Is CrossFit Expensive? Wrong Question.

There is an evolution of fitness offerings and it’s a positive one. We’re seeing more micro gyms pop up offering all sorts of focused disciplines. Yoga studios have been around for awhile now, but in the past 10 years we have seen more spin, Barre, bootcamp, weightlifting, and of course, CrossFit gyms open their doors to athletes looking for something more than what “globo gyms” can offer. And while the ubiquity of CrossFit boxes has demystified a lot of what we do, there’s still one objection that we often hear: “CrossFit is expensive.” Is it? We think that’s actually the wrong question, but let’s dive into the economics.

When people say “CrossFit is expensive,” what they’re really saying is that “CrossFit is more expensive than [insert globo gym name].” Typically, this is true. A first month at a globo gym will typically mean paying an initiation fee plus first and possibly last month fees – this can add up to $150-200 easily. After that, it can be anywhere from $20-60/month for access to that gym. Using an average of $40/month, that’s about $580/year. But as we all know, just because you have ACCESS doesn’t mean you use it. How many people do you know that have a globo gym membership, but don’t go? I bet there’s a good number. The fact is that the globo gym model RELIES on people not showing up. The no-shows subsidize the people who actually use the facilities! (Think about how many people go after New Years and imagine that for every day of the year) Those that have the discipline to go and use the equipment receive no coaching, no programming, and no community. It’s a strictly pay-for-access transaction between the member and the gym. And if you want to quit, there are usually cancellation fees and hard sells to get you to stay.

At the other end of the spectrum is personal training. Rates for PT can range from $50-100 per hour. Let’s say someone can afford to do PT three times per week at $75/hr. That’s $225/week or $900/month or $11,700/year. That cost may or may not include the regular globo gym fees you’re already paying. With PT, you get the trainer’s full attention and programming, but no community. PT is great for those who can afford it and need strict supervision and accountability. Be careful though – you can google and see horror stories of globo gyms locking people into personal training packages for 6 months-1 year and having exorbitant early termination fees.

There is a lot of variation in terms of what you get at each of these places, but you typically see either monthly membership rate and/or a pay-per-class rate. Per class, rates can range anywhere from $15-40, but let’s use SoulCycle as an example. First class as a new rider is $20, then you can buy single classes or packages. A single class is $30 while a 30-pack is $780 which breaks down to $26/class. At many of these places you get community (unlike a globo gym), and group instruction. Some disciplines like yoga require some sort of certification while others do not. Lastly, there is usually little variation to the workouts. Yes, I understand that some may label their classes as “power this” or “strength” that, but most of it is a slight variation of the core discipline.

CrossFit membership fees can vary anywhere from $99-$275+/month. The great thing about the affiliate model is that each owner gets to decide what to charge. Most do not charge initiation fees and it seems that most offer contracts for 3, 6, or 12 month packages while others like us offer only monthly fees with no termination or cancellation fees. Since there is such great variation, we’ll just use our rates as an example. Our 3x/week membership is $144/month and our 4x/more membership is $168/month. That breaks down to $36/week and $42/week, respectively. Unlike a globo gym, CrossFit boxes see great attendance from their members. If someone signs up for 3x/week, it’s likely that they actually show up, unlike at a globo gym. So using our prices, that member is paying $12/class. If they choose the 4x or more/week option and show up 20 times in one month, it’s down to $8.50/class. Kanna is unique for our area and CrossFit affiliates in general in that we cap our classes at 12 people. (Even at ones that do not cap, class sizes are usually in the 12-20 range) After thousands of hours of coaching, we’ve realized 12 is a great number to reduce the cost for each member while maintaining a high level of interaction with each athlete.

With CrossFit, you get a community that tends to hang out even outside of the gym; programming done for you; expert coaching in complicated disciplines such as weightlifting, powerlifting, gymnastics, and running; and exposure to a wide variety of training stimuli. Our workouts are scalable for any age and ability. There are people well into their 70s, 80s, and beyond that are doing CrossFit. We also focus on nutrition based on what actually works and people see changes in how their clothes fit, blood markers, getting off medications, etc. Why do you hear so much about CrossFit? Because it’s actually changing people’s lives for the better in ways that they couldn’t find at a globo gym and they want others to experience the same thing!

costs are estimated using numbers found on public websites and can vary greatly due to geographic location and offerings. The “CrossFit” column is based on CrossFit Kanna’s rates and offerings, but reflect many affiliates’ average prices


So, is CrossFit expensive? Going strictly by numbers, CrossFit Kanna is about 3x as much as going to a globo gym, but it’s less expensive than going to an equivalent number of spin classes, and 5x cheaper than personal training. In a world where women buy multiple $128 leggings at a time and guys drop thousands on watches, is price really what we should be considering?

The answer is clearly no. We have actually focused on the wrong metric. The real question should be: What has the most VALUE for you? Let’s be clear – the above information was not to bash the globo gym, personal training (we offer PT, but we call it Personal Coaching), spin, Barre, etc. If you love to Zumba and you have a great group of friends to do it with, then that’s a great thing! There’s VALUE for you. If you have the discipline to do your own training, don’t care about community, and just need access to fancy equipment, then a globo gym membership is a great value to you. If you really love Lululemon Wunder Unders (I mean, who doesn’t??) then paying $128 is fine because you see value in it.

What does this mean for the affiliate owner or coach out there? You need to show VALUE to your potential customers? You are selling expert programming, coaching, and community – not shiny toys, although those are fun. We are service-based businesses who need to show that our prices reflect our value so that people don’t dismiss us on price alone. This should be reflected on your social media, your website, and when people walk in your doors. It should also be reflected in what people have to say about you (members and non-members alike)

What we ultimately want is to stop the people who are paying $40/month for something they go to a few times a month or worse, don’t use at all. We want people to find that “third place” where you can meet up with friends, do a workout at any age, and discover new things about yourself. For us, that’s CrossFit and even more specifically, CrossFit Kanna. For you, that might be something different, but do yourself a favor and at least question what the VALUE is for you. You owe it to yourself.

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