CrossFit changed your life, and now you want to share it with others. 

You rub your temples and slump into your desk chair. You were excited to start your box, but the complexities of running a CrossFit business are making you feel overwhelmed. 

It sounds old-fashioned, but it’s not. It’s the cure to the anxiety and the sense of drowning in the details. 

I’m talking about a business plan.

Here’s how to write a CrossFit business plan so you can put your mental energy back into the things that matter most to you. 

Write a Mission Statement 

Once you have completed your Level 1 certification, your first priority for operating a successful CrossFit gym is to write out a thorough and detailed mission statement for your CrossFit business plan pertaining to exactly why you want to open one in the first place. Recording your reasons and overall goals will help you keep your focus and prevent you from deviating away from them as time goes on. Keep in mind that you will have to pay corporate $3,000 a year to use their brand and promotional materials. 

Every CrossFit gym is an affiliate, meaning you will have a lot of freedom to run your gym the way you want. However, your pathway to success will also rely on adhering to a few core components of the CrossFit mission, such as: 

Help Others Make Positive Lifestyle Changes by Improving Overall Health

Usually, the biggest reason why anyone even decides to join a gym in the first place is because they are seeking out a new, positive lifestyle change. They are looking to gain a new sense of confidence by losing weight and adding muscle with the potential to make new friends in the process. They are also seeking out newer and healthier ways to manage the stress from their daily lives. 

Gain Functional Strength and Improve Balance and Coordination

CrossFit is all about producing results that will benefit those who are steady participants. Improving one’s functional strength means that one will have a much easier time performing everyday tasks such as placing items on a shelf or getting up off of the floor.  

A person’s balance affects their coordination and overall health. Those who have a good sense of balance live much longer than those who do not. People with good balance have a higher brain function that helps improve learning capabilities and inhibit cognitive decline. For athletes, especially aging athletes, it also helps improve their overall performance. 

Personalized Workout Plans

One of the main things that will keep your clients coming back to your CrossFit gym is the fun and responsible personalized workout plans that you will create for them. Personalizing workouts for your clients lets them know that you do indeed have their best interests in mind and are not just some run-of-the-mill trainer who is only in it to make money. 

The importance of personalizing workouts for your clients will target specific areas of skill development that will ensure optimal performance if they are also involved in other sports. It will also greatly reduce the risk of injury by either smartly targeting or avoiding areas that may already be compromised, such as a knee or shoulder. 

Choosing Your Box. Where Will Your Gym Be Located?

The next step of your business plan should be figuring out where your box will be, which is simply CrossFit jargon for the place where your workouts will take place. Since CrossFit workouts focus solely on high-intensity interval workouts with multiple stations, making sure that your box has plenty of room to comfortably and safely move around is essential. You also need to take into consideration the potential for growth as the number of your clients rises. Will you first choose a premium location at a high cost with hopes you will quickly gain enough clients to afford it, or will you opt for a cheaper place with less traffic?

Make Sure You Obtain the Correct Permits

Obtaining the proper permits is a lot of work and can be overwhelming, but it is a necessary part of the process that goes into opening your own business. Each state has different requirements for how many permits you will need, but all of them require you to select a business structure as either a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or Limited Liability Company (LLC), as well as obtaining a business license. Some states even require you to register the business name as well.  

Depending on how you decide to structure your business, you will also have to identify your business with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) using a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), Employer Identification Number (EIN), or Federal Tax ID Number, which is used to open a business account and obtain a business credit card. 

Some states also require registering with the city, and in many cases doing so means having to provide a separate parking lot for members. 

You will also likely need a certificate of occupancy, which legally allows you to operate your CrossFit gym in a commercial or retail location.

If you plan on streaming licensed music of any kind, then you will also need to obtain a Public Performance License (PPL). You can get a PPL through three different entities: the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), or the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC).

What Kind of Equipment Will You Need?

Every CrossFit gym is required to carry the same types of equipment, which includes, but is not limited to, kettlebells, dumbbells, medicine balls, plate weights, adjustable weight benches, resistance bands, squat racks, gymnastic ring sets, jump ropes, battle ropes, rowing machines, abdominal machines, and plyometric boxes of various sizes. 

The list is long and the expenses will add up quickly, but it is completely up to you to decide exactly how much of everything you feel is necessary to purchase. You can choose to buy brand-new equipment if it is within your budget, but used equipment works just as well for almost everything listed above. Plus, it will give your gym a type of old-school feel.

Management Strategy

How Many Certified Trainers Will You Hire?

The answer will likely change once you start gaining more clientele, but at the beginning, you will need at least one or two. The decision is yours about which levels of experience you want your trainers to have, with Level 1 trainers being the cheapest and Level 4 being the most expensive to hire. 

How Many Administrative Assistants Will You Hire?

