The Pain and Gain of Starting a CrossFit Gym

Blake Fisher 5

So, you fell in love with CrossFit and are thinking about turning your passion for the sport into a professional full-time business. And with CrossFit fast becoming one of the most favored fitness movements around the globe, the time to jump into this lucrative fitness niche, is now!

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Figure 1: CrossFit Gym

But where do you begin and what do you need to do to open your own CrossFit gym? The world of CrossFit can be a tricky one to navigate if you do not know what to do or where to go for support and information. 

Look no further because we have got your back! We dig into every aspect of starting a CrossFit box to ensure you launch your dream business successfully.

Table of Contents

1. CrossFit in a nutshell

One word – hardcore! CrossFit is currently the number one brand of niche exercise across the globe. It focuses on combining conditioning with core strength while shaping all the important fitness focus areas. But you knew that already.

You probably also know that CrossFit combines stamina, flexibility, speed, accuracy, power, strength, coordination, balance, agility, endurance, and cardio in one tough workout session.

But what you might not know is that we would like to think that CrossFit is for everyone, but the truth is that not everyone is cut out to do CrossFit. And CrossFit is not for the weak-hearted. Opening your CrossFit gym will have you focusing on an exceptionally large, but unique niche market. A market with its own culture and energy.

And even though a CrossFit gym looks a lot like a normal gym, it really is not. The world of CrossFit has its own lingo, fee structures, equipment, and certifications. And the best of all is that it is easy to set up if you know where to start and what to do. 

CrossFit might not be the exercise form for everyone, but those who love it and live it run super successful gyms across the world.  The proof to this statement can be seen in the growth of this billion dollar industry.

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Figure 2: CrossFit Gym Workout

2. The Proof is in the Profits

If you manage your CrossFit gym well, you will turn a profit within your first year of operation. 

The average monthly membership fee hovers around $150 per month. If you have 200 active members you are looking at a potential income of $30, 000. Even though reaching these numbers and maintaining them takes determination and hard work, it is very doable. 

With a monthly revenue of around $30,000 you will be able to offset your overheads and expenses, pay yourself a good salary, and still have profit left over to reinvest into your business. 

If you think outside the box and add gym merchandise to sell in your gym, like water bottles or CrossFit gear, you can potentially increase your monthly revenue and annual profits.

3. Making the Monthly Moolah

So, how much does the average CrossFit gym owner get paid? The answer to this question is highly dependable on your input and involvement in your gym daily.

The average CrossFit gym owner takes home an annual salary of around $ 36, 000. And as with any business your salary is highly dependable on how many members you have, diversity of your income streams and how involved you are with marketing and growing your business.

4. Hit me with the short and sweet of starting a CrossFit box

Chasing your dream of owning your own CrossFit gym can become a reality. But there are a couple of things you need to do to make sure you do it right.

• First, start by writing a detailed CrossFit business plan. Put serious effort and 

thought into how you will fund your start-up before you continue with this venture.

• Get yourself CrossFit certified and affiliated. The affiliation is no easy journey and 

requires you to sell yourself. You will have to pull out all the stops to show that you are a great fit for the industry and will do justice to the CrossFit brand. 

• Pay the annual affiliation fee of $3000. This will give you access to everything you 

should know about the CrossFit brand. It also provides access to an incredibly supportive community, classes, training material and many more.

• Educate and train yourself and your team to ensure you are on top of your game.

• Find a prime location. Location is key to the success of your business. Make sure it 

is accessible, safe, visible, and presentable. Also ensure that there is room for expansion and growth.

• Kit your CrossFit box with the best premium fitness equipment. Speak to our 

expert team at Yanre Fitness today.

• Make sure you have a solid cash flow available for the first six months at least.

• Finally, marketing, marketing, marketing! Get the word out and sign up as many 

members as you can pre-opening.  Make sure the community knows about you and that your name is out there on everyone’s lips. 

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Figure 3: CrossFit Gym Checklist

5. Checklist for starting a CrossFit gym

If you have reached the point where you are ready to start your CrossFit gym, there are several important steps to follow. 

If you want to operate a successful CrossFit box, you need to become affiliated as soon as possible. Add to that a great location, a solid business plan, the correct team and good finance and you are well on your way to starting your gym. We will look at each one individually in detail.

Opening your own CrossFit gym might sound daunting, but if you follow the easy steps below, and maintain focus and drive, then it really is not that difficult at all. We dig into each of the basic steps below:

No Shaming – Just Naming

You must have thought about a million names, catchy slogans, logo designs and colors for your CrossFit gym. And that is great! Naming your business is the first step you want to have wrapped up before starting to write your business plan.

