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Rest Day

Underneath his hoodie...a weighted vest!

Happy Belated Birthday to Katie Mo. & Liese Merry!  Happy Birthday to Kristin H.!

Underneath the Hoodie: David Osorio, aka El Oso

By Margie Lempert

Height: 5’6”
Weight: 145
DOB: 11/10/84
Born: Bogota, Columbia
Grew up: Roxbury, NJ
Place of Higher Learning: West Chester University, Kinesiology Major, Nutrition minor

After a long and unintended hiatus, I am pleased to present the next subject in our series.

Imagine an outline of David. Just the black borders tracing a small legged boy, a widow’s peak, and a baseball cap, filled in with the barely discernible vision of tight pants, Horror T du jour and constant stubble. This is David as a child: an approximation of himself. Nondescript, unremarkable, mediocre, even in his own estimation. He was vaguely pained by it, but unable to address it, assuming that once he left for college, he would begin to fill in his frame.

Today he stands in stark contrast to the child that floated along, generally amiable, playing video games during the summer and ice hockey in the winter, but with no real commitment to anything. It’s as though he materialized at age 18, quickly burned through his youth and became an adult, which perhaps begins to explain the precocious success this 27 year old has found already. A year for David is like 5 years for the rest of us, making his true age somewhere around 45.

As he predicted, at college david suddenly became David; 0 to 100%. Despite any real indications in his youth, he knew he wanted to major in Exercise Physiology. He was a good student, president of the Karate Club, and frequent volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. He was the guy programming workouts for his friends. He wasn’t a natural athlete, and so “primal movements” compelled him: they were special and fun and anyone could learn them. He dreamed of a system of exercise that would push regular folks to play hard. Through Karate (for which he earned a brown belt), he organized tournaments and taught classes.  As is still the case, his interest in the physical straddled sport and rehabilitation, and he helped the Exercise Phys department start a 4 year specialization in Physical Therapy.

One of his most formative moments in college happened at a YMCA: a cop who worked out there introduced him to CrossFit.com and that was it.  That was the system David had been dreaming of and knew it would have to play a major role in his future career.
One of his degree requirements was to complete a practical internship. He would often drive by Chuck Mound’s Performance Training which focused on power, speed and agility development for high school and collegiate athletes. That would be his spot. Suited up, he impressed at the interview and made all the students think he was a recruiter. The internship was a mixed blessing. There was no real mentor or structure to his role there, but by then David had a confidence and persistence that allowed him to take control of his experience. He worked with a range of athletes and developed his ability to systematize, lead groups and create curriculum. He taught himself how to teach.

My first day at CF South Brooklyn was preceded by a lengthy email correspondence with David. Because of the way he handled our surprisingly personal exchange, I imagined he was at least my age, if not older. I arrived at the Lyceum a CFNYC member eager to see whether the neighborhood gym could be a viable supplement. As I came down the stairs, I was immediately greeted with “Margie?” and there was David: much younger than I expected, sporting a handkerchief around his neck, possibly a hipster, but actually too nice to be that. I was one of three people in class that day (John Ciambriello and Erik Kelly were the other two, for those of you who know them). I dug it and decided to start going to the two classes per week that were on offer.

Soon I met Mike, David’s former roommate and childhood best friend. He was part of the reason David was even in New York. Back in high school, they’d decided to come here together after college. Holding true to their youthful promise, they found a place in Brooklyn and David put his resume on Craigslist. Equinox called him for an interview where he made such a good impression that they offered him a salaried job as a trainer - a very unusual position in the commercial gym industry. The job was great; as was now characteristic, he became a leader there and was given a lot of autonomy. But he was still entranced by CrossFit and new he had to start an affiliate of his own.

David’s parents were pleasantly befuddled by all this. After all, their picture of young David didn’t really look like this hard working, goal oriented person passionate about health and fitness. But suddenly their son was aiming to be a business owner. At that time, one could affiliate before being Level 1 certified, so David paid his dues and started pedaling his wares.

Each class, David would gather up his kettlebells, jump ropes, a sandbag and walk himself over to St Mary’s park underneath the BQE to sit and wait for people to show up. He’d hang around, and then after no one came, he’d gather up his equipment and walk himself home. This happened for a while until one day Jaime (now a long time client) showed up! But they were locked out of the park and couldn’t train. Finally, someone called.  And then another person. And then another. At last, he was training 4 or 5 people on a semi-consistent basis in the park, all the while continuing to earn a living at Equinox.

