CrossFit, the widely popular fitness methodology, has a noise problem. Each day, loyal CrossFitters flock to their local gym, or “box,” for the workout of the day (WOD). In line with CrossFit’s philosophy of constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity, these WODs often involve high repetitions of pull-ups, kettlebell swings, box jumps and barbell movements, such as squats, presses and Olympic lifts. Couple that with WOD formats requiring as many repetitions as possible in a certain time, or a certain amount of repetitions as quickly as possible, and the result is a measurable level of performance. While the CrossFit community is united by its dedication to the program, neighbors to local boxes are not as appreciative of the cacophony of sounds that accompany the WODs.
The dropping of barbells and kettlebells not only causes a considerable amount of noise, but also causes vibrations both in the gym floor and walls. Throw in loud, thumping music and therein lies a recipe for testy neighborhood relations – – and potential lawsuits. This is especially true in densely-populated cities such as Chicago and New York City, where boxes are set up wherever there is space, including at the base of apartment buildings and in the middle of tightly-packed residential areas.
[A] recipe for testy neighborhood relations . . .
Would-be box owners face a difficult decision as to whether to open shop in the middle of large cities. Some boxes choose to proceed without obtaining necessary permits for noise levels, and are met with lawsuits. Others maintain that they are not violating any noise ordinances, yet still face stiff opposition from neighbors, to the point that some boxes have even closed and moved locations. Still others choose to sink large sums of money—from $2,000 to $250,000—into noise-reducing measures for their boxes in order to appease the neighbors. Ultimately, the decision involves significant risk assessment, in the analysis of potential set-up costs, box modifications, and potential legal fees—including those spent to obtain necessary permits and defend against upset neighbors—versus the benefits of bringing an elite level of fitness to their respective communities.