If you have not yet settled on a specific name for your CrossFit box, we have listed some handy guidelines to help you lock it in.

  • Ensure that the name you come up with, clearly says that your gym is a CrossFit box. Most CrossFit gym names include the CrossFit description, e.g., U-Tough CrossFit West End.
  • Your brand name itself must be motivating and positive, e.g., True You CrossFit or PureFit CrossFit.
  • Check to make sure that the name you choose is available as a domain in your country. If you want to go bigger and plan on franchising, it is wise to make sure that the name is available globally as a domain. This way you can register your brand internationally.
  • Choose your business entity. Preferably one that gives you a little legal backing. For CrossFit boxes it is normally advised to go with a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a Liability partnership (LP).

Once you have your name locked in, you are ready to design and plan the greatest CrossFit gym the world has ever seen. 

Write a bulletproof business plan

Your business plan is your blueprint that will guide you through every step of your start-up process. A business plan will tell you why you want to open your Cross fit Gym, how you are going to operate and how to be successful.

A solid business plan will provide you with a step-by-step guideline for starting your CrossFit Box and growing it over the next three years. Your business plan will point out the goals and milestones for your business. And it will also serve as a guide to the various expenses you can expect over the next couple of years.

There are various tools available online that can help you draw up a master business plan for your CrossFit gym. If you design yours to serve as a dynamic foundation document, then you will have something to refer to, not only to track your progress, but also to keep you focused during difficult times.

Get your finance-ducks in a row

Ever heard the saying ‘it takes money to make money’? Well, it is true in most cases, especially when opening your own CrossFit gym. Without financial backing to start your gym, you won’t be able to start and run a successful business.

There are several ways in which you can raise the funds to start your own business if you do not have all the capital available to fund the entire start-up yourself. If you are looking to secure an investment or business loan, it is important that your business plan is professional, presentable, and well-written.

It is always advisable to make sure you have enough funding available before you kickstart your journey. This will ensure that you do not run into barriers when you start the process of opening your own gym.

Get CrossFit certified and affiliated

The next step is probably one of the most important steps in starting a CrossFit gym. It also sets normal gyms apart from CrossFit gyms. It is the CrossFit affiliation. 

But before you start drafting your wonderful essay on why you should be accepted into the fold, make sure you have at least passed your Level 1 CrossFit Certificate Course. This certificate course is the introduction to the methods, movements and terminology that makes up the world of CrossFit. Once you have it, you will understand why it is required in your application for affiliation.

Once you have applied for your affiliation you can endeavor to complete the second CrossFit Certificate Course. This course will guide you through the more advanced terminology and exercises. And will equip you with the necessary skills to train more advanced members in your box.

Once you have completed and submitted your application to become affiliated, and if you get accepted, you will have to pay a $3000 annual affiliation fee. This allows you the bragging rights to link your gym with the CrossFit brand.

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Figure 4: CrossFit Affiliation

Train up and educate yourself and your team

Being a CrossFit affiliate will give you access to a world of endless education and CrossFit training. 

The CrossFit brand offers continuous classes, workshops and training that will equip you and your team with the skill set to offer specialist workouts in your gym. Through the CrossFit brand you can get educated on unique training for athletes, kids, disabled members, gymnasts and many more. 

If you increase your skill set, you will increase your members. And a bigger member pool always results in bigger profits and a stronger brand.

6. Outsmart your competition – Grow your business

The big question on every CrossFit gym owner’s mind is, how to compete in such a competitive market.

There is no evergreen marketing strategy designed to tell you exactly how things should be done. But there are a vast variety of methods and resources available that can tell you how things could be done to be successful at outsmarting your competition. 

One such method is doing surveys in your community. Speak to members, fitness experts, trainers, successful gym owners as well as struggling business owners and find out what has worked for them and what has failed. This will give you insight into improvement suggestions, learning experiences and will tell you what the market needs.

If you have insights into what the market needs, what to do and what not to do, then you can comfortably design a marketing strategy that will put you a step ahead of the competition.

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Young athletic man exercising strength on a rope in a gym.

Figure 5: Location of a CrossFit Gym

7. Location! Location! Location!

An especially important key to the success of your gym is figuring out where your CrossFit box will be located.  A big dream needs to be supported by a prime location.

Take your time to go and view a couple of locations before you decide on the one to settle on to build your box. There are a lot of local industrial and commercial real estate agencies that will be more than happy to guide you toward the ideal space for your CrossFit gym. But there are a couple of points to consider when deciding on a space:

Budget – make sure the space you are looking at is affordable and will not break 

your budget.

Size of the property – will there be enough space inside for all your CrossFit gear 

and equipment.

Room for growth – make sure that there is enough space to expand the business 

in a couple of months to accommodate your business growth.

