Brand new to CrossFit and not sure where to begin? Experienced CrossFitter looking for a different CrossFit gym? Whichever category you are in, it is important when choosing a fitness facility that you consider some key factors. Below is a list of what many CrossFitters find important, and some of the things we feel set us apart from other area fitness facilities. We recognize that CrossFit facilities are very different than traditional gym settings and each CrossFit gym varies tremendously from one another. Although we strive to be the best, we realize we are not the best fit for everyone. So we encourage athletes/new members to take a look at more than one gym before starting.
Due to equipment, space, and types of members, most gyms do not follow the exact programming on CrossFit.com. Some gyms have strength bias in their programming and some have a metabolic conditioning or endurance bias in their workouts. Some may predominately program short workouts, and some predominately long workouts. At A3 CrossFit we attract everyone from strength to endurance focused athletes which is why we try to focus on varying our programming as much as possible. Our goal is to always keep our members and their bodies guessing what is going to come next! This keeps our workout results from plateauing and boredom effect from setting in. Watch out for CrossFit gyms that just put together 'random' programming or just use the standard programming from CrossFit.com.
The thing that we feel sets apart the regular CrossFits from the premiere CrossFit gyms is the coaching staff. The ugly truth is that in theory someone could take a weekend course, pass a test, and be able to call themselves a trainer; s/he may have never even done CrossFit. Are you really comfortable with this 'trainer' teaching you CrossFit? At A3 CrossFit, we require that all of our coaches have at least done a year of CrossFit training and then also go through our internship program. Our coaches can demonstrate a great understanding of making corrections to form, and can modify workouts appropriately for members that are just beginning CrossFit, those with injuries and those rehabbing from injuries. Many of our instructors have additional certifications and seminars. We strongly encourage our coaches to constantly add to their coaching skills and knowledge base. Never be afraid to ask to see the trainer's certifications! (SEE THE SECOND LINK BELOW!)
There are several factors that can affect the cost of a membership of a CrossFit gym including the location and size of the facility, the amount of classes and types of classes offered, the amount and quality of the gym and the equipment, the athlete to coach ratio, and the experience and accessibility to the coaching staff. Our pricing is extremely competitive for everything we offer and we acknowledge that we are not the most inexpensive facility in the area, but we feel once you compare our facility to others you will understand our need to charge the rate that we do. Feel free to contact us to get more information on what sets us apart from other CrossFit gyms.
CrossFit, just like any other fitness program, requires you to SHOW UP! It is important to pick a location that is convenient for you. Check for locations not only near your home and work, but also along your commute between both locations. A3 CrossFit is conveniently located in the middle of Grayslake at 1033 Progress Drive. We have easy access to the major roads including Rte 83, Rte 120, Rte 45 and Washington, which also makes our location within reach of the surrounding towns. Keep in mind that location is just one factor. We also have several members that will drive past other facilities to go to a facility that meets other needs for them. If we are along your commute or even out of the way for you, we do also have showers to make your life a little easier! In addition to the convenience of our location, we are able to utilize the outdoors in good weather. We are located in a nice, quiet part of town that gives us the opportunity to incorporate the outdoors (read: more variety) in our programming!
You will find that CrossFit gyms vary greatly from traditional mega gyms and even from other CrossFit gyms. You won’t find rows of cardio equipment and weight machines that perform just a few isolated actions. Instead you will find free weights, barbells, kettlebells, pull-up bars, jump ropes, plyometric boxes, medicine balls, rowers, climbing ropes, and much more! It is important that there is plenty of equipment for each class and it is important to have a variety of equipment to keep things challenging and fun. Click on 'Our Gym' to see a list with more of the equipment use!
Layout, Appearance, and Size of Facility
The layout and appearance of the gym should be neat, organized, inviting, and shouldn’t feel cramped. The size of the facility can also play a big part of this. Cramped small spaces can present safety hazards if there are too many people in a class. Although, we can tell you from our experience of starting out in a smaller facility that this can be accomplished with organization, good utilization of outdoor space, and proper class scheduling. Now that we have grown to a much larger facility, we still apply the same organizational skills and class scheduling principles to make sure equipment is easily found and utilized, while also providing a safe workout environment.
Make sure to check the facilities class schedule. Unlike a traditional gym, you will receive professional coaching and programming every time you come to A3, which requires you to come at a scheduled class time. See if the facility you are checking out has a variety of class times that fit your schedule. At A3 CrossFit, we offer a variety of class times, and are always open to suggestions of additional class times, if we have several members that can attend.
New Member Classes
If you are a CrossFit Newbie, this one should be particularly important to you. Does the CrossFit gym you are looking at have new member introduction classes? CrossFit is very different from traditional gym training and even the most experienced traditional gym goer often finds benefits in CrossFit introduction classes. At A3 CrossFit, we offer a free week of Elements that we require all members new to CrossFit to attend. These classes will teach form and function of the typical movements in CrossFit as well as acclimate the member into the intensity of CrossFit workouts by starting them out in shorter, scaled down workouts. This is to give the new member a knowledge base of correct form on movements before entering regular group classes as well as ease them into a new type of training allowing their bodies to begin adapting. If after Elements, you feel CrossFit isn't the right fit, then we thank you for trying us out and all we ask is that you tell your friends who might be interested.
If you are new to CrossFit, this part of the gym may be very different to you as well. CrossFit workouts are designed to get you to push yourself with others and tends to develop a camaraderie among members. A3 CrossFit is not the place that you push your ear buds in and walk by nameless people everyday. We are here to work hard and to push and learn from each other. This is a place where you will get to know the other members and coaches as they will help the new members get settled into CrossFit style workouts, and will be there with you to cheer you on when you are struggling, or to cheer you on when you’re setting a personal record. At A3 CrossFit, we encourage these relationships because they help keep you accountable and wanting to come to the gym each day. We also have several social events throughout the year for the whole gym to get together to have a good time and become a stronger community.
Is A3 CrossFit for you?
After considering all of these factors, there is one more big question you should ask yourself. Where do you feel the most comfortable? Where do you feel like you fit in the most? Next to home and work, if utilized properly the gym should be the next place you see the most!
If you have further questions about A3 CrossFit, we are here to answer them for you. Just give us a call, email us, or better yet, stop in and talk to our owners, coaches and members. Everyone will be happy to help answer any of your questions!
Don't believe what we're saying? Here are some articles from people we don't even know who will tell you what you should look for in a good CrossFit gym: