Please post your experiences/recommendations training at gyms in this region. Please post with the gym name, city and state as your post title. For example:
"CrossFit South Brooklyn, NY, NY"
Windy City CrossFit, Chicago, IL
Was recommended this box by another SBKer and I have now gone three times. They have a rest/make-up day in which you can make up any of 3-4 WODs from the week -- you would think this would be chaotic, but it wasn't, and when I showed up on one of those days the coach had time to give me pointers even though there were people doing several other WODs at the same time. They are also super, super nice about letting you come by and do your own thing during off hours -- I made up 2 Strength Cycle exposures there while traveling on business and it was SO NICE of them to essentially allow me to be a special snowflake. (Unlike CFSBK, they have more than enough room to do that for visitors -- the box is GINORMOUS!)
River North Crossfit, Chicago, IL
Great spot downtown. I've been a couple times and really liked the people and the programming. They also do classes every hour during the day which is nice when you want to go between meetings.
Practice CrossFit, Troy, Ohio
This place is my home when visiting family in Ohio. Josh B. and his coaching crew are great and the vibe is very much like SBK. Pretty sure they started doing a question of the day because of us. ;) Not sure why you'd ever find yourself in Troy Ohio but if you do, this is definitely the place to go.
Cedar Rapids Crossfit, IA
This is a pretty small box (think the size of Crossfit 718 or the box on Bergen street) and when I went in 2011, they didn't really have enough equipment for everyone and didn't partner people up, they kind of just expected people to figure it out. (For example, we did a WOD with box jumps, but there weren't enough RX size boxes, so some people jsut jumped onto whatever other little thing they could find. It was weird). Maybe they are better organized now, but at the very least, they were a friendly bunch. I don't know if they structure their classes differently now, but there was no lifting component when I went, just a bunch of WOD-y stuff, and lots of body weight movements. It was good enough if you ever find yourself in Cedar Rapids.
Crossfit Unstoppable, Jerfferson City, MO
They are really really nice here. The space is gigantic and they use it well. A lot of time spent warming up which is nice and then fun WODs. If you're in Jeff City for some crazy reason definitely go here.
CrossFit Gambit, St. Louis, MO
OK, if we are also including "with reservations" type recommendations -- this box, which is near the Soulard farmers' market, is one that I would suggest only for experienced CrossFitters.
The metcon I did here was fine; however, the strength component of the class was bench pressing, and I was thrown together with three other women on a bar I think just because we were girls, not because we were actually lifting similar weights. More importantly -- there was absolutely no coaching on how to select a weight or how to spot. I was being spotted by athletes who clearly did not know how to spot a bench press, which is scary. I quickly revised my target weights downward because I did not want to fail here.
The people are super, SUPER nice -- the coach even drove me back to my hotel when my taxi didn't show up, so I feel really bad saying anything negative. That being said, safety is paramount and this is not a place I would go without a deep enough base of experience and comfort with the movements that you'd be able to make adjustments to compensate for missing elements in the coaching.
CrossFit NapTown, Indianapolis, IN
Nice people and solid coaching in a strip mall; walkable, if not quickly, from the city center. The gym is welcoming of, and scales the WODs for, a variety of incoming levels of fitness.
Wolverine Strength and Conditioning/Crossfit Subjugate, Ann Arbor, MI
This is one of the better boxes I've dropped in on in my travels. The facility is very spacious (probably a little bigger than SBK, but feels a LOT bigger because they have less people, and therefore, also less equipment to take up space). The coaching was decent. Certainly not on par with SBK, but unlike most other gyms I've been to, at least the coaches were paying attention and correcting form, and were very friendly. There were only about 10 people in the class, and they have a $50 pass for the week if you are ever traveling here for work, I would definitely recommend it. They also have open gym hours basically all day every day whenever they're not teaching class so you can drop in to lift, which is great, because I get the feeling they do a LOT of benchmark WODs here (one day's programming was Grace followed immediately by Isabel), so if you're not into that, and you have free time during the day, you can do your own thing and they are very open to it. If you stay at the Sheraton or the Holiday Inn on this side of town, it is only a mile and you can run there, even though there are no sidewalks, the shoulder is very wide and cars give you room.