From assistant managers to front desk workers, you are going to need help running your CrossFit gym. The number of people needed to fill those roles will be largely contingent on how many hours per day and days per week you choose to remain open to the public. It will also be prudent to allocate additional funds in case things quickly become overwhelming and you need to hire new help faster than originally planned. 

Will You Hire CrossFit Trainers As Employees Or Private Contractors?

Once you make a decision on how many trainers you need to hire, you will then need to decide if you will hire them as employees of your gym or if they will be considered as private contractors. 

If hired as an employee, you will need to consider things like benefits, withholding certain taxes, and liability factors. 

Private contractors possess a higher degree of autonomy to run their classes the way they want, whereas employees of your gym would have to abide by a stricter set of class rules that you set for them. You could, of course, let an employed trainer run the classes their way, but the option for more changes or control will still be there.

Private contractors also have the freedom to teach at other competitor CrossFit gyms, if any exist around the area. If you decide to hire a trainer as an employee, you have the option to make them sign a non-compete clause as part of their contract, which will prevent them from also working for other CrossFit gyms for the duration of their employment at yours. 

Promote Your Gym as a Familial and Inclusive Environment

Besides having effective workouts, a major reason that CrossFit gyms are so popular is because they are filled with trainers and athletes who are always encouraging others in the gym as the workouts progress. This is an intangible factor that separates CrossFit gyms from other traditional fitness gyms. 

In traditional fitness gyms, everyone moves at their own pace with no collective goals in mind. Most people are also not there to socialize and do not want to be bothered. An environment like that can be quite intimidating for someone who is new to the fitness world, especially when there are no coaches around to answer questions. Those factors greatly reduce the chances of meeting new people and providing newcomers a sense of comfort and belonging. 

This is a major reason why so many people end up canceling their gym memberships after January while CrossFit gyms still continue to rise in popularity. CrossFit has fostered a familial and inclusive environment that makes people of all fitness levels feel comfortable and welcome, and it is crucial to instill and perpetuate that mentality in your gym as well. Understanding that egos are left at the door and everyone is there to help each other progress will ensure that you retain customers and make it easier to recruit new members into your CrossFit family. 

Stick to the Traditional CrossFit Structure

While the types of exercises during a class will vary and creativity is utilized, it is vitally important that you stay within the traditional framework of a CrossFit class. You will become familiar with these exercises if you have not yet completed your Level 1 certification course. 

Class Introduction and Whiteboard Briefing

Each CrossFit class begins with the group gathering around while the coach discusses the day’s workout on a whiteboard and explains, in detail, the types of movements pertaining to each exercise.

Warm-Up Exercises 

After the whiteboard briefing, the coach will then guide the class through a 10 – 15 minute warm-up session of cardio, movement preparation, mobility drills, and plyometric exercises. 

Skills Practice  

The next stage of the workout focuses on exercises that aim to improve stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, balance, and agility. The coach selects which types of exercises to do relative to the workouts of the day.

Workout Preparation 

Each person quickly sets up their own assigned workout station to prepare for the Workout of the Day. This includes racking their own weights. 

Workout of the Day (WOD) 

As soon as everyone in the class is ready to begin, the trainer will start the timer and everyone begins engaging in their respective workouts. 

Cool Down 

After an intense session of the Workout of the Day, everyone cools down with proper stretching routines and pats on the back as they compare their progression results. 

Create a Marketing Strategy

Creating a dynamic marketing campaign to advertise your new CrossFit gym is essential to gaining new members. There are many ways to spread the word, including radio, social media, flyers, and cross-promoting with other local businesses. These are a few strategies to keep in mind: 

Always Remember Your Customer Base

The first rule of business marketing is the same as it is in politics: never abandon your base. When choosing a marketing strategy, especially at the beginning, you want to largely appeal to those who are already familiar with CrossFit. The kind of demographic that is already familiar with CrossFit will be more eager and less intimidated to join.

Targeting New Customers

The key to expanding your CrossFit business will be to recruit new members across the spectrum. Many people have heard of CrossFit but are still unfamiliar with how it works. Others may not have heard about it at all and are just beginning to dip their toes into the fitness world. Advertising specials for newcomers and directing them to your website or social media page for more information will greatly increase your chances of them signing up. 

Monthly and First-Time Specials

Offering free classes and monthly discount specials to newcomers throughout the year is another great way to pique someone’s interest in joining your CrossFit gym. 

Incentives for Spreading the Word

As the old saying goes: word of mouth is the best form of advertisement. People will naturally talk about the things they enjoy doing but are less likely to make much of an effort to recruit people into doing those same activities unless they are incentivized to do so. Offering existing members discounted rates or a free month of training will galvanize their efforts to spread the word about your new CrossFit gym.

