I have to preface this by saying that this is not an advertisement for CrossFit. Other than being a member of a box, I have no affiliation with CrossFit. These is my personal thoughts in response to some opinions I’ve heard that it’s is too expensive, or not worth the money before really knowing anything about it. It is reasons why I (myself, personally) believe the value of MY box, CrossFit 732, reaches far beyond the hour classes, and why I believe that $19/month at a big gym would be a huge waste of money.

5 reasons Why big big gyms for “ONLY $19 A MONTH!” are a waste of your money…and why Crossfit is not.

1)     THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO STICK WITH IT! Big box gyms don’t make their money off of you paying $19/month and going 5 days a week. Their favorite customer is the person who shows up January 2, signs a contract for a 2 year membership, goes for a week, and vanishes into the mist….maybe popping up a few times here and there to run on the treadmill for 30 min. At my Crossfit box, everyone is always striving to improve and the coaches not only WANT you to show up all the time and improve…but they actually CALL YOU OUT when you go missing…EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE STILL PAYING!

Has Gym “X” ever called you after a few days off saying “Hey where have you been? You gotta get your ass in gear and get back to work!”  Here’s the big secret about gyms like that: They don’t want you to succeed.  Every wonder why certain gyms offer pizza Fridays, Bagel Thursdays, Tootsie Rolls at the desk and refuse to let anyone working ‘too hard’ through the doors?  Reaching your goal in the eyes of a CrossFit gym isn’t something to fear for lack of membership fees.  It’s something to celebrate as a whole new world of possibilities has just opened up.

2)     There is zero attention on you. Sure, when you’re doing your own thing maybe a staff member comes over and gives you some pointers (and tries to sell you on personal training). More than likely, though, you are going in, doing what you did yesterday, and leaving. There’s no real motivation! No one is pushing you. You just mindlessly go through the motions. Yea…that sounds like a $19 value. Me? I not only have coaches helping me work on form and motivate me, but I have an entire MESS of people cheering me on. Yes, I know that there are people out there who do research and re highly self motivated and capable of getting results on their own, so safe your angry comments about how good you do at Retro.

3)     But I take all the classes! Yea, and now you can do it in your sleep. Taking the same class over and over and doing the same routines over and over (have you ever watched a Zumba class? The “veterans” don’t even watch the instructor…they know it by heart).  There is such a thing as muscle adaptation. Basically, if you are doing the same thing over and over again, your body gets so used to it that it doesn’t have to work as hard. This means YOU aren’t working as hard. It’s also why after the first week you may be crazy sore, but after a while the soreness is more rare (but desired!).  By constantly changing the movements, the sequences, the reps, the tempo, the weight, and never knowing what workout you will be doing that day (is it agility? Is it speed? It is strength? WTF???) you essentially shock your muscles into working every single day…yielding better results OVERALL. If a majority of people participating do not have a fitness level (aesthetically or otherwise) that you would like to emulate….that’s called a red flag.

4)     You are nothing more than a number in their debit column. Ever show up to your gym and have to wait 45 min for the machine you want? Think they care? Enough said.

5)     Trainers? Yea…ok. This will be brief. I heard a girl who used to train at my previous big gym who was simply awful, both in attitude and knowledge, tell her friends that she was starting as a trainer at that very gym that week. What the hell is the screening process here? You will generally pay way more by the hour at one of these places than you will pay for an hour CF class to be “trained” by people who are most likely far less qualified (and yes, I know this is a generalization. I’m sure there are wonderful and educated trainers at these big boxes so keep your pissy comments to yourself).  Regardless of the quality…do you think the $60/hr your paying is going to your trainer? Guess again.  MAYBE $25. The rest? To that gym you “only pay $19 a month for”. That $19 just jumped up to $54 after only one session. Once a week, and you’re now paying your gym $159.

Any CrossFit Affiliate is required to pass their level 1 coach certification in varying areas of training/nutrition in order to use the name.  While yes, you do need to do due diligence to find good coaches because of this model, it’s very possible and quite easy to find a place with dedicated, passionate people there waiting to help you achieve you goals. When you find one, they do not have trainers….there have coaches. What you pay every week goes into new equipment for you, improvements to the box, their kids karate classes, their mortgage getting paid…not some CEO sitting in an office so he can buy a 6th summer home.

6)     Community? What Community? All you need to do is look at ANY CrossFit box Facebook Wall and you will immediately see some sort of reference to “community” or “family”.  You work harder and do better when you are encouraged and pushed by those around you.  I doubt you’ve ever been working out at a huge sardine gym and halfway through what you’re doing someone comes over and screams in your face, “Come on! You got this! You can do this! Finish it! Go!”. I have NEVER walked into a quiet day at my box. There is always someone powering through a workout at the encouragement of everyone else in the room.  It doesn’t stop when you walk out of the door.  It invades every part of your life…and now with Facebook and social media, it is so easy for everyone to stay connected…sharing articles about nutrition, videos about form, questions and concerns about a workout or a struggle…EVERYTHING! If you can’t succeed in that environment…I have no advice for you other than that you need to check yourself before you wreck yourself. Anyone who says they can work out just as hard alone as when they’re in a group setting is lying. Sorry, you’re lying.

Let’s get something straight. We are talking about your health and your life here. Not a new purse you want or an expensive dinner, or a night of cocktails. It’s your LIFE. If you’re a parent, its your child’s life. It’s no secret that children are influenced by their parents behavior. Kids who see their parents being active and healthy, are more likely to emulate that. Kids who see their parents sitting in front of the tv eating fast food and feeling sorry for themselves are more likely to emulate that as well. No, I don’t have kids…but that is simply common sense (we learn about “monkey see monkey do” at the age of 5). Taking care of yourself is the best way to take care of others.

Have you ever heard someone say “So-and-so Gym Chain changed my life!”, “Thanks to GYM, I feel more confident and stronger than ever before!”, or “That place saved my life!”. The answer is no.  Do people say that about their respective CF boxes? Shit yes, every day.

 Now, I am WELL aware that I have absolutely no business telling anyone how to spend their money. You want to spend $100 on a nice dinner, and $19 on a gym membership…that is 100% your prerogative and who the hell am I to tell you otherwise? No one, that’s who! I know that there are times when regardless of budgeting, paying more than $19/month is simply not in the cards. I’m not, by any means, saying you NEED to go sign up at CrossFit, and anything else is just you bullshitting. All I’m saying is that there is value FAR exceeding that of a 30 minute workout when you join an ass-kicking, grunting, screaming, chalking, sweating, cursing….family.

How much are you worth?