There is a prevailing argument around CrossFit that, though it is for everyone, CrossFit for the most part is only really for those with a certain level of disposable income. Sure, if you don’t have any money, you won’t be buying any goods and/or services, but this assumption always bugged me.
We often tend to assume lots of things. For example, we assume humans and our markets are rational. Numerous examples, however, have proved otherwise. Take the famous “ultimatum game,” for example:
In this game, two people (who are in situations in which they cannot communicate with each other) are told that they will be given a sum of money, say $20, to share. The first person gets to propose a way of splitting the sum. This person may offer to give $10 to the second person or only $8 or $1 and plan to keep the rest. The second person cannot offer any input to this decision but can only decide whether to accept the offer or reject it. If the second person rejects the offer, both people will walk away empty-handed. If the offer is accepted, they get the money and split it as the first person indicated.
If the two individuals act only from narrow financial self-interest, then the first person should offer the second person the smallest possible amount —say $1 — in order to keep the most for himself or herself. The second person should accept this offer because, from the point of view of pure financial self-interest, $1 is better than nothing.
In fact, researchers find that deals that vary too far from a 50-50 split tend to be rejected. People would rather walk away with nothing than be treated in a way that they perceive as unfair. Also, whether out of a sense of fairness or a fear of rejection, individuals who propose a split often offer something close to 50-50. In the context of social relations, even the most selfish person will gain by serving the common good and thus walking away with somewhere around $10 rather than just looking at his or her own potential personal gain and quite possibly ending up with nothing.
Surely, the argument that CrossFit is only available to those with a certain level of disposable income is a matter of opinion, especially considering the number of people without “disposable income” with jewelry, cars and other seemingly less-than-critical possessions. At the end of the day, we all have the freedom to spend our money where we wish. As long as fitness (expensive fitness at that) is viewed as an ultimate luxury, the understanding that CrossFit isn’t affordable for a large percentage of the population will hold true in the minds of our economy. However, if the basic idea that having control over one’s physicality and having a skill set of performance is a vital possession, then virtually anyone can afford CrossFit.
My gym is one of the most expensive around, and our students include men and women younger than 20 working two jobs while going to school in order to pay for training. It’s my view that the notion that CrossFit is a luxury is simply a matter of perspective even when it’s hundreds of dollars per month.