“How much is CrossFit?”
The question is difficult to answer, whether in objective or subjective terms.
Do you live in a large, metropolitan area in an expensive country or do you live in a rural region of a developing country? CrossFit prices will likely be much higher in the former area than in the latter.
The only definite answer? CrossFit is not cheap.
Let’s take a look at the price of CrossFit around the world and then discuss the subjective values we place on it.
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How Much is CrossFit Around the World?
When I lived in a 3rd-tier Mexican city, my gym cost $750 a month…750 Mexican Pesos (~$40 United States Dollars per month at the time). Had I been living in a Latin American capital city, prices would have been more in the $100-per-month range.
Western European prices are similar to those in the United States, with a large variance depending on location. The same can be said for Australia and much of Asia (although CrossFit gyms in Southeast Asia are closer in price to Latin American gyms).
Eastern European gym prices are generally in the mid-range of Latin American gyms, although there is a large degree of variance. Two gyms I have spent a lot of time in happen to be in adjacent capital cities. One (CrossFit B’Bros) runs twice as much per month as the other (Prvi Tim)
So, objectively, the answer to “how much is CrossFit?” is….”all over the place”.
Subjectively, the price isn’t as important as the value you put on it. Let’s look at some the costs and privileges of different CrossFit gym memberships so you can get a better idea of the “true” value.
How Much is CrossFit Package Training?
Like many traditional gyms, CrossFit “boxes” offer a number of different training packages. These are usually linked with the number of workouts per week that customers are allowed to participate in.
CrossFit gyms also offer membership options focused on particular sub-sets of CrossFit. These options might include attending sessions focused on gymnastics training or Olympic weightlifting.
Standard personal training is universally offered at CrossFit gyms as well as “drop in” passes for visiting athletes.
Finally, CrossFit gyms almost always offer the option for patrons to come in during “open gym” periods. During these timeframes, patrons can work on whatever they want. They will not be working within the confines of a CrossFit class or with the guidance of a coach.
As you might expect, each CrossFit gym is its own unique entity with only the “CrossFit” name and a few other required uniform components in common. Membership packages reflect this individuality and preferences of owners.
Why is CrossFit so Expensive?
CrossFit gyms’ steep membership costs are bemoaned by athletes all over the world. These costs seem especially high when compared to the relatively low prices of standard gyms in most areas.
So why are CrossFit membership packages so high?
6 Main reasons
1. How Much is CrossFit Rent?
CrossFit gyms are usually housed in large rooms in metropolitan areas, where real estate is quite expensive. Even if the gym owner holds the property free and clear, there are still utility and property tax costs to account for.
2. How Much is CrossFit Equipment?
Outfitting your garage gym for personal use is one thing. Outfitting a CrossFit gym where up to 30 members might be working out at the same time is another thing entirely.
Equipment is not a fixed cost but is a recurring cost. Stuff breaks and needs to be repaired and replaced. All of these costs are reflected in memberships costs.
3. How Much is CrossFit Insurance?
Many types of businesses must hold some type of insurance in order to be legally permitted to operate. Gyms, by virtue of the higher risk of injury for patrons, generally require expensive packages which come with higher premiums.
Like all of the costs mentioned so far, these are passed along to the customer.
4. How Much are CrossFit Coaches?
Every coach a CrossFit box employs needs to be paid. Even if the owner is the only coach, he or she will have to pay themself in one way or another.
It is certainly nice to attend a gym where every coach has a ton of fancy certifications (like the CrossFit Level 1 certificate), but remember that you end up paying a premium for every one of these!
5. How Much is CrossFit’s Franchise Fee?
Every year, CrossFit HQ charges a flat $3,000 franchise fee to all CrossFit gyms. This is a good and bad thing since many gyms can reasonably operate without a giant “CrossFit” sign on their gym façade or homepage. Many CrossFit owners “disaffiliate” from CrossFit over time.
However, CrossFit HQ strictly enforces the use of its name, and goes after gyms trying to use it without proper authorization. It also helps to promote…
6. How Much is the CrossFit Brand Name?
Would you ever consider purchasing a product solely because it is a particular brand? If so (even if you won’t admit it!), you can understand how valuable the name “CrossFit” is for a gym. If people will go out of their way to seek out a CrossFit gym over a “Bob’s Gym Where We Do Really Hard Workouts and Sweat, Yay!” gym, owners know they can charge a premium.
Are CrossFit Classes Worth It?
The truth is, CrossFit is expensive.
So…is CrossFit “worth it”?
Even if you don’t see yourself standing on the podium at the CrossFit Games, the coaching received during a CrossFit class is extremely valuable. During any given CrossFit class, you are likely to receive some amount of individual attention and instruction.
