We are Brooklyn’s first CrossFit affiliate, and an internationally consulted gym for our progressive and professional business practices. CFSBK had humble beginnings starting outside in a playground in Carroll Gardens back in 2007, but each year, we continue to grow organically, maintaining our status as the largest affiliate in the borough and one of the most well established in New York City. We pride ourselves on our professional coaching, exceptional facilities, and above all—our fun, inclusive, and supportive training environment. Don’t believe us? Check our Yelp reviews.
CFSBK’s mission is to provide a safe, effective and inclusive training environment for all our members. We pride ourselves on our top-notch coaching, intelligent programming, and professional yet relaxed atmosphere. Everyone from folx exercising for the first time to competitive athletes will feel appropriately challenged and motivated. At CFSBK, you are accepted for who you are, then immediately challenged to get better.
CFSBK is located in the heart of Gowanus on Degraw Street between 3rd and 4th avenue. We have a total of 11,200 square-feet of training space split between three connected facilities. Check out the other links under “About” to learn more!
CFSBK started in November of 2007 in a small park below a subway line. After three months, we developed a small crew of five to eight people who trained together on the weekends. A fast-approaching winter forced us to find a space we could rent by the hour so we could continue teaching classes and growing the business. We ended up at The Brooklyn Lyceum, an old bathhouse, where we slowly went from two classes per week and about 10 members to classes five days per week and about 50+ consistent members. Many from that crew are still with us. We learned plenty of lessons through a trial-and-error approach as we found our voice as a gym and community. A little over a year later, we moved into our current facility just a few blocks down the street, on 597 Degraw Street. We schlepped our equipment over and have been steadily building our program ever since. In 2014, we leased a 1,200 square foot annex space above us for additional offerings and in 2015 we expanded into a second location across the street at 608 Degraw Street which gave us an additional 5,000 square feet to accommodate our growing membership and array of class options. Today, we are one of the largest and most well known CrossFit affiliates worldwide. You can see a little slide show of our growth over these past 13+ years on an Instagram highlight set here.
Our gym also serves as a model for CrossFit affiliates worldwide, and we regularly mentor hundreds of readers each day around the world via Coach David’s popular blog, Inside the Affiliate.
Values & Social Impact
CFSBK strives to be an inclusive community with a strong sense identity and social impact. Below you can see some of our inclusive programs and annual events as well as their social impact via fundraising and awareness.
CFSBK Scholarship Program
At CFSBK we aim to create space for people who may not have the economic means to purchase our full or normally discounted memberships via our CFSBK Scholarship program. For every 35 Group Class members we have, we offer one sliding scale membership which can be as low as $0 per month. This program aims to make access to our gym and culture more accessible and equitable for our local community. Full details and application here.
Fight Gone Bad
Fight Gone Bad is one of our oldest and largest community fundraising events. This event originally started via an affiliate fundraising competition initiated by CrossFit to benefit sportsgrants. After three years, the program ended but we decided to continue the tradition and make it our own. Since 2008, we’ve raised over $372,000 for a variety of charitable organizations. Most notably the Brooklyn Community Foundation which works with local non-profits to strengthen underserved communities and more recently the Sunrise Movement Foundation which is a youth organization that aims to stop climate change and create new and sustainable jobs for our future.
2008: $7,303 (Sportsgrants, defunct)
2009: $26,826 (Sportsgrants)
2010: $48,052 (Sportsgrants)
2011: $62,216 (Special Operations Warrior Foundation)
2012: $34,081 (Brooklyn Community Foundation)
2013: $40,926 (Brooklyn Community Foundation)
2014: $38,925 (Brooklyn Community Foundation)
2015: $26,949 (Brooklyn Community Foundation)
2016: $24,077 (Brooklyn Community Foundation)
2017: $22,069 (Brooklyn Community Foundation)
2018: $17,797 (Brooklyn Community Foundation)
2019: $22,986 (Sunrise Movement)
2020: Cancelled due to Pandemic
TOTAL RAISED: $372,207
Iron Maidens Raw Open / Stay Strong Scholarship
Since 2016 CFSBK has been hosting the annual Iron Maidens Raw Open which was founded by CFSBK coach Margie Lempert. This event is an unsanctioned, women only powerlifting meet that aims to bring together women at all stages of training to inspire each other with their commitment, effort, willingness to fail, and drive to succeed. The event, which is completely women run, also aims to have a social impact via the Iron Maidens Stay Strong Scholarship created in partnership with Grace Outreach to help women who don’t have access to financial aid pay for higher-level education.
The money we raise pays for 70% of college tuition for undocumented students, Dreamers, and women who have been victims of predatory for-profit colleges. Students in these financial situations have no access to financial aid dollars and the undocumented students are ineligible for most scholarships.
Rather than selecting recipients based on common criteria such as grades or academic achievement, this scholarship rewards persistence—the grit and determination to keep going during hard times. We believe this recognizes and addresses the reality our students face, and also captures the essence of the Iron Maidens Competition.
