CrossFit’s popularity has experienced a serious upswing over the past year—think a 50-pound kettlebell overhead swing.
So quickly is the former muscle-man-only workout growing in New York, that a stretch of real estate that straddles Queens and Brooklyn (and used to be entirely industrial) will soon be home to three boxes. (A “box” is CrossFit lingo for a “gym.”)
CrossFit Long Island City opened in 2009 as the third box in the city, and now CrossFit Gantry will open its doors in February just a few blocks away. And CrossFit Greenpoint opened just across the Pulaski Bridge in November.
None of the players seems to be worried about demand. “CrossFit is picking up momentum and is only going to keep growing,” says CrossFit LIC owner Vadim Noskov, who originally opened a 2,500-square foot facility and has since moved into a 9,000-square-foot space. But there are some concerns about shifting alliances and competition, as CrossFitters leave one box for another.
In Greenpoint, owners Michael Tiberia and Ron Yellin try to differentiate their gym by keeping it lively. “We like to have fun, and we want to create a community where everyone is having a good time,” says Tiberia.
At CrossFit Gantry, owner Jay Hachadoorian will have an on-site physical therapy office, where members can work out safely with therapists either to keep an eye on previous injurious or prevent new ones. “I’ll have good PTs who do CrossFit, know the demands of it, and know the body,” says Hachadoorian.
Because CrossFit has historically been a tight-knit community, the growth has created some points of tension among the heavy lifters. Tiberia and Yellin were coaches at LIC before leaving to open in Greenpoint, and they estimate they took 50-60 clients with them. Hachadoorian, who also originally trained at CrossFit LIC and then moved to CrossFit Virtuosity in Williamsburg, is opening his box in what is basically Noskov’s backyard.
“This has become a big topic of discussion in the CrossFit community in terms of gym loyalty. The CrossFit model is basically set up with no restriction from headquarters on proximity, “ he says.
But while some resentment may be simmering below the surface, the community is trying their best to manage differences and hold each other up. (They’re strong enough.)
“There are plenty of people out there going to traditional gyms and doing silly things and not getting anywhere,” says Noskov. “For us, in the CrossFit world, it’s more about trying to win those people over versus fighting over clients.” —Lisa Elaine Held