Why I Continue to Visit Other CrossFit Gyms

Last week I had to travel to Fargo, North Dakota for a work trip. You can skip the wood chipper jokes because as you might recall it wasn’t my first time there.

I went to Fargo back in June to compete in the Dakota Games, a two-day CrossFit competition. It was expertly run by the folks at CrossFit Fargo (CFF) and many of their athletes competed.

I had the pleasure of competing with Will from CFF, who was always just one or two lanes over in my heat throughout that weekend. In anticipation of my trip, I reached out to him about visiting CFF for a workout.

Every time I visit a CrossFit gym across the country (or around the world, such as in Bangkok, Thailand), its always a worthwhile experience.

I have written in the past about kicking off my 30th birthday celebration in Las Vegas with a WOD at CrossFit Las Vegas and how I spent a week with Fit Farm in Omaha.

It always trumps the alternative of getting room service and watching a marathon of Hoarders because the hotel doesn’t offer HBO.

Here is a short list of why I continue to visit other CrossFit gyms:

1.) For My Routine

I am a very organized individual who likes to keep to a schedule. When I form good habits, like following a training program, it kills me when I have to break it. (I know, I know #firstworldproblems).

But work trips are part of the job and it’s easy to fall into the trappings of life on the road – crappy fast food, hotel bars and skipping workouts.

Shaking off a long day’s work, stretching out the legs and doing something physical always helps counterbalance the effects of travel.

And being able to keep to my routine makes me more focused on the other things I do on the road – like how much sleep I get, water I drink and food I eat.

You always go home at the end and sticking to your routine helps make the transition back to the normal day-to-day that much easier.

2.) For the Perspective

I have awesome coaches and actually many more than any one person deserves. They all do a great job of explaining the proper form and mechanics of the various lifts and movements.

But sometimes, since I think way too much, it doesn’t translate properly for me. When I visit other gyms, I always get one great little nugget of advice, a different perspective, that transforms my understanding.

My regular coach and the temporary one are advocating the same mechanics but just that new way of wording it always makes a difference.

In July, I was a groomsman in my buddy from college’s wedding in the heart of downtown Chicago. Having a few hours to spare before I had to be in my tux, I decided to get in a workout and visited Sweat on State.

I was the only one at the 8am class with Coach Rob. We worked on the mechanics of the snatch, which were a major weakness at the Dakota Games.

Rob’s instructions on how I needed to get more vertical, though I heard explained in other ways before, totally helped and I saw instant improvement.

Similarly, last week at CrossFit Fargo, Coach Jessica was watching my Deadlifts and noticed that I was rounding my back when putting the bar back down. It’s a constant problem that my regular coaches have tried to correct.

Her different perspective was to think when lowering the bar of doing a Good Morning. That totally clicked for me.

Maybe it’s just being in a new setting – a new classroom – but every visit to a CrossFit gym always leaves me smarter than before.

3.) For the Gym Porn

Some people get excited by the architecture of churches, others by the landscaping of parks. I get excited by the interior of CrossFit gyms.

In contrast to the cookie cutter of the chain globe gyms that don’t vary from state to state, a local gym always screams with personality. I mean look at the amazing mural above at Solcana CrossFit, which is just a few miles down the road from my box.

Outside of having the same necessary equipment, no two CrossFit gyms are ever alike. Some have huge awesome rigs like CFF, while others have banners strewn high in recognition of all their members from the armed forces.

I love seeing how the equipment is set-up, the rows of rowers, the pull-up bars and racks. And each with its different setting and layout.

CrossFit New Berlin in Wisconsin is tucked into a big health club and so has access to an indoor track for the WODS. While Fit Farm has a big AstroTurf area in its gym, perfect for sprint work.

Put a visit to a local affiliate gym on your itinerary for your next trip. You’ll meet great people, get in a solid workout and appreciate why this is more than a fad.

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