Why you should try dropping in (and tips on how to do it)

This weekend, I’ll be in Washington, D.C. for a long-awaited getaway weekend for my best friend’s bachelorette party.

Once I got the address to our AirBnB, the second thing I Google Mapped (after the airport distance) was the closest CrossFit affiliates. There’s something invitingly familiar yet thrilling about doing your favorite thing in a new location. But when you’ve gotten used to the programming, coaching, times and funk of your home gym, the thought of dropping in can be as intimidating as starting CrossFit all over again.

Why you should get over it and do it:

Dropping in could get you over a long-standing hurdle

Some may even be cool enough to share photos! Thanks, CrossFit Reynoldsburg!

You love your own coaches, and that’s great – good leadership can get you far. But sometimes you need to hear someone explain something in a different way for things to “click.” For example, a coach at another gym may explain the set-up position for the snatch in a way you’ve not heard before. Or, the programming may be a good change of pace. When I was in my “deadlift paralysis” stage, I dropped into a box near my parents’ house. That day, they programmed timed deadlifts for the strength at 75% of your one rep max. I had no choice but to pick up the bar every two minutes whether I was ready or not. I often look back at this experience as a turning point in overcoming a (ridiculous) mental hurdle.

You may get to try new equipment

Home gym not tall enough for rope climbs? Don’t have the space for GHDs? If you have some options, check out a gym with some equipment you’ve been itching to play around with but never had the chance to. Most places will have interior photos either on their website or social media. Do a little stalking, check out the programming if you can and try something new. My first rope climb was part of a great drop-in experience about a month ago.

You won’t lose out on GAINZ because of vacation

Most days, CrossFit is one of the highlights of my day, if not THE highlight. Why lose that on vacation? Granted, you’re on vacation, but putting in a little effort in the gym will set your whole day right and keep you on track. Plus, you can avoid the massive DOMS on your return home.

Cool t-shirts

You went, you sweat angeled, you got the t-shirt to bring home. I need not go further here.

Some helpful tips for dropping in:

  • Do your research at least a week ahead of time and give them notice that you’re coming. I’ve been told affiliate owners like a heads-up that you’re coming. Find a gym you feel good about, check out their drop-in policy, if they have one. If not, shoot the owner/coach an e-mail and ask what it is. Some will ask for payment, others won’t charge, but just want a heads-up to expect you. In my limited experience, I’ve paid: nothing, a case of water, $5, $15 and $25.
  • Introduce yourself immediately. Don’t be the weirdo wandering around. You’ll know who the coach is. If not, shake a couple hands – you wouldn’t be a dick to a drop-in at your own gym, so odds are good you’ll be welcomed warmly.
  • Go with the flow and do as the Romans do. Just because your home box does things a certain way doesn’t mean it’s universal. For one or two days in your CrossFit career, follow a different set of instructions and treat the coach like you’d treat your own, unless you feel like you’re at risk of injury.
  • Ask questions. If there’s something on the whiteboard you’ve never seen before or a piece of equipment you’ve not used, speak up and ask. You’re going to look smarter than if you try to make it up and figure it out on your own. Put your ego aside.
  • Learn something new! You’re bound to encounter a new stretch, movement variation or at least some different people. Try to find something positive to bring back home with you.