Drop-in Etiquette (May 2021)

(image above stolen from BoxLife Magazine)

We’re going to switch lanes here a little bit moving forward with our monthly posts. While we will still present you with mindsets from time to time, we are now going to include some informational posts. These posts will range from CrossFit methodology to random thoughts, and from nutrition topics to helpful tidbits around the gym. Enjoy the first of the new format as we discuss dropping in and etiquette for dropping in.

It is almost spring (well technically it’s been spring for a while most places) and that means travel. While COVID is still a thing, people are finally starting to move around the country again. Whether it be for spring break, summer vacations, or just random travel, it is helpful to remember that you don’t need to put your fitness on hold. The beauty of Crossfit is that no matter where you travel, there is most likely a Crossfit gym nearby. I personally enjoy dropping in to other gyms on my travels, A) because I like to work out even when on vacation, and B) everyone has a different way of coaching and you might pick up a useful trick or two by going to a different gym.

Now since some of you may not be familiar with dropping in, this post will introduce the concept to you and then provide some basic etiquette for dropping in at another gym.

What is dropping in?

I’m sure that some of you have been in a class where someone has been visiting and came to our gym for a workout or two. That’s basically it. They are literally “dropping in” and joining us for a class.

How do I drop in?

You can do this too when you travel! Most gyms will allow drop-ins to join them, assuming that you are familiar with Crossfit (read: passed an introduction course and regularly attend classes at an affiliate), and restrictions in the area allow it. One thing to note is that dropping in is gym specific, and it is up the affiliate owner on whether or not they allow dropping in.

One strategy is to google Crossfit gyms in the vicinity you will be staying. This will usually pull up the gyms in the area and also might give you some other gym recommendations. Another option is to use the affiliate map on Crossfit.com (https://map.crossfit.com/). Just zoom into the location you will be traveling to and this will show you all of the Crossfit Affiliates in the area. You could also ask people if they have been to a gym in that area – you will often see these posts on r/crossfit on Reddit or the like. This is a good way to find out what the gym is like as well and find out if it will be a good fit for you.

I found a gym, now what?

The first step is to look at the gym’s website. There should be information that will tell you if they accept drop-ins, how much each drop in is (usually around $20), what you need to do to drop in, and their schedule of classes. Some will have you register and pay ahead of time, some will have you do it when you show up for the actual class. If I am going to be visiting for a while, I will always email the gym to let them know, and ask if we can work out a deal for an extended drop-in instead of paying the drop-in price every day I show up. If you reach out early enough and are polite, they will usually work with you. Keep in mind that restrictions may be in place and that you should check with the owner to make sure you are complying with the rules in place.

Basic Etiquette

Always, always, always, always show up early. Sometimes we are a bit lax when it comes to rolling into classes on time, and generally I am ok with it. I know schedules can get crazy and time just gets away from you. However, when you are dropping in to another gym, DO NOT BE LATE. In fact, if you aren’t there 15 minutes early, you are late, especially if you haven’t signed a waiver yet. Be respectful of the coach and other class members and be there on time so that the coach is not rushed to get you all squared away before the class starts.

Be nice! You may not know anyone in the class, but introduce yourself and talk to their members. They are just people too and it is really awkward if no one talks to each other. If you don’t have anything to talk about, talk about Crossfit. Let’s be honest, we can always find something Crossfit to talk about…

Pay ahead of time if possible. Sometimes you get caught up in the workout and forget to pay at the end. Usually this is not a big deal, but it can reflect badly on you. Pay ahead of time and you won’t have to worry.

Ask if you can drop weights/use chalk/take off your shirt/swear/etc. Some gyms have different rules and you don’t want to be that person who comes in and messes up their feng shui.

Leave a review! Whether it be on Google, their Facebook page, Yelp, etc. it can help their business. Or, if it is a bad experience, please talk with the coach/owner before leaving a bad review so that they are aware of it.

Go back a second time. If you liked your drop in, make it a point to go back the next time you are in the area. I have several gyms that I have frequented and it is almost like having a second home to go to. 

If you have any specific questions or need help finding a location to visit while traveling, do not hesitate to reach out to your coaches. Many of us are well traveled and may have some recommendations for you depending on where you are traveling!

New Member Spotlight – Welcome Laura!

