Gay-Friendly CrossFit Boxes
Despite the popularity of CrossFit, it’s still shrouded in mystery. It seems like a breeding ground for hypermasculinity and anti-gay aggression. Most of the pics circulating online hint that CrossFit boxes are reserved exclusively for fit, shirtless finance bros who look like professional athletes. Though the workout seems to be one of the most strenuous and effective regimens in practice, is there room for gay men to join?
Some boxes are impressively tolerant, like the Seattle gym that posted a sign warning bigots not to enter. But the CrossFit community has made some questionable choices that don’t exactly indicate a pro-LGBTQ stance. Last summer, just a month removed from the Pulse massacre, the CrossFit Games awarded the top athletes with glock pistols. Gays Against Guns promptly protested, and shut down, two NYC Reebok CrossFit locations in response.
Yet still, there’s hope that CrossFit is more of a welcoming space than it seems. A 2016 documentary detailed the story of Nuno Costa, a gay athlete who used CrossFit as a means of personal transformation and addiction recovery. And OUT magazine’s Chadwick Moore spent 30 days investigating an all-gay CrossFit group.
Increasingly, gay-friendly CrossFit boxes are popping up across America. Here’s a snapshot of the most visibly pro-LGBTQ locations.
CrossFit Defined (Chicago)
CrossFit Defined is one of the Windy City’s premiere CrossFit gyms, with locations in Lakeview and Lincoln Square. The latter location hosted WorkingOUT, an LGBTQ fundraiser modeled after the CrossFit Games. Proceeds from the event went toward The Trevor Project. It was a vote of confidence for local LGBTQ CrossFit enthusiasts—a sign that they were not only welcome in the space but that they were part of the community.
CrossFit Hell’s Kitchen (New York)
Considering CrossFit Hell’s Kitchen is located in the heart of Manhattan’s gayest neighborhood, it’s automatically safe to assume that it’s gay-friendly. But the center’s actions drive the message home. CFHK not only welcomes gay members but celebrates with them on floats during NYC Pride Week. Its members rave about how open and inviting the environment is. And there’s always room to accommodate newcomers—even when classes are full.
Brick (Los Angeles)
Like CrossFit Defined, Brick hosts its own LGBTQ-minded CrossFit competition, OutWOD. LGBTQ athletes from the L.A. region gather for intense competition. The event’s proceeds benefit the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. Brick Los Angeles is part of a greater chain of boxes that has locations in Northern California, Houston, Boston, Chicago, New York, and Spain. Even if you aren’t in L.A., you can find a gay-friendly Brick near you.
JACO Hybrid Training Center (Boca Raton)
Located in Boca Raton, the ritzy suburb of Miami, JACO Hybrid Training Center offers a unique combination of one-on-one coaching and state-of-the-art equipment for its members. The CrossFit box is located inside a complex that also houses space for MMA, boxing, and children’s fitness. That alone makes it an in-demand gym. But the center has also become actively involved in the LGBTQ community in recent years. It partners with gay organizations like Pride RX to host special WOD fundraisers. If you’re in the Miami area, it’s worth the drive for an inclusive and powerful workout.
Max Fitness CrossFit (San Francisco)
Surely, San Francisco is home to many gay-friendly CrossFit boxes. But Max Fitness stands out for its routine involvement in the kickoff party and expo for the AIDS/Lifecycle bike ride. The box even included its expo appearance in its opening weekend activities back in 2013. In addition to some killer workouts, as evidenced by client testimonials, Max Fitness ensures it stays actively involved with our community.
OUTWOD is an international organization that specializes in hosting inclusive CrossFit events during the year. “Our pride is in the diversity we represent within the sport of fitness and openly invite anyone to join our welcoming community,” reads the mission statement. OUTWOD sponsors not only CrossFit events but also HIIT classes, intensive boot camps, boxing, and indoor cycling. And, regardless of where you live, you can find an event to join. Over the next month, events will take place in Chicago, Minneapolis, and Reno Tahoe. If you feel CrossFit in your area isn’t gay-friendly, turn the experience into a fitness-minded trip.
The world of sports, whether amateur or professional, hasn’t always been welcoming to gay men. But thanks to these CrossFit boxes and organizations, there’s an opportunity to join the CrossFit family without fearing you won’t fit in.