easily be a front runner.
Wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels.
CrossFit For The People
24 Lisha Kill Rd
Albany, NY 12205