“What is Culture?”

“What is Culture”

In CrossFit’s methodology, we have a protocol for testing that we’re delivering broad and inclusive fitness using four foundational models;

“Our first model evaluates our efforts against a full range of general physical adaptations; in the second the focus is on breadth and depth of performance; with the third the measure is time, power and consequently energy systems; and the fourth is on health markers. It should be fairly clear that the fitness that CrossFit advocates and develops is deliberately broad, general, and inclusive.” – The CrossFit L-1

Through these agreed upon principles, we build a practice that allows for individual expression in programming with a baseline to ensure inclusive outcomes and the broadest fitness possible. CrossFit’s variance across these concepts drives it’s uniquely effective nature. Your gym, these outcomes.


If our programming is not accidental (varied, not random), then nor is our culture of how we deliver it and the spaces where we gather to do it. The two are inextricably linked and when done well, make CrossFit the tremendously special place we all know it can be. When you start, culture is the product of everything you do (and don’t do) as an owner. It is a living, breathing thing that is the collective outcome of speech and actions. Over time that culture will create habits and they will define your community.


Especially at the beginning, the culture of your gym will largely mirror your values more than anyone else. Therefore, being mindful of that is important and requires reflection before opening. The better you understand yourself, the stronger and more inclusive your culture and successful your gym will become (both as a profitable business and beacon of health). Your gym will not be for everyone – that is an impossible goal, it will ultimately be for anyone who shares the values of the culture you build and finds representation of their journey in your methods and practices. Just as our agreed goal is the broadest fitness possible, that equally applies for our community and culture.


Inclusivity is the product of representation. Inclusive fitness programming means learning the snatch as much as it does being able to run a 5k. You as an owner, likely have a proclivity towards one or the other (maybe you even like burpees), however – if they all aren’t given representation in your programming – we know we simply won’t build the fittest athlete possible given the proven CrossFit methodology. By definition, it will not be inclusive fitness and not CrossFit. “Fitness in 100 words” does not include, “just practice crushing metcons everyday” (even if some of your members want that).


That means that inclusive practice requires work and deliberate reflection. Just as you will assess your programming for gaps, you must equally assess your gym’s culture and community for who is not represented as Coaches and members and seek to fill those same gaps. The investigation of why certain groups are absent will yield a stronger community, active facilitation of inclusivity and representation to change that will build greater strength. Of this there is no doubt. As much as we’re encouraged to learn and play new sports, as leaders we must regularly learn to extend our communities beyond ourselves.


Just as the definition of CrossFit’s fitness has four tenets to prove it’s veracity, the definition of CrossFit’s communities can benefit from the same;

  1. Celebrate every body

    1. Members want your attention, when they see it go towards every body – they understand that’s important to you, they will model those behaviors.

    2. Discuss bodies in terms of what they can do, not their physical appearance.

  2. Asking who is not here?

    1. Seeking greater representation – this doesn’t happen by accident. “Not seeing color/body size/sexual orientation” isn’t an option, because everyone who is of color, body size or sexual orientation, is very much aware of their absence in your space.

    2. Members who identify with you will connect faster with you, members who don’t simply won’t. Therefore, a stronger community requires representation in Coaching that matches a diverse community.

    3. This does not happen accidentally, you can easily attract those who identify with you, but your most powerful potential as a leader will come from creating a culture transcendent of you. That becomes a community.

  3. Non-gendered outcomes

    1. Physical expression comes heavily bound in gendered language, which can present limitations.

    2. Discussing equipment and actions in terms of purpose and stimulus will create space for flexibility and inclusion (not to mention better Coaching). How many times have you watched a new person identifying as male pick up a 45 pound barbell because they saw other men doing it when they had no business using it? All the time. Your word choices determine how that becomes a learning opportunity.

  4. Fostering intention, not expectation

    1. What is the difference between programming a “1 Rep Max” and a “Heavy single”? Intention. In that example, if the athlete doesn’t set a personal record (rep max), they are more likely to feel defeated, when maybe they are plenty strong, but had a poor night of sleep beforehand, which to them, just derailed two months of progress. A “heavy single”, still checks the program inclusion checklist of a compound weight lifting movement expressed via the phosphogenic energy system (powerful neuroendocrine adaptation – your back of house speak – please don’t ever coach like that..) and what they get is a feeling of accomplishment while we know they’re getting fitter. This doesn’t mean never write “1 rep max”, but rather understand how words frame intentional practice.