Compare this to personal training at a regular gym that might cost you 10 times as much as the base membership fee.
Sure, you likely won’t be having an extended conversation about last Friday night’s antics with your CrossFit coach as you’re working through a cycle of push presses, but you WILL receive actionable advice and form critique.
This instruction will help to prevent injury while also helping you to increase your strength and skill levels. These factors add up to increased longevity in your CrossFit and general fitness ventures.
For those who have higher ambitions, getting proper coaching is a necessity. You can figure out many lifts with the help of a good YouTube video, but technical lifts and skilled gymnastic movements will require a second set of eyes.
For years, I attempted to snatch with small, steel plates on a normal (non-platformed, non-rubber) gym floor.
I cleaned with a non-spinning, regular gym barbell.
I got good at strict muscle-ups on the functional trainer machines you see in every Globo gym on Earth.
…and I never really got better at CrossFit.
I regret not putting out a little more money at the beginning of my CrossFit journey since I am still un-doing much of the bad form I developed.
Actually learning the movements and getting a good understanding of the training style would have been worth paying a premium for.
That being said, if you’re not really trying to get adept at highly-skilled movements, there are some good options of affordable gyms with lots of amenities.
Is CrossFit Worth it for a Complete Beginner?
Yes, there is certainly value for absolute beginners with CrossFit.
Everything in CrossFit can be scaled or modified so that people of all ability levels and capabilities can participate. The focused attention that all members receive will ensure that errors are spotted.
However, and many will disagree with me here, but I do not think absolute beginners to fitness training will get the most benefits from CrossFit.
There are so many fundamental aspects of training that can be mastered before signing up for an expensive CrossFit gym membership.
Simply getting in the habit of getting ready in the morning or after work and actually getting to the gym is a task that takes a degree of dedication.
More simple, single-joint exercises can be learned rather easily with a little bit of Googling and a willingness to eat a little humble pie. By gaining confidence around common gym movements beginners are more likely to preserve when faced with more difficult lifts and exercises.
Finally, there is only so much a CrossFit coach can catch in a class full of patrons. Even in “on-ramp” or beginners’-only courses, a coach might only be able to correct a few technique items with each class attendee.
Much better for beginners to attempt the easier portions of more complicated movements (ex. The deadlift and the squat) under a watchful eye. Once these are mastered, CrossFit can commence!
Is CrossFit Worth it for an Intermediate Athlete?
If you have a large amount of gym experience under your belt, you probably feel pretty comfortable around a barbell. At this point, you might start looking at the pros and cons of a CrossFit membership a bit more closely.
A lot of the value you will derive at this point will be very gym specific. You may have developed and excellent gym community you enjoy visiting on a daily basis.
You be a part of a small group of similarly-skilled athletes who push each other to levels that any individual would not be able to. Related to this, there may be some excellent coaches at the gym who are able to provide the type of instruction that will take you to the next level.
On a more basic level, you may simply find it harder to motivate yourself to push as hard as when you are in the CrossFit class environment.
At this stage, only you can really determine the value you are deriving. A $50-month membership may seem like too much money or a $200-month membership may feel like a bargain!
When is CrossFit Not Worth It?
In contrast to the non-self-motivated person, if you are type who loves to get after things, you probably don’t need a CrossFit class to get you moving.
If this is you, being in a class environment may actually be detrimental to your progress. The programming may not be what you need or want and the crowded class may not provide you with as much space as you would prefer to work in.
Fighting traffic to get to the gym and then fighting for your preferred rower or favorite barbell at the gym gets old really quick.
At this point, you may want to look more closely at an “Open Gym” membership. You’ll be able to do what you want to do without being bothered (too much) by what is going on in the class and will actually save some money, too.
Or…if you’re ready to take the full plunge…
Build your own garage gym or apartment gym!
Instead of getting motivated, driving to the gym, jousting for equipment, and completing a WOD you had no interest in doing that day you could…
Get motivated, get downstairs, get training!
How Much is CrossFit, Really? And What Can I Do Instead?
Subjectively, CrossFit classes can be extremely over-priced rip-offs or the best bargain in town.
Objectively, a yearly, unlimited membership will run you somewhere in the $1,500-$3,000 range (not counting additional coaching fees, commuting costs/time, etc.)
In contrast, $1,500-$3,000 could be used to outfit the foundation of your own garage gym (commuting costs, included).
Maybe the better question is: how much value do you get from a garage or home gym?
Brand new to CrossFit and need your first pair of shoes? Check out our list of the best CrossFit shoes for beginners! All of them are definitely “worth it”!