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.
Those who want to but haven’t tried Crossfit yet seem to have three fears about the exercise program:
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.
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.
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.
“I pay for the coaching and community. I like to think of it as a team/club.” Missy Quest, Unbeaten CrossFit.
“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.
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.
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
“It's the community support and the variety.” Angela Hudson, CrossFit Never Say Never, Australia
While no box may be the exact same, it’s important to remember that they’re all similar. Most CrossFit boxes offer not just CrossFit classes, but they offer mobility courses, yoga classes, beginner or bootcamp style classes, advanced lifter classes, shortened “express” classes, Olympic or barbell specialized training, powerlifting, CrossFit Kids classes, and open gym times where members can come in and work on lifting, skills, mobility, and more.
When you sign up for CrossFit you’re not just paying a fee to climb a stair master, you’re building confidence, improving your mobility and flexibility, and increasing your knowledge about nutrition as it relates to improving your life.
“I pay for a positive state of mind as well as motivation to be and do my best, which carries over into every other part of my life...no matter how hard it can get (life or the WOD) keep moving and never quit, you can get through it.” Jill McLaughlin, CrossFit Harrisonburg
Even so, some gyms have punch passes which will allow you to more or less “try some classes” at your convenience for a cheaper cost. Most all CrossFit gyms let you try your first workout for free, and several boxes give discounts if you sign up for more than one month at a time. In fact, many boxes have teacher, military, service personnel, and student discount rates. Most even have a family rate. Fitness is all about living a healthy lifestyle--with your family! CrossFit is 100% about making sure you have fun. It’s a very small price for such a large life-changing experience.
“Our rates run from $89 to $139 per month. People love our community and we give a lot of perks included in membership. We don't charge for extras. We should, but we don't. People realize that and are thankful.” Kristen Graham, CrossFit Toms River, NJ
It’s likely you’ve seen the videos that poke of the CrossFit “cult.” But the truth is, close-knit groups exist everywhere. If you own a Harley Davidson, you are part of an exclusive group. If you’re a police officer or a firefighter, you have a bond with all police and firefighters. Teachers support one another. What’s so different about CrossFit? When you look at Crossfit in terms of community, we’re bonding with like-minded individuals. We love to lift heavy, drop weights, listen to loud music, cheer one another, help others, compete with our besties and sometimes go out for a beer when it’s all over! It’s just how we do things! When you’re a CrossFitter, you can drop into any CrossFit gym in the world and be treated as an instant friend.
The CrossFit community is amazing. But it is VERY different from other types of gyms and I think that’s why so many others tend to poke fun of CrossFitters. When you belong to a “globo” gym, you show up whenever you want to. You workout. You may fist bump and head nod the other bro grunting out his lat pull-downs, you might stop and chat with chick looking for nutrition advice, but you eventually move on, finish your workout, chug your protein, and go home. With Crossfit, you show up together. You warm up together, you squat together, spot each other, laugh and crack jokes with your friends, push your partners to become better, faster, and stronger. Classmates run to your side to motivate you when you’re struggling to finish your workout and you leave the gym more motivated than when you first walked in. You’re exhilarated and you can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings. “Who’s going to be here tomorrow?” “Who wants to go celebrate the competition?” No one cheers for you in the regular gym when you PR your deadlift. No one pushes you to run faster when you’re all alone on the treadmill. CrossFit members turn into best friends who turn into family. You hold each other accountable, you text your WOD buddy your score, and you wouldn’t dream of missing class and letting your coach down. Everyone cares. Everyone has fun together. CrossFit morphs from an exercise class to an exciting get-together with friends where the end result equals better health for all. You can call it a cult, but we call it the best hour of our day.
“It's all about the camaraderie! Being around other like minded people is so refreshing and motivating. It's a no judgment atmosphere that leaves you feeling proud of all of your accomplishments. I will continue to do CrossFit everywhere we go.” Andrea Fisher, CrossFit 757 in Norfolk, VA.
Who cares if you miss spin class on Saturday morning? Your group ex instructor might get annoyed that you signed up for class and left an empty no-show bike, but not many people are going to worry that you weren’t at the gym at any specific time of any day. With CrossFit? Members know you. They get excited to see you show up each day. Your coach knows your whole family by name, your favorite cheat food, and what may cause you to run late for class. If you don’t show up when you typically show up, you might get five texts, a Facebook message, and call to make sure you’re ok. Even when you’re on the way to class, you still may get a text from your friend eager to see if you will beat his or her score for the day. You’ll probably get a snapchat of your classmate hitting a snatch PR, tagged in an Instagram post being thanked for encouraging your fellow CrossFitter to “push through--you got this!” and high-fived on your way out the door--eager to do it all over again tomorrow. In many boxes, coaches will help you keep track of your progress, your PRs, and your goals. Some boxes even offer nutrition accountability and monthly body assessments to ensure you stay on track to reach your goals. It all goes right back to community. People care about you. They want you to succeed. When you join a CrossFit gym, you join a close-knit family who looks out for you. Brings you food when you’re sick. Worries when you don’t show. Celebrates your achievements. Calls you out when you skip. You’ll be fitter, faster, stronger, healthier, and have more confidence than you’ve ever had in your whole life due the people who refuse to let YOU get in your own way. When you become a CrossFitter, you become part of a very healthy family.
“I pay for the community, my great coaches, the confidence you build, the friends you make, the skills you learn, and so much more. It has made me a better athlete, a better leader, a better coach, and a better trainer. I am stronger than ever, love to compete, love to have fun, and love my crossfit family.” Amanda Zeamer, CrossFit Green Bay
If I didn’t yet convince you yet, maybe Rich (the four-time fittest male on Earth) and Thomas from CrossFit Mayhem can.
The price is worth what you pay for when you consider the atmosphere, camaraderie, coaching, technique work, proper skill development, program design, and the feeling of accomplishment you don’t typically find in other classes or gyms. But for most? The fee is what you pay for supreme health, ultimate friendships, supportive families, and a lifestyle you wouldn’t trade for any price.
This is a guest post from Stephanie Walker, a CrossFit and Health Coach who believes everyone deserves to be fitter, healthier, and happier. Stephanie is the author of The Total Health and Fitness Makeover, and is passionate about helping others transform their lives through fitness and good foods--just as she did her own! You can follow Steph on Instagram, Facebook or Strongfigure.com.