Here is a quick summary of a conversation I had with a client very recently. He was describing his friend's reaction to his attending CrossFit with interest, but also skepticism due to the price. The question was actually, "Why does CrossFit cost so much?
It is a great question, and one in this post I'll unpack to understand the costs associated with CrossFit, what other gyms charge, and how to evaluate if you're paying too much for your own fitness membership.
Like many small businesses, there are a lot of costs which go on behind the scenes of a CrossFit box. The big ones are easy to recognize: rent, insurance, coaches, and equipment. Because CrossFit boxes seek to have a consistent group of coaches, you don't pay them minimum wage. They are professionals and deserve to be compensated in the same way a professional pianist is when giving lessons.
Other costs include:
None of these should feel much different than the costs a local coffee shop or restaurant also manages.
You add up the above costs, and things do get moderately expensive. However, when you come to a CrossFit gym, you don't pay for the cleaning supplies and the electricity. You have that at home. You pay to get into great shape.
According a Zen Planner study, the average CrossFit box charges somewhere between $135USD and $168USD. For ease of numbers, let's just use $150USD for our monthly membership price. At our box, there are six days of scheduled classes, and unlimited members have a 24 hour key fob to access the gym whenever they would like. On average, our members come five days per week.
Attending class five days per week, yields a cost per class of $7.50. Now, $7.50 could sound expensive or inexpensive to you depending on how much you earn each year, how often you spend money on things besides the absolute necessities such as groceries and gas, and just your general perspective on money. So let's not use it. When we are trying to understand why CrossFit costs so much, we need a better comparison.
The most popular fitness programs appear to be spin studios such as SoulCycle, bootcamps such as OrangeTheory, CrossFit boxes like ours, or personal training. We'll evaluate each on a cost per class basis. We already know that nationwide CrossFit averages $7.50 per class.
OrangeTheory fitness is a workout program designed on the idea of getting you into a "fat burning zone". You work to not go over or under this zone, and the workouts are a mix or interval style cardio machines and what they call the floor. The floor consists of bodyweight and light weightlifting movements.
At $169USD per month, our local OrangeTheory charges $8.45 per class if you attend five per week (or 20 per month).
Personal training is by far the most expensive option in this group. You're also getting a completely individualized program which in theory will help you progress in the best manner suited for your goals. Personal training can look like anything - which is what attracts many people to it - and may involve more weights, cardio, or body weight movements depending on your wants and needs.
SoulCycle is a spin studio in which an instructor leads you through a high intensity bike workout done to the beat of music. The average cost of a single class for SoulCycle is $32. You also will either need to buy a pair of bike shoes or rent them from your studio for $4 per ride.
Looking at these examples, CrossFit actually charges less than other boutique gym options. When evaluating all of the above options, it really comes down to what you are looking for with your own fitness experience. If you want to spend your workouts biking, SoulCycle is your jam. If you love cardio and want the majority of your workout to be on a treadmill, check out an OrangeTheory near you. Feel like you need a personal hand to guide you through your workouts? Personal training may be right for you. If you want to be with a group working out in an intense, constantly changing workout program designed for well-rounded fitness, then CrossFit may be the right option.
Our opinion? Check them out and see what you enjoy! Like many service businesses, understanding if you connect with your coaches and the owner of your facility is so important. You'll know you've found your spot when you experience the workout and are already wondering when you can come back.