From time to time the issue of price pops up or, more specifically, why is CrossFit so expensive when compared to a traditional gym. The traditional gym model has conditioned a lot of people into thinking that paying $15 a week is all that it should cost to go to the gym and so when presented with a different pricing concept at a CrossFit gym, they are left scratching their head as to why on earth the cost can be so different. It’s the same thing right? You just want to throw a few weights around, do some classes and get fit.
So let’s talk about price and perhaps try to explain just what it is that you are paying for when you sign up with a proper CrossFit gym where the fees can be somewhere around $50 per week if you join in on the group CrossFit programme.
Essentially your traditional gym membership rents you the usage of some space and equipment and that’s it. So for around $60 per month you get to go to their facility and use their stuff. Included in that in some cases, or for a few extra dollars, you might also be able to drop in to a class or two. The normal experience with traditional gym classes is that you just join in and the instructor demonstrates what needs to happen from a stage at the front and you simply try and follow along. In reality you could undertake the same process watching a workout dvd or Youtube clip at home in your lounge room, except at the gym you get to share the space with a dozen or more other sweaty bodies instead of just your cat.
At a CrossFit gym your membership fees also go towards renting you some space and equipment. However, in addition to that you also buy real, live human powered coaching and a programme that has been specifically designed for the needs of the gym members. A CrossFit Coach or Trainer is substantially different to a group exercise instructor at a traditional gym. They aren’t just demonstrators. They are also teachers, trainers, motivators, psychologists, nutritionists, and importantly they know you. They know your name. They get to know your strengths and weaknesses. They know how to help you and guide you and they know how to help you get fitter. They also know that prancing and dancing to the latest brand name choreographed routine, whilst fun, is probably not the best use of your time in terms of achieving your fitness goals.
Wage rates in Australia are high and hiring quality people costs a lot. If you wanted to hire a half decent personal trainer in a normal gym you’d need to be budgeting somewhere in the order of $50 to $70 per hour for their time at least. This covers their costs for renting some space at the gym to train you, plus they likely don’t have back to back clients all day, so many of the hours they spend at work each day are “unpaid” and thus need to be built in to their paid client hours.
A good CrossFit gym will have a pretty rigorous selection process when it comes to hiring staff and Trainers. And good Trainers cost a lot, as you would expect of professionals in any industry. So the CrossFit pricing model incorporates that basic “rental” charge for use of space and equipment, plus it shares the cost of the Trainer amongst the gym membership.
Let us compare apples with apples then and stack up a traditional gym membership plus personal trainer alongside a CrossFit pricing model.
Of course the table above assumes that you will use the services of a personal trainer at a traditional gym and 1 session per week is a pretty basic level. There are many people that don’t use a personal trainer at all and try to “go it alone”. But the sad fact is that very few people ever get the results they want or keep going to the gym for very long if they are just paying the basic membership fee. Without the support and guidance of a trainer your chances of success are pretty low. Staggeringly, of every 10 people that sign up for a traditional gym membership, around 7 of them will never use it! And if you’ve been roped in to a 6 or 12 month contract, that can be a pretty sizeable donation. Have you been one of the 7 in the past? I know I have!
So hopefully that spreads a little bit of light on the subject of what makes CrossFit gyms so expensive when compared to traditional gyms. You need to be sure you are comparing the same thing and when you do you can see that a CrossFit gym presents very good value indeed. This naturally leads us into a whole other topic here about what defines a GOOD CrossFit gym if you want to compare different CrossFit gyms side by side, but let us leave that for another day!