It’s no secret: Crossfit ain’t cheap. I’ve heard our gym owners say that’s the number one hurdle that people mention as to why they can’t join. And when people hear that I Crossfit, I’m often asked: “But isn’t it super-expensive?” The answer: yes, it costs more than a normal gym membership. But to me it is absolutely, totally 100% worth it. The benefits more than outweigh the cost. And, if you’re smart about it, you can most definitely get your money’s worth. Here are my top tips:
1. Join for the long haul. Our gym has different options when it comes to membership terms: 1 month, 3 month, 6 month and a year. I can see how the one and 3 month options might be attractive if you’re unsure about your income, or are only going to be in a location for a short time; but really, they’re not that great of a deal. You’re going to be paying way less per visit if you join for the year option. Take some time to think about it, and make sure you can really commit, and, if you think you can, choose the longer membership term. Hopefully, your gym will reward your commitment. We get a sweet loyalty discount that kicks in once you’ve been a member for a year, saving you 30% off membership (for me that translates into almost a $60 per month savings).
2. But first take advantage of the free trial. Alchemy offers a 1 week free unlimited membership to anyone who wants it. Find out what your options are, and always go the free route before you start paying for something. Plus, it’s an ideal time to find out what different classes and coaches are like.
3. Decide what option is best for you and then go as much as you can. Most gyms are flexible and offer different packages. Alchemy allows you to do once a week, twice, 3 days or unlimited. Be realistic and think about how often you can and will go. I know that if I am paying for something, I am darn well going to use it and get my money’s worth, so unlimited is a great option for me (plus I’m sort of addicted to Crossfit so being there 6 days a week isn’t a problem). And be sure to find out if your membership allows you to go more than once in a day. That way, you can get even more bang for your buck if you want to say, do a quick WOD before work and then squeeze in a lifting session at the end of the day (but don’t do this every day or you might get yourself in trouble…more on this coming soon). Bottom line: the more hours per week you’re there, the less it costs per visit.
4. Find out what your membership includes and USE EVERYTHING. I’m not sure how other gyms stack up but we’ve got a great package deal at Alchemy Crossfit. Our membership includes one monthly ART (Active Release Technique – google it!) session with a chiropractor which feels amazing in a hurts-so-good kind of way and has helped both Jess and I a lot.
We can also get up to 2 (depends on which membership option you choose) one-on-one skills sessions with a coach per month. For my first year of Crossfit, I made use of these whenever possible for basic skills like double unders, handstands and rope climbs, and of course those ever-mysterious Olympic lifts. They made a huge difference and helped me progress in ways I never could have on my own or by just practicing in large groups in classes.
One-on-one, individualized sessions on nutrition are also included in our membership. I’ve only recently started taking advantage of these. You get to sit down with a coach, analyze your diet and talk about areas to improve to help you reach your goals. For me, never having been an athlete, this is the first time in my life where I’ve been eating to perform, not just to look a certain way, so I’ve found nutrition coaching extremely helpful. If you’re working your a** off in the gym, you may as well have a good base in nutrition to support you, right?
Finally, the coaches at our gym will also make you a custom lifting/skills program to do on your own on top of classes. I can’t tell you how valuable this has been for me and how much I’ve seen gains both in strength and skills. If you’re someone who wants to do more than just “work out,” and work on specific areas, a lifting program is the way to get there.
5. Speak up – ASK for what you need!
This is my last, and probably most important point, and it’s something that I still need to work on as I’m not always the best at speaking up for myself. If you don’t feel like you’re getting what you want out of Crossfit, the classes, or your membership – speak up. Coaches/gym owners are not mind readers. If your coaches are anything like ours, they want to see you succeed. They want to help you reach your goals, but they can’t do that if you don’t tell them what they are. In Crossfit, as in life, you are in charge of your own destiny. If you perceive something is missing in your training, it’s up to you to say so.
Also, remember your bottom line: you are paying for improved health and fitness, and, if you’re like Jess and I, improved quality of life. Can you really put a price on that? For me, the benefits I get out of Crossfit are well worth the cost. I’d much rather pay extra at Crossfit than save money and go to a “regular” gym.
Your turn: How do you get the most out of your Crossfit membership? How do you justify the cost?