By Coach Peter
*Below is my candid and unbiased experience of a drop in experience I recently had visiting another gym. This is not to speak for all gyms or CrossFit gyms, it’s merely to replay what I experienced.
I recently dropped into another local gym, to experience how another CrossFit location runs their Group Fitness Classes.
What I quickly learned was that not all CrossFit gyms or coaching experiences are created equal.
That the way we operate at Railroad CrossFit is far different from the way this gym does.
I had an excellent workout, however the level of coaching, connection and care, topped with the experience as a whole that I am so accustomed to at Railroad CrossFit was missing.
The moment I walked in the door as a fresh face, I was not greeted by whoever was Coaching the class. After I approached who appeared to be the Coach of the day we briefly talked, but little discussion took place, even though I was the only other person there.
As soon as the class started, the board brief began.
WHITEBOARD BRIEF – GONE BAD
At Railroad, we have a system at the whiteboard we deliver to our members to provide the day’s information in a clear, concise, easy to understand matter.
- Brief the workout as is,
- then cover the stimulus or what to expect,
- cover what is the intended target ranges of this particular workout or strength piece,
- educate how to pace or strategize and finally
- how to adjust or customize the day to suit your particular needs.
There were no clear directions, guidance or strategies provided.
Also no adjustments given at the white board, even though one of the movements was an advanced movement in “9 Bar Muscle Ups.” A movement that I would later learn only 2 out of 10 people in the class were able to utilize in a workout.
WHAT ARE WE TEACHING PEOPLE?
To my utter surprise, the only options for the weights were labeled as “RX” and “RX+”.
I realized I was in a class with a majority of beginners to CrossFit.
This felt not only unsafe to guide them this way, but also as it were setting them up for failure in my opinion.
You’re new to CrossFit and you can either do this as prescribed or even harder, prescribed plus?
Neither of which would be attainable. How are people supposed to feel about that experience?
Shawn taught me early in my internship, we don’t even speak in terms of “RX” or “scaled” at Railroad.
Taught me how it is important to us at RRCF to ensure that there is no superior movement or way of doing something in comparison to another.
The best movement is whatever will push the needle for YOU!
I was surprised that during our warmup, the coach verbally announced each exercise, but no demonstrations were given. Especially in a class full of newer people.
I found myself not knowing what an exercise was, because of the different verbiage that this gym uses.
Due to this, I was standing around waiting for someone else to start, that way I could copy them to continue the warmup.
For the advanced and complexity of the day’s movements the warm up fell flat in my opinion.
It did not feel like enough for what the workout was.
And the warm up is the place to loosen the body, promote blood flow, move the body through dynamic range of motion, prepare you for the day’s training and help keep you safe.
I was taught by the team and something we lead and reinforce daily is to ensure that everyone gets lead through an effective, appropriate and well designed warmup.
DIALED IN OR CHECKED OUT?
Now like I mentioned, I’m a drop in to this gym, the Coach doesn’t know or understand my fitness ability or my quirks at all.
During the workout I did not receive, or even see anyone else receive any coaching.
The coach felt checked out. Uninvested in the entirety of the class. That his job was more to “get us through” the hour.
For a very complex day of; Bar Muscle Ups, Rope Climbs, and KB Front Rack Lunges, there were SO many questions that were simply not answered.
A question arose from a new member of how to utilize the foot clamp in the rope climb.
The answer given by the Coach saddened me.
He claimed, “that’s too difficult to teach now”, and to recommended to go legless. Less technical but extremely more demanding version of climbing rope.
To me, it felt as if this coach could not be bothered to take the 90 seconds to explain and demonstrate to his own athlete how to do this action.
After the workout concluded, the coach said things like “I saw good stuff out there”, but not any specific examples to highlight a specific athlete or the group.
He felt superficial, not committed to the investment of his people within this particular class.
We wrapped up after that without doing a cool down session/stretching.
We all just put our stuff away and then everyone left.
I learned quickly on at Railroad to ensure that you all receive a proper cool down and recommend mobility work after the workout, that way your muscles stay flexible, healthy, and strong after a strenuous gym workout.
Plus most people just don’t stretch enough.
We come to know it as starting and ending together in a really symbolic way at Railroad. It felt so odd to just workout and then… leave.
After being a part of the Railroad CrossFit Community, this was a real eye opener for me.
The team had been edging me and recommending me to experience another gym for quite some time and I wasn’t sure why.
I wish everyone could see and understand what goes into each day.
Although my experience at this gym was lacking in terms of the coaching, connection and care, It absolutely reinforced how grateful I am of Railroad CrossFit.
The level in which the team and I take are profession in serving and coaching others.
And of course our members.
Who are the lifeblood of what we do.
Who show up each and everyday, hungry to learn, to become better, who are coachable, consistent and care about one another.
Who seek to live more complaint free than complaint-full.
Who make everyday better, for simply showing up and bringing EFFORT.