We often get asked the question “do you know XYZ box? are they any good?”, we usually can’t answer that, as with so many Crossfit gyms opening around the GTA, we don’t really get a chance to meet too many of them. If you don’t know  how to choose a gym, google it.  You can tell a lot about a gym based on their website.  ( and I don’t mean design!)

The people who ask  me this are “regular folk.” Not people who want to compete in any real way. People who have jobs and kids and usually a handful of injuries that make them think they can’t do CrossFit. People who have seen all the bad press that CrossFit gets, but are still curious and interested. And they just want to make sure that they don’t go to one of the bad gyms.

So let’s get this out of the way: there are a lot of bad CrossFit gyms. There are gyms that are more concerned with numbers – numbers of members, weight records, winning – than the safety of their members. Gyms that care more about being badass than safe. I agree 100%. There are bad gyms and bad trainers. That sucks.

CrossFit’s mission is “to fuel a revolution in fitness based on the pursuit of function.”
Our friends at CrossFit Headquarters in Santa Cruz describe this revolution this way:
“We believe that where you train is less important than how you train, and whom you train with matters more than what gear you have. We know this can be done anywhere. We’ve proven that the back yard to the garage to the warehouse is as good an environment as any for forging elite fitness.”

With over 10 000 Crossfit gyms around the world, not all Crossfit gyms are created equal.  CrossFit Pickering is the 350th box in the world and with almost 10 years of experience coaching Crossfit and being immersed in the field we have the experience and knowledge to make your experience a positive one.  We were the first Crossfit gym in Durham and one of the first in the GTA.

So, that said, I want you to try CrossFit. I want it to make you strong and empowered, both physically and emotionally. I believe that finding a good fit with a good CrossFit gym can change your life.

Here are some questions I would ask before joining or trying out a CrossFit gym:

Are you treated with respect, compassion and support? We at CFP do not punish anyone with burpees for any reason.  As members you will never be shamed or forced to do something as punishment. We also 100% would never body shame – we feel there is enough of that around.  You will be supported on your journey to health.

Do they have an onramp or bootcamp program?  Since Crossfit is very different from the regular big box gym this is vital to your success.  To learn new movements in an introductory setting you make sure to have quality of movement but most importantly prevent injury!

Do the coaches go over skills every single workout?  Even with experienced CrossFitters it’s always a great idea to go back to basics and hone your skills.  Again, injuries are often caused by poorly executed movements.  Are the coaches knowledgeable enough to address these issues and modify accordingly?

Are the coaches actually teaching CrossFit movements?  and are they teaching them well?  If you’re not sure go check on the CrossFit main site (http://www.crossfit.com/cf-info/exercise.html ) make sure you are learning the movements in a safe way and in a proper way.  Trust us, we have heard nightmare stories of CrossFit boxes teaching or in this case NOT teaching the movements.

Do they or you keep track of benchmark workouts?  Are your results measurable and measured?  IS the programming set for the day, for the week, for the month?   Have you done any of the “Girls” workouts or “hero” Wods?  Does your box keep track of these with you?  If you haven’t done any benchmarks like “Cindy”, “Fran”, “Linda”, “Murphy” which are set by Crossfit HQ,  beware.

Do they offer mobility workouts or do mobility at the end of workouts?  With so many people having misaligned muscles, postural issues, tightness and even some old injuries it is pertinent to work mobility into your life.

Do they offer a powerlifting/Olympic lifting or strength bias? To become better at CrossFit you need to be strong. Only doing metabolic conditioning is not enough. At CrossFit Pickering, we have all 3 strength components. We often do a strength component before a workout and we offer designated power and oly lifting classes.

Is the atmosphere warm and are the people friendly?  We have heard of boxes where people who are not competitive or young get ignored!  In our gym, every singly person is valued, appreciated, supported and encouraged.   We know that it takes a certain amount of bravery to start something new,especially if you haven’t worked out since the 20 minute workout was in style. 🙂

Are the coaches knowledgeable in injury prevention, special populations and mobility?  Our coaches are continually learning, perfecting and acquiring new skills and knowledge to help our athletes.   The owner of Crossfit Pickering is trained in injuries and special populations and has for over 10 years rehabilitated many individuals.  Our coaches are trained in mobility, they learn about physiology, anatomy and how best to move the body space.

Do they offer a free trial class?   You should always be able to try before you buy!

Do they make you sign a contract?  Crossfit gyms have never had contracts when we opened and we are sticking to this mentality.  We try to be flexible, understanding and respect what you, the people want in a gym.    Aren’t contracts really part of the big box gym that we as CrossFitters try to avoid?

Lastly there are usually 5 reasons that people get injured:

  • Mobility issues – imbalance in the muscles and body
  • Poorly taught or poorly executed movements – bad technique is never good
  • athlete pushed beyond their capability and fitness to the point of injury/illness
  • Coaches who could not find their own psoas or femur if their life depended on it. 🙂
  • very rare but could happen – fluke accident, crazy moon in retrograde, venus rising kinda thing.