The Cost of Things: Crossfit, Lifting, and Making It to Provincials

Lisa Farlow weightlifting

In January 2013, I started doing Crossfit. I was horrible at the weightlifting parts, so I started lifting with a coach in July 2013. I realized I had a hope of making Alberta provincials, held every November, and decided to get serious. I began to focus on lifting, doing Crossfit simply for conditioning work on the side. Here are the costs from July 2013-October 2014, or 16 months.

Cost of coaching and facility access
I estimate $1900 to $2000. It’s usually $180/month, but some months were lower because we trained in a different space as our new facility was under construction. Recently I became a coach myself, so I no longer pay a monthly coaching or facility fee, and in fact make a small side income!

Luckily a life time of sports means I have ample sports bras, shorts, socks, tanks, etc. But I did have to buy:
+ an ill-fitting “unisex” competition singlet, $50
+ another two pairs of shorts because I train 6 days a week and don’t want to do laundry that much. More shorts means less frequent need to do laundry. They were $20 each using my sister’s discount at a sporting goods store.
+ quite a number of tank tops with funny and/or feminist slogans (probably $75 for three) (but “I pretend my workout is the patriarchy so I can crush it” is worth $75 by itself).

Gear, and lots of it
+ Rehand knee sleeves, $50 each (one for each knee). They used to only be available in men’s sizes but with the rise of Crossfit, they’ve created ones fitted to women’s proportions and they come in so many pretty colours. Every time I put on my ugly men’s knee sleeves, I consider dropping another $100. So far I’ve resisted!
+ a beautiful Eleiko lifting belt, $60
+ wrist wraps, $20
+ running shoes can only take you so far, so last August I bought proper weightlifting shoes, $50 second-hand. The sole at the toe started peeling, leaving me unsteady on my jerks. Last February I got new weightlifting shoes, $220. One shoe says, “go forth and…” and the other shoe says, “…dominate” so I regret nothing.

Extra food costs
+ Fancy-brand protein shakes, $60 for a tub that lasts about four months, so let’s say $240 on that.
+ Snacks like dried fruit and nuts for at the gym, probably $20/month so another $320. I don’t even want to think about the increase in my monthly grocery costs due to in an increased need for protein and healthy snacks.

Body care
+ Believe it or not, squatting heavy and often has cured my knee pain that plagued me for about 5 years as a runner. I do have pre-existing hip problems that are aggravated by lifting, so I see a chiropractor about once a month. My insurance only lasts about half the year, so let’s add another $300/year in out-of-pocket costs there.
+ Hands build callouses from the knurling of the bar. As they grow they start to hurt, and eventually you risk tearing them. I’ve bought grip tape to protect them a few times, always in the most fun colours, at $5 a pop, and a callous shaver, which is a device sold in the foot care section of Sephora for $20.

Actual competitions
I needed 101kgs to make it to provincials. Lower than that and you count as a novice. At 101kg you become “class 4.” Weighlifting has two lifts: the snatch and the clean & jerk. You get three attempts at each lift, and your highest successful lift for each is combined to a get your total.

+ Sept 2013 competition ($70): totaled 96kg
+ Oct 2013 competition ($70): totaled 94kg. Took some risks on big lifts, but didn’t get them, missing qualification for provincials in 2013.
+ February 2014 competition ($70): 103kg, I did it! Oh wait, I actually need 106kg, I was looking at an outdated chart? FINE.
+ May 2014: 110kg!

Then in October they announced that, because too many people had qualified, they were increasing the standards from last year. This year you must be class 3 or higher, which for my weight class means I needed a 118kg total.

+ Oct 2014: ($20, a club meet) got some crazy new records to total 120kg.
+ Nov 2014 PROVINCIALS: $70 entry fee.

Total: $4270

Yikes, that is way higher than I would have thought! I figure it’s not only my hobby, it’s a large part of my social life, since I train with a club, and it’s an investment in my health: strong bones for life! Going forward, my costs are majorly reduced since I don’t have the monthly coaching fee, and I have a small income from coaching others. Perhaps I’ll check in with the Billfold in another year or two and talk about the cost of making it to nationals!


Lisa Farlow is an Edmonton-based feminist, researcher, improv comedian, and weightlifter.



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