CFEB MK2 at Jack London Square

We stand at the threshold of a new era for our gym. CrossFit East Bay is about to open one of the finest training facilities on the planet. This next-level venture is only possible because of the support from the community, and especially the CrossFit community. We are making a quantum leap.

I started CrossFit in 2004 on my own and in early 2005 with the informal CrossFit crew in central park that is now CrossFit Black Box NYC (“Too Big To Fail”) and CrossFit Virtuosity.

In 2006 Greg Glassman gave me the opportunity to become a CrossFit Affiliate. I had some 18 months of experience as an Intern and contractor at CrossFit Oakland, one of the first 30 CrossFit Gyms, and was originally listed as an Affiliate under their agreement in 2006.

Hanging Out with Nicole Carroll and Shira Yaziv at CFO MK1 2006

That’s a very skinny Maximus seven plus years ago (2007) at CFO MK2 below, middle hanging.

My present venture started small in 2007, at Ironworks Climbing Gym in Berkeley, CA. Our first workout was “Fight Gone Bad” in their small but lovely yoga room with my Dynamax Balls (I had three!) rowers, Kettlebells, Iron weights and seriously dangerous metal jump boxes. 25% of the people who were with us in the early days are still with us! I would guess another 25% still CrossFit or do related activities.

BIW Yoga Room early 2008

BIW Parking Lot summer 2008

In early 2008 we expanded to Great Western Power Company Climbing Gym in Oakland, CA, making us the oldest CrossFit gym in Oakland (CFO long ago moved to Emeryville). We worked out on the roof for the entire winter (blessedly dry!), an unforgettable experience for those who were there, until a nosy neighbor got us kicked off of the roof and downstairs into the broom closet that is now the CrossFit area at Great Western Power Company.

GWPC Rooftop with “Fang” winter 2008

Emergency move to GWPC “broom closet” December 2008

Initial bulidout at GWPC early 2009

Later in 2009 we had our best-ever competition finish, Appolonia Helm, 34th Fittest Woman on Earth at the 2009 Games at Aromas. Polly will be returning to GWPC to be a Trainer at CrossFit V16.

In 2010 we competed in the CrossFit Open for the first time.

Max and Andrea’s Wedding Day at GWPC, October 1, 2011

We built out CFEB at GWPC bit by bit, until we had crammed a 300-person Affiliate into a relatively tiny space.

In late 2011, now joined by my wife and business partner, Andrea Lewin we suggested to Touchstone management expanding the program to the space next door to the climbing gym, but we were not on the same page, and we began the search for a new space. Many spaces were looked at and rejected or we were rejected by landlords, including Governor Jerry Brown (his loss). After many false starts, my business mentor and personal training client David Richmond (Client ZERO) made the introduction between us and Ellis Partners, lease holder of 450,000 sq. ft. of rentable in and around Jack London Square. They offered to lease us 4,000 square feet of prime ground floor retail on The Square. By this time 18 months had passed since the search began and I had wrapped my head around the fact that $10,000 a month rent and associated expenses did not matter if we created a space that was good for our clients, existing and potential, so we gladly signed the lease.

Today we find ourselves on the threshold of opening a world-class gym. There are logistical challenges, much as there were in our early days. The scale is different, but the philosophy is the same: give us a space in which to train, be it a park, yoga room, rooftop, broom closet, parking lot or a gym with plywood walls instead of windows, and we will strive to build a better and more functional space and program for our members. This gym will be honed like carbon steel, and polished until it gleams. It will be an adult playground second to none. We welcome all of you who will be a part of supporting, co-creating and participating in the program, community and philosophy of CrossFit East Bay. The journey continues!

The Church Of CrossFit at Jack London Square October 2013

Thank You.

Maximus Lewin L2
Founder, CrossFit East Bay