The goal of a CrossFit gym, simply put, is to utilize the body’s natural motion through a wide range of exercises to get you into the best shape of your life—and keep you there. Instructors at these spots, some of the best gyms in NYC, guide participants through a unique workout of the day, using an ever-changing combination of cardio and weight lifting to develop strength. No, they’re not exactly fitness classes for beginners, but there’s no need to be intimidated—everyone gets their butt kicked, and everyone notices when you beat your best, giving you a pat on the back (if they can still lift their arms, that is). CrossFit gyms also offer outdoor fitness classes, and many take a holistic approach, providing nutrition classes and guides to healthy eating. So invest in a sporty new wardrobe at the city’s top sporting goods stores, put on your workout songs playlist and get movin’!
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to fitness classes and gyms in NYC
Find the best CrossFit gym for you
Plenty of twenty- and thirtysomethings from the neighborhood and the East Village frequent this Williamsburg spot—think twice before you utter your next slur on hipsters. The gym is growing rapidly, so unless you want to pony up for private On Ramp beginners lessons ($500), sign up at least three weeks in advance for the oversubscribed Community versions (six classes $250). In addition to the eight-times-a-day WODs Monday through Friday and three a day on weekends, Virtuosity also offers Olympic weight-lifting and power-lifting memberships ($150–$300). Head coach Keith Wittenstein is a CrossFit level-three trainer (most are level one) and a member of the sport’s certification staff. He takes the 12:30 and 5:30pm WODs Tuesday through Thursday, teaches the Olympic weight-lifting program and is available for private sessions ($150/hr). (917-720-6551, crossfitvirtuosity.com). Monthly membership $150–$250, class packages available.
“I've visited countless CrossFit gyms across the country, but this place is by far the best. Why? Top-notch coaching, better than anywhere else, that emphasizes form and technique first. They're also socially involved and supportive of the community, and the place is flat-out fun.” —member Juri H.
Introductory classes require reservations, and all new members without CrossFit experience must complete four weeks of beginner classes before joining the mixed-ability WODs, offered between two and eight times a day. The gym also hosts clean-eating challenges to encourage improved diets as well as friendly competitions for regular ol’ members (as well as elite CrossFitters). The latter includes the annual Hail to the Queen, a female-only event that has contestants performing multiple workouts during the competition. (646-801-4237, crossfitqueensny.com). Monthly membership $150–$215, minimum commitment three months.
“The workouts are intense and varied, plus they take an hour to get through a strength and skill portion and a functional metabolic conditioning workout. I'm all about efficiency, and I like having it given to me and be challenging and different from the previous day.” —member Chris H.
CrossFit South Brooklyn
This five-year old, approximately 350-member gym has a solid core set of 50 WODs per week, split between mixed-ability sessions and more hardcore routines for those who like to enter inta-gym competitions; a free introductory class (Sun 1:15pm; reservations required via email); and the six-lesson Foundations program ($250). But there’s much more: Snag a spot in the popular eight-week strength cycle (two or three sessions/wk $400–$600, due in two installments) to pump lots and lots of iron, or recuperate at an Active Recovery Class (Tue 6pm, Sat 11am; free, nonmembers $15), an hour of stretching and mobility work to loosen tight muscles. The gym also runs two CSA programs with upstate farms (one arable, one livestock) and offers one-on-one nutrition planning with trainer and former chef Chris Fox (first one hour session $90, follow-up 30-minutes sessions $55). Really, though, we just want to join their socials, which include movie nights at the gym (free White Russians were served during The Big Lebowski) and charity benefits—like the December home-brewed beer tasting that raised money for Sandy relief. (crossfitsouthbrooklyn.com). Monthly membership $175–$230, single class $25.
“All of the coaches at CFSBK really enjoy being part of the growth of the members. They are happy to be there and teaching at whatever hour, and they enjoy answering questions even if a class isn’t going on.” —member Rytas S.
Reebok CrossFit Fifth Ave
This spiffy new kid on the block opened in mid-August as part of the bi-level concept store FitHub and is the only sports-brand-affiliated CrossFit box in the five boroughs. The trendy, lime-green-accented space is, at 10,000 feet, larger than most CrossFit centers in the city and decked out with the usual pull-up rigs, weights, rings, and kettle and medicine balls, but it adds sleds, battling ropes, and strongman and farmers logs to the mix of things you will come to despise. Unlike most NYC gyms, free taster classes are part of the three-session 101 intro course all new CrossFitters must complete, while experienced practitioners can join a Workout of the Day instead. Drop by 15 minutes before a class (Mon 8am, 8:30pm; Sat 10am) to get started. (802-858-4283, reebokcrossfit5thave.com). Monthly membership $200–$300, registration fee $250, class packages available.
“I've dropped in the past five days during my stay in NYC. It’s the first box I've ever visited, and I loved it! They have larger classes than what I'm used to, but it’s a great atmosphere.”—guest Charlotte J.
The staple CrossFit gym in Brooklyn just opened its third location in the borough, making it even easier for Brooklynites to get in a workout. In addition to getting access to the new 5,250-square-foot, state-of-the-art training facility, members get access to all three gyms and the ability to upgrade for access to S&S Barbell, the only 24-hour power-lift and Olympic platforms in NYC. 415 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn (347-696-7060, crossfitoutbreak.com). Monthly memberships $185–$225; single class $28; law enforcement, military, first responders, students, teachers and couples get 10 percent off any membership.
“CrossFit Outbreak members have access to four different facilities for the price of one.” —owner Adam S.
It would feel like walking into a high-end spa if it weren’t for all the workout equipment in this sleekly designed gym. Complete with a welcoming garden wall, this NoMad-based gym focuses on improving overall health and lifestyle not only through CrossFit classes but through nutrition, yoga and gymnastics as well. 38 E 32nd St (212-684-2689, crossfitsolace.com). Monthly memberships $275–$325; single class $29.
“We combine the raw intensity of CrossFit and other results-oriented group classes with a friendly community.”—founder and coach Jim L.
Men typically dominate the world of CrossFit, but in this gym, women rule. While gentlemen are welcome, Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet, the female winner of the 2014 CrossFit Games, partnered with founder Izzy Levy to create the unique facility. A new uptown location is in the works, too. 93 Worth St (212-343-0106, ice-nyc.com). Monthly memberships $150–$199; single class $35; law enforcement and first responders get 10 percent off any membership.
“The focus is on proper mechanics, movement and form. Our athlete-to-coach ratio is very low, so you get close personal attention. And don’t forget the spa-like amenities.”—founder Izzy L.
This gym is not just about what you do with your body during a workout, but how you treat it after a workout. This spot built a farm right outside the city, and it’s one of the few CrossFit gyms in the world to offer fresh farm vegetables delivered right to the gym for members. 285 Grand St (212-226-6503, bowerycrossfit.com). Monthly memberships $229–$499; single class $30; discount for law enforcement and students with long-term membership.
“Our gym isn’t a testosterone pit. With social support and healthy eating, too, we’ve created a formula for both members’ success and happiness."—coach Mateo L.
The first adopter in NYC has grown to two locations and offers the most classes in the city, with more than 240 Workout of the Day sessions every week. The WODs are split into beginner, intermediate and advanced groups, meaning those fresh from the mandatory two- or three-week Elements course of six sessions ($299, includes 18-day membership after completion) can gradually build up their fitness and confidence. Free introductory classes are offered five times a week (reservations suggested). (212-684-2018, crossfitnyc.com). Monthly membership $166.50–$219; single class $25; firemen, military, police, students $20.
“The small-class environment fosters a community of like-minded people seeking to improve their fitness.”—director of operations Kevin B.