Understanding Your Competitors

Figure out which fitness gyms in the area are direct competitors (if there are any) and why your CrossFit gym is superior to them. What does your gym offer that the others do not? List the reasons why your Crossfit gym is superior to traditional fitness gyms and capitalize on it by making it a key focus in your marketing campaigns.

Create a Website

Creating a website for your business allows you to design it in a way that is appealing to customers. You will be able to add as many pictures and videos as you want while also promoting specials and client success stories. Having a website also allows you to profile your staff members and post as much information about your gym as you wish. 

Social Media Strategies 

The best way to advertise your CrossFit gym is by using various forms of social media. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and others will help spread the word like wildfire. 

Understanding how each one works and which ones certain demographics prefer over others will increase your chances of broadening your message. 

You will also be able to link to your website so people will be able to learn additional information that might not otherwise fit within the confines of each social media platform. 

Startup Expenses

Even though a CrossFit gym can be quite lucrative, it will cost more than a pretty penny just to get started. While the minimum cost for entry as a CrossFit affiliate is only $4,000 ($1,000 for a Level 1 certification and $3,000 per year to CrossFit’s corporate office), all of the other expenses will add up rather quickly. Depending on location, equipment, and the number of employees you wish to hire, you can expect to pay anywhere between $30,000 and $150,000 to get started. 

Location and Capacity

The safer option when it comes to choosing a place for your CrossFit gym is to pick a place that is not in a prime location but is still not an inconvenience for most of the population to reach because the rent will be significantly cheaper. If you are confident that you will have success relatively quickly, you can always choose to rent a premium location. 

If you choose to rent, you will most likely have to do some renovation work in order to meet the CrossFit standards along with any other safety standards required by the state. Choosing to renovate on your own would ultimately save you some money, but it all depends on how skillful you are with remodeling and if you have the extra time to do so.

Building your own facility will cost a lot in the beginning but could theoretically be paid off in a few years if your CrossFit gym experiences early success. Doing so would eventually eliminate rental expenditures, but it is by far the riskiest move if you do not have a lot of experience with running a business. 

Regardless of your decision, you need to be able to factor in the amount of people that you will be able to host for any given class. Being able to host 10 or more members is ideal and will give you more options as to how many classes are held each day. 

New or Used Equipment?

Buying brand-new weights will add up fast. The good thing about iron is that it rarely breaks and will last for decades, and the good thing about a CrossFit gym is that it mostly consists of equipment made of iron. Opting to buy used equipment will significantly reduce your initial startup costs. You can always allocate money from your profits to upgrade to newer equipment later if you feel the need. 


Payroll expenses will be costly at the beginning but will stop eating such a big hole in your pocket once you begin building up a big enough client base. It is still a good idea to make sure you have enough set aside to pay your employees for at least the first three months.


Your utility costs will ultimately be decided by your location. Just like with payroll, it is a good idea to budget for at least three months in advance so you know that you will be able to make the payments until you start seeing some steady cash flowing in. 


Having insurance is a costly necessity that could ultimately prevent your CrossFit gym from going bankrupt if the unfortunate event of a serious injury occurs during one of the classes. You can choose general liability insurance, accidental coverage, or both. Many insurance plans will cover the costs of any lawyer fees and medical bills associated with any accidents or injuries.  

Marketing Costs 

Your marketing costs will range anywhere from $0 to several hundred per month, depending on if you decide you want to take on the role yourself or hire someone to do it for you. You may be fine doing it on your own, but it would be a good idea to set some money aside in case you change your mind and decide to hire a professional social media strategist to help you come up with a range of marketing ideas. 

Financial Goals

Generating Revenue

Of course, your first financial goal should focus on being able to cover all of your monthly expenses so you will be able to stay in business. Most CrossFit gyms charge anywhere between $100 and $200 a month. Realizing the limitations of your gym’s overall capacity size will be the ultimate deciding factor as to how much revenue you will be able to generate because you will be able to comfortably dictate how many classes are held each day. If your gym only has the capacity to safely and comfortably host 10 people per class, then you may need to conduct more classes per day to break even than if your overall capacity was 14 people. 

Charging less for longer-term contracts will attract more people, but keep in mind that some states allow for customers to break their contract at any time, whereas some place legal limits as to how much you can charge and for how long, so that decision will ultimately be contingent in whichever state you decide to do business. 

You can also find other ways of generating revenue by offering nutrition classes and personal training sessions. Keep in mind that some states require additional permits for each one. 

Make Smart Investments

You will also need to decide what to do with the gym’s revenue once you begin generating more than enough to cover all of your monthly expenses. How much will you take home for yourself and how much will you set aside for future investments so you can continue to grow your business?

Do not forget that when you reach that level of income to begin seriously contemplating those questions that your employees were the ones who helped get to that point, so it is also worth considering whether you will reward them with a raise in salary, bonuses, or both.

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