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Dropping in at a CrossFit: Why I Cross-Fit On Vacation

Most every trip involves at least one drop-in CrossFit class. Not only do I get a good workout in during a time of extra vacation indulgence, I've found that this community is warm and welcoming no matter where you are in the world.

My first drop-in was in Florence, Italy. At the time, I had been only doing Cross-Fit for a year but I was so royally hooked with CrossFit that the thought of going two weeks without it was beyond comprehension. So, without exactly the best motivation (feeding an addiction), my first drop-in ended up being in a foreign Country. As it turns out, I now have a new addiction of dropping in while on vacation.

The first thing to remember about dropping-in is that you're never going to see any of these people again. Why does that matter? Because there's no concern over whether you'll look silly or whether you're strong enough or fit enough. It just plain doesn't matter. So with that knowledge, you can let any anxieties you may have fall to the wayside and just enjoy the experience.

While CrossFit is fairly universal from box-to-box (what CrossFit calls their gyms), there are small ways to make an experience unique. In Florence, the class was in Italian. In Madrid, Spain, the box was in a basement with neon, disco-like lighting. It also gives you an opportunity to be coached by new people and possibly hear some great new tips while you are at it.

The single best reason for dropping-in though, is getting an opportunity to meet locals and other travelers. There's something about the joint workout effort that breaks the ice. Where I would otherwise shy away from saying hello or asking someone where they are from, that social anxiety seems to disappear amidst a punishing workout. What a sweet reward too. We've met the nicest and most interesting people at CrossFit boxes, all of whom are ready to make restaurant and site-seeing recommendations from a local perspective.

6 Important Tips For Dropping-In at a CrossFit Box

1. Email or call in advance. Most places have limited slots available or require you to sign-up in advance. Drop-in fees vary and some places prefer cash.

2. Don't be THAT guy or gal. Be respectful, courteous, and wait your turn. Remember, you're never going to see any of these people again. There's no need show everyone up and seriously, who cares if you finish first?

3. Be friendly- it could turn out well for you. You never know who you will meet (see Como, Italy post). We have also receive priceless travel and restaurant tips from box owners and others in class.

4. Buy the shirt! My favorite souvenirs are CrossFit t-shirts. I wear them all the time and they're a great reminder of that particular trip. Bonus: some places offer a free class if you buy a shirt.

5. Leave a review. I often rely on reviews left on Facebook pages, Google, and other locations when deciding where to drop-in. Give back by leaving your own review. It helps these small-business owners.

6. Bring your CrossFit clothes and essential equipment. Yes, it takes up room in your limited packing space but having dedicated workout clothes is essential. Pick those that are easy to hand wash in a sink for re-use. Most CrossFit folks have something they can't live without in terms of equipment. Maybe it's their jump rope or their knee sleeves. For me, it's my wrist wraps and natural grips for hand protection. They don't take up much room in my bag and I'm always glad I brought them.

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