Originally from Houghton, Laura spent the last 20 years in Detroit, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Madison, before finally making her way back home to Houghton. When left to her own schedule she can come up with 100 things to do other than exercise, so she joined the gym to force herself to commit to something. Laura is most excited to see progress as she gets more comfortable in the gym, and learn how others have progressed through their own CrossFit journey. Make sure to say hello the next time you see her!

Bonus Post from Squat University (April 2021)

In a recent post, Dr. Aaron Horschig (@squat_university) gave his perspective on a Sunday afternoon:

  1. Be happy for the chance to walk into the gym
  2. Know your health could be taken from you in a moment – so be grateful for what you have
  3. Stop saying, “Yeah, but look how much weight is on the bar…” Unless you’re in a competition, technique > weight.

I thought this would be a great post to dissect this month, as I feel it really does apply to what we are doing pretty much every day. Let’s explore it a little bit more.

Item 1: Be happy for the chance to walk into the gym. Think about it. One year ago the gym was closed and most of us were working out in our houses or backyards. The really interesting thing about people is that we have a pretty amazing short term memory. We tend to forget the bad aspects of life and look back at only the good memories. Which is why we tend to think that music in our childhood was much better than it is now – we have forgotten the really bad songs and only remember the good ones. Are things back to normal and perfect right now? No, but you cannot tell me that things aren’t better than they were a year ago. Keep this in mind and be happy that you have a chance to go to the gym!

Item 2: Know your health could be taken from you in a moment – so be grateful for what you have. On a similar vein, but slightly different. Maybe more like a similar artery (ok, that was bad, I know). Life happens, and sometimes that means accidents and unfortunate events. Which is why it is important to live the best life you can right NOW. Because it could be taken from you any time. This is also a reason for us to take advantage of Item 1, getting into the gym. By coming to the gym, you are literally prolonging your life. Crossfit is an elegant solution to the most vexing problem in the world – chronic disease. By making ourselves healthier and happier, we are giving ourselves a hedge against sickness (see our October post for more on that). For more on this, I recommend watching the classic Crossfit video, “Five Buckets of Death.” Just Google it or search on Crossfit.com.

Item 3: Stop saying, “Yeah, but look how much weight is on the bar…” Unless you’re in a competition, technique > weight. I feel this one is particularly important coming off of the Open like we are. Yes, it is sometimes fun to “compete” against each other in the gym, but no one is in an actual competition. Therefore, technique is WAY more important than weight (or time, or Rx). Instead of pushing to beat your gym frenemy, maybe work on your technique with slightly lower weight. Or instead of rushing through those overhead squats in order to get them done faster, maybe slow down and build strength in those positions so that you will eventually be able to do them fast AND heavy. By working on technique and not worrying about others, you might just end up moving better and avoiding a shoulder injury, getting stronger, and ultimately getting fitter. Mr. Rich Froning had a similar comment: “In training you listen to your body, in a competition, you tell your body to shut up.” Again, none of us are in a competition, so listen to your body and focus on technique! I’ve mentioned this many, many times, and have written about ego before, but this is something that many people need to hear constantly. 

Your mindset will be to think about these three items and evaluate how well you exemplify them. Which one do you have a pretty good handle on and which one do you need to work on?

New Member Spotlights!

You may have noticed a few new names on the reservation lists or whiteboard over the past few weeks, and that is because we have a bunch of new members that have joined the gym since February. Since not everyone goes to the same classes and gets to meet everyone, this post is meant to highlight these new members so that when you see them around the gym you know a little more about them!

Leah Arnt

Leah joined us in the middle of March after Becky Kopke convinced her to try it out. She likes the idea of community workouts, and loves to see how hard everyone tries and how committed everyone is to going every week! Originally from Stillwater, MN, she now resides in Hancock.


Emily Hermanson

Emily joined us in the middle of March and hails from Chassell. She decided to try out Crossfit because the internet said it wasn’t too bad, which is a pretty awesome finding Crossfit story if you ask me. So far her favorite movement has been kettlebell swings. 


Christopher “Tiger King” Herter

Chris was born and raised in Chelsea, MI, just outside of Ann Arbor. Since then, he has lived in lots of places, finally settling in Tapiola where he currently resides. He decided to join us as he was feeling super out of shape and wanted to give Crossfit a try. Currently loving it, he is very happy to be a part of the community! And, as you can tell, he has a great sense of humor and love of wild animals.


