What to Expect From Your New CrossFit Gym

A smiling woman celebrates success in a Winnipeg gym after a CrossFit class.

We care so much about our members. Each one has a special place in our hearts, and some of them have been training with us for 11 years.

While we’re sad to close our doors, we’ll be moving online and working with people who want to stay fit at home. We have a very cool plan unlike anything else going on in the city right now. Stay tuned.

For those who would like a physical location for training, we’re determined to help our crüe find new homes that they love. We want them to accomplish all their goals and stay involved in the CrossFit community. We want them to thrive.

This article can also help Winnipeg people who might be looking to try CrossFit in a physical location.

We’re not going to hold back here: We’ve set the bar high. 

Our departing members are asking us for gym recommendations, and gym owners have contacted us to offer places to our people. We realized that we can offer more to both parties if we publish our standards publicly. By doing so, we’ll help our members make decisions, and we’ll tell the local community what we expect from them. Everyone will be on the same page.

So what should you look for in your new gym? How do you know if it’s the right fit for you? What should you avoid? 

We want our members to look for excellence, and we want other gyms to step up and provide it.

Your Goals and Their Mission

Your new gym should care first and foremost about your goals. 

When you get there, they should sit down with you personally and find out who you are and what you want to accomplish (this meeting can happen online, too). Before they throw you into a free workout, they should know your history and your goals. And you don’t need a facility tour right away. All gyms look the same: The barbells are over there. They also don’t need to tell you about their communities. All gym communities are special.

At intake, the focus must be on your goals. Be selfish.

Here are questions you should be asked:

How long have you been doing CrossFit? 

Any injuries or mobility issues? 

What was your most recent success and what are you working on right now? 

What do you want to accomplish? Why, and by when?

What do you need from a gym and its coaches? How can we help you succeed?

It doesn’t matter what the gym looks like, how many bikes it has or if they have a “great atmosphere.” It’s all about you. Other gyms want you. Make them earn your business.

If you are not offered an appointment to talk about your goals, ask for one. Can’t get one, move on. If the coach doesn’t ask you a lot of questions in that interview, ask them yourself.

“I want to improve my strength. How can your gym help me do this?”

“I want to lose 5 pounds by July. Is that doable? How?”

And so on.

Values and Vision

Here’s an important one: “What is your mission statement?” 

Does the gym have one? If so, do its values align with yours? 

And does its group programming philosophy link up with your goals? (If the gym posts its workouts on a public website, review a month’s worth and feel free to ask your prospective coach what he or she is trying to accomplish with the workouts.)

It’s going to be busy for gyms, but we don’t believe any coaching relationship should start without a conversation. We don’t believe in free trials or jumping right into classes. If you choose to do so, we would recommend you book a consultation with the coach within the first week.

Barriers to Entry

The harder it is to join a gym, the more you should want to be there. 

Gyms with a barrier to entry have that barrier in place to ensure they only work with the right people. They want to be sure they can help them in a relationship that lasts years, not weeks.

Do you have to meet with a coach first to go over your goals and the plan? Do they need to evaluate your movement in a personal session? If so, you should be happy. That gym doesn’t just want your money. It wants you to succeed. 

Does the coach want to meet with you to ask about training history and injuries? If so, you’re in good hands.

Don’t be offended by barriers to entry. They are there to help you find success and protect the environment current members love.

If a gym rushes to sign you up and take your money, keep looking. 


If you’re offered a discount, ask why.

If gyms don’t value their own services, why should you? Don’t look for cheap—look for excellence. 

We’ve never offered discounts because every person is equal. We love every single person in every single profession. And new members are not more valuable than existing members.

And here’s a fact: gyms will not survive on discounted rates. If you want your new gym to survive, offer to pay the full rate. 

Whatever the price is, pay it but demand that the gym provides the value to back it up. 

Cheap steak isn’t good steak.

Standard of Service

Are you in a professional environment? You’ll know it when you are. If a sweaty coach meets you late and seems unprepared, that coach does not deserve your business.

Do you get an orientation package? Does the gym have a code of conduct? Are you told who to contact if you have problems? Is someone checking up on you regularly? Does anyone notice if you miss a class?

Before class, do the coaches explain the workout? Do they lead the warm-up? Are they engaged throughout the class? Can they tell you why the workout will help you achieve your goals? Are they eager to tailor workouts to you or do you feel as if you’re a burden because your shoulder is sore today?

You’ve also come to expect a class coached from start to finish. Are you getting feedback and coaching all class or is someone just cheering you on? You’re paying for coaching, not a fan club. 

The focus should be on you, even if the class has 15 people in it. You should receive regular direct interaction no matter how big the class is. No one athlete should receive preferential treatment—you’re all stars of the show. The equity in class should be palpable. 


Do people seem helpful and friendly or are they distant and cold?

You should be welcomed warmly by staff and members. In gyms where the staff make a point of smiling and welcoming people, a culture grows and everyone greets everyone. It’s self-perpetuating. 

You should make a few friends right away. Social distancing strains relationships, but smiles are more contagious than covid, and they’re visible from 100 feet away.

No Phones

During class, if your coach uses a cell phone for any reason other than coaching or celebrating you–filming your lift is OK—ask him or her what’s more important than the athletes in class.

No Bad Days

Times are tough on business owners. That doesn’t matter. Times are tough on you, too.

You should be patient as gym owners adapt to adhere to public-health guidelines, but you should not expect a lowered standard of service or a grouch. 

Yes, things will be different with social distancing, and you’ll have to adapt. Be patient and helpful. Your new coaches don’t want to be traffic cops and cleaners, but they’ll do it for your protection. Expect some confusion in the first few days. 

But don’t lower your standards. When a coach walks into a gym, he or she should leave any problems at the door and give the clients the best hour of their day. If a gym chooses to reopen, it must not lower its standards. It must maintain them while adhering to all regulations.

Reopening Plan

Does the gym have one? Is it clear?

Gyms are only allowed to reopen with strict restrictions, and if the gym does not appear to be following them, you should find a gym that will. Gyms that ignore the restrictions put the entire industry at risk of another shutdown, and they don’t deserve your patronage.

Here’s an example from CrossFit Preferred.

If you have questions or concerns about procedures, your new coach must have answers.

A Note to Gym Owners

If you meet with one of our clients and need any additional info to serve that client better, we’ll provide it as long as the client consents. 

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need anything that can make life better for our people.

Each one is an amazing person, and we’re trusting you to take care of them.

A Note to Our Clients

We love you, and we want you to succeed. If you need any feedback on your experiences elsewhere, we’re happy to provide it.

And if you would like us to provide any info to your new coach, we’d be happy to do so.

We care about you.

Read: “What Shoes Should I Wear for CrossFit?”

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