At some point, it started to get cold. He would have to find a place indoors. David hit up every physical establishment he could find, but no one would rent him space. And then he stumbled across the Lyceum. It didn’t really seem appropriate, but he figured why not. The Lyceum being the Lyceum, they said sure and David was in business!

Intuition and personality have been David’s guiding business principles. He doesn’t see himself as a talented entrepreneur, but rather a persistent person able to use his vision of the ideal training facility to affect everyday decisions. In other words, he can translate his dream into something functional. I distinctly remember David coming over to me in one of the early classes to whisper in my ear about cheering someone on. It made me feel special that he thought my support would matter to someone, and I was happy to be empowered to give it. Inclusiveness has always been a strong theme at CFSBK. Likewise, pursuing excellence. David believes that everyone can recognize excellence and chasing it, rather than money, has been key to the gym’s success.

David still considers himself a student, though now he is learning how to be a manager and business owner, rather than trainer. The humbled and earnest position of learner is pervasive throughout the gym. As he says, a business is a reflection of the person who owns it. He is learning that his vision must become more specific, quantifiable and systematic in order to take CFSBK to the next level, which will hopefully entrench it as a highly respected health and fitness facility irrespective of CrossFit.

Certainly his preoccupation with cleanliness is a major boon. Mama Osorio rubbed off on him hard. For David, cleanliness means order and order means you can manipulate and predict your environment to get what you want. This is the physicalization of David’s life philosophy which draws heavily on quantum psychology. Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead and The Illuminatus! Trilogy were formative books. Ask him about his tattoos sometime.

It is hard to capture David in just a few pages. There is something unbelievably uncomplicated about him which makes him eminently approachable, yet he is not as forthcoming about himself as his manner invites. His maturity and wisdom often belie is age, until he admits to something like his obsession with watching dachshund videos on YouTube. But these charming idiosyncracies have positioned him well and allowed him to build a unique, welcoming and successful community that we’re all proud to be part of.

Parting Shots:

Horror Movie fanatic. Favs incude Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Night of the Living Dead.
Loves soulful girl music.
Played bass in high school ska band.

3 Top Movements: Midhang powerclean, Inversions, Kipping pullups

Favorite Way to Eat Eggs:
Fried, whites burnt and crunchy OR 4 egg omelette with tomato, onion and bacon

Corbett M Needs Our Help with his Latest Project!

CFSBKer and Southern Gentleman Corbett M sent us a line about his upcoming project to share with the community:
Hi CFSBK folks. In our box I suspect we have some really strong minds that go along with our really strong bodies and I could use some help. My partner and I are working on a new venture that will pair artists and one great message, found on an old needlepoint of all places, to create a series of posters to be sold as a benefit for organizations doing critical work for LGBT youth. We're planning on partnering with The Trevor Project, GLSEN, Southern Poverty Law Center, and as many small deserving local organizations as we can find. The initial launch will include around 24 artists, but we hope this will be an ongoing project. A big fundraiser on IndieGoGo will launch in the next few weeks (do I see burpees in my future?) and we are working really hard on our proposal.
I'm hoping a few of you who are willing would read the proposal and give me some objective and critical feedback. I'd love a range of voices from folks experienced in business or non-profits (although our organization will not have non-profit status) to those who work in other fields - artists, novelists etc. Universal appeal is what we're after since we'll need not only to work within our own networks, but to expand outward into the networks of our supporters. The wider the range of feedback, the better. I'd be most obliged. 
If you are willing to help please email me at: corbett<AT>comewhatmayprojects.com and put CFSBK in the subject line so I know who you are. THANKS!

What Are the CrossFit Games? CrossFit
How Massage Heals Sore Muscles NY Times
Yale Discovers a Fungus that Eats Plastic
PC World
Mobile Phone Data Reveals Human Reproductive Strategies
Technology Review

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  • Response
    Superb page, Preserve the wonderful work. Regards.

Reader Comments (59)

Awesome! I'm a big fan of David, he's a great guy, great stuff!

@DH3 see you Friday
@Gabrus welcome back. I haven't been perfect, but I've been pretty damn good!

