Joey Renzi, who owns and operates CrossFitPHL and Fitness Works with his mother Joanne, said the Cross Fit facility opened the first week of November with more than 30 classes per week.
Renzi said that CrossFitPHL distinguishes itself from similar facilities for several reasons, but most importantly because membership gives you unlimited access to Fitness Works, including its newly renovated 50-foot indoor salt-water pool.
Classes at CrossFitPHL include a boot camp, which is something of “an entry level into Cross Fit, but you still get a phenomenal workout,” Renzi said. “It’s more like a conditioning type of course, which we called ‘functional fitness’ at the other gym.”
Then of course, there are the actual Cross Fit classes, “which are souped-up version of boot camp but focus more on strength,” he said. Each class starts with a warm-up, then moves on to a skill such as pull-ups, jump rope or rings. It then includes a strength portion (squatting, deadlift, Olympic lifting, pressing, etc.) and finishes with a conditioning element such as a series of timed situps, squats and burpees.
“Everything is infinitely scalable,” Renzi said. “So, if you have one athlete using 100 pounds, there can be another in the same class using 50, then another 10.”
Renzi says Cross Fit has become so popular because it provides a sense of community, where everyone in the class helps each other out and the coaches are able to provide detailed instruction.
“Everything is all planned out for you,” he said. “Not only that, but your form is going to be watched meticulously so you don’t hurt yourself because you tried to figure it out after you watched a couple videos online.”
The final class offering is Olympic lifting, which focuses primarily on “the snatch” and “clean and jerk” – “stuff you would see if you were watching the weightlifting in the Olympics on television,” he said. He added that Olympic lifting coach Jim Rutter is “one of the best in the area at what he does.” He has coached medal-winning athletes at the national level and qualified athletes for both national and international level competitions, Renzi said.
“We like to keep a high standard of coaches because that’s the only way you’re ever gonna succeed.”
The family knows a thing or two about success. Joanne Renzi opened Fitness Works in 1996 and now its the largest independently owned gym in South Philly.
“One of the things I learned from my mother, people like to see who’s running the business,” Joey Renzi said. “Most corporate gyms, you’re never going to see the owner, you might not even see the manager of the business. We’ve always been very hands on. We like to know who are members are.”
CrossFitPHL often uses Fitness Works’ facility, which is right around the corner, to augment their classes. “We have a lot of other facilities that the others don’t have, like access to 40 other classes there. People get best of all worlds, really. Most Cross Fits don’t have 20 treadmills, but we do around the corner.”