The hierarchy of needs presented by CrossFit has always assumed but not definitively labeled a section prior to it’s baseline of nutrition that is most critical. Belonging. A concept critical to our needs as humans and core to a healthy culture. Through the practice of a broad, inclusive community – we stand to deliver on that most bedrock of human needs in a unique and profound way.

Reduce holiday stress

Guide to de-stressing your holidays!

Here’s the tricky part of Holiday marketing right now.. It’s easy to start to question if new, shiny approaches are what YOU also need. Not just what might be a gift for someone else.

We sell training programs and stand behind that coaching. However, in any conversation, we will always say that the best program out there is the one you can do consistently. Doing zumba 3x/week will absolutely get you fitter than doing the CrossFit main site 3x/month. You know what the best jump rope for learning double-unders is? The one you pick up and practice with twice a week.

If you’re in a position to buy presents for folks this year, that’s great. If you’re not, don’t let an avalanche of marketing start to make you shitty. Remember, the common, done uncommonly well always yields the best results and happiest people. Maybe you and your loved ones need new things, maybe we all need presence. We can all give and remember that.

Veteran’s Day Hero Workout- “Baker”

Introducing “Baker”!

Vernon Joseph Baker (December 17, 1919 – July 13, 2010) was a United States Army first lieutenant who was an infantry company platoon leader during World War II and a paratrooper during the Korean War. In 1997, he was awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration for valor, for his actions on April 5 – 6, 1945, near Viareggio, Italy.

Baker was born on December 17, 1919, in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the youngest of three children. After his parents died in a car accident when he was four, he and his two sisters were raised by their paternal grandparents. Baker enlisted in the U.S. Army in June 1941 from Cheyenne. He had attempted to enlist in April, but was turned away with the recruiter stating, “We don’t have any quotas for you people”. Baker tried again weeks later with a different recruiter and was accepted.

On April 5, 1945 his unit was ordered to assault a German occupied mountain stronghold. In doing so, Baker personally eliminated three enemy machine guns, an observation post, and a dugout. 19 of the 25 men in Baker’s platoon were killed. On the second day of the assault, Baker volunteered to lead a battalion advance that secured the mountain.

Significance of the numbers:

7️⃣7️⃣ Age when he received the Medal of Honor

5️⃣ Baker personally eliminated three enemy machine guns, an observation post, and a dugout

7️⃣ Baker is one of only 7 Black recipients of the Medal of Honor

1️⃣4️⃣ Total Military Awards he received

Please help us honor Vernon Baker’s legacy of service as well as so many other service people by taking on this workout!

Source materials from Wikipedia and The National WWII Museum

Re-affiliating with CrossFit

Progress not perfection. Our decision to Re-Affiliate with CrossFit.


Progress gives us direction and accommodates our mistakes. It is the “why” that punctuates the sweat and effort performed daily at Subversus. It’s always been my hope that our gym fosters this principle above all else.


In June, with the murder of George Floyd, America’s history of violence towards the Black community elicited an awakening. We were shocked and disappointed to learn that a part of our identity, being a CrossFit affiliate, meant supporting a company owned and led by a man anathema to our values. We weren’t alone in our decision to drop our affiliation and close to 2,000 other CrossFit affiliates made the same decision. The actions of the community forced the sale of Crossfit to a new owner and CEO, Eric Roza. Since then, I watched to try to understand the impact this new leadership would have on the direction and culture of Crossfit.


Recently, after having spoken with Eric, a friend reached out and said I should do the same. Last week, I spent time with Eric via zoom to discuss his priorities and goals for CrossFit, our UliftU program and what we’re doing as a gym. I left that conversation optimistic and excited about Eric’s vision for the future of CrossFit and the impact of his leadership. That conversation also reinforced my belief that while CrossFit’s previous owner did not share our values, actions and decisions at the affiliate level have contributed to some of CrossFit’s challenges like a lack of inclusive practices. 