Nick Turner

Nick is originally from the Metro Detroit area of Sterling Heights, but is now living in Dollar Bay. He joined CrossFit for the competition in day-to-day workouts, and likes to be pushed by like minded people. The best part so far? “So far I’ve really enjoyed meeting everybody and getting in great workouts. It feels good to be getting back on a routine schedule of working out and I’m feeling good about myself again.” 

If you see any of our new members, make sure to give them a big ol’ Hakk welcome. We’re glad you decided to join our crazy family!

Committed Club (March 2021)

Beginning in January 2021, we began the first ever CrossFit Hakk Committed Club. Members that attended 15 or more classes during the month of March include:
Katie LaCosse
Sam Herbert
Justin LaCosse
Rochelle Spencer
Nicole Heinonen
Angela Price
Michelle Miller
Julie Jalkanen
Amanda Hoffman
Julia Anderson
Kim Dunnebacke
Clint Johnson
Gerald Huffman
Adam Olson
Amy Olson
Chloe McParlan
Aaron Persenaire
Renee Hiller
Morgan DuPont
Becky Kopke
Ed Freysinger
It’s worth noting that the number of members achieving committed club status has increased each month since January. Let’s keep this trend going! Awesome job guys!
As usual we included each of these members in a random drawing, and Chloe and Michelle were the lucky winners this month. Enjoy your gift certificates to Biggby Coffee!

Simple isn’t always easy (Monthly Mindset, April 2021)

How many times have you seen the workout for the day and walked into the gym thinking, “oh, this workout is pretty simple, this will be an easy one.” If you are being honest with yourself, it is probably at least once. I know that I have fallen prey to this more times than I can count. Unfortunately, simple does not mean easy, as many of us have found out many, many times. It is the simple workouts that seem to hurt the most. Partly because they tend to be underestimated, and partly because simple movements allow us to push the intensity.

Generally the simple things are the basic things: foundational movements or low complexity movements. In and of themselves these movements are easy… when you’re fresh and only have to do ten of them. They get dangerous when you have to do multiple reps and multiple sets when you are out of breath. These movements are simple, but that just means that we can do them faster. 

Take for instance a heavy, technical lift. Let’s say, a heavy snatch. Obviously, most people will think that is hard. But everyone would also agree that a heavy snatch is not simple. On the other side of the coin, what would you think of a classic workout: 4 rounds for time, 50 air squats, run 400 meters. Two movements, both pretty easy and non-technical. Most would agree that this workout is simple. Many would probably think this workout is too simple, boring even. However, done correctly, this workout will hurt way more than heavy snatches. Heavy snatches require technical proficiency and enough rest to ensure proper recovery between reps. All of which reduces the intensity of the workout. There is nothing stopping you from completing the second workout, other than your pain threshold.

This is just one example out of many that I could list. Randy, Grace, Isabel, 2k row, etc. These workouts are not complicated, they don’t have a lot of moving parts or gimmicks. But that is the beauty of these workouts. They are simple, but that is what allows us to not overthink them and push our bodies. And I can guarantee you, these workouts, and many like them, are definitely NOT easy. Intensity is the independent variable most commonly associated with maximizing favorable adaptations to exercise. Meaning, if you want to lose weight, gain muscle, prepare for sport, or any other goal you may have, incorporating intensity will get you the results you want, faster. Simple workouts are great at allowing us to keep our intensity high. 

Your mindset this month will be to try and recognize opportunities to push the intensity. Try to identify “simple” workouts, and try not to underestimate them. Instead, come in knowing it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it when you are spent and done.

Quadratus Lumborum (Muscle of the Month, April 2021)

The quadratus lumborum muscle, often called the QL, is a paired muscle of the left and right posterior abdominal wall. Meaning, there’s one on the left and the right side of your body, and they sit on the back side of your body. Each is irregular and quadrilateral in shape (quadratus… quadrilateral… hmmm). As the deepest abdominal muscle, it is commonly referred to as a back muscle. 

The quadratus lumborum muscles originate from the top of the pelvis and connect to the lowest rib. Those two connection points make it very important for stabilization of the spine and supporting good posture. Contraction of one of the QL muscles causes lateral flexion of the lumbar spine (bending to one side), elevation of the pelvis (lifting of a hip), or both. Contraction of both sides causes extension of the lumbar spine (arching the back).