Building modifications – think about locker rooms and showers that you might 

have to build in.

Parking – ensure that there is secure parking to accommodate the number of 

members you are targeting.

Security – Make sure your CrossFit gym is in a clean and secure area.

8. Invest in the best CrossFit gym equipment 

Now we get to the fun part – shopping for the best fitness equipment to kit out your CrossFit gym. The beauty about starting up a CrossFit box is that you can grow your equipment along with your members.

When you initially start out, you will most probably only have a couple of members on a daily basis. So, you can invest in the basic equipment they would need to complete a solid CrossFit workout. As your member role grows you can invest in more equipment to accommodate more members. 

You would need a large variety of weights for strength and stamina training. You would need ropes, chains, medicine balls, kettlebells, and elevation boxes. Once you complete the first certificate of your CrossFit affiliation training you will be able to access details on exactly what equipment is needed to kit a start-up box.

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Figure 6: CrossFit Gym Equipment

9. Inside CrossFit Gym Insurance

You will be a business owner who trains people for a living. Accidents happen, and they happen often. As a CrossFit gym owner, you need to protect not only your business and equipment, but also your members. 

A solid insurance policy is a must, or you could potentially lose everything you have worked so hard to build up.

Across the world, thousands of people are signing up to CrossFit gyms. Some members are perfectly healthy, others have underlying health issues and some even have injuries that you might not be aware of when they sign up. For this reason, you need to cover your gym, your trainers, and your members. 

To be sure you have maximum cover, tick the following boxes.

  • Type of insurer – Make sure you sign up with an insurer who has a solid track record for protecting businesses in the CrossFit industry. Do not just sign up with anyone. Make sure you and your trainers are backed by an insurer who knows the CrossFit industry.
  • Cost of insurance – Remember that cheap insurance equals cheap cover. Do not expect miracles if you pay peanuts.
  • Small print – A good insurance service provider will talk you through the details of your policy. They will also talk you through any scenario and risk that you might come across and how they plan to cover you.
  • Maximum cover – Make sure your member-injuries cover is up to scratch. Every member in your gym can get hurt at any time. Do not think of yourself or your trainers to be flawless. You might train someone who has a health issue they did not even know about. And before you know it, you are facing legal battles.

While you are focusing on getting your gym up and running, spend enough time and money on maximum insurance for your business. And make sure you and your team are fully educated with the ins and outs of possible risks in the CrossFit Industry.

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Figure 7: CrossFit Gym Personal Trainer

10. The ‘P’ in Personal training

Offering the option of professional personal training as an add on service in your CrossFit box is an excellent way of boosting revenue. But personal training takes determination, commitment, dedication, and a special kind of person.

The right kind of personal trainer will be in search of excellence and not just in it for the money. They will be determined to benefit their members and positively change the lives of the people they get to train. 

When scouting for your PT team, make sure to employ certified professionals who put members first. If you do, your members will feel invested in, and your gym will be the talk of the town before you know it.

Personal trainers in one-on-one sessions can comfortably accommodate an average of five daily PT sessions without losing energy and focus or dropping your brand’s standards. If your CrossFit gym is well known for its high-quality personal trainers, then you will soon find yourself in high demand.

A great way to accommodate increasing demand for personal training in your gym, is by hosting group PT classes. 

Group PT classes are dynamic, social, and motivational. Unlike one-on-one sessions, group PT sessions have the benefit of members supporting and motivating each other to push through and complete team workouts.

Either way, one-on-one and group PT classes is an excellent way to increase your gym’s turnover and the salary packages of your staff. 

11. Boost your CrossFit box

Securing loyal members for your new CrossFit gym is no easy task, but it also is not rocket science. With a little creativity and diligent planning, you can step out into the community and market your CrossFit box like a pro. 

With all the digital tools and marketing gimmicks available today, you will have no shortage of things to do to get your name out there. We touch on some marketing madness methods below:

Social media marketing – Get socializing on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  

The more followers you have, the more your membership numbers will grow.

Affiliated Webpage – make sure to link your website with that of the CrossFit 


Corporate CrossFit competition – Launch corporate competitions to get the 

community talking.

Sign-up promotion – offer annual sign up promotions for a limited time to get the 

community to sign up for an entire year. This will not only create an opportunity 

for member retention but will also get your name out there.

12. In Closing

CrossFit is a world all on its own. A home away from home where everyone knows everyone and everyone share the same interests. There is a CrossFit lingo, dresscode, bro-code and bra-code. 

And yes, it is true that the companionship, camaraderie and competition you find in the CrossFit circles are unbeatable. One thing you can be sure of is that you will never train alone, while humming the best known BoyZone tune!

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