Core is essential to CrossFit, and it is essential to a great box. Let’s split our understanding of Core into two parts: the physical core and the ideological core.
What do we mean by this? Well, a great box will be centrally located. Let me make it simple: Jason Khalipa’s Box looks amazing. I want nothing more than to work out there. But I don’t live anywhere near it. It is, on a regular basis, inaccessible to me. Yes, I will (hopefully) drop in one day, but I can’t workout there regularly due to distance. The same goes for your search for a great Box. It should be accessible to you. Whether that’s near your work or your home…it shouldn’t take too much effort to get there. Ok. That’s conventional wisdom. Now, let’s push this to the next level.
A great Box will also emphasize its own physical well-being, meaning it is a Box that is concerned about the physical edifice. It will have properly functioning and maintained equipment. When something breaks, it gets fixed. Quickly. When bars need to be replaced, they will replace them. When rigs are wobbly, they will get right on that and secure it quickly. When, and I heard this recently from a box owner, the box is in need of new equipment, the owner will reinvest there for the sake of the community.
A great Box will also have and utilize the proper equipment for CrossFit WODs. This is very important. CrossFit can be demanding, and it is necessary for Box owners to maintain a safe environment for such intense workouts. As we are pushing our bodies to the best of their abilities, we should be able to work with equipment that is safe and properly functioning. Does this mean it needs to have a brand name stamped all over it? Of course not. Does this mean that equipment has to be brand new? Absolutely not. In fact, I applaud boxes that buy used equipment from the Games every year. Smart move, owners! No, what all of this means is simply that a great Box is great because its owners love the Box and care for it. A great box will always reinvest in itself and its people.
The physical is not the only important element to core. There is also the ideological. A great Box will always know where it wants to take its people. But not only this, it will also know how to get them there and show them the ride of their lives.
Large corporations have vision statements and slogans for a reason: they want to easily capture the core identity of their business and entrench it in the mind of their customer base. A slogan, or a mission statement, easily conveys a sense of identity to the general public. In much the same way, a great Box will do this for its members. What is this Box all about? Is it about “Forging Fitness for Life,” or “Look[ing] Better Naked!” or perhaps its “Where the Best Get Better.” No matter what it is, such slogans are not simple slogans, but rather an encapsulation of that Box’s core identity. I’m not saying that every single Box has to have a slogan, but I do guarantee you that the best always do. Why? Because they are well thought out. They are deliberate in all that they do and say. And because of this, they are on point and guiding their people down a clear and expected path.
What does this path look like? Well, that depends…it depends on the ideological core. If “fitness for life” is the key component of that Box, then it will support this ideological core by bringing to its members not only great WODs that shape the body, but also seminars and training that shape the mind. You see, the ideological core of a Box must not only be presented to its members, but also ingrained within them. So great Boxes will work this ideological core outwards into the lives of its people by supporting that core throughout all of its training.
Finally, as this ideological core is clearly and explicitly expressed and worked out into the lives of its community, a great Box will take its members down a road of growth and foundational development which is clearly laid out for them. Great Boxes take their people with them. They explain why they are training them in the fashion they do. If it’s a Box that has certain rules about kipping, then such rules and understandings will not be a mystery to the members of the Box, but rather something that is known from the beginning. If its a Box that emphasizes the foundational movements and progression of movements to build up towards final expression, then that Box will regularly tell its members that this is what its doing. You see, great Boxes share their vision with their members and constantly remind them what they are working towards. It may seem as if we are doing endless wall walks, but a great Box will constantly remind its people why they do those wall walks…it’s a progression to the handstand push-up. You see, great Boxes do not lead their people blindly. They show them the way…constantly…because all too often we forget. Great Boxes inspire their people and show them how to aspire to greater things…and then they equip them to meet those aspirations.
Well, there you have it…just one opinion of what makes a great CrossFit Box. Boxes like this exist, I know, I have visited many of them and have witnessed it through first-hand experience. And I want to take a moment to thank all those great Boxes out there, for without you these articles would not exist.
Thank you to all the great CrossFit Boxes…let’s continue to forge this community to bigger and greater heights!
This article is Part 4 of our “What Makes a Great CrossFit Box?” series: