Choosing a Box

What is a Box?

CrossFit athletes do not join gyms—they join boxes. CrossFit boxes earned their name for obvious reasons—they are often shaped like a box. They also lack the frills common to most gyms. You will not find chrome exercise machines and treadmills inside a CrossFit box. Instead, you will have access to the equipment you need to complete any WOD (workout of the day) as well as the space necessary to perform the exercises.

Hallmarks of a Quality Box

Because CrossFit exploded in popularity in recent years, a rash of boxes popped up across the country. However, not all boxes provide what you need. Below are several indicators of a superior box:


A good box should be neat and well organized. There should be large whiteboards, leaderboards, and a timer to make participating in workouts easy. The box should be bright and easy to navigate as well (i.e. where are the restrooms?).


Equipment should be well cared for and clean (i.e. no chalk dust on kettlebells). Availability is also important. A box should have enough equipment to go around or a strategy for dealing with shortages so workouts can progress without delay.


Research a box’s coaches before committing. See what kind of certifications they possess and ensure they can train beginners as well as experienced athletes. If possible, watch the coaches in action to see their management and communication style.


One of the biggest reason why individuals choose to train at a box rather than on their own is for the community. Pushing through tough workouts should build friendships. However, if the community is not the right fit for you, you will struggle to connect with your fellow participants. Check out your box’s culture. Is it primarily experts or are there newbies as well? Do they cheer each other on as they work towards their final reps? Do they help newcomers navigate equipment and complicated exercises? Find a box community that meshes with you and will help you achieve your goals.