If you’re into fitness (and even if you’re not), you’ve probably heard of a little something called CrossFit – the heart-pounding, muscle-building workouts worth writing home about (or at least post all over IG).
Over the last 10 years, it’s exploded, with CrossFit communities rising up across the country and around the world. No matter where you look, you’re bound to find a CrossFit affiliate or a box nearby.
But we’ve found that it’s the community, the coaches, and one-of-a-kind facilities that set them apart. So we WOD-ed across the nation to see how the most badass CrossFit boxes throwdown. Here’s who we found:
In a city where closets are rented as apartments, Reebok CrossFit Fifth Ave in Manhattan has room to stretch out. Their hulking (not just because it’s painted bright green) 10,000 sq. ft. facility offers plenty of room for activities, with 12 lifting platforms matching 12 ergs, ropes, rings, and more. Don’t worry about inviting your new fit friends back to your tiny apartment (or trendy, lantern-lit rooftop). The box has a lounge, a kitchen sink, and a cast of coaches and CrossFitters who do more than set new PRs.
If you are all-in on CrossFit – you live, eat, and breath for the day’s WOD – then it’s time to take a journey (a quest, really) to see the master. Midway between Nashville and Knoxville, Rich Froning, the fittest man on Earth, helms CrossFit Mayhem in Cookeville, TN. And when in Cookeville, you do as Rich does. Really. The What’s Rich Doing Programs allow you to do exactly what the four-time CrossFit champion does every day. And, you know, something about sweating under a giant American flag hung from the rafters just feels right.
Boulder, and CrossFit Sanitas in particular, knows health is more than a tough workout. When you sign up for programming at their stunning and clean (major key) 10,000 sq. ft. box, you get the WOD and some expert-level coaches to lead the way. But after the WOD, that’s when the magic happens. Treat yo’ self to some in-house physical therapy, a massage, yoga, or an arctic dip into their cold plunge pool. And just when you think you’ve been pampered enough, they’ll even arrange a paleo meal for you across the street.
When you’re sucking wind after your set, a breath of fresh air and a nice view goes a long way. San Francisco CrossFit’s box is perched in Presidio, allowing you to sneak beautiful views of the bay and Golden Gate Bridge between exercises (or as a backdrop if you’re working outside that day). But what makes this gym really incredible is their Adaptive Athletics program for athletes with permanent physical disabilities. Dr. Dianna Di Toro, DPT, a Marine Officer, Wounded Warrior volunteer, and general badass, leads dynamic classes every Saturday.
When you tell someone that you’re going to Freakin’ CrossFit, they might just think you’re giving them some attitude. But if you’re in Pembroke Pines, Florida, they get you. Freakin’ CrossFit has a massively equipped 13,000 sq. ft. box, but they also thought outside the box, creating a 25,000 sq. ft. fitness compound complete with rigs, turf, tires, sleds, and occasionally some bubble soccer. But it’s not all play; Freakin’ CrossFit makes it their duty to make sure our first responders, EMT, and military are in excellent freakin’ shape with their Tactical Athlete Program.
It’s possible, guys: Someone can master the handstand, be a PR machine, know each one of “The Girls” intimately, and find no fun in doing it. That’s what CrossFit Belltown wants to change. They want to be healthy and fun. And their community certainly does just that. Sure, the trendy Seattle box is full of ropes, barbells, and pull-up bars, but it’s also full of laughter and super loud high-fives. Miss a lift four times in a row? Fix yourself a whiskey from the bar and plop down in a leather chair to watch your friends play darts.
If you’re into overhead squatting an unreal amount of weight and riding the Assault Bike until you hit the floor, CrossFit Windy City (at Windy City Strength and Conditioning) has you covered. You can do all the muscle-ups, box jumps, and snatches you could dream of at WCSC’s beautiful fitness loft. But they don’t stop there. Join in on one of their LiveBIG adventures (like biking, kayaking, or rucking) to put your fitness to the test, all across the US.
When you move to The City, you might be uprooting yourself from your hometown. So if you need an NYC family, CrossFit NYC is the right move. They have the largest CrossFit family (over 2,000 people) in the whole world between two locations. But at their Flatiron location, the Black Box, they throw down a new, sweaty challenge daily, from sunup to sundown, all in the shadow of the Empire State Building. And if you live as fast as you hang clean, you can even score a family dinner from in-house meal prep service Kettlebell Kitchen.
Not very many CrossFit gyms have had the impact that CrossFit Central has had on Austin. For 11 years, they’ve made it their business to change the way health and fitness are done in ATX. With an acre of space downtown, their indoor/outdoor box has created a community of people who love pushing themselves (and each other) to be better. It’s contagious! And you can’t just contain that sort of energy in a box – CC hosts massive boot camps all over the city.
There’s no denying CrossFit New England is legit. Everyone is always giving max effort, they have a strong community of strong people, they’ve got elite programming and Games-level training…we’re surprised they don’t run out of weights to put on the bar. Their Natick, Massachusetts box ain’t too shabby either. There, exercisers of all levels set goals and knock down achievements on their community whiteboard…then go back out into the massive space to do it better.
You all know the saying: everything’s bigger in Texas. Well in this case, yeah, CrossFit H-Town’s two equally big locations are pretty impressive. If you’re the first one there in the morning, we’re pretty sure you can hear an echo. So when you hit that back squat or flip that really big truck tire in their outdoor area, know that it’s a big deal. But one thing you won’t find at H-Town is a big ego. The family-like community works together, then often chills together at the on-site athlete’s lounge.
You’ve never been to a gym like Mountain Strong Denver before. It’s a CrossFit/mountain climbing mash-up shaped around skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and climbing. So count on your session with CrossFit Globeville (their affiliate name) to be geared towards preparing you for life in the Rockies. If you want to be a better skier, their ski ergs will be the bane of your existence. Want to climb higher? They’ll have you climb everything in their gym, like ropes, peg board, and a monstrous bouldering wall. You will be sore.
DogTown CrossFit has something other CrossFit boxes don’t. DogTown knows that a lot of athletes struggle with the dynamic skillset needed for gymnastics-style moves. That’s why they offer strict gymnastics programming in conjunction with their aggressive WODs. And they have the coaching and tools to get you maneuvering the parallel bars like Simone Biles (except not as good). Can’t fly? Spend time with the handstand trainer or mushroom. Fitt tip: Don’t miss their annual Crush Cancer event – outstanding workout, upstanding cause.
The nation’s capital is sneaky good at getting fit. We can probably thank CrossFit Balance for their work in boxes all over the District. Though, Foggy Bottom’s box will win you over for one reason: Swim WODs. Their 15M salt water pool adds a whole new element (water) to couple with your ring muscle-ups or jerks. Whether you’re training for the Nation’s Tri or CrossFit Games open water swim, you’ll have the cross-training to stomp the competition. Bonus: If you’re an out-of-towner, the Fairmount Hotel is upstairs.
CrossFit South Bay’s got a lock on the LA area. When you’re sweaty, nothing’s better than opening the garage doors at their two spacious boxes. But their Torrance spot is the real game-changer. You get the expert training, high-intensity, and explosive lifts of CrossFit, but you also have the options to cross-train with in-house cycling, yoga, Pilates, and a mobility class with torturous lacrosse balls and foam rollers. Admit it: Sometimes you need these days. You can take the day off from lifting, or you can go halfsies with the weights in a Cycle 30/30 class.
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