Worth of CrossFit

Jul 7, 2010 by

Back home I had a personal trainer. He was awesome. We’d do some circuit moves and some fight-style boxing. The gym membership was only 20$ a month at one of those Stuff-As-Many-Smelly-Teenagers-Who-Grunt-And-Stare-At-Themselves cheap gyms. But it had decent equipment and best of all, it had my trainer.

I didn’t even need to use the gym if I had him there. And truth be told, as long as my bill was paid no one cared whether I was there or not, much like the many other gyms I had ever belonged to – from the cheap ones to the all-women ones to the big fancy ones.

But for me – and I get that not everyone is like this – having a trainer is an integral part of any fitness routine I plan on keeping. I love to walk and bike and play outside. But I suck at holding myself accountable on pushing myself through additional training. Workout videos such as P90 or 30-Day Shred work for some people who 1) can’t afford a trainer and 2) can get the motivation and maintain the discipline needed to stay focused.

I can’t.

And I stopped trying to force myself to try and stuck with what worked – my trainer. I got a pretty sweet deal on a package deal around the holidays and bought 25 sessions up front for an average price of 30$ a session. I met with him 2-3 times a week and he kept me on track, kept me pushing my body harder than I would have pushed it myself and made the workouts fun and less boring.

And then we moved from NJ to Iowa in May. I wasn’t able to find a gym here I liked and since we have a pretty decent one in our apartment complex, I hated the thought of spending more on a different gym to try out trainer that might suck for a ton of money.

I tried kickboxing and had a pretty crappy experience.

And then reading through the Primal Blueprint forums and hearing good things from a lot of people, I decided to see if there was a CrossFit affiliate in my area. There was! Three lights away! I called and scheduled an intro session for yesterday morning.

For those of you who don’t know what CrossFit is, here’s the quick and dirty explanation becasue quite frankly, their explanation is scary: “CrossFit is a strength and conditioning fitness methodology that promotes broad and general overall physical fitness. CrossFit combines weightlifting, sprinting, and gymnastics” (from Wikipedia)

It’s basically a circuit of intense strength training that takes only 15-25 minutes (not including the warmup and the stretching afterward). It’s hard, I ain’t gonna lie. But it’s the best bang for your buck timewise and they do help you cater your training to your fitness level in the beginning. At least they should. And if they don’t, they’re jerks and find another affiliate.

I walked in yesterday and this chirpy cute little thing with a pixie haircut came up and introduced herself and immediately after that said, “Okay, this is what we’re gonna do. Run 400m. Then body rows, pushups, and deep squats in 3 circuits of declining reps 21/15/9, and then another 400m run. Take a break if you need but you can do this. Ready, Go!”

There was no sitting down and me explaining “why I wanted to be fit.” There was no judgement on my size or my inability to do any task I was given. There were no sales pictches. No fancy packets. There was just about 8 other people in their doing theird Workout of the Day (WOD) cheering for each other, high-fiving.

So I ran my 400 m. Then I died. Then I did the body rows. Then I died. Then I did the Pushups. And died. You get the point. I died a lot. And I took a lot of short breaks to catch my breath or get some water. And all the while Tinkerbell was there with me cheering me on. But I did it. In 19:08.

There are eight more “elemental” sessions, where I will do each one to learn all of the correct moves and workouts directly with one-on-one help. Then at the end of those elements classes, I repeat Day 1 to note my progress and improved time. After I “graduate” from those, I move onto regular WODs with the people who have signed up for that time slot. There are typically 8-10 people in each “class” and around 2-3 trainers walking around, helping, spotting, encouraging, correcting.

I handed over my credit card and signed up left because I know this is what I need. Short, intense training with people who will motivate me. People who will help me hold myself accountable and fit into my life with little time involvement rather than the 2 hours a day I used to spend in the gym 8 years ago.

For a lot of people, the cost puts them off. And I get it. I DO. But I’d like to offer this analysis.

Typical Gym Membership: Average $45 dollars a month
Average Personal Training Sessions: $40 a session (usually 30-minutes)
Average time most people feel they need to spend at the gym getting a workout: 1.5 hr
If you, on average, go to the gym 4 days a week and see a trainer even once a week, your monthly expenditure will be $205 dollars and 24 hours minimum a month. If you see a trainer three times a week like I did, that’s $480 a month.

My CrossFit Affiliate:
Total Membership: $125 a month. Unlimited classes. Training, by definition, is a part of the deal.
Average time per WOD: 15-20 minutes.
Total time spend in gym per month: 8-10 hours.

And okay, you’re now going to tell me that you don’t need a trainer – you can’t afford one. So you go to your regular gym and do the best you can for $45 a month. Say you have a coffee every day from Starbucks. At $2.75 a cup of coffee a day on your way to work, you could have an extra $55 a month in your pocket (and that’s only M-F). Say you get lunch out once a week with your co-workers, 15$ average. That’s 60$ a month.

Instead of paying for your Average Gym and not getting any support, any camaraderie, or lazing your way through workouts where you don’t push yourself, you could cut out your morning coffee and weekly lunches and MAKE the money.

