What is Subversus?

What is Subversus Fitness?

This seems like a suitable point to start with blog posts. What the heck is this thing anyways? What does that word mean? Let me explain, but first we need to take a brief step back. All the way to the 1980s..

Long before Subversus Fitness was the tenant at 1229 Chestnut St, there was the East Side Club. A new-wave and punk rock club tucked beneath the previous vestige of the Adelphia House apartment building. The music played came from a desire to create a response to excess and a lack of authenticity. When asked about why they made music, Tommy Ramone said; “I knew that what was needed was some pure, stripped down, no bullshit rock 'n' roll.” These artists felt that there was a core and vital use of music that was being lost to commercialization, so they created a community of shared values and a commitment to their own terms at all costs. Punk music was fast and it disregarded traditional and established song structure. It was played in garages, small clubs, sweaty and hot spaces fueled by passion. When the industry labels turned down their nose at punk, they made their own labels and eschewing the increasingly technology dependent mainstream music model.

In the late 90s, a similar movement was starting in Santa Cruz, California again in a small, sweaty space. Greg Glassman and a handful of athletes were finding a way to connect to a stripped-down aesthetic as well, only through fitness but by combining overlooked elements of gymnastics, Olympic weightlifting and traditionally monostructural aerobic pursuits (running, biking, rowing). The applied those elements in constant variation and at intensity. The fitness boom of large gyms and celebrity fitness videos had shifted fitness to become about the aesthetic, not the capacity. Machines, not movements. Isolation, not incorporation. In founding CrossFit, Glassman shared something with The Ramones, a recognition that they craved something with substance, and oh yea, it would also be loud and fast. CrossFit grew just as punk music had, grassroots and in contrast to the mainstream fitness establishment. It wasn’t about aisles of gleaming machines and technology dependent training, it was people of all ages, coming together to redefine athleticism and community. It was training for The Ramones, no bullshit.

Both movements shared a common core. A willingness to subvert the existing system on their own terms. To establish their own standard around a community. The success of both movements was largely the ability to build a community. The urgency of punk music and CrossFit both required physical movement and sharing that with others. Neither movement was totally understood or without detractors.

You’re too loud.

It’s too fast.

You’re destroying what came before.

It won’t work.

Subversus is how we’re taking this heritage and making it our own. Subversus means taking on the existing stereotypes of health and wellness and breaking them down, 60 minutes at a time.

Your gender determines what weight is on the bar.

Women aren’t supposed to have muscles.

Men aren’t supposed to workout together.

Workouts should be hours long.

Coaches should be cheerleaders.

Your health is predetermined.

At Subversus, you’re making a choice to be a part of a community that is deciding to establish our own terms of excellence and saying these statements don’t apply. Using CrossFit and its component parts, Gymnastics, Olympic Lifting and functional movement training – we’re making a choice to defy machines and communities that aren’t inclusive to everyone. Success is determined by effort and every class is the opportunity to challenge yourself, and what others expect of you. Our coaches are a part of our community, we live this stuff right along-side you and always will. Our commitment is to that pursuit and we’re always learning more to help guide you.

Every day we’re bombarded with products, gadgets and hacks to make life better by doing less and depending on technology more. Subversus means making the decision to do what’s difficult because we believe in the original hack. Hard. Sweaty. Work.  No shortcuts. There will never be an app for that.

As Henry Rollins said, “Sometimes the truth hurts. And sometimes, it feels really good.” It’s time to feel that good in the place where punk is still alive and well beneath the Adelphia House.

Wylie Belasik