Novem Community Fitness celebrates, affirms, and creates empowering spaces for LGBTQIA+ individuals. During pride month and throughout the year, we honor and support the ongoing march toward equality for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Meet the Coaches
Leading by example
Whether playing football, riding bikes with friends, or competing in high school track and field, Joe has always had a strong passion for exercise. But as he got older and fell into his daily “grown-up” routine, Joe’s health took a backseat in life. On his 30th birthday, Joe realized he was overweight and knew something had to change. He spent the next two years gym-hopping through South Jersey and Philadelphia, trying to stay engaged with the workouts he needed to stay healthy. In 2009, Joe heard whispers of something called Crossfit—a new kind of workout that was fun, exciting, and results-driven. CrossFit challenged him both physically and mentally and he was hooked after his first workout. Joe loves CrossFit’s focus on staying healthy through proper diet and exercise, but he believes that the true bonus of CrossFit is the community created by the owners and members. Building on that love for community and fitness, Joe is excited to take his love for CrossFit to new heights at Novem and is looking forward to helping people in the CrossFit Novem community to reach their full potential in health, exercise, and life.
Lydia grew up in Virginia where she played a variety of sports from a young age. In high school, she focused most of her athletic energy on soccer and field hockey where she learned the importance of bringing discipline and focused intensity to any workout. At 16, Lydia was introduced to the world of “functional fitness” and Olympic weightlifting and immediately fell in love.
Lydia moved to Philly in 2016 as a Temple student and later found that the Novem community would be the perfect fit for her to continue her fitness journey. She feels most comfortable with a barbell in her hands, but can be talked into doing almost any workout (that doesn’t include running).
Lydia has competed in several meets and competitions, and hopes to make an appearance at University Nationals in the future.
Nick Bailey grew up in Central Pennsylvania where he discovered his love for fitness running on the long back roads of the state’s farmland. He excelled in cross country and on the track, and he discovered early on that he enjoyed mentoring and motivating other teammates and younger athletes. When he entered college, he opted to graduate to the 1/2 and eventually full marathon distances. After several years training and running the marathon, he began to notice fatigue issues that forced him to explore other areas of fitness and exercise. Missing the group mentality of training with a team, Nick gravitated toward group fitness as he began exploring alternatives to running. In 2017, Nick took his first indoor cycling class and immediately knew he wanted to coach. Nick became a certified Spinning instructor later that year, and he currently teaches indoor cycling at Revel Ride in Graduate Hospital.
Nick came to Novem in September 2018 with the simple goal of getting stronger. After completing Novem’s on-ramp program, Nick was hooked. Having an extensive background in cardio and endurance exercise, he enjoys the strength and skills work provided by Novem because he finds it to be the most challenging. Nick loves exercise and wellness, and he is excited to join the Novem coaching team to share his passion. He loves to help people, and is excited to help members grow stronger and reach their own personal fitness goals.
Nick is USAW L1 and Spin certified.
Hugh Black is a Philadelphia transplant, growing up in Phoenix, and coming to us from Las Vegas. Hugh is a pilot in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard and an avid CrossFitter, loving everything the sport has to offer and enjoys competing. However, Hugh wasn’t that athletically inclined while growing up, until he got to high school and had a goal to get accepted into the United States Air Force Academy. He began to run cross country and track for his high school. His coach encouraged him to sign up for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon to train in the off season, and after completing that race the endurance junkie was born. He went on to join the Marathon Club at the Air Force Academy, competing in multiplemarathons over his years in college and qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
After graduation, Hugh was looking to push himself to the next level in endurance sports and signed up for his first full Ironman triathlon: Ironman Louisville. While barely having enough time to train during pilot training, he crossed
the finish line of his first Ironman in 2012. He raced in two more Ironman triathlons if the following years, and while he still enjoyed it, he was getting burnt out and looking for a change in his fitness routine.
Hugh joined his friend for his first CrossFit workout in 2016 and was hooked. He loves what CrossFit has done and will continue to do to improve his overall health, fitness, strength, and coordination, while still maintaining his endurance and stamina. He also loves the community and comradery that you get from a CrossFit gym, especially with the CrossFit Novem community. Hugh is excited to share his passion for CrossFit and training with the Novem Community and help every member reach their goals and have fun while getting there!
Vincent grew up in the woods of Sussex county New Jersey. Interested in sports at an early age, he bounced from soccer, to hockey, to wrestling, and more became a jack of all trades, master of none rather than finding a niche. Through high school and college, he found theater and working out to be his main venues for creative release. After graduating college in 2010 with Bachelor of the Arts degrees in both Theater Arts and Communications, Vincent decided to take his education to the San Francisco Bay Area, and discovered in less than a year that neither an office life nor theatrical one was the life for him.