Eric has a compelling vision for the future of CrossFit and one thing I’ve learned this year is that we all share the responsibility to create the future, which is why I have made the decision to re-affiliate. The potential of CrossFit lies in improvement from both CrossFit HQ and the affiliates. With three months of new leadership, is CrossFit now perfect? Of course not. Am I a perfect gym owner, running a totally inclusive gym and nonprofit? Also, no. I am, however, committed to the principle of progress and I believe CrossFit is as well.


The challenges of our time require that we hold our communities and leaders accountable while resisting the temptation of self-righteousness. Like so many other affiliates, by leaving CrossFit, we repudiated the former owner and advocated for real change. Re-affiliating with CrossFit now evidences my belief that this needed change is underway including building a future that empowers programs and people who need that platform – perhaps for the first time. The BIPOC community, the LGBTQ+ community, anyone who woke up today having been made to feel shame of their body – they need support from privileged allies, because they already struggle with an unjust world. We are here to create the strength to prevail and we need partners moving in the same direction to do so. Here’s to the future.


The best supplement you can buy

Read this before? “Each morning, I (Pro athlete/Influencer), take my Max turbo boost mushroom dust with coffee. It helps my cognitive function, reduces fatigue and let’s me smell colors.”

We have, 24 minutes ago in our inbox actually. Supplements are a multi-billion dollar industry largely looking for short cuts (“optimization”) around what deep down we all now to be true. You can’t skip the basics. What you need is more and better sleep.

New supplement ad. Buy _________ and get!!

✅ Decreased insulin resistance

✅ Increased reaction time

✅ Improved neuromuscular efficiency

✅ Increased testosterone

✅ Improved immune system response

What is this magical innovation? A pillow. Now, want to sleep better? Try these tips:

😴 Find a consistent bedtime that allows you to get 7-8 hours of sleep

💻 Back up an hour from then and shut off anything with a screen

🥘 Back up an hour from that and try to have that be when you’re done eating

🥃 Limit alcohol consumption as well

🛌 Make your room as dark as possible and cool (~68 degrees)

😴 Then, to quote Samuel L. “Go the f**k to sleep

All jokes aside, our approach as a gym is to help you develop the tools to not only be strong and capable, but use that knowledge outside the gym. Recovery is crucial because whatever you do in the gym is dependent on your ability to recover from it to be useful for training. Subvert the system which says a pill is the answer.

Athlete of the MonthSeptember

Brian L!

Career: CPA

Years at Subversus Fitness: 2

Congratulations, Brian!

Congratulations to our newest Member of the Month, Brian!! Brian has been an athlete as part of Liberty Barbell Club for about 2 years now and has been training his Olympic Lifts as a dedicated member of the 6am crew (hence why many of you may not even see him!). He’s quiet and a hard-worker, so we’re excited to have you all learn more about him!

Brian always shows up ready to work, goes out of his way to help you out, and skillfully flings barbells over his head without touching the ceiling, which, given his height,  is an amazing feat to see! – Jose

Brian is the man. His consistency and dedication to putting in the work would be admirable enough by itself, but the fact that you’ll never hear him complain about it is what really sets him apart – and all of this at the unholy hour of 6am? Yeah, that’s a Member of the Month trifecta. Congrats dude, way to make LBC look good! – Chrissey

Brian jumped into weightlifting, the most technical strength-based sport out there, with no holds barred and committed fully to learning the sport. He has been diligent about his technique work & effort and his consistency is really starting to pay off! He has easily put 20kg EACH on his snatch and clean and jerk since starting, and is nowhere near being done. I love his quiet commitment because he is very rarely distracted, and stays prepared. Congrats Brian! – Coach Morgan

I haven’t had the opportunity to coach you very often, but I’ve heard great things from the other coaches. I know that you are consistent and show up for your training everyday with a positive attitude. So awesome to hear that your fellow barbell peers and coaches have recognized all of your hard work and dedication to our programming. Congrats once more on winning Member of the Month and on your recent PR’s. I hope to coach you more in the future.- Coach Luis

This is great! Brian is awesome— shows up for the 6am LBC sessions like clockwork, and is always ready to put in work, push himself, and listen to feedback from coaches and his team. Watching him improve his mobility, stability, technique, and STRENGTH (dude is moving some weight!) has been a real joy as a coach, and we’re lucky to have him back there before dawn most days. – Coach Justin

