STAYoung Performance and fitness
Training at StaYoung is a big investment of your time, your energy and your capital, so you want to make sure that investment delivers a return. That’s why it’s important to compare cross training gyms before you decide which one deserves your membership and your money.
If you’re considering joining a cross training gym, here’s a simple checklist to help you make the right choice for you and your goals.
1. Does the gym have the attitude and environment you’re comfortable with?
They may all have similar equipment and speak the same weird lingo, but every cross training gym is different. Decide what kind of gym you’re looking for based on your personality as well as your goals.
Would you thrive in a gym that’s focused on training cross training competitors and participating in competitions? Or would you be more comfortable in a family-friendly environment that’s more interested helping everyday people get in the best shape of their lives. Ask the gym to describe their particular priorities and see if it meshes with your expectations.
2. How long has the gym been open?
With the escalating popularity of cross training, new cross training gyms are popping up everywhere. While some of these gyms may have experienced owners and coaches, it’s a good idea to ask about that experience: how long has the gym been open, how long have the coaches been training in the fitness industry? You may decide to go with a gym that’s been doing this for more than a year, or a month.
3. Do the gym’s members represent all levels of fitness?
If you can, take a peak at a cross training class in action. Who do you see out there on the floor? Is it mostly hardcore cross training (otherwise known as “firebreathers”) who chew through the workouts with an intensity that’s borderline scary? Maybe that’s the level of competition you want, and that’s cool. Go get ‘em.
But for anyone unfamiliar with or just getting started in cross training , we suggest looking for gyms where the members come in all shapes and sizes, young and not-so-young. Classes that have an ideal mix of fitness levels and ages indicate that the gym offers an inclusive, supportive, non-judgmental (and often less drama-prone) environment that promotes better long-term results and “stick-to-it-ness”.
4. Would you want to do a push-up on that floor?
Cross training gyms are sweaty, chalky, and often even hot places. Hands throb, faces perspire, athletes work – or work to exhaustion. And that’s the way it should be. But check to see if the gym actually cleans up all the body secretions and chalk dust. How do they treat their equipment? Are the kettlebells thrown into a heap in the corner? Are the speed ropes a tangled mess? Are the medicine balls frayed and black with the grime of a hundred cross training hands? Is that a sweaty smear you see on the rings? Is their bathroom a giant Petri dish of disease? Maybe it’s a sign to take your sweat elsewhere.
A well-organized, clean cross training gym shows that the owners and coaches care about their facilities and equipment, as well as their athletes’ experience.
5. Is there enough space and equipment for everyone?
The last thing you want is a swinging kettlebell in your face. Many cross training gyms are small, and equipment is expensive so there’s often not too much of it. But as cross training continues to grow in popularity, you’re going to see bigger classes cramming into smaller spaces, with each member vying for a handful of barbells.
If you prefer a smaller gym, you may want to ask what their average class size is and if they put a cap on class sizes. Or you may prefer to find a gym that has a bigger space and more equipment on hand.
6. What’s their coaching style like?
This goes back to the experience question. Ask the gym to describe their particular coaching style. How will they keep you accountable and motivated? How will they help you measure your results? And how will they help you maximize those results?
Look for a gym that offers a free class or introductory session so you can see their coaching approach in action. Does the coach spend the time to explain proper form and technique? Or do they throw you into the WOD and let you fend for yourself? Do they cheer you from the sidelines, watch you in silence, or get in your face to push you? Do they correct you mid-WOD and actually coach you? Do they really seem to know what they’re talking about?
Ultimately, you’ll need to decide whether their coaching style works for you, and for your goals.
7. Do they offer nutritional coaching and support?
Nutrition is a key component of cross training and its success. Most cross training gyms will (and should) offer some level of nutritional guidance for their members. If you’re serious about leaning out, living healthier and improving your performance, then look for a gym that provides more than the occasional “Paleo pancake recipe” on their home page.