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.
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.
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.
CrossFit is MUCH 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!
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.
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.
That price tag isn’t looking so hefty anymore, is it?
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.
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.
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.