CrossFit is expensive. You've probably heard this repeated more than once if you talk about the sport with those in the know. The sport’s detractors use the cost of membership as an argument against the benefits and value of CrossFit as a fitness program. And yeah, it's not cheap. Nor should it be. The market decides the price of a class or monthly membership. There's a perceived value in everything. If it was too expensive, honestly, I don't think it would be the fastest-growing sport around. “what will CrossFit cost me?” is the wrong question. “How much value do you get?” is a better question.
But let’s take a look at the costs of joining classes on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis around the world. Let’s also examine the investment you need to make to be a CrossFit instructor or start a ‘CrossFit box’.
Is it Worth it?
CrossFit is big, in case you didn’t know. It’s no longer a niche sport with only die-hard enthusiasts. The Fight Club style reputation that the fitness regime once had is long gone. Now moms, pensioners, disabled, fat, skinny, and everyone in between are joining in their thousands every week. All over the world. So, we can establish that prices aren't a prohibitive factor.
We checked the prices on around 30 CrossFit affiliates in the US and found that the average cost per month is $180 for unlimited membership (1 class or WOD per day + open gym)
Drop-in classes are generally $20 so if you’re taking more than 9 classes a month (2 days a week + 1) then it makes sense to get a monthly membership. Many boxes also offer “open gym” sessions every week.
In the UK, boxes charge £160 on average with the single session passes going for £15. At the current exchange rate (February 2018) that’s the equivalent of $225, almost $50 more expensive than the US.
We’ve travelled around the world visiting affiliates and found that outside of the US, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia, where prices are similar to the US, the costs for a monthly CrossFit membership and drop-in classes vary considerably.
- Colombia: $50-100 / month
- Austria: $100-150 / month
- Czech Republic: $60-120 / month
- Switzerland: $200-250 / month
So, Is CrossFit Worth the high price?
The answer is a resounding yes. If it works for you. Just as there’s no perfect diet and no single diet for every person on the planet, the perfect exercise program for everyone does not exist. The sport offers amazing benefits and results for many people. For others, it’s a source of frustration, injury, and embarrassment. That’s unfortunate, but it’s still (and hopefully always will be) a niche sport. Olympic lifting and gymnastics are not for everyone. High-intensity workouts don’t suit some people.
Yes, it's expensive, but so is health insurance.
Why Does CrossFit Cost so Much?
On first appearances, most people wonder why a box with no air conditioning, machines, and pretty fixtures is so expensive. That’s understandable, many boxes are built in grimy basements and some look like converted car mechanic workshops. The benefits of CrossFit are many and the cost is justified compared to the price of a traditional gym membership. But here’s why you pay more than a traditional gym, Planet Fitness or one of those faceless chain fitness centers:
- An instructor to help with technique and motivation in every single CrossFit class.
- Small class sizes. You won’t find the crowds of 100 plus people here.
- Crossfit Coaches with specific training for the type of workouts you’ll perform, such as Olympic lifting classes and gymnastic specialty classes.
- Programming of conditioning, strength training, and gymnastics every day
- The equipment in a CrossFit box might not look as impressive as treadmills and elliptical machines but sturdy ropes, barbells, rowers, jump ropes, sleds, tires, and various other pieces of equipment can be expensive to maintain.
- An incredible community of like-minded individuals who work as a team to push each other to greater heights.
Difference Between CrossFit Gym Membership and a Regular Gym Membership
Many journalists have cited the cost differences between a regular gym and a CrossFit Box as the main difference between the two types of training centers. But this is only one difference and a minor one. Yes, there are super-inexpensive gym chains that work on a volume basis (get as many clients in as possible and hope they don’t all show up at the same time). But there are also expensive gym chains that don’t offer anything else apart from nicer toilets, shinier machines, and extra towels.
What you’re paying for in a normal gym:
- Air conditioning
- Treadmills, elliptical machines, and electronic bikes. All with screens.
- Screens all around the gym.
- Reception staff, sales staff, and gym instructors who often work more like caretakers.
A lot of this stuff is unnecessary and won’t make you fit or strong. Traditional, often oversubscribed gyms charge a premium for luxury and personal training. But nice smelling towels won’t give you the body and energy you want.
Every year the preliminary rounds of the CrossFit Games start with the “Open”. This is a fun event that anyone in the world can enter. Over a series of 5 weeks in February & March, one workout or WOD is programmed and everyone competes in their age group. The Open is a great way to test your skills against people in your category (age group, Rx, Scaled, Male/Female, etc) and view progressions in your ability from one year to another.
The Open is also the first round for talented athletes who want to compete in the regionals, and finally, the Games.
The fee for the Open is $20 and you can pay online at CrossFit.com to CrossFit Inc. Your box or gym should not administer or collect payments for this event. They can facilitate it, however.
Interested in becoming a trainer? To certify as a CrossFit Level 1 instructor with CrossFit Inc. you must pass a two-day intensive course of classroom and practical gym-based training. The cost is $1000. Book a course near you.
First of all, CrossFit gyms are not franchises, they are affiliates.
Once you’ve certified as a Level 1 Instructor you can officially open your own Licensed CrossFit Box. To become an affiliate, you’ll not only have the costs of running a CrossFit gym but CrossFit Inc. charges the average box owner $3000 affiliate fee every year. This is an expense that traditional gyms and fitness centers don’t have to worry about. Add the $1000 fee per certified trainer and CrossFit gym owners are looking at a big yearly payout to CFHQ.
However, once you have your own affiliate gym, you can officially advertise as an official affiliate, use the word CrossFit in your website domain name, and mention the company in any marketing materials. For CrossFit gyms, startup costs are far outweighed by the benefits of being officially recognised.
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