Since Iron Maidens and Grace Outreach started the Stay Strong Scholarship we have raised over $115,000 and graduated four students with Associate Degrees! We recently had our first student to complete a Bachelor’s Degree at Lehman College with continued support from the Stay Strong Scholarship.
We currently support six students: three are making their way through Hostos Community College, Bronx Community College, and Borough of Manhattan Community College, and three have moved to Lehman and John Jay Colleges. The women pursuing degrees are studying in the fields of criminal justice, business administration, sociology, early childhood education, and health sciences.
Funds raised from Iron Maidens
Total Raised: 115,239
CFSBK has celebrated LGBTQ Pride Month in a variety of ways over the years. In 2013 we wrote and started hosting a workout named “Stonewall” in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion. Stonewall was a weekend-long riot and protest at the end of June against police raids and harassment of LGBTQ people at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, which many mark as the birth of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.
What is lesser known about the Stonewall Rebellion and the growth of the LGBTQ rights movement is that it was led by transgender women of color, such as Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson. While the LGBTQ rights movement has made a lot of progress over the past few decades, there is still a long way to go, particularly for members of the trans community who face significant discrimination and violence. For this reason, CFSBK’s annual Pride workout benefits 2 nonprofit organizations serving the trans community: the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute. CFSBK has been a proud supporter of these organizations over the past 3 years and supports them in the centering of Black trans lives and, in the spirit of Stonewall, the fight to end police violence.
AMRAP 15 Minutes:
6 Squat Cleans 135 (Marsha) / 95 (Sylvia)
6 Shoulder-to-Overheads 135 / 95
Instead of the usual “male” and “female” Rx weights, these suggested loadings will be named after the late Sylvia and Marsha in honor of their contributions to the LGBTQ movement.
Education Front Line
In 2020 we created a brand new home-brewed hero workout entitled “Education Front Line”. Our intention was to honor the contributions to society our teachers and administrators make every day in service of our children and the future of this country while raising funds for Operation Backpack. Now more than ever, we also want to acknowledge the obstacles that every teacher faces going into this new and unprecedented school year. Last March, with essentially no prep time educators pivoted to distance learning with limited resources and experience to finish out the school year. This Fall, many are going back into school buildings risking their own safety and that of their loved ones to provide for their students and communities. In our discussions with teachers and administrators, anxiety is high, stress is prevalent and each district has offered varying levels of support, communication and thoroughness in their safety plans. With this workout we honor their personal sacrifices and acknowledge their profound importance to society.
CFSBK is partnering with Operation Backpack which has the goal of providing brand new backpacks and grade-specific school supplies to children living in homeless and domestic violence shelters throughout the five boroughs of New York City. In 2020 we raised over $2,000 for children in need.
“EDUCATION FRONT LINE”
SA DB Hang Power Clean
SA DB FSQ
SA DB Push Press
Round 1: 1 Left arm Clean, 1 Left arm FSQ, 1 Left arm PP, 1 Right arm Clean, 1 Right arm FSQ, 1 Right arm PP
Round 2: 2 Left arm Cleans, 2 Left arm FSQs, 2 Left arm PPs, 2 Right arm Cleans, 2 Right arm FSQs, 2 Right arm PPs
There is some symbolism built into the programming of this workout.
Ascending rep scheme: The workout starts at one rep per arm and moves up through the 20 minutes. Each round represents a new grade (3rd grade, 4th grade etc) and the idea is to see how far you can make it. Can you clear 12 rounds and make it into higher learning?
Single DB: The workout is intentionally austere with only one DB to work with. This represents how teachers across the country have to be creative and versatile with limited resources to get the job done. With one DB we’ll do three different movements (Hinge, Squat, Press) in order to create a well rounded workout.
Single Arm: This represents the uniqueness of each student and how teachers need to distribute their effort among varying levels of learners to get them through their education.
Memorial Day Murph
Every year we host our annual Memorial Day Murph event benefiting K9’s for Warriors which supports the training of support dogs for veterans suffering from PTSD. Donations from Murph go directly from members to K9s for Warriors.
Dogs of CFSBK Calendar Benefiting Pupstarz Rescue
We love dogs at CFSBK and since 2016 we have been putting out a “Dogs of CFSBK” Calendar with 100% of the profits going to Pupstarz Rescue. This organization is run by fellow CFSBKers and we have also hosted adoption events at the gym to help place pups in their forever homes. Each year we raise around $1,000 for this great organization.
At PupStarz, we have a track record of rescuing some of the hardest cases from high kill shelters regardless of age, breed, and temperament—in fact we have saved over 530 this year alone!! But with so many rescues, come many medical bills.
- This year we have spent over $150,000 in medical care – and due to COVID we have had some of the most challenging medical cases since our inception.
- Your donations can directly help say yes and fund the surgeries and medical care for deserving pups and kitties like Pongo featured here, who needed both eyes removed.
- We are volunteer-run and rely 100% on individual donations so please consider making a tax-deductible donation on this very important day for us.