Joining a CrossFit box is an investment. You may be thinking a financial investment but what I’m talking about, your health and functional strength. Not all CrossFit boxes are of the same caliber. So just like you’d research and test drive different cars before buying one, you should do the same when considering a CrossFit box.

Choosing a good CrossFit box is not rocket science but you should keep a few things in mind when searching for one to join.

Related: 8 CrossFit Books That Every CrossFitter Should Read

1. Coaches Backgrounds and certifications

You can go to the box’s website for this. Check out how long the lead coach has been doing CrossFit and what kinds of certifications he/she has. Also, find out the same info for all the other coaches. For example, does he have a compelling story of how he himself got into CrossFit? Does each coach have certifications?

2. Programming

Do some research here by going to the box’s website, Look at a week’s worth of WOD’s. If the WOD’s are varied, simple yet challenging, plan a visit to the box. If the WOD’s continue to use the same muscles without giving them a break, continue your search.

Take a look at the structure of the classes. Do they set time aside for proper warmups and for a skill/strength session? Also, take note if the box gives an assessment before you start. This is necessary so you know what level you’re at. It also gives the coach an idea where you should start as far as weights are concerned.

3. Teaching

Do the coaches teach well? Do they take the time to break movements down? Do they know how to teach?

Are the coaches able to modify anything in the WOD for beginners?

4. Nutrition

Does the box promote good nutrition along with exercise? By now you should know that you can’t eat junk while on an exercise program and expect results. Not only that, you need good nutrition in order to have the energy required for CrossFit workouts. The box you’re going to, should be emphasizing this point.

5. Equipment / Physical Layout / Cleanliness

When you visit the box, take a look around. Is there enough equipment? Are they organized and well kept? Is the place clean?

There’s nothing more frustrating than to find out that there isn’t enough equipment for everyone in the class. All equipment should also be organized and kept clean of dirt, chalk, and sweat. The floors should be clean.

Overall, the box should feel inviting and comfortable.

Community

Ideally, the people that are a part of the box you’re going to should be at or above the fitness level you want to be at. For example, if you’re looking to compete, there should be other members who want the same thing.

You also want to see how the members interact with one another. Do they make each other feel welcome or do they isolate themselves? Do the members help each other out with equipment? Do they encourage one another? Believe it or not, these factors determine your success with WOD’s.

Check to see what other activities are held outside the box. Do they hold seminars? Do they help you improve on a specific PR – for example, the handstand push-up (HSPU) – by making a program for you?

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking for your first box or a better one, it’s good to do some research before you jump in. You want to make sure that it’s the right box for you. A box that’s a good fit will get you stronger not set you up for injury.