One of my favorite things to do on any trip, vacation, work, what have you - is to drop-in at a CrossFit gym. Meeting new people who share your passion for fitness, seeing how different coaches run classes and competing with a new group of people is a great time. While planning a short getaway for Valentine's Day, my girlfriend and I decided we needed to do two things - eat an awesome breakfast and lift heavy. So basically this weekend will be no different than any other for us. These are two of our favorite things, so it only made sense we would do them on this forced romantic, Hallmark-driven holiday.
I reached out to a gym owner I know through a mutual connection - he set us up for a free drop-in during his open gym time. This got me thinking, how many gyms have I visited in my relatively short time in CrossFit? So here's the list, with a little information about what I remember from each of them. I hope to add as many new gyms as possible to this list this year. Asterisks denote gym was my "home" gym. List is in no particular order.
1. CrossFit Sua Sponte – Raleigh, NC*
Home of the CakeWeight. You always remember your first. My first workout was here, my first batch of PR's. Sua Sponte is fast-becoming known as THE place to train in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Home of a CrossFit Regional Team and 3-time Regional Qualifier Nathan "Biebs" Trevillian. Head coach and owner John Dill writes the programming for The Outlaw Way's "Power" program. His 500lb squat and 600lb deadlift PR's were awesome to see while I was there. He is the best coach I have ever had - and this gym will be tough to match for me, regardless of where I end up in my career.
2. North Raleigh CrossFIt - Raleigh, NC
Owned and operated by Ashley Thompson Denton, or ATD. She was part of the Sua Sponte Regional Team when I trained in Raleigh. Her gym was a little further away from me, but was always fun to drop-in and catch up. She has a large facility and a great atmosphere to train in.
3. Carolina Crossfit – Columbia, SC
Dropped in while in Columbia for a federal lawsuit I was involved in during my career in journalism (long, entertaining story for another day) Massive facility, Regional Team and some BIG lifters. My best friend and I hit up a workout of pullups, HSPU etc. He still claims he beat me, I remember it differently.
4. Crossfit 423 – Bristol, TN
Hit a drop-in while in town for a job interview. It was over the holidays and it was just me and three other athletes. Very welcoming and a fun partner WOD with some heavy deadlifts.
5. Crossfit Lynchburg – Lynchburg, VA
Just two blocks from my parents house. Saturday morning open-gym time is a serious bro-sesh. Lots of maxing out Olympic lifts. Is there a better way to start your weekend? Also home to a Regional Team.
6. Crossfit Brunswick - Brunswick, GA
Vacation drop-in while spending Christmas on Jekyll Island. Great coaches, very welcoming atmosphere for vacationers. Hit a clean and jerk PR at 275#
7. Crossfit Mariner Square – Alameda, CA
My best friend (the one who "beat" me in Columbia) coaches here. While visiting, we had a 1rm snatch session where he PR'd despite drinking ALL the alcohol the previous night. Housed inside a globo-gym, it gives you access to a pool as well.
8. Crossfit Cheyenne – Cheyenne, WY*
My first CrossFit home when I moved back to Cheyenne. Made me feel right at home from my first day back. Great staff of coaches and some serious stud athletes. Massive gym space and great environment to train in.
9. Crossfit Frontier – Cheyenne, WY*
My current home. Their class schedules worked better with my work schedule. Great atmosphere here as well. Very well-run barbell club. Olympic lifting platforms and kilo comp plates are available all evening. Solid coaching and good group of competitive athletes.
10. CrossFit Longmont – Longmont, CO
My girlfriend's home gym when I met her. I hit my first 100kg snatch here. Some stud lifters - and don't be surprised to see some wild/STRONG gear being repped.
11. Crossfit Roots – Boulder, CO
Home of CrossFit Games Champion Camille Leblanc-Bazinet. The most top-notch facility I have ever visited. Absolutely massive space at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Lifting platforms, multiple rigs, turf area along the far wall for sled pushes. Athletes range from your day one CrossFitter to, as we mentioned, Games Champ.
12. Crossfit Sanitas – Boulder, CO
Just down the road from Roots. Also an incredible space. Roots gets all the publicity because of who trains there, but if you are looking for more of a home gym feel and community for a drop-in, Sanitas is the spot. Great coaches, plenty of space, showers and immaculate locker rooms.
13. Crossfit Helix – Greeley, CO
My older brother used to coach here, so it was sort of my home away from home-gym for a while. A really nice spot to train, a good group of athletes who like to lift heavy. Also home to one of the highest per-capita rates of wild/STRONG gear in the country.
14. Crossfit Ironheart – San Juan, Puerto Rico
Met two coaches while out to dinner one night in San Juan. Dropped in the next day and remain in contact with both of them on social media today (although I only understand half their posts and all they do is share cat videos and Drake "Hotline Bling" parodies. We thought training above 6,000 feet would give us an edge in San Juan - but the sticky 95% humidity was a lot to handle.
