In San Francisco, Adam and I both went to CrossFit Alinea. It's the only CrossFit gym either of us had ever gone to, and we both love it. It's a great gym, with strong help for beginners, private coaching available, and like, the nicest community ever. (I wrote another article about how much I loved it here.) It was one of the many reasons we had *deeply* mixed feelings about leaving our little life in SF.
So, it was with much trepidation on my part that we dropped in on some other gyms! All in all, it's been great. I've liked every gym we've been to for totally different reasons. Yelp has proved invaluable in aiding selections. All the ones we've visited had great reviews, and lots of member testimonials.
CrossFit Sanitas: Boulder, CO
Pros: Rated one of the best CrossFit gyms in the country, Sanitas provided the only class I've EVER been to that was ALL WOMEN (except Adam). It's big, it's clean, and all the equipment is shiny and well kept. The coach on duty for our class, Beau, led a super good/brutal warm up that focused on abs. It's clear their gymnastics program is really strong.
Cons: The WOD was not terribly strenuous. I enjoyed it more than Adam. It was a 15-12-9 of DL and ring dips, and I definitely scaled my DL weight too light. Adam hurt his back. That was his fault, though, not the gym's.
CrossFit Jaakarhu: Austin, TX
Pros: We dropped in on an olympic lifting class, and it was one of the best olympic lifting classes I've ever been to. The coach, Ricky, runs a lifting program, and clearly runs a tight ship for form. The athletes were ubiquitously lifting way more than I might have guessed, and doing it really well. Everyone's form looked the same, in that eerie Soviet Russian way. The weakest person he could pair me with had a 160# snatch. I almost fainted. She was also really, really nice, as was Ricky, who hoped we "enjoy our journey."
Cons: It's humid af in Austin in July, and there's no air conditioning. Also the name is hard to spell. That's it, though. I'd definitely go back in a hurry.
CrossFit Nola 504: New Orleans, LA
Pros: We dropped in on one WOD and one olympic lifting class, and I really enjoyed both. The WOD was a DL and double under massacre. It was the exact right level of hard, and Ginger, the coach for that class, was a stickler for DL form, which I liked. The olympic lifting coach, Liz (who's imminently moving to Vancouver) was awesome. Very attentive to detail, and to hiccups in form. It's a friendly gym, and it's also got the most diverse clientele we've seen at any gym we've gone to, which was rad.
Cons: Again, it's humid af in Lousiana in July, and there's no air conditioning. I got lucky and was positioned near a fan, but they could probably use another one. Or two.
Bear Cave CrossFit: Santa Marta, Colombia
Pros: Friendly, with new equipment and an emphasis on a lot of cardio. Two WODs for the price of one, which was free for our first visit. Rigorous programming, and we got to do a snatch WOD. Of all the gyms we've visited so far, this one was probably the friendliest.
Cons: No air-conditioning. If we thought it was hard to do CrossFit in Austin or NoLa, it was HUGELY tough in 90+ degrees and 80%+ humidity. We joked it was like doing Bikram CrossFit. Maybe because it's so hot, and as such easier to warm up muscles, the guided mobility work was not terribly effective.