How to Create a Third Place Using Your Lounge

lounge crossfit gym

The mentality behind Starbucks is more than just serving you a cup of joe – it’s about creating a space, a “third place” after work and home, for you to go.

At Maverick CrossFit, Jeff Crawford said they adopted that same ideology in building out their lounge. The Box’s 15,000-square-foot location in Melbourne, Florida, has a lounge that is its own entity in the space. Bench seating wraps all the way around the area lined with wood walls and TVs hooked up to an ever-changing YouTube channel.

“I think the biggest benefit is just having that spot for athletes to hang out,” said Crawford. “It makes them feel like we want them there and we’re not just herding them through class. They have wifi. They have all of the amenities they would need, very similar to a Starbucks.”

Differentiating Factor

Not only is this lounge a differentiating factor in a crowded market, but Crawford said it strengthens the community of his business. That is also a large benefit of Justin Quandt’s lofted lounge at The Foundry – Union Station CrossFit in Chicago, Illinois.

During socials, Quandt is able to set up food in the loft or have members watch competitors on the training floor below. The loft was his creation, building it out above the gym’s locker rooms.

Quandt did suggest any lounge an Affiliate implements should look out over the training floor. “It’s just one of many different ways you can build engagement and community; I would use it as part of a broader strategy,” he said.


To spruce up the space, Quandt found several pieces of furniture at Home Decorators, enabling him to buy nice looking lounge chairs and stools without breaking the bank. Plus, having a space complete with a couch, sink, fridge and microwave can be beneficial for your staff. “It’s helpful to have a few basic comforts available for your staff, in addition to the usage for members, that would allow them to feel more comfortable and happier when they’re at work,” he said.

At CrossFit Eminence in Thornton, Colorado, Lindsey Marcelli said their 500-square-foot loft works as a mobility space as well. Foam rollers line the walls, along with yoga blocks, mats and other mobility tools. Two Zero Gravity chairs are also in the space for people who want to check out one of the gym’s Powerdot muscle stimulators. During certain nights of the week, a local chiropractor and massage therapist will also set up in the loft to offer their services to members.


“It makes the community stronger because everybody gets to hang out,” said Marcelli. She added it also gets members thinking about rolling out and staying mobile.

At Maverick, the lounge even has a bar with a built-in keg which is filled by a local brewery during events. Whether screening the CrossFit Games or UFC fight nights, Crawford said it’s another chance to build community.

And while his Box’s split layout was beneficial to building a lounge, Crawford said there’s probably a way to make something similar work in any Affiliate. “Have guest wifi and encourage people to stay and chat,” he said. “If you’re shuttling people in and out of the gym, they’re not going to feel comfortable staying, as opposed to if you encourage them to hang out after.”

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at