Saturday, February 15, 2014

7 Rules of Etiquette in the CrossFit Gym

We saw a Blog post from some good friends of ours recently and they very kindly point out what some of us, myself included, sometimes don't consider when signing up at the gym.  We've all made these mistakes from time to time but a little refresher course never hurt anyone.

Every single one of the gym owners we've talked to are just like you and me.  They are brothers and sisters, husbands, wives, Moms and Dads.  What sets them apart is their gusto.  It takes a serious leap of faith - especially with those that have left a career they were established in to try something new.  When we take that into consideration, it's not pity we feel for them, it's respect.

Some of them post gym rules up on their wall as a reminder to all of us and some don't.  For those that don't, here are 7 Unspoken Rules which I think we all should abide by.  Just a little forewarning - some of these might sting a little but after you read them, can you really argue?

  1. If they offer a Free Intro Class or Free Week on a rotating basis don't take advantage of it beyond 1-3 classes. - Some folks have not heard about CrossFit yet [Yeah, hard to believe, I know :)] so offering a free class or free first week is a good idea for the gym owners to allow people to have a look before they commit.  Just because the local gym offers a free class every Saturday morning doesn't mean it should be filled with all the same people every time.  That's abusive.  If you've got a bunch of friends and you bring one or two with you every week then cool.  People like workout buddies, especially when going somewhere they've never been.
  2. Pay your Dues when they are Due - Ouch.  Yep, I think we've all slipped on this one from time to time.  
    And because of the group class style of CrossFit, we can become quite close to the coaches and owners.  Don't take advantage of that friendship.  They are running a business with bills to pay and we've got to respect that.  If you show up for class when your payment is due and you forgot to bring it with you, excuse yourself, run home and pay your dues.  Then show up the next day to train.  Asking for extensions and giving excuses just puts the gym owner in a difficult situation.  Our advice - pay for a few months in advance, or maybe even a year.   You may even get a discount.  Come'on let's face it, your hooked :)  Pay up front and avoid the uncomfortable conversations.
  3. Always Speak Highly of The Gym Owners and Coaches -
    Kristin C. of The Pack CrossFit posted a cool quote the other day that really made me think - "Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.  Be kind. Always."  Truth.  The coach has to always be on pointe.  That's a hard thing to do and occasionally you may step in class one day when they've got troubles.  Maybe it's an illness of someone close to them they just heard about or maybe their car wouldn't start or maybe they woke up late and rushed just to get the doors open on time... you know the deal.  Stuff happens.  If they're a little off, give them a little slack.  We all show up for work cranky sometimes even if we're doing what we love, too.  Keeping this all in mind, speak highly of them when someone asks.
  4. Show Up for Class Early - Keeping #3 in mind, we all get the occasional bump in the road where everything doesn't go as planned.  Traffic, sick kids, important phone calls, etc...  And the Coach understands that too.  But if you do show up late, don't make a grand entrance, stop the whole class so you can ask what's new with everyone.  Instead, slide in as unnoticeable as possible [ninja style] at one of the far ends and pick up where everyone is.  If getting to class on time is a constant battle, consider changing class times to one that works better.
  5. Work Hard and Listen - We all know CrossFit is about intensity.  The normal class structure for the gym is Stretch/Mobility - Warm Up - Skill - Strength - WOD - Cool Down.  It's an hour long and it's packed full of information and movement.  That's the only time many of us have to devote to the gym so while we're there, take advantage of every minute.  Repeated trips to the water cooler or bathroom only rob us of opportunity to improve.  And it can be interruptive to others, especially new comers who will think it's okay.  It's only an hour.  Have a strong work ethic, respect and listen to the coach when they talking and work hard.  Always.
  6. Put Back What You Take Out - This should really be a no brainer.  But more and more I'm seeing pictures posted on social media of equipment that was left out and for each +1 or Like, the guilty party has to do Burpees.  Yeah, that's reasonable punishment :)  At the end of the workout we're all busted up and understandably it takes a few minutes for us to gain our composure.  But then we get up and clean up.  It's our reasonable service to put things back neatly in the place they go.  Nuff said.
  7. Keep Track of Your Workouts and Max's - Even in a small gym, to expect the coaches to know your max Dead Lift or last time at that benchmark workout isn't realistic. 
    Some hang huge whiteboards or use chalkboard paint on the walls so that everyone can record PRs.  If not, go grab a book like Journal Menu and keep track on your own.  They've got some really neat covers and the information is indexed well so it's easy to find.  And keep it in your gym bag so you've got it with you all the time.  A buddy of mine, Jeff P. here in Victor showed me a really neat trick.  He grabs his smart phone after class and takes a quick snap shot of the whiteboard after class.  That's neat.  Instead of having to record all that stuff while standing there along with everyone else you can do it at home after class.

Hammerhead Strength Equipment is a functional fitness and strength equipment manufacturer proudly outfitting Garage Gyms and Commercial Facilites throughout the US and beyond.