Christine in the Box: How I Chose My Box

Christine in the Box: How I Chose My Box

I pulled the CrossFit trigger after I moved to the Houston area in July: I joined a CrossFit box. Reebok made me fall in love with barbells; a trip to a fundamentals class with my mother-in-law cemented my need to join. For me, there was nothing more empowering than lifting a barbell, albeit a very light one, over my head.

So, with that in mind, I started with Google Maps (I know…) to find a CrossFit box that was 15 minutes or less away from my new home. I narrowed it down to a few, and I ultimately chose my current box, Clear Lake CrossFit, because:

The owner has a Level 2 certification and coaches the classes I take. Level 1 coaches are fine, but Level 2 is where you learn the programming. She’s also been involved in training athletes before she took up CrossFit (which she’s been doing for years). I wanted someone who would be able to correct my form, know when I’m fooling myself by overloading the bar, and explain how to do the movements down to every last muscle twitch so I don’t hurt myself. (And be patient with me, because my brain doesn’t always send the best synapses to my muscles.)

The owner came across as very friendly via email. Actually, she responded very quickly (one box didn’t respond at all). Another box owner seemed put off by me asking about a trial class. Sorry, but CrossFit is a big investment, and I want to make sure I’m going to be comfortable at the box, so friendly via email is important.

Workouts were posted online regularly. The owner doesn’t always post the WODs daily, and not on the box website, but Clear Lake CrossFit’s social media presence is very well-maintained. The box’s Facebook page is where I found the WODs, and the owner also updates with photos and videos of the athletes. Let’s face it, CrossFit isn’t a state secret. What happens in your box is happening in other boxes, and there’s no need to guard your WODs like they’re the encryption key to the Pentagon’s server. That just makes me think you’ve got something to hide – or that you don’t care enough to maintain your site… or box… or certifications…

The WODs are varied. I liked that the WODs, more often than not, include a strength portion, and that the WODs seem balanced. I’d get a good workout that way.

And finally, the trial class was awesome. My new box, like a lot of boxes around here, doesn’t offer fundamentals. Instead, the classes are kept small, and your coach watches you like a hawk. You learn the movements while you’re in class. There are pros and cons to this approach, I suppose, but I’ve still managed to learn how to do a snatch. I liked how the coach was taking the time to explain everything to the newbies (which my coach still does). I also loved the atmosphere. Everyone was really welcoming and friendly, and I immediately felt that sense of community everyone talks about.

So, to recap: I looked for a box that:

  • was nearby
  • had at least one Level 2 certified coach around who had other training experience
  • had a friendly owner
  • updated its website or social media regularly with WODs 
  • had varied WODs
  • had small groups and coaches that paid attention to you
  • had a good atmosphere
YMMV, but that’s what has worked for me so far. Take it with a grain of salt, y’all. And so far, Clear Lake CrossFit has exceeded my expectations; my coach has been giving me extra advice and tips so that I can improve my ankle mobility and toes to bar. (With all the extra attention, I’m thinking that either I really suck at CrossFit, or she sees potential in me and is slowly grooming me to compete, and I really hope it’s the latter.)
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