The 3 Best (and Worst) CrossFit Cities in the U.S.

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Editor’s note: Originally posted on on 4 March 2015 and re-posted here with permission.

CrossFit is the hottest new workout craze now sweeping the nation by storm — and it was a long time coming …

After decades of pursuing the easiest possible forms of exercise (or to some, “jazzercise”) Americans have started to learn the cold, hard, truth:

Getting in shape isn’t easy. Working out actually involves work. And perhaps the biggest bombshell of all: that Suzanne Somers’ ThighmasterThe 3 Best (and Worst) CrossFit Cities in the U.S. wasn’t the groundbreaking revolution we all figured it to be.

So love it for being the best thing to happen to barbells or hate it for being the latest in cookie-cutter fads and franchises, CrossFit is here, and it’s here to stay at least for a little while. In some locales like South Florida and the Treasure Coast, CrossFit “boxes” are popping up everywhere and even inspiring new spinoffs like OrangeTheory.

So where do CrossFitters belong? Which states and cities offer the best opportunity to indulge in this exciting new exercise trend … and which ones are the worst? Let’s find out…

Worst Place for CrossFitters #1: Cleveland, Ohio

As you may remember from previous posts on Cleveland, we absolutely adore the city—but we don’t think it’s perfect for the eager young Crossfitter.

Worst Place for CrossFitters #1: Cleveland, OhioFirst of all there’s the weather, which is less than ideal for someone who prefers a mix of indoor and outdoor exercise. And second, there’s the local culture of hard factory work and a “healthy” aversion to exercise. Not to say the city lacks its fair share of packed gyms, but it’s not the most thriving scene either.

And then there’s the food. Goodness there’s the food. In both Columbus and Cleveland Heights you’ll encounter one of the most indulgent restaurant chains in all the country —Melt Bar & Grilled. This local joint focuses on great microbrews and a wide selection of creative grilled cheese sandwiches.

This month’s specials include the “Chicken Pot Pie” melt, with roasted pulled chicken, creamy white gravy with peas and carrots, along with Sharp Vermont Cheddar all baked up in a crispy puff pastry crust.

You see how that would be a problem when you’re looking to burn off the calories, not pack them on…

Worst Place for CrossFitters #2:  New York (& Chicago)

This is the weirdest entry on our list by far because it’s two cities instead of one. And also because New York is arguably one of the best places for CrossFitters too…

That is, of course, assuming you can get into the elite CrossFit NYC gym, the largest in the nation and the oldest one on the East Coast, with more than 1,000 members and 200 classes each week. If not, you could be stuck across town from your box, needing to ride the train or hoof it through snowy streets before you can get to work.

Likewise with Chicago. In both cases, the big city vibe is great and the options that entails are many… sometimes too many. It can be very easy to get distracted by all the bright lights and exciting nightlife and find yourself skipping classes without thinking about it…

Worst Place for Crossfitters #3: Asheville, NC

In Asheville; like in many other American cities so close to spectacularly natural surroundings, if you’re working out indoors, you’re doing it wrong. Plain and simple.

Within a short drive of thousands of scenic mountain trails and hundreds of great campgrounds, Asheville is a backpacker’s paradise and one of the state’s fastest-growing cities partially because of that. The city still has its gyms, to be sure, and we understand that CrossFit can be a way of life for some folks, but cities like Asheville just have so much more to offer…

So that’s the worst. Now what about the Best?

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