Nobody trains accidentally at 6am.. You have to be dedicated and committed, two things that Brian has in spades. He’s always working to improve, coachable and the results show it! Glad he’s getting some recognition as one of the hardest workers in the gym. – Coach Wylie

Congratulations, Brian! Well deserved and keep it up! – Coach Jesse

What is your day job?// I am a CPA at FMC in University City (no, I won't do your taxes...unless an audit by the IRS doesn't faze you).
When did you join Subversus?// Officially, for about 18 months. Prior to that, I had been doing drop in classes for about a year but the accountant in me did a cost-benefit analysis and it made more sense to join full-time.
What's your favorite and least favorite workout?// By far my favorite is max-out week. It's awesome seeing everyone in the 6 am group ring the bell after post-PR after weeks of buildup. Truthfully, I don't have a least favorite. The variety of the programming doesn't offer much chance to get familiar with a specific workout and breed contempt.
What do you crave after working out?// I do the 6 am class so post-workout indulgences are usually limited to a smoothie and an omelette. If I end up in the afternoon class, then it'd have to be a burger and beer from Race St. Cafe or a huge bowl of ramen from Tomo in Old City.
What accomplishment in the gym are you most proud of?// Honestly, just staying committed. I had previously been doing the standard gym model for a while and when i joined LBC it definitely took me out of my comfort zone. I don't think I ever anticipated a routine where I would be waking up at 5 am every morning to go and do things called "clean and jerks" and "snatches".
What's something about you that most people don't know?// I played baseball in high school and my senior year I performed the rare feat of fouling a pitch off into my face, thus earning me a bunch of stitches and a scar below my eyebrow. That effectively ended my baseball career since I knew I would never pull off anything as remarkable as that again.


In the fitness industrial complex of gyms, the term “no commitment” gets used as a proposed member benefit. No pressure, no commitment.

That’s not what we’re about at any level.

Commitment is how what you want actually becomes reality with us.

Commitment is what drives our Coaches to foster personal connections, superior movement standards and keep learning.

Commitment is how you will find strength and power you didn’t know you had with us.

Commitment is how we build a more just and healthy community, not with talk but at every level with our actions, hiring practices and language.

We’re not here to entice you with deals. In fact, you don’t want a deal, you want to feel something different and empower your body. It’s time to stop wandering aimlessly in a gym, wondering why you’re not getting what you want from training. You are capable of so much, and commitment is how we get there. It’s time to go pro. Let’s get started.

Athlete of the MonthAugust


Career: Professional Pimple Popper

Years at Subversus Fitness: 1

Congratulations, Cerrene!

Congratulations our newest Member of the Month – Cerrene!


All during quarantine-fit, Cerrene could be spotted pressing, squatting, swinging and pulling her trusty laundry jug and always with a smile. While we wait on the Tide sponorship deal to kick in, read more about why she’s great!


Cerrene is GREAT! Always ready with a smile and a thoughtful insight, she brings energy and positivity to every class! I love talking with her about the WHY of workouts, and she’s always ready to help someone else get better, or just feel more comfortable. She’s a fantastic community member and we’re lucky to have her. – Coach Justin


Cerrene has been such a great addition to the community! Not only can she help us with any random dermatological concerns we may find, but she’s been an active participant in maintaining our sense of family while we were in the depths of quarantine. During what is arguably the hardest time to try and connect with people, she consistently took zoom classes, participated in the sub23 challenges, and entertained us during happy hour. Getting to know Cerrene and being able to watch her integrate more into the Subversus crew was one of the small silver linings of the gym being closed. I’m happy to see her back in person, and hopefully never swinging a backpack again :) – Coach Morgan


Congrats on winning Member of the Month!  It’s well deserved! You stuck in threw these last few months and gave it all you with each workout. I love the fact that at any event we held online, you were always there and supportive. We are happy to have you as a member at Subversus!! – Coach Jesse


It’s been such a joy to watch you progress in and out of the gym! I remember coaching you during your first couple of Onramps and I’m so impressed with how far you’ve come. Thanks for being a great athlete to coach, a wonderful presence in and outside the gym and for always bringing your positive attitude to any situation. – Coach Luis


Cerrene is genuinely curious and coachable – two things that make her great to have in classes. She’s probably traumatized to do laundry after working out with her laundry jug for months but hopefully that Tide deal comes through. Seriously, we love her enthusiasm and support. Well deserved!! – Coach Wylie


