Why the dirty CrossFit box circa 2005 is going down the toilet.
CrossFit officially began in 2004. Greg Glassman was teaching seminars on his method and gaining popularity with trainers looking for something different. In two short years he went from 3 affiliates to over 50; now there are more than 5,000 worldwide and CrossFit is still growing fast.
CrossFit is unique for many reasons but one aspect that is unlike any other fitness company is the fact that he does not try to control the affiliates in how and where they practice CrossFit. You could, and still can, buy in for a mere 3,000 a year. What you do with your affiliate-ship is up to you.
I’ve been in a LOT of CrossFits. I’ve met many excellent trainers and a few not so great ones too. All WOD’s are not created equal and the culture of each box tends to have it’s own unique twist which is one of CrossFits biggest selling points, its community of people. The box is the place where young and old, fit and not so fit can work out side-by-side without judgment and where the first done stand by to cheer for the last. This is truly what makes CrossFit great.
However, the ability of the affiliates to free wheel whatever they want is not always a good thing. Many of the places I’ve been to are, truly dirty. The toilets are growing bacteria only previously found in a military biological weapons lab. The mats look like they get mopped bi-annually and an overall dinginess is pervasive throughout the place. You would be surprised how many gym owners think this is ok.
To me, the dirt signifies more than just a lack of cleanliness. It tells me this person doesn’t really care deeply about his gym; his home away from home. If you don’t care if it’s clean what else don’t you care about?
When clients walk into my box, CrossFit 165 I want them to all feel that they’ve stepped foot into a facility striving for excellence. Everyday, I make sure my gym is clean. I make sure my coaches are practicing safe and effective coaching techniques. I push everyday to become better, more efficient, stronger and smarter. I push to be the best and to offer the best. If you can’t even keep your toilets clean than you probably aren’t striving to achieve a standard of excellence in other aspects.
My gym has other CrossFits nearby. I am sure some of them are really good facilities. If they are, they too, will flourish. But, Greg Glassman was right when he said, “At the end of the day the free market will provide all the necessary quality control.”
It is this simple fact that stops me from worrying about my box failing. I have pushed for and provided excellence for my members. Everyday, my 165’ers step into a clean, well-run, constantly evolving box they call home. Reebok, the largest commercial partner of CrossFit, recently recognized us. We are one of only 150 other Reebok recognized facilities. I’m also a CrossFit Games Master athlete. While I didn’t win, I pushed hard enough to best 19,000 other men to get there. I’m working hard to make my way back there too. What does this mean for my members? It means your Head Coach wanted it bad enough to push past his limits. It means he’s a guy who’s going to go that extra mile to try his hardest to be the best. It means he’s never satisfied with the status quo.
So, when you look for a CrossFit gym. Find the one with qualified coaches and friendly faces. Stay at the one that you feel welcomed in and paid attention to. When you go there…check out the toilets.