How to Start Your Own CrossFit Gym


CrossFit’s popularity has surge to such a level that even ESPN hosts competitions called the CrossFit Games. It has a tremendous and ever-growing community that have converted exercising to a lifestyle. This development is a result of the unique gym culture and its hardcore workout sessions that pushes people to their limit and empowers them to show their competitive side. High-level difficulty workouts (Olympic lifts) are combined with cardiovascular and whole body exercises to provide a popular alternative to traditional strength and conditioning workouts.

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Whether you want to build your own athletes, contribute to CrossFit’s competitive scenery or if running a gym is a dream of yours, opening up a CrossFit gym may be a fun and profitable opportunity to make a living. CrossFit gym, AKA “box” in CrossFit lingo, are considered bare bones gym with only equipment essential to the Workout of the Day (WOD) are needed, therefore the minimal investment required is commonly lower than other type of fitness gyms, such as Gold’s Gym. This article will provide a guideline for becoming an affiliate of CrossFit and opening up your own gym.

Becoming an Affiliate

To become an official affiliate of CrossFit, you have to meet specific requirements before you can utilize their CrossFit brand.

CrossFit Certification

All affiliate programs are required to have CrossFit certified trainers or coaches running classes. There are currently four different levels of certification. To become an affiliate, you will only need to be certified as a Level 1 trainer. However, the higher level of certification will add value in the promotion of your business and distinguish your level of expertise from other potential competitors.

Annual Fee

You will need to pay $3,000 for the affiliation cost annually.


The affiliate application process will require you to list your gym’s physical address. Therefore, you will need do some scouting for a good rental space to run your gym. A useful tool that should be incorporated in your search is the CrossFit website’s affiliate map. It shows all CrossFit affiliates, which could help you determine whether an affiliate gym is already located in your city of interest. Use this to determine if their location will deter you from positioning yourself at your desired location.


Having a website is important to establish your brand, promote your gym and show your CrossFit affiliation. You can choose to create your website before or after your affiliation is accepted. However, the official CrossFit website states that you should not reference any material related to CrossFit until you have been approved. Additionally, after approval they do have miscellaneous items required for your website, such as posting their CrossFit Journal logo and linking it to the proper site.


According to affiliation rules, you are minimally required to have insurance for general and professional liability. One insurance company that works to protect the CrossFit owners and community from lawsuits is the CrossFit Risk Retention Group (RRG). The RRG coverage meets the requirements needed in your affiliation license agreement and also have protections available for property damage and participant accident. However, you are allowed to obtain insurance from sources outside of CrossFit RRG.

Benefits of Being an Affiliate

Affiliation with CrossFit grants you access to a private forum for sharing information and tips with the affiliate community. Additionally, your gym will be searchable on the affiliate map and list database, and your credentials will be listed in their trainer directory.

Business Permit and License

Check out the Small Business Administration’s website to see what additional permit and license are required for your business.

Safety Requirements

Building regulations and special requirements may apply to running a CrossFit gym. Based on your location, the local or state requirements may range from having an in-house automated external defibrillator, CPR trained staff to written emergency policies.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Apply for an Employer Identification Number at the IRS website, which is required for local and federal taxes.

Workout of the Days

The CrossFit’s WODs are posted on their official website. It is common for most affiliates to follow these listed WODs. However, this is not required and you could choose to develop a workout plan that is unique and differentiates your gym from other affiliates, in addition to the WODs.

CrossFit-Equipped Gym

CrossFit normally incorporates group training sessions. Be mindful to have a decent sized floor space. Even though a large majority of CrossFit workouts utilizes bodyweight exercises, there are an assortment of equipment critical to not missing out on any WODs.

Rig and Rack System

CrossFit members use the rig and rack system as versatile stations where they could squat, bench, do pull-ups, etc. Rogue Fitness Rig and Rack System is the official Rig used in ESPN’s CrossFit Games and also commonly used by CrossFit Affiliates. They offer two different types of setup: wall mount rig and the standard rig setup. There are customization options for either setup and you can even expand the rig and rack system’s sections to match the size of your training space.

Wall and Ceiling Mount System

Alternative options to the rig and rack system are individual wall mounts or ceiling mount systems. Again Faster provides three different options for individual pull-up systems. HammerHead Strength Equipment sells a unique contraption that acts as adjustable ceiling mount systems for hanging climbing ropes and gymnastic rings. These two company also sell climbing ropes and gymnastic rings.

Rubber Flooring

Rubber Flooring Inc. has a great selection of weightlifting flooring options for avoiding damages to your floor and equipment.

Bumper Plates

Bumper plates are a must for CrossFit training. They are durable rubber weight plates that are great for high-lifting CrossFit exercises like thrusters, snatch, and clean and jerk. Fringe Sport has an array of these bumper plates in different weights and colors.

Dumbbell and Barbell Set

Fitness Factory has an impressive array of dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells. They also sell these items as a package with the respective rack to hold them.

Classic CrossFit WOD Equipment

Rage Fitness has a great assortment selection of conditioning equipment for WODs, such as pylometric boxes, gymnastic rings, climbing ropes, jumping ropes, medicine balls and slam balls.

Glute Ham Developer (GHD)

Rogue Fitness has a line of high-quality GHD machines for exercises such as sit-ups, back extensions and glute-ham raises.

Rowing Machine

Concept2 is a popular brand used in the CrossFit community for their rowing machine needs.

Social Media

In addition to creating a website as previously mentioned, promoting your gym through social media and word-to-mouth is important to growing your business. Whether it is through a Twitter account or Facebook page for your gym, you should have an active online presence.


Management System

ZenPlanner is a cloud-based software application with features customized specifically for CrossFit gym owners and members. Its management system covers automated payment processing and sends helpful monthly billing reminders to each member. Additionally, the staff portion of the app grant the ability to track customers and have the WOD schedule automatically saved to your phone.


As you start building your staff, try looking into the web-based software called Gusto. It is designed specifically to help small business with processing payrolls and filing for taxes.

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