Going dark for a while. See you in the gym.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJR

Great article on David!

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike Mishik

Nice one margie. Excellent piece on the main man coach DO

6am with coach lady fox

kb swings
hip openers

4+ 4+ 3+ 3 3+
squats sucked

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMcGrath

Love the write up!

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeb

Yay David!

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermelon


One of the most approachable and likable people I know.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShree Mulay

Nice write-up Margie - does justice to David.

David: as I always say to you when I see you during a CFSBK event, congratulations! This is damn good thing you got going here.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSamir Chopra

Nice write-up, Margie. I am guessing this was a tough one. David is something special. When I started CrossFit I was 14 weeks pregnant and he didn't bat an eye. He encouraged me to check out crossfitmom.com and was very careful that I was staying safe. During WODs he'd come up to me and start conversations to be sure I wasn't going too hard.

I think the tone of the discussion on the blog the past couple of days is a direct result of David's commitment to community in the gym. You always know the name of the people you're working out with, and a little something funny about them, thanks to our goofy intros (loved today's, Jess!). David rocks.

Great, big, 6am class today. Did tomorrow's squats with Isaac. 5/3/1 at 140/155/175. 10 reps for the rep-out, felt excellent.

Then, dumbbell Fran. Oh jeez. Very very grippy. Thanks all for the encouragement. 7:20 @ 25# DBs.

Oh, and also: Very good blog post by Robb Wolf yesterday on the subject of losing weight on the paleo diet.
Robb's basic message: don't talk to me until you're getting 8-9 hours of sleep in a pitch black room. Motivation to me to redouble my efforts to get good sleep over the next 30 days.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte

loved that rwolf post. especially:

"2-Are you getting 8-9 hrs of sleep per night in a pitch dark room. I do not give two squirts about your excuse here! DO IT. Inadequate sleep cock-blocks fat loss. And give me a break! I’m asking you to SLEEP! How much easier can I make this?"

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermichele

Awesome write up.

Yesterday's workout was definitely one of my favorites that I have had at SBK. I really enjoy the power clean.

20 Rounds rx'd +6 power cleans + 6 pushups

All pushups unbroken. The unbroken pushups was really surprising, but I am very pleased. They were the same pace through out.

OFF to the PARADE.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDH3

Really great write up. There aren't enough kind words in the English language to describe David.

Question about this pitch black room thing: how do you wake up in the morning? I mean I guess it's easy enough in the winter since chances are good you have to wake up before the sun anyway, but I've been really resistant to this whole black out thing because I haven't wanted to give up letting the sun wake me up in the warmer months.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

In light of Corbett M's request I thought I'd share this article I recently read on persecution of LGBTQ teens in Michelle Bachman's home district. Very good, very sad. Also, The Southern Poverty Law Center in invovled:

February 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterNoah Barth

Alright, El Oso!

Did The Chief at 6am with Jess and the crew. Finished 23 rounds + 6pc + 6pu. The goal was 5 rounds per interval but fell short on the last 2 rounds. Really fun workout.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBetz

Well that was a great read. Thanks Margie and David. Margie's description of David the business owner made me think of this Mark Cuban answer in a Q&A I read yesterday about whether somebody should follow their dreams:

"Never follow your dreams. Follow your effort. It’s not about what you can dream of. That’s easy. It’s about whether or not it’s important enough to you to do the work to be ready to be successful in that business."

That certainly seems to be what David did, and it's really impressive. I'm still shocked every time somebody reminds me that David is younger than me.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoel W

OK, so this blog post isn't on the topics promised yesterday but I still thought some of you might like reading it (I'm working on those):

Why compare soccer to football? Roger Cohen, the "Two Footballs", and False Dichotomies


February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSamir Chopra

Captain, my Captain. It's a pleasure and an honor to work with you and the community that you've created. You are the wheel and the grease. Great write up, Margie.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFox

I've said it before and I'll probably say it again, I love this blog series.

