Box: A box is a barebones gym to some, but heaven to a CrossFitter. While many CrossFitters train on their own from home or non-CrossFit gyms, “boxes” have all the equipment necessary for the range of WODs without the bells, whistles, and bicep curl bars of a “chrome-and-tone” gym. –
This story is really applicable to any kind of a gym or studio that you go to. While I haven’t spent a lot of time at other types of fitness centers, I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to spend a good amount of time in a handful of CrossFit boxes. While all of them were CrossFit in their bones, each had their own individual culture and each taught me something new. Their culture was made from the people and the coaches, and it was remarkable how each one had it’s own personality. To some, CrossFit is just a workout. To others, CrossFit is a lifestyle, a hobby and home to your closest friends. To others, CrossFit is a truly intimidating place. The box that you choose is going to have a big impact on your life as a CrossFitter!
I started CrossFit because my husband, Nate, was doing it for a local news story. He instantly fell in love with it. It took about a month and half for him to convince me to show up. So I left my tootsie-roll-eating gym and gave it a shot. I repeated the mantra that I’d probably quit after a month, and when we moved cities, I’d probably do something else entirely. But, I joined Wiregrass CrossFit in Dothan I found it to be the best experience for a first box I could have asked for.
I quickly formed friendships with people that held me accountable for days I didn’t show up. The coaches and owners were patient and thorough, making sure I had every movement and all my form perfect before I added weight to the barbell. I looked forward to classes and even spent many Saturday mornings doing partner workouts at the box. I didn’t know it at the time, but that’s where I fell in love with CrossFit and I’m forever grateful to them.
When we moved from Dothan to Birmingham, we found Forge Fitness, powered by CrossFit Shades. It was a lot of young people, enthusiastic coaches and free beer (which for 5:30 a.m. classes became a special treat on Fridays).
They also planned monthly activities in and outside of the gym, which when we moved to a city and didn’t know a soul, was perfect! I met my closest Birmingham friends there, competed in my CrossFit Open (a worldwide competition for all CrossFit athletes) and got stronger than I’d ever been. While we loved Forge Fitness, when we moved across town, we decided to adventure out and see what else Birmingham had to offer!
We landed at CrossFit Lamnin, where some of the best CrossFit athletes in the South welcomed Nate, myself and our core group of loud and sarcastic friends. It quickly became a second home to all of us and has been consistently pushed us to be the best athletes that we can. Laminin is where I started taking CrossFit serious, because the coaches and fellow athletes recognized potential in me and won’t let me get away with sandbagging (being lazy) anymore.
In the short time here, I can do pull-ups, started stringing together double-unders, PRed my weight in every movement and pushed my cardio levels. Grab anyone on a Saturday or after class, and they’ll spend some time to work with you on a movement that you’ve struggled with. I had three people work with me, and more importantly, encourage me on my pull-ups until it finally clicked. I entered my first competition back in October, and even though we had only been there a short time, many of the Laminin members gathered around my team and cheered us on, like we had been there for years. I only see myself getting better while I’m here, and hope to enter more competitions (hopefully as an RX competitor one day!) with our CrossFit family supporting us all the way.
Not everyone finds the right box on their first go-round and it’s important to test the waters when you start. Take for instance, my mother – yes, my mom does CrossFit, too! After hearing all of my stories and successes, my mom decided to give it a whirl. Her first box was full of great people and awesome coaches, but they weren’t able to give her the individual attention she needed to fit the workouts to her ability. Her attendance was spotty and wasn’t as motivated as she wanted to be. After a short vacation, my mom found a Groupon for another box, Steel Edge CrossFit. The coaches are willing and able to take extra time to make sure that my mom is working as hard as she can, while keeping in mind her limitations. They’ve evaluated her performance as an athlete, so that they know when to push her and when to scale back. I had the chance to workout with her at Steel Edge when I visited, and I can see why see loves it so much! Everyone was so friendly, and they even saw some of my weaknesses and gave me tips for improving my bench press.
If you’re interested in CrossFit, but find your first experience isn’t what you thought or you don’t feel motivated, try other boxes! If you feel like you’re not being pushed hard enough, or being pushed too hard at your current box, see what else is out there. Groupon and Living Social are great resources for short-term memberships if you don’t want to make a long term commitment. Your box, gym or studio is out there! Don’t give up on your fitness journey. Find the right home and make sure you are being supported and encouraged along the way.