15. Aggressive Crossfit – San Juan, Puerto Rico
Our first drop-in in San Juan. The language barrier was a tad difficult to overcome as you never knew if the person you were lifting next to spoke English or not. Awesome healthy restaurant owned and operated by the gym next door. Regional athletes and a fun crew to workout with.
16. South Tahoe Crossfit – South Lake Tahoe, CA
Run by a 3-time Masters Games Athlete, this is THE spot if you are looking to drop-in while shredding Heavenly Mountain. We hit them up three times while visiting.
17. Crossfit Cody – Cody, WY
Dropped-in twice during a work trip. The weightlifting coach bought some of our gear and we had an awesome bro-session doing some heavy clean and jerks with one of the coaches. Some of the coolest wall-art and t-shirts!
18. Crossfit 307 – Casper, WY
Home of the 307 Throwdown. Also a work-trip drop-in. Incredible athletes and one of the best gyms in Wyoming. I have had the pleasure of competing against some of their athletes and coaches - as well as training alongside them. Hard to find a better spot to train. Although Coach Jed is always talking about "just trying to get toned" (while he snatches 275#)
19. Crossfit 7220 – Laramie, WY
I saw my girlfriend for the first time at 7220 - doing handstand walks in the parking lot during a competition. So in addition to being a great gym with awesome coaches - it also will always be a special spot for me. Gives University of Wyoming students a great place to either start or continue their CrossFit journey while in school and is located very near campus.
20. Crossfit Carolina Beach – Wilmington, NC
Another vacation drop-in. Although a very small facility, they are extemely welcoming to their guests who stop by while at the beach. I hit a strict press PR at 215# while visiting.
21. Crossfit Athena – Brush, CO
My girlfriend's home gym during a brief stint working in Eastern Colorado. A very passionate group of athletes and we made some good friends while she trained and coached there.
22. Farmboy Crossfit – Wiggins, CO
Another Eastern Colorado spot. Knowledgeable coaching staff and very welcoming place to drop-in.
23. CrossFit Goldsboro - Goldsboro, NC
Home of the annual Battle of the Boro. One of my first competitions ever. My teammate John Taylor died not long after, so this gym also holds a special place in my heart. Some serious big lifters here as well.
24. Big Thompson CrossFit - Loveland, CO
Home of the annual Bumper Plate Date. Our first vendor booth and a clean wild/STRONG podium sweep. Great coaches and a very well-run event.
25. CrossFit Decimate - Colorado Springs, CO
Home to the 2016 Hangry Games. My girlfriend and her teammate took their first podium at Decimate and so did I, with the help of "Your Box CrossFit's" Malachi Bennett. Read more about the event here. The competition was great, the staff was excellent and the facility is HUGE.
26. WILD Horizons CrossFit - Fort Collins, CO
Owned by multiple time Regional Athlete Ryan Garcia. We have two friends who train here, so I've dropped in on a couple of occasions. Stripped down, basic set up with a separate room for Olympic lifting in the back. Everything you need, nothing you don't. Terrific coaches, and you can always count on classic hip-hop tracks bumping while you get your workout in.
27. CrossFit Endure - Windsor, CO
One of the stops on our 2016 wild/STRONG Open Tour. Spacious facility and they welcomed us with open arms for our tour stop. Home to wild/STRONG athlete C.J. Engels.
28. CrossFit Battle Ready - Greeley, CO
Another host gym for our wild/STRONG Open Tour. Wyoming CrossFitters will see the familiar face of CrossFit 307's Chase Popp, who trains here while attending school in Greeley.
29. Lowry CrossFit - Aurora, CO
Site of our only "two-stop" day on the wild/STRONG Open Tour. We hit up Pandora's Box (below) for the Open workout, then met the rest of the tribe at Lowry, where Shala Giardini trains. Awesome gym, owner has a solid "Cali" vibe we picked up on right away. Great music and community. Everything you need if you're looking for a place to train in the Denver suburbs.
30. CrossFit Pandora's Box - Colorado Springs, CO
As mentioned above - we did 16.4 at Pandora's Box. We had the pleasure of meeting owner Tamara Gray at Girls Gone RX in Denver. Her fiance' is CrossFit Regionals athlete, GRID League member and all-around Olympic lifting badass, Jared Enderton. While performing 16.4 my best friend threw up all over the floor - twice - on Facebook Live, which was then reposted by CrossFit HQ on Instagram.
31. CrossFit Evolve - Fort Collins, CO
The first stop on the wild/STRONG Open Tour. Great hosts, massive gym. Their members cheered my girlfriend and I on as if we were part of their team. It was a great experience and started the tour off with some great energy.