CrossFit is one of the fastest growing fitness movements on the planet. And whether you are, or hoping to someday become one, chances are you already know a person who is an avid CrossFitter. If you log onto Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, or Twitter, someone you know is right now bragging about his or her latest PR, ripped pull-up hands, failed jerk, or almost-but-not-quite, new snatch attempt.
In 2016, nearly a quarter of a MILLION people signed up to compete in the CrossFit Games–a world-wide competition to find the fittest male and female on the planet. In fact, before the CrossFit Games, the Guinness World Record for the most participants in a racing event was set by the Run for Pasig River in Manila, Philippines on October 10, 2010. The run, which included three races, registered 116,086 participants. CrossFit numbers are consistently outranking other athletic competitions worldwide, and increase yearly.
Three Fears Preventing People from Trying CrossFit
Those who want to but haven’t tried CrossFit yet seem to have three fears about the exercise program:
- Fear of People: Many who haven’t yet tried CrossFit are somewhat terrified of the CrossFit community because of what he/she sees on ESPN.
- Fear of Injury: Though the “You’ll get injured if you try CrossFit” stigma is starting to die down (finally), there are still many people who believe CrossFit equals injury.
- Fear of Price: The price of CrossFit is much more than the average gym. Members pay anywhere between $100-$250 per month depending on the location and type of membership pass.
Out of all three fears, the one that seems to stand in the way of the final “do I do it or not?” decision, typically boils down to the price. Yes, CrossFit is expensive. But if you dig into the heart of what members actually get for the price tag, you’ll see that many have simply overlooked the plethora of benefits that comes with the membership fee.
We know, we know…it’s expensive!
Let’s get this out of the way now: depending on where you live, a monthly membership could run you well over $200. In New York City, a monthly membership to Reebok CrossFit 5th Avenue will run you $250. And unfortunately, most people just see the price tag and call it quits before starting. They don’t stop and analyze the benefits of what they may actually receive for that monthly fee. And let’s face it: can we really put a price tag on health, fitness, and longevity?
“I pay because it’s an effective and fun option of health insurance. Last time I checked, heart disease, diabetes and cancer is much more expensive.”
Seth Lawson, CrossFit Harrisonburg.
So let’s break down what you’re actually paying for when you sign up for a CrossFit membership.
A SMALL GROUP SETTING
When you join a CrossFit gym, you commit to taking a group exercise class with a small number of like-minded people all looking for the same thing: better health and fitness. Unlike other “Group Ex” classes where you may have one instructor on a platform yelling out instructions to 30+ class members, the athlete to instructor ratios of CrossFit are about 12:1. Chances are, you get more one-on-one time with an elite level instructor than your child gets with his or her teacher in school. Small class sizes or larger classes with multiple instructors ensure each member not only is instructed properly, but carefully monitored for safety, proper technique, and consistently motivated throughout the class time. You have great eyes on you at all times.
“CrossFit is my favorite hour of the day. It has changed so many things in my life for the better: the way I feel, the way I look, the way I eat, how I sleep, the friends I love spending time with… All because of one hour each day.”
Dixie Garber, CrossFit Harrisonburg.
Most CrossFit coaches have been crossfitting for several years. They’ve been coached, well-trained, certified by elite level CrossFit coaches and athletes, and spend a majority of their time making both themselves and their clients better. CrossFit coaches aren’t teaching classes for the money; they’re teaching because they’re passionate about their craft and they want everyone else to be as good, and as in love with CrossFit as they are.
Simply put, they care. A lot.
“I pay for the coaching and community. I like to think of it as a team/club.”
Missy Quest, Unbeaten CrossFit.
CrossFit is Cheaper than Personal Training
Speaking of good coaches, it’s actually cheaper to belong to a CrossFit gym than to hire a personal trainer. A CrossFit coach walks members through a proper warm-up, reviews the movement standards for the day, explains the workout, helps members choose appropriate weight for lifting, monitors for safety, give tips for improvement, and even helps members work on goal-specific skills, muscle flexibility, and recovery methods–all the same thing a personal trainer may do. But in order to have a personal trainer do this for you every day, you’d have to pay between $60-$100+ per hour (by most standard fees). If you worked with a trainer three times per week at $60 per hour, you’re looking at a monthly fee of $720–on top of your gym membership! I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather pay $200 for these same benefits than hiring someone for an additional $720!
“I was paying $100 a month at a big gym. They had amazing programs. I was also paying $100 a month for a trainer who I saw once a week to check my form. Then I discovered that for $120 a month (in Virginia) and $100 a month (after moving to Colorado) that when I go to Crossfit, I have a trainer for an hour. My 9 year old watches me lift and do the metcons, and last week he said, “Mama, your legs are looking strong.” The coaches know him by name, let him do pull ups and rope climbs, and encourage him to keep going. At the big gym, I realized that I was paying to subsidize other people’s cardio machines and zumba classes, which I didn’t even use. Now I pay less, I get encouragement, motivation, friendship, excellent programming, and inspiration from my fellow members.”
Lyndsey Martin, Crossfit 970, Loveland, Colorado.
You Don’t Have to Plan or Organize Your Workout
Many people avoid the gym, more specifically–women avoid lifting weights–because they don’t know what to do with them. With CrossFit, you never have to plan your gym routine. Each day you are put through a different workout with scaling options readily made available for all members at any stage in his or her athletic career. While most CrossFit gyms used to provide a “random” WOD that consisted of a mix of cardio, gymnastics, and strength exercises; now, most CrossFit boxes (they’re called a “box” and not a “gym”) hire elite trainers to develop strength, gymnastics and conditioning programs for the members. A typical class provides each member with a warm-up, a strength component, a conditioning workout, and sometimes extra skill work that may be strength, gymnastics, or mobility training. Nothing is left out and no customer has to think his or her way through the training.
“I pay what I pay for CrossFit because,
1. The programming never gets boring and always challenges me.
2. There’s a team atmosphere with people who encourage my success.
3. We train with functional moves.
4. We do workouts as a group which is way different than being on your own.
5. I would never push myself like this–it takes the right environment of people, equipment, and programming.”
Steph Kinzer, Colorado
The Bonus Perks
When you join a CrossFit gym, you don’t just pay for an hour on the elliptical. Beyond the obvious perks of getting stronger and losing body fat, you are paying for classes that are fun and hard, but not impossible and will sometimes take you no more than a lunch break to complete–much more than you’ll get at any other kind of gym. Let’s look at the famous 5th Avenue CrossFit Box in NYC. In the heart of the city, you’ll pay one of the highest membership fees in the country, $250. But with that, you get