A new year often means a new commitment to getting in better shape, and focusing more on personal fitness and health. The running joke (and unfortunate reality) is that gym memberships surge during the first month of the year, and then go unused the rest of the year as people lose motivation. The vast majority of these memberships are extremely cheap and are for "globo" gyms, so when they're left unused it's not seen as a significant financial loss.
Dignified CrossFit owner and L3 CrossFit trainer Kolin Theede points out how paying the higher upfront cost for a CrossFit membership is actually a far better investment than a "globo" gym membership.
Most people do not think that they will ever get anything directly back from the money they pay for a gym membership. That is why a cheap membership to a “globo” gym seems like a great option for many. Only $10 a month seems like a fantastic deal, especially in comparison to a CrossFit membership that can range from $135-$200 a month. Paying so much more doesn’t make much sense, until you actually look at what you get out of both memberships.
The $10 membership is cheap and that is what’s appealing about it. Past the price, however, it offers very little else. Often times these cheap memberships go without being used after the first few weeks. This can be for multiple reasons, but usually it has something to do with lack of motivation or direction. Sure, you have access to a huge gym full of fancy machines, but most people don’t understand how to use them or don’t have someone to use them with. So instead of using the entire facility, most people tend to flock toward the cardio equipment. The treadmills and bikes are easy to use and approachable for most people who have little experience in the gym. So for $10 a month, most people are either not going to the gym at all or going a couple times a week to use a cardio machine for 15 minutes. This usually just leaves people frustrated with little or no real results.
On the other side of the coin is a CrossFit membership. These memberships can range from $135-$200 a month. This is a drastic difference and the price alone tends to drive people away. People think that paying so much for a gym membership must be a rip-off, but that is not the case. If you find a well run CrossFit gym, you should be in a class with a coach to athlete ratio of about 1:12 or less, in most cases. That coach should lead those athletes through a proper warmup and workout, not only telling the athletes what to do, but helping them understand the movements. A good coach will help athletes choose the proper weight and make sure they are performing the movements correctly. This is the exact same thing that a personal trainer would do at other gyms, except they would charge A LOT more! The average cost for an hour of personal training is around $50 and can be upwards of $100 depending on the gym. To see results, someone needs to be in the gym at least 3 times per week. That means to hire a personal trainer at another gym, you would be paying at least $600 a month! For far less than that you can receive the same style of coaching and have access to much more than just an hour a day.
Having a trainer watching you and correcting movement should keep you moving in a safe manner. This will cut down on injuries and keep you in the gym longer. Also, it takes the thinking out of the gym by having a trainer. All you have to do at a CrossFit gym is walk through the door, the rest should be taken care of. The workout is already well thought out and prepared so there is no guesswork involved. It can be very frustrating trying to think of a workout if you have no direction, but now that is not an issue.
Another benefit to a CrossFit gym is the community. By working out with other people, you become accountable. It isn’t about directly competing with the person next to you, but having others around helps motivate you to be the best that you can be. This helps to keep you coming in the gym and not fall away after the first week. CrossFit gyms want to see all of their clients come through the door so that they can help them achieve the results they desire.
The final and possibly most important benefit to a CrossFit gym membership is the inclusion of nutrition. Any decent CrossFit gym should have some sort of nutrition help available, whether it’s a knowledgeable coach who can answer questions or an entire program to follow. Nutrition is the foundation to a healthy lifestyle and you can not avoid it if you truly want to see results. Training will get you some results, but you cannot out-train a poor diet forever. Eventually you will plateau without proper nutrition, so if you don’t have guidance it can make reaching your goals very difficult.
Investing in your health will pay off more than you ever thought possible. Whether it’s being able to do everyday task better now, or picking up your grandkids in 15 years. Saving money on a monthly membership could cost you far more than you can imagine down the road. Make the best investment there is, invest in yourself.
About the Author:
Kolin Theede is the owner of Dignified CrossFit and is a Level 3 Certified CrossFit Trainer.
Chris Spealler is not only a CrossFit legend, but he's arguably the best bodyweight specialist to ever compete at the CrossFit Games. Watching him fly through muscle ups or handstand walk his way past the competition was truly amazing and inspiring to watch.
With over a decade of CrossFit experience as both a coach and athlete, and with 6 Games appearances, Chris Spealler has racked up a wealth of knowledge on proper movement and technique.