Also, I love David. I could listen to his corny active recovery jokes every day, forever and never get bored of them ... "Just imagine you have a really smelly knee and you want your nose as far away as possible from it" Who thinks of something like that to explain how to do a stretch correctly? Amazing.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLana Z


I would, with odds, be willing to wager on the popularity of soccer at some point eclipsing the popularity of football. There is some probability that football goes the way of boxing, a sport considered too barbaric to continue its existence as the premier sport in America. Parents, reading story after story about concussions and brain damage, decide that maybe they should have their kids play soccer rather than football. Even in Texas, perhaps parents start to put their six and seven year olds in pee wee soccer rather than pop warner football. Americas most athletic kids start looking to get signed at 16 by a football club in Amsterdam rather than signing up for at least three years of NCAA exploitation.

I don't know if I believe this story, but boxing and horse racing used to be two of America's most beloved sports. It's not inconceivable that football could be replaced.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoel W

Great write up on a fantabulous guy!

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris A


Interesting thought. Football has a huge footprint so Its displacement - if at all likely - would take some doing. But the reasons you adduce for that are certainly worth thinking about - though I would say boxing's decline was aided by quite a complex set of factors (lack of unification championships, its displacement as a central theater for racial conflict for instance).

Plenty more to be said here - more subjects for blog posts!

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSamir Chopra

Argh, I meant Joel!

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSamir Chopra

Nice post.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBilly Hijinx

Great write-up on DO. It made me so sad to picture David down at St. Mary's playground all by himself. I'm glad things didn't stay that way. Thank you David for everything that you do!

Oh, and I second Lana's comment about DO's AR jokes. They're priceless (and often creepy -- stirring the Paleo pumpkin chili...). I look forward to Saturday AR all week.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatie Mohr

Nice writing Margie!

What a sad image of David walking home with his stuff after no one showed at the park.

D, thanks for persevering, and thanks for SBK!

Keep it coming please!

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos

Yeah, the David walking home alone with his stuff is the saddest image ever - very Charlie Brown.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLana Z

Testing comment moderation.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTest

Nice post.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBilly

I was thinking Vittorio De Sica. In black and white with Hershel trailing behind. I know that's out of sequence but it's the movies. Who wants to direct?

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos

Thank you DO for your persistence and passion in turning SBK from the Charlie Brown image into the vibrant community it is today!

I love that you love the Fountainhead, obvi :)

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStella

JJ -

I actually has the very same concern about blackout blinds interfering with morning sunshine. I was just a fanatic that when I would visit my parents, I insisted we drag the blow-up sofa mattress up from the basement and into my Dad's study so I could wake with the sun. (I am an only child.)

BUT, that got old eventually. So now I sleep in the basement (plus Jeremy started coming with me). Anyway, I've found that somehow my body senses daylight even if there isn't direct sunlight. Yes, I sleep a bit later, but I probably need it anyway.

The thing is, if we actually went to bed at like 8 or 9pm when the sun sets in the summer, it would make sense to get up when then sun rises. But we don't, so we all probably need a little extra shut eye.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMargie

sorry for the typos and grammatical inconsistencies. sheesh.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMargie

JJ - I'm with you. I'm a huge sunshine person, but a recent blog discussion about sleep got me thinking that I should give them a try. Getting enough sleep has been the biggest struggle for me during the Paleo challenge. I didn't even set the bar super high - only 7 hours of sleep per night - but I still can't reach my goal. Anyway, I think it's holding me back from getting the most out of the challenge. I probably won't get them up until next week, but I'll keep you posted! (I figure I can always take them down if I don't like them.)

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatie Mohr

What a great write up on DO! What strikes me about David is his ability to know when you can progress to the next step (whether that is green bands to white bands, knee pushups to strict, 15 lb DBs to 17.5) even when you doubt it yourself. This he has certainly passed on to the other coaches as I can attest to when Jess said the 2 worst words one wants to hear at 6:20 a.m. - "go heavier." To David and all the coaches: you are the best!!

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoy

If a pitch dark room just isn't possible (I live in a loft and the walls of my bedroom don't go all the way to the ceiling, so there's always some light spilling in over the top of the wall), is it at least helpful to wear an eye mask to bed?

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Thank you so much for all the kind words and to Margie for the wonderfully written article. I was nervous for this to be posted and feel slightly embarrassed by the attention. I too am glad that I kept coming back to the park and waiting for people to hopefully show up. You guys are all wonderful and have enriched my life more than words can do justice

Also- there is no blog moderation outside of the annoying automated square soft capture system. I just released 5 entries from blog purgatory. The day I start censoring and deleting comments would be the day I've taken myself way too seriously. I've been sitting in a hair salon on the upper east side reading a book while Sam gets her hair colored all morning.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Osorio

i'm now really sad about the sad image too. tell us it only happened once or twice!

