Choosing a CrossFit gym is not only about proximity to your home or work. Every CrossFit gym will have its own “personality” and it’s important that you visit a few of them before you choose. Try the free intro WODS and interact with the trainers and the members. Find the right fit for you and your CrossFit experience will be that much more rewarding!

With over 4200 CrossFit boxes worldwide and more opening up every month, chances are there are more than one CrossFit gym in your community. In Ocala, home of CrossFit Iron Legion, there are five affiliates as of the end of 2012. If you’re thinking about trying CrossFit and don’t know which gym is right for you, there are several keys to picking the right one.

Coaching. The trainers are key because they will be coaching you every time you walk into the gym. Look for trainers that are fired up to coach new members and not bias their coaching towards one type of member versus another. Also look for coaches that are excellent communicators and know how to break down some of the complicated movements into simple drills and concepts.

Programming. Programming is the CrossFit term for training, and when deciding on a gym, what kind of training each particular gym offers can make a big difference. This is a little bit tougher to evaluate, especially if you’re new, because programming changes on a daily basis and you might not be experienced enough to evaluate. What I recommend is trying the free workout at several gyms in your area and ask good questions of either the owner or the coaches. Do they focus on strength work? Body weight movements? Olympic lifting? Do they have a competition track or do they cater to new people or both?

Here’s an example of why programming is important. You might be a competitive athlete, having done a sport in college, and your sport was of the endurance variety. You want to get stronger. Some gyms specialize in strength training and do less metcon WODs. And, there might be only one gym in your area that sends athletes to competitions. That could be the gym for you.

On the flipside, if you’re only interested in losing weight and getting generally fit, you might want to pick the gym that focuses more on metcon and bodyweight training and less on weight lifting. Evaluate your own fitness goals and see which gym compliments those goals.

Community. Not every gym is created equal. Some gyms have stronger communities than others. Consider how many members each gym has and how close knit they are. Do they support each other? Are they welcoming of new members? Do they do events together outside of the gym? Are there cliques or do the members not interact at all?

Something to consider is the demographic of each gym. An example might be one gym is comprised mostly of college students because of it’s proximity to the local university, while another has mostly working professionals. Look for a gym where the character fits what you’re looking for and is welcoming of new members.

CrossFit Iron Legion is a the fastest growing CrossFit affiliate in Ocala, Florida. To get started, please contact Coach Ted Dreaver at (352) 620-2625 or