River North Crossfit Chicago
I had a pretty good experience here on a random 6am Wednesday. The coach was very knowledgable and gave good cues throughout the work out. The class was small, about 10 people.
The only cons were that it was pretty disorganized. We weren't assigned stations for the WOD so way too much time was spent asking each other which rack and pull up station we were using. There was no group warm up and no introductions which was very strange coming from CFSBK.
Despite the above I would certainly recommend this box.
CrossFit Polaris, Columbus, OH (Westerville)
Overall it seemed like a well run box. The space is really big (significantly bigger than CFSBK), and the coach told me their average class size is less than 20, so dropping in to an overcrowded class doesn't seem like much of a concern here. The programming is relatively in line with ours in that they seem to have a structured warm up, one or more strength/skill segments, and an AMRAP or for time Metcon at the end. I did, however, get the sense that their strength work is much less structured than ours - I saw no evidence after reading their last three weeks of programming that there is regular exposure to the same lifts or any kind of cues relating one days work to a previous exposure. That shouldn't matter much if you're dropping in for a day or two though.
In addition to that issue, my other gripe is that there was a dearth of mobility tools available before the workout. A couple of foam rollers and PVCs were all I could see readily available, but I did see somebody scare up a lax ball afterwards, so there may be a cabinet full of stuff somewhere. If you visit, it may be worth getting there a little early so you can chase somebody down and ask them where that stuff is.
Those two negatives aside, this was a great place to drop in. Everyone was really friendly and welcoming, and the population of the class I was in covered a pretty wide spectrum of athletic ability. It is definitely not one of those places where everyone is boasting a 4min Fran. The WOD we did the day I was there was pretty fun, very scale-able, and well within most people's abilities:
10min ascending rep ladder (1,2,3,4...) of:95#/65# push press24"/20" box jumpToes to Bar
Thumbs up for this place if you find yourself in Columbus.
Crossfit Hines Park, Northville, MI (suburban Detroit) http://www.xlr8athletix.com/hines-park-crossfit.html
The gym is very big, clean, organized with lots of equipment and a large astroturf center. I bought a shirt for $20 and was allowed to workout here all week long while I was in town for the holidays. Good deal!
I appreciated the workout structure because it was a lot like ours--> Mobilization with lax balls/DROMS, a warm-up: usually consisted of running/butt kicks/leg kicks/high knees/lunges, etc. down the astroturf, a weightlifting portion, and the day's workout.
On the other hand, there was very little instruction at all. For the weightlifting "warm up" we were told to do "5 deadlifts, 5 cleans, 5 front squats" with weight that was already assembled and set for the 12 days of christmas WOD. Every barbell was at RX (95 for women!!!) except one which was 45. There was no warming up to work weight and no instruction on form. The woman near me didn't remember what a clean was and I ended up reminding her (essentially coaching). Keep in mind, the people in this gym were not competitive athletes by any means. Another day was "Everyone good with overhead squats? Okay, cool. As heavy as possible, 5 rounds of 10." Bad form naturally ensued.
Anyway, I'm not going to harp on the shocking things I saw happening in this gym in terms of technique, body placement, logic??, or coaching, but I will say... it's a nice space and I had good workouts because of the excellent coaching on technique I've internalized from CFSBK.
Keep up the good work, CFSBK! It's a testament to the hard-work y'all do that your members (even amateurs) are able to think critically about technique & programming at other gyms around the country.
Crossfit Novi, Novi, MI http://www.crossfitnovi.com/
If you're in metro-detroit, go to this gym! The coaching was great, the facility was beautiful. Workouts contain a warm up (rowing, running drills, squats/pushups/etc.), a lifting skill (while attending here I did deadlift, back squat, bench press, and front squats), and a WOD (included "Annie", "Nate", a tabata workout, etc.)
