It seems like lately I can’t help but notice that workout spaces have been popping up with the name CrossFit displayed in bold letters across the front of the building. Gyms that offer this new workout system have been spreading like wildfire. Because it’s such a mixed and intense way of working out, CrossFit licensees, or affiliates as the brand calls them, need to be expert at fitness, personal training and injury prevention. It appears to present a huge opportunity for trainers to become owners. However, the question remains: Is it a true fitness trend or is it a fad that is just now peaking in popularity?
CrossFit values strength and endurance over leanness and helps athletes become bigger and more powerful. The system covers training and diet and also leverages group dynamics of bootcamp style workouts to generate the highest possible motivation levels and help the members push harder. There is a hazard of overtraining or training beyond your fitness level and it’s the responsibility of trainers to supervise, motivate and advise to get to the edge without going over it. Even so, there’s a lot of benefit to be gained from it and the brand is enjoying a huge burst of growth in attendance and popularity right now.
Becoming a CrossFit Affiliate
CrossFit came from the creativity and training ideas of a young gymnast in the mid 1990s. Greg Glassman’s regimen gave him such a decisive advantage in gymnastics competitions that he began training others. By 2000 he had a company up and running, with thirteen studios. By 2012 that had grown to around 4,000.
CrossFit affiliates have an average of 100 to 150 members per gym and charge rates of $150 to $200 per month per member. This gives it potential for a low six figure annual income, according to Amy Florence Fischbach of Club Industry. The current demand appears to be steady and the need for structure and supervision of the workout make this an opportunity for certified fitness trainers.
To make the leap into ownership and become an affiliate of CrossFit there’s an annual fee of $3,000. The required certification for trainers costs $1,000. The largest expense is the equipment, at around $50,000 capital investment to get started. For trainers who can handle the risk and sacrifice, it might be worth looking at signing up as a way to become a gym owner.
Delayed Feedback Can Be A Pain
It’s still early days for CrossFit. It may continue to revolutionize the industry. Or the accumulation of its flaws may take it out of favor. If they are done incorrectly or are beyond a member’s fitness range, there is a substantial risk posed by the intensity of the workout. CrossFit is not an activity for beginners and it needs to be properly supervised. The Military Times claims that physiotherapy has seen a boost due to injuries from this and similar bootcamp type systems such as P90X and Insanity.
I think at this point you say that it’s probably not a fad. However, if you do decide to go for it, you need to have a clear plan of how to get out, in case it all goes wrong. This is just good general business advice that any startup enterprise needs. Nobody wants to be 50K, or more, in the hole when the bottom drops out. If you can see a business model that works for you then, by all means, explore the possibilities. Just be prepared to change direction if more suitable alternatives appear later on.
CrossFit is gaining popularity because it gives you a really high-powered workout. The class atmosphere can be great as the focus is on the group and encourages participants to root for each other. If your market is open enough that you can get established as an owner and you can get past the initial investment and build a membership then go for it! This might be a good way for owners to expand and for trainers to become owners in the fitness industry. It’s just one way of many that you can grow a business. With good fortune, you might be able to expand into a full service fitness center from there.
- Origins of CrossFit: http://www.theboxmag.com/CrossFit-box-101/origins-of-CrossFit/
- Fischbach, A 2012, ‘CrossFit’s Unconventional Workouts Attract Praise and Controversy’, Club Industry, 28, 7, pp. 10-14, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 2 May 2014.
- CrossFit Games April 30th, 2014 Update on YouTube: http://youtu.be/0I8y0f_–mU
- Are We Overdoing It?: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2012/08/08/crazy-for-exercise-are-we-overdoing-it
- Crossfit – Have We Learned Nothing?: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matthew-basso/CrossFit_b_2649450.html
- Military concerned about CrossFit Injuries: http://blogs.militarytimes.com/pt365/2013/10/30/reality-check-what-science-has-to-say-about-the-latest-fitness-fads/