By Manny Alayon
While I was away on vacation I had the opportunity to visit local CrossFit affiliates, which is one of my favorite things to do when I travel. I love traveling to different affiliates and just being a part of the gym for that day. I love to experience the gym culture, the workouts, the gym layout etc. I learn a little bit from each box nearly every time I visit.
During my latest trip to Europe I got to drop into several different boxes. Some were newer gyms, while some were more established. Some were small and some were massive. None were bad, but some were friendlier than others. This is starting to sound like a Dr. Seuss book, isn’t it?
Something that really stuck out to me was the culture within each box. There were some boxes where people kind of stuck to themselves. There were other boxes where literally everyone said hi to me (or in France, “bonjour”). What I really appreciated was that the simple “bonjour,” didn’t seem forced or fake. No one really tried to have a conversation with me, but they didn’t have to. A simple fist bump just to acknowledge my presence was good enough for me to feel welcomed, and not like a stranger.
This got me thinking about how a new person trying a class at NorthEast CrossFit probably feels. Even current members who still may be a little shy or reluctant probably feel this way as well. Things like a simple “hello” go so far in making someone feel more comfortable in a gym full of fit-looking individuals. We all come in to do the same thing and we have similar goals. In a big gym, it is easy just to gravitate to the people you know. But at some point we were all new, and I am sure we can all relate to this feeling.
So next time you are at the gym, don’t think you need to force a conversation with someone you do not know, just say hi and maybe even crack a smile. Something as simple as that can make a huge impact on that person’s day. Being around friendly and motivating people is another reason why people seek CrossFit boxes over other fitness establishments. Feeling welcomed makes you want to come back for more. If you see an unfamiliar face at the gym, give them a fist bump, hi-five, or a hello and make them feel like part of our family <3