7 Rules For Dropping-In To Any CrossFit Gym

It’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate.
— Leif Babin

PHoto by: Sasha Preziosa at CrossFit EO in Munich, Germany 2019

Traveling is one of the best things in the world, but when it comes to getting in your CrossFit workout in, the whole process of finding somewhere to drop-in can be somewhat of an arduous process. 

It’s never an easy thing to do when leaving your comfort zone, community and regular routine, but as an athlete, you know you can’t sacrifice your daily workout regimen for simply laying out on the beach with a couple of drinks. You at least have to get a good sweat in before that, right? 

One of the coolest things about the CrossFit community as a whole is that you can drop-in anywhere in the world if you are a regular CrossFit athlete with at least three months of experience! Meaning that the programming, movements, standards and equipment are all pretty much universal across the world and its borders. With most drop-in fees ranging from $10 - $35 wherever you go, it makes it really easy to look up the CrossFit Affiliate List and find somewhere to go. 

And whether you’re just dropping-in for one class, or for several, you pretty much know what to expect when showing up! That being said, we’ve got a few pro tips for the whole process of working out when traveling. 

Jack Murphy at CrossFit Red Block in Zagreb, Croatia 2018. Photo by: Sasha Preziosa

1) Contact or email the CrossFit affiliate at least 48-hours in advance

This is the first step towards setting up your drop-in. If your affiliate has a website, head there first and find the contact form and send them a message at least 48-hours before your planned drop-in. Ask them if they have room in the class and check their schedule to see what times class is offered.

Affiliate owners are busy! Don’t worry if they don’t get back to you right away, but do ask the right questions (cash or credit? When should I be there? Is there parking? etc.). Be short, to the point, courteous and feel free to share your level of CrossFit experience, as well.

CrossFit Kallithea. Photo by: Sasha Preziosa in Athens, Greece 2018

2) Show up at least 15-20 minutes before the class

This is a big one! Do not show up on the class time. Show up at least 15 minutes prior so you can sign any waivers, introduce yourself, use the facilities and check out the space. Even if it is a tiny box, find somewhere to mobilize so you can get ready for the workout. You know what they say, if you’re not early - you’re late! 

Don’t find yourself running to jump into a class (or be late) as a drop-in. It looks bad on you, and for the community you are representing (probably on your t-shirt!). Be kind when you show up, offer to pay ahead of time, introduce yourself to fellow athletes who are also there early and ask any other questions you may have.

Be sure to bring a photo ID, change of clothes, water bottle (in case they don’t have drinking water at the box), cash and a credit card in case you want to make any purchases afterwards. Which, you probably will, right?

Grant Bohls warming up at CrossFit Reykjavik in 2019. Photo by: Kevin Walsh 2019

3) Introduce yourself to the coach, staff, and other athletes

This is a big one, too! Introduce yourself to the front desk staff, any coaches, and other athletes with kindness. Learn their names, ask questions (like where to warm up or where you can put your stuff) and be aware of what you’re doing within the confines of the space. 

Some boxes are bigger than others (and all have a lot of moving parts) so being courteous to that gym’s inner workings will be key. No one is there to be a jerk, so just ask! If you are polite, chances are they will be more than polite back.

Every CF athlete has probably dropped-in somewhere and are always looking to help out fellow members of their community. Find your space, start mobilizing, introduce yourself to others and get ready for your workout.

CrossFit Reykjavik. Photo by Kevin Walsh of VoyEdge RX 2018

4) Pay attention during the warm-ups, WOD demos and listen intently!

Ooooo, this is a biggie, too. When you are dropping-in to any other CrossFit affiliate, you must understand you are am ambassador from your own community. The Golden Rule must be taken into accord here, so please treat others as the way you would want to be treated. No one appreciates a drop-in athlete that comes into their community and speaks over the coaches talking points, doesn’t listen, and neglects to follow the rules. 

So, don’t be that guy or girl. 

Listen to the coach intently, set-up quickly, quietly and with purpose. Take care of any bathroom breaks at the appropriate times (before the class) and if you have questions, ask them when the coach is done speaking! If you are dropping-in to an affiliate that is teaching in a different language - don’t fret! The movements are all literally the same names in English as they are in other countries, so just ask the coach after he or she is done talking to ensure you have the correct movements down. 

Don’t be talking or not listening when the coach is giving instructions. This is especially important for anyone dropping-in to another affiliate for a workout. Be respectful - and understand it’s obvious and super disrespectful when you are not.

Give it your all! Photo by: Sasha Preziosa at CrossFit Villa Albani in Rome, Italy 2019

5) Give it your all and empower others

Might seem like an obvious one here, but give it your all! You are representing a larger community at bay, so do not cheat yourself on reps, hold a high quality standard and do not skip reps. Give. It. Your. All. No matter what.

When you are resting, finished, or in-between sets, encourage others! You don’t need to be aggressive, but a fist bump, high five or a, “Let’s go!” does the job really well. You’ll be surprised at how you feel when you aim to inspire and cheer others on.

Likewise, if others do this to you - don’t let it go to your head! They are cheering you on through a tough workout and take it as a compliment and sign of an inclusive and welcoming community.

Photo by: Sasha Preziosa in 2019

6) Do not rack your weights until others begin to do so

I put this in here because I have gotten in trouble for this at a previous drop-in….quick flashback, I was in SF at a box (not to be named) and finished the workout first, took a short break, and then began to re-rack my weights when another member grabbed me by the shoulder and berated me for doing so. Frankly, I was pretty embarrassed, as it wasn’t my intention to offend anyone, but I also didn’t know that was a thing….

Either way, I’m sharing this with you. Just….don’t start racking your weights until you either see others doing so, or everyone has finished the time cap of the workout.

I’m not sharing this story to scare you, but it was a learning lesson for me, and afterwards I simply asked the coach, “Hey, is that the thing here? I just want to know for next time,’ and everything was cool afterwards. Maybe that one guy was being a dickhead, his ego was bruised, or I really messed up and insulted a whole community. Either way, just keep this type of thing in mind because I am sure that gym isn’t the only affiliate to have a rule like that!

Photo finish by: Kevin Walsh at CrossFit Reykjavik in 2018

7) give it your all, Congratulate other athletes and thank the staff

First and foremost, give it your all on the workout. You don’t have to finish first, nor do you have to finish last on purpose, but give whatever you have to give that day on the workout. Chances are, you probably have a slew of other activities to do that day in your specific location so focus on having a high quality workout and experience during your drop-in.

More importantly, thank the staff, other athletes and clean your equipment after use and placing it back in the correct spot! Don’t forget to take care of any outstanding bills, grab your stuff, and if you had an excellent time there, schedule another workout or leave them a review on Google or Facebook. A nice firm handshake, smile and quick picture is fine (as long as there isn’t another class happening immediately after yours), but say thank you, give a plethora of fist bumps and continue on with your trip!

All in all, dropping-in should be that hard if you follow these seven rules! If you have anything else to add, I’d love to hear it down below in a comment. Feel free to contact me at any point, too.


~ Cam // Cam@voyedgerx.com


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