She’s a friendly face, fun to workout with, and I will never look at laundry detergent the same way thanks to her rocking it during quarantine! – Emma

Cerrene always brings the most positive attitude to the gym (and the punniest jokes anyone’s ever heard)! I had no idea her and I started at the same time, and got to know her over Zoom classes. Now I love being in class with her and enjoying happy hour afterwards! So thankful the gym brought us together – Nadia



What is your day job?// Philly’s own Dr. Pimple Popper ;)
When did you join Subversus?// Just in time to work off all of that Halloween candy (October 2019)
What's your favorite and least favorite workout?// Favorite: Row, back squats, ab work, burpees...just kidding, nobody likes burpees (except Luis) Least favorite: the weighted carry to and from the Korean War Memorial
What do you crave after working out?// Pre-Covid: Dos tacos (RIP) Post-covid: all of the beer/cocktails-to-go
What accomplishment in the gym are you most proud of?// Surviving my first Murph
What's something most people don't know about you!// I consider a tub of hummus as an actual meal

Athlete of the MonthOctober

Tips for mindful eating!

We eat too fast. That’s simple right? You’ve heard it already and sure – you know you shouldn’t be eating over your keyboard as you read this, but have you ever known why? If you’re looking to lose or gain weight – the speed at which you eat can mean more in some cases than what you actually eat. Here’s why.


Chew your food!


Ideal food sources are made up of lots of nutrients, such as macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), as well other things like water and fiber. In order to eat them, we chew, breaking the food down into smaller pieces so we can access the nutrients. Chewing is not only how we make sure that we don’t choke and die, it’s the first step in digestion. The saliva in our mouth contains enzymes that help break food down further from a bite sized state. Without chewing, we miss a critical part of unlocking what’s good in our food.


You can make a super colorful, organically raised meal – but if you don’t actually chew it. Lots of the nutrients from that food pass you by meaning actually chewing and digesting something with less nutritional value can be more helpful for your body than inhaling a perfectly portioned meal. Chewing also releases pleasurable neurotransmitters in our brain – one of the reasons why chewing on things can be a response to stress.


Your brain and your stomach need to catch up!


When we hurry our meal process the process of satiety (fullness) takes time to catch up. We’ve all been there. It’s a big dinner, you’ve been waiting or preparing all day for it – time to eat and you scarf down everything in sight before you even know what happened and now you’re looking for sweatpants. Your body needs time to recognize what’s happening and adjust to feeling full because of it.


One of the easiest things you can do is start by adding 5 minutes to each meal. Time yourself for a meal to get a baseline, then add 5 minutes. Better yet, try and turn off the screen you’re looking at while you eat or doing it in a distracted environment. This will help you chew more (point number 1) and recognize how your body feels – leaving you with a better chance of fueling appropriately. One thing that I do (especially with desserts!) is put my fork down between bites – this simple act slows me down and creates mindful practice.


Get on a schedule


Especially, right now – our at home schedules are a mess. We’re eating/working/sleeping/making fitness all under one roof or even in the same room. That makes it really hard to work on a single activity at a time. In the case of eating though, routine is really important to our nervous system. Our bodies like routine and slower, smaller meals at predictable intervals give our body the chance to feel hunger and satiety cues as well as understand how food makes us feel.


Why it matters


I used to get a sandwich from a deli down the road from my office. Every day, I’d bring it back to work, eat it over my computer keyboard and within 30 minutes I would be doing everything I could to keep my eyes open. What was my response? Energy drink and cookies (not kidding). Because at the time I was working out 2-3 hours a day, I thought none of it really mattered, just eat. It took me awhile to actually start to notice this pattern – rather than, just throw sugar at the issue to wake myself back up (which wouldn’t work),  I started to change my lunch. I swapped out bread for sweet potatoes and processed deli meats for proteins I cooked at home. Then I found I didn’t need crave the soda and if I did need a pick me up, I switched to a caffeinated tea without added sugar.


The goal here isn’t to be perfect. The goal is to be mindful and by slowing down, we connect to our food, learn how it makes us feel and live healthier. All by just doing what mom told you when you were a kid. Share your food and chew it.