Now, I am not a CrossFit cult junkie. I’m not trying to tell you to quit your gym and join a XF gym. I get that it’s a lot of money. I do. But I don’t want to hear the excuse, “I really want to but it’s too expensive,” because if you REALLY wanted to, chances are you could. And if you choose to spend your money on that Starbucks or those lunches or whatever other luxury you’ve chosen, than that’s ONE HUNDRED PERCENT okay. It really is.

But it’s also not an insane concept to spend $125 on something that will get my ass out of the house, working hard with people who give a damn, and home all within the hour. If it makes me go – if it makes me push myself – than it’s way worth more than the $50 I could spend per month in a contracted Big Named Gym where they don’t even know my name and DREAD going.

I also get that some people have the motivation and discipline to do the WODs at home. I don’t. I work from home all week. I like seeing people. I like pushing myself next to a chick half my size I know could kick my ass. It makes me feel strong and proud.

I look forward to starting this new adventure and seeing what it’s going to do to my already-changing body. I can’t wait to go back.

You know, once I can move again.

More Advil, please.

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  1. Kaitlyn

    I am DYING to do CF. But there is only one in my city and it's almost 30 minutes away. Plus, I REALLY don't have the money right now, and the time constraints on my schedule make getting there tough. Once I finish my tri (july 25!!!), I'm going to start doing some CF stuff at home. I figure once my kids are in school, I'll have a little more time during the day (also money) (hopefully) and may start then.

  2. Erin

    Lol….'I died'….then did it again. That seems to be a Crossfit theme…the dying thing.

    I really want to join a crossfit gym soon….trying to cut some areas of the budget to see if I can fit it in (still working on hubby to cut cable bill at the moment). I did find a gym that allows you to pay per visit….may do that a couple times a month until I can work out the monthly fee.

  3. LizScott

    Dude, hell to the YEAH. Crossfit is the most fun I've had working out, ever, with the best results, ever.

    I trained for an Ironman. That 20 hours a week of training. I'm in better shape on 5 hours a week of crossfit. Totally no lie. The ROI on this is crazy. For me, this coupled with the primal eating lifestyle has been life changing with regards to fitness.

    regarding the cost: I just read an article talking about some ways to incorporate CF exersize in more free-er ways:

    I'm like you, though: I need the accountability and structure. It's worth the money to me.

  4. Erin

    Okay, after commenting I found another gym nearby (one I had not looked into before)….they do a free intro class, and then you can actually do $15 dollar drop in classes if you want rather then a membership ($100 a mo). I could afford at least 2-3 drop ins a month and work my way up to 4 or a membership later on. I contacted them to get in for an intro class. DONE. Thanks!

  5. LizScott

    Also – don't you LOVE how they're like: "Here's teh WOD. Here's how you do it w/o hurting yourself. Annnnd: go!" No need for further discussion.

    I have been so surprised at what I have been able to accomplish, things I never would have EVER tried, because, "I can't!" but with some modifications, I'm doing them, and I'm getting better. (Hello, ring dips and pullups). I mean, painfully, but also awesomely.

  6. Sarah Lena

    I'm so glad you tried this! We have one in our area and while the cost (now) is an issue, my issue before was FEAR. I heard that this was far worse than any P90X or any other program anywhere. With lots of vomiting and whatnot. I back away from things like that.

    BUT.. you make it sound kinda like bootcamp. And bootcamp was what I needed and it worked for me. So maybe when we get some more cash flow, this would be a doable option for me.

    (Although, can I just say: best workout EVER is cleaning houses for a living.)

  7. Barb

    I want to try this crossfit thing….as soon as I get detachable boobs. :)

  8. Lori

    I'm addicted to Crossfit. Been doing it a little over 2 years. LOVE IT. You will be great with your Primal lifestyle. I saw a difference in my strength and endurance once I started eating clean.

    Oh and Barb, just strap those girls down and start crossfitting!

  9. chris

    I am not going to lie, I have been eyeballing the crossfit stuff for about 2 years. Ask yer hubby though, I am so dreading the whole trying to get in shape thing. I keep hoping that I will be cut down in my prime by an unfortunate incident while on a business trip that will leave my wife and kids financially independent for most of their natural lives.

  10. Catherine

    I envy your unlimited membership for $125, here in Boston unlimited starts at $200 per person- and some CrossFits require pre-evals that start at $150. Having a hard time finding $400 extra a month for both of us to hit the gym :(

  11. Sally Parrott Ashbrook

    My husband and I pay the equivalent of a nice-size car payment each month to do Crossfit 2x a week here in LA. And while we aren't poor, we aren't rich: we just (mostly) don't spend where it doesn't matter (share an old, reliable car; don't have cable) and spend where it does (workouts, organic, grass-fed food). We just re-upped after finishing our initial 4-month commitment. I love seeing/feeling how Crossfit changes me–not just my body, but also how it pushes me to be and do more than I think I can.

  12. Sally Parrott Ashbrook

    PS–I have quite large boobies. To people like Barb, I recommend getting an Enell sports bra to strap those suckers in. I have never had my breasts get in the way of a workout since finding the Enell bras.

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