I really liked this gym because the coaches instructed on each skill before the class attempted, were organized in assigning partners/work loads, and they were actively scanning and giving consistent feedback. Also, due to smaller class sizes, I was able to do things I might not be able to do at CFSBK (the way they scaled HSPU or Muscle Ups, for example.)
I did not like that they referred to the barbells as "men's bars" (45 lbs) and "girl's bars" (15/35)... :? "The girl bars are over there". HA!
Crossfit Recursive, Madison, WI http://crossfitrecursive.com/
Quick takeaways: A smaller, very friendly and collegial facility that is great for dropping in (you can pay a drop-in fee or buy a shirt), with straightforward easy-to-follow metcon workouts though without the same level of focus on Olympic lifts as CSFBK.
My parents(!, they are both over 60!) recently joined this box. They actually initially started Foundations at CrossFit Big Dane but stopped when they felt the coach was more focused on intensity rather than form. Now they have completed Foundations at CrossFit Recursive and are on Week 2 of classes--they have loved it so far. The owners are a husband and wife who coach as well, and all of the coaches they have encountered have been encouraging, thoughtful, and helpful with these two newbies. I really appreciate how open they have been to all skill levels, especially compared to their last gym.The facility is basic with the workout area smaller than CSFBK but organized, and I believe they cap classes at 10 people. There were six total in this class with one instructor (Nicole, a co-owner). Notably my dad was the only male that particular (early AM) class. I attended a class with them on a "Power" day (each day is either Strength, Power, or Skill) and after a guided warmup (2 rounds of wall balls, lunges, sit ups, twists), the "Power" segment was a kettlebell ladder, which would more accurately be described as KB skills practice; still our coach Nicole made some very helpful form comments to each of us.The workout was a combo of running, push press, pushups-to-bar, and lunges (all with one bar). There is a running/biking path right outside the gym that is marked for different distances. From what I could tell, there are only 10 lb and 25 lb plates and 15, 35, and 45 lb bars, so you might need to get creative. During the running, the other folks in the class not only cheered each other (including me!) on, but also that they helped me see the running distance markers so I wouldn't miss them. During the workout Nicole stood at the door with encouraging words and at the end, the practice is to call out "Done" and she marks each time on their big whiteboard (and all the week's times stay up until Sunday). Note (for older folks): she appropriately modified some of the volume for my parents. Afterwards we all high fived, stretched (guided cool down) and chatted-- it was a very friendly and encouraging group. Would definitely recommend checking these guys out if ever in Madison!
Crossfit Eado - Houston, TX
My go to box when in Houston.
Like the state, crossfit Eado is larger than life, both literally (space would be the equivalent of 4 CFSBK DeGraw locations) and metaphorically, with their enthusiastic coaches and hefty workouts.
South Loop Strength and Conditioning, Chicago, IL
Since I'm moving to Chicago shortly, starting to check out some boxes. Dropped into a noon class here taught by Paul (one of the co-owners). He knew CFSBK from ITA, which is a good sign.
Similar to CFSBK, they follow a 6 week cycle, with a strength bias, test week, Fitness and Performance tracks, etc; today was the beginning of a new cycle, with Mondays focused on skill work (beginning class with double under drills and a rope climb tutorial) and strength work (progressive 6-5-4-3 bench and back squat) with an 8 minute AMRAP couplet to close out (30 DU's/attempts + 10 alternating DB snatches).
Pros: no drop-in fee ($20 for a shirt if you're feeling guilty about that), small classes (4 people at noon, I'm told a 'large' class is 8-10 people) and therefore pretty hands-on coaching, all-day open gym
Cons: I don't think there were any showers, so probably not a great mid-day drop-in option
The Foundry - Printer's Row, Chicago, IL
Continuing the search for a new CF home in Chicago, I dropped into The Foundry for a noon class today.