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermig

Great Read on David.

I always got the same impression corresponding with David that he was a lt older than he is (in a good way).

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commentershawn$

My last apartment had no windows in the bedroom and I spent about 5 years sleeping in a Pitch black room. I had the deepest sleep in that room than I've ever experienced. The only downside is that it makes it realllllyyyyyy easy to sleep in. I'm talking like it's 2pm and you're still in bed sleeping in.

Ahhh my phone is dying!!

February 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterDavid Osorio

I tried to post part of this, but I think the internet ate it, so sorry if it double-posts:

For people who don't like waking up in the dark, there are light-based alarm clocks (including some with those anti-SAD spectrum bulbs) and also (i think) timers you can put on your regular lamps to turn them on slowly. I don't own one (we're currently having trouble achieving blackout conditions at home anyways), but it's sort of on my list to do someday, because I imagine it would really brighten up my mornings (zing!). But even without perfect darkness, the attempt at blackout conditions has really improved my sleep.

Also, yay David!

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErica

Great Davidography, Margie. A very inspiring story. David, we'll have to talk R.A.W. one of these days. I can already see the Hagbard Celine / Ragnar D parallels..

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterN. Parish

I can't help but to continue Samir's thread-jacking (yeah, I can't stop myself-- if you haven't notice I'll make fun of everything, including myself-- how about some levity!), mainly because I found Joel's comments very intriguing. I then serendipitously came across this quote about the Super Bowl:

They will be watching more than just an American tradition at play—they will be witnessing one of the deadliest sports in history whose record of premature deaths demonstrates in sobering reality the silent killer in all of us: inflammation

That was a great write-up Margie. It's a tribute to David's character and values that we have the kind of community we do (awesome)...

February 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterRob Is

Front Squat
Rack position never felt right

5/3/1 Bench

Kroc Rows

Gripper Work

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy

Hey Margie! Awesome in-depth David article. David, I think I have a Texas Chainsaw Massacre action figure somewhere - it's all yours. To copy Earl "Yeah buddy!"

Stella! Yes, sleep masks are great - dude, there are ones that gently light up inside the eye cups to wake you up! Anyway, there have nice contoured ones now that don't fit so close to your eyes so they feel smashed and such, and an adjustable velcro band so your head isn't being squeezed to death. Nice and soft, comfie. I wore one in my last apartment, new place is railroad style so the bed is in the middle, no windows. Just cave.

There are some good alarm clocks that wake you up ohsogently, but I'm personally jamming on the Lark or Wakemate and kinda want to check them out something fierce. Oh! And "Gentle Alarm" for Android and iPhone. I've never used the app but friends like it.

I'm horribly jealous of anyone that can sleep in past 8am, only on very rare occasions does that happen to me - in a black room or a pool of sun, 5:30am is natural happy wake up time. So gross.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJules

Julie: I KNOW! After having trained myself to wake up early to run or CrossFit, I can't sleep in even when I want to.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Thanks, David, for not getting discouraged on those walks home from St. Mary's.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJZ

Margie, what a wonderful write up, nicely done! David, thanks for all you have done and continue to do. You touch peoples lives in such a positive way and that is a truly special gift.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDmak

Awesome article, Margie! David- you are the man. Thanks for everything you've done, you are an inspiration! I too have an obsession with watching dachshund videos on YouTube, so you're all good in my book!

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAllen Gaoiran

To David! - The greatest coach I have ever had.
And that is saying something.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commenternywineguy

Cult-Leader David Osorio... On my 3rd anniversary of joining CFSBK, I can't think of a nicer tribute. My life would be greatly diminished w/o you. Thanks!

oh yeah, knocked 5:12 off my Fran time today. Woulda done better if I hadn't done 30 pullups in warm-ups. Woo hoo!

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

Everyone should do "The Chief" a second time.....................

19 rounds today + 9 PCs + 17 PUs @ 125 lbs!
Way better than the 13 rounds @ 115 lbs I did with a strained back yesterday.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShree Mulay

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