The QL is one of the muscles that tends to be tight and overactive in many individuals (I can personally attest to this). In our current sedentary and seated lifestyle, the QL is constantly contracted which can cause lower back pain. There are many stretches that can help QL pain, both seated and standing. Give the ol’ Google machine a go if you are interested in those. If you are looking to work your QL muscles, try out some hip hikes (either hanging or one foot on a box) and single arm farmer carries.

2021 Open Summary 

And that’s a wrap! The Open is over, and not sure about you, but I am glad that it was only three weeks this year. Dave Castro threw some good tests at us and I think we all learned something about ourselves and our fitness. Now that it is over, it is time to look back and reflect on what we did well on and what we need to improve on so that we can hit the Open better in 2022. But before we do that, let’s look back on the past three weeks and highlight some of the awesome things that happened!

First off, a huge shout out to the people who signed up for the Open! Yes, we all did the workouts, but signing up for the Open adds an extra layer of pressure knowing that you are being judged and your performance will be posted on a leaderboard for the world to see. The individuals who put their fitness to the test worldwide were:

  • Ayla Miller – finished 434th in the world in her age division
  • Carly Siko – finished 29,824 in the world overall
  • Karlee Westrem – finished 26,361 in the world overall
  • Katie LaCosse – finished 50,093rd in the world overall, and 9,362 in her age division
  • Kelly Livingston – finished 31,545 in the world overall
  • Michelle Miller – finished 32,781 in the world overall, and 3,888 in her age division
  • Nicole Heinonen – finished 51,254 in the world overall, and 9,569 in her age division
  • Renee Hiller – finished 68,316 in the world overall, and 8,979 in her age division

Ayla, Katie, Kelly, Michelle, Nicole, and Renee all participated in their first ever Crossfit Open. Way to go everyone! Also, the ladies really showed up this year – guys, where were you at?

In addition to those signing up for the Open, we had several standout performances on the tests:

  • Becky Kopke PRed her jerk by hitting a massive 105# complex in 21.4!
  • Coach Carly hit her first Toes-to-Bar in 21.3, and then proceeded to get all 30 of them!

While just a few highlights, there were countless examples of grit and determination from many people over the course of the three weeks. Whether getting over fears and insecurities about getting upside down for the wall walks in 21.1, digging deep to go with a heavier weight on the DB in 21.2, or steadily chipping away at the massive amount of work that was 21.3, your hard work and effort did not go unnoticed.

But what everyone really cares about are bragging rights, right? So without further adieu, the winner of the 2021 Team competition is…….

Team Hakka Chaka BOOM (aka, the 5:30am class)!

Huge shoutout to Rocko for wrangling the group together and being a great team captain to keep everyone fired up and excited for Friday mornings. Because let’s be honest. It’s hard to be fired up about anything that early. Great job 5:30 class and enjoy the bragging rights until next year!


Committed Club (February 2021)

Beginning in January 2021, we began the first ever CrossFit Hakk Committed Club. Members that attended 15 or more classes during the month of February include:
Julie Jalkanen
Angela Price
Katie Lacosse
Justin LaCosse
Rochelle Spencer
Clint Johnson
Aaron Persenaire
Kartik Iyer
Amanda Hoffman
Michelle Miller
Sam Herbert
Adam Olson
Kim Dunnebacke
Ed Freysinger
Gerald Huffman
Way to be consistent and put in the work guys!
We included each of these members in a random drawing, and Rocko and Adam were the lucky winners this month. Enjoy your gift certificates to Biggby Coffee!

2021 Open – Part 3

Since we are doing class teams this year, there will be no changes to the schedule for the Open on Fridays. We will be doing the Open workouts as your class workout for the day regardless of whether you signed up for the Open or not. Depending on the workout, we will run several heats in the class to ensure that everyone has enough space, equipment, and if you want it, a judge to count your reps for you. If you did sign up for the Open, we will work with you to make sure you have a judge to validate your scores during the class time you attend.

This will be the time to really bond as a class and encourage each other. Help your teammates out by changing weights for them, judging them and counting their reps, or just by cheering them on. They will return the favor to help you as you take your turn! Also, don’t forget to wear your team colors and grab a picture with your team after the class to get those extra points!