Large, fancy-ish facility. They post the WOD on LCDs, and use one of those fancy "electronic whiteboard" systems to log/track lifts and workouts for their members, with a digital leaderboard and everything. Presumably that is a motivational tool as well as a programming tool (sidenote that I discussed with Coach Andrew, who does their programming, their 12-week meta cycle that is broken down into 4 week cycles with major emphasis on 2-3 movements).
Started with intros, question of the day, "Did you go to Lollapalooza and what was your favorite act?" 200m jog to warm-up, and some banded hip-openers.
Lifting: 8x3 Back Squat opening @ 80% of 1RM, increasing across setsConditioning: Partner AMRAP with partner A performing 7 power snatches and 7 OHS (RX 75/55) while partner B rows 14 calories.
On the lifting, 6 minutes were allotted for warm-up sets, followed by a 2 minute timer for subsequent sets. It may be Saturday's CF Total, but it seemed like a lot of volume to me. I did not increase the weight across the sets. I scaled the conditioning to 65#.
They didn't charge me a drop-in since I am shopping around, but normally is $25 ($60 for a full week) and includes a shirt, according to the website. Small class (6 people), but may be because it was noon.
Pros: 2 locations to choose from, fancy facilities (I did not use the showers though I believe they have them), they also offer "Endurance" programming
Cons: I've seen this before and I am not a huge fan: the Rogue Rig is set up in the middle of the gym in such a way that you are squatting across from another person. I don't particularly like looking into someone else's eyes when we're both squatting. A little DIY on the warm-up/cooldown.
Crossfit Bloomfield, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Dropped in over Thanksgiving. Jordan, the owner, ran the class. Similar flow to ours - names, DROM, lift then Metcon. They didn't post the workouts online so not sure how they structure things but most everyone posts loads and times on a whiteboard after class. Jordan was great and attentive to form, weight and scaling options. They were a bit short on the smaller barbell weights but other than that it's a clean box with nice equipment. I definitely recommend for anyone in metro Detroit.
A few folks from CFSB have dropped in here so adding my two cents. Engaged coaching staff and looks like a loyal following. Members were friendly . The box is a bit tight but it worked. They started with a warm up and DROMs and then went straight into the WOD. No intros. I'd go back.
Yet another River North visit!
I second Matt's comment that this gym is a bit disorganized. Super nice, welcoming people, though. I spoke to the coach before class about mods for my post-surgery wrist and he was able to come up with suggestions on the fly (not all coaches at gyms I've visited while injured are as good).
I wish there were a QOD or at least intros, but some people went out of their way to introduce themselves to me, which was nice of them!
BRICK CrossFit Chicago, IL
So after about a year of going to River North, I jumped ship over to BRICK which opened their Chicago location earlier this year. I was a little put off by the reputation of BRICK in New York at first, but the culture at this gym is actually really great.
BRICK has 4 class formats (They also offer open gym when classes aren't running):- CrossFit - what you'd expect, with a warmup, strength portion, and a metcon- B|X - bootcamp style circuit class- B|FIT - halfway between CrossFit and the bootcamp style, generally a longer metcon with some light barbell movements- Barbell club - longer strength session
If you're dropping in: they have the nicest shower facilities of any CrossFit gym I've visited, brand new equipment, location in the Loop is convenient if you're headed from a work meeting. On the second floor of an office building, but have a fancy platform floor to drop weights on.
Why I switched from RNCF:- THEY DO INTROS and a QoD! Overall, culturally, less bro-y for lack of a better descriptor. They do little charity Facebook check-in challenges which is nice I guess- Location is closer to my apartment, and accessible by pedway in the winter (that is the secret underground sidewalk in downtown Chicago) which is critical for attendance when it's below freezing- The programming philosophy and coaching style at BRICK is a little more balanced than RNCF. I also like the options for the other formats, though I rarely elect to take them- On the whole I think the coaches are higher quality and more organized at BRICK (I noticed a lot of turnover while I was at RNCF)
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