He worked jobs at gyms, retail establishments, and many restaurants but only found that he needed to be a part of people’s lives, and part of a community. The need to help people, and desire to change people daily is what helped Vincent decide to become… a barber.
Vincent moved to Philadelphia in 2012 to pursue this dream of following an old-fashioned barber apprenticeship. All the while, fitness was starting to stagnate. Years of corporate gyms, and bro-science bodybuilding style workouts he was bored and could no longer motivate.
He had heard of CrossFit occasionally over the years, and after meeting Coach Lesha at the shop he was apprenticing, he decided to give Novem a try. After four and a half years of loving CrossFit as a program and Novem as a community, Vincent decided to try his hand at coaching to help the community that’s helped him so.
Vincent has been vegan and sober for over 10 years, and emphasizes the importance of physical as well as mental health. He’s had a stint as a professional wrestler at a local promotion, and works full time at a Fishtown barbershop, which services much of the Novem community.
Diana grew up in Central New Jersey where she spent her entire childhood inside of a gymnastics gym. As the oldest of 6, and the only girl, she was a very hyper-active and athletic child who never stopped moving. Her mom would even quiz her for spelling tests while she was doing cartwheels and handstand walking in the living room.
After deciding not to continue gymnastics in college, she began to feel a void. Throughout school, she tried various different gyms but didn’t find an environment that allowed her to develop a healthy and consistent lifestyle. When she moved to Philadelphia in 2012, she was looking for a way to get back in shape and make friends. Her cousin had been telling her about crossfit, and after stepping into Novem in 2013, she hasn’t looked back.
As she started to move more efficiently and learn new skills, her competitive side kicked in. She participated in a novice competition in 2014, and with that she was hooked and decided she wanted to turn crossfit into a sport. She has attended training camps to develop her skills both individually and as part of a team, and she has continued to travel around the country to compete.
In 2021, Diana gave birth to her son Bobby who is now the light of her life. Fitness helped her have a smooth pregnancy and a relatively easy recovery. Diana believes that fitness is an essential part of life and she enjoys helping people achieve their goals, no matter how big or small.
Lauren showed up for her first Crossfit class in July of 2011, and to this day she considers it one of the best decisions she’s ever made. No matter how stressed or tired she may be, she always feels better after getting a sweat on. In 2012, Lauren took her Level 1 Certification and became a coach. She has had the opportunity to coach at five other gyms and spent a year as a full-time trainer in NYC at CrossFit Union Square. She has been fortunate to work with some pretty incredible coaches, athletes, and kids!
As a Philadelphia native, Lauren is very happy to be settled back home after living in the Big Apple for four years. She grew up playing soccer and has always appreciated exercise. Much to everyone’s surprise, she was not a gymnast. In fact, she can’t even do a cartwheel. She is, however, a former hula-hoop and limbo champion.
By day (and sometimes night), Lauren is a surgical neurophysiologist. She monitors the brain and nervous system during surgery. She’s a big nerd who loves chocolate, all things breakfast, and animals. Her sidekick, Milly, is usually the star of the show anywhere she goes. Milly was abandoned outside of CrossFit Union Square in 2016. Lauren brought her home for shelter after her coaching shift and Milly has been her shadow ever since.
One of the best things about CrossFit is the sense of community. Lauren is very grateful for all the relationships that CrossFit has brought into her life. Her goal as a coach is to help athletes have the best hour of their day.
Matt grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and was always an active kid. While he only played organized soccer and baseball, he filled his spare time playing street hockey, wiffleball, and basketball with friends. He also caused his parents constant stress by getting very good at building large dirt ramps for his bike with friends, but never quite figuring out the landings. Fortunately, he has only broken 1 bone in his entire life.
Matt was a very skinny kid, so by the time he reached high school he only played soccer as he struggled with the strength necessary to compete in other sports. However, with an older brother, he learned ways to use his speed and leverage to be able to keep up with his brother and stronger friends. This carried over into college when he started lifting weights. Never wanting to be the smaller brother, he naturally gravitated towards strength sports.
After graduating college in 2014, a friend convinced him to join his CrossFit gym. There, he fell in love with the technique necessary for gymnastics and the olympic lifts. After years of semi-consistent training he became a coach in 2019 to help prioritize his own fitness and become more involved in the community. He has continued that at Novem where his favorite parts of coaching are helping members figure out complex movements and seeing his assistant coach (Milly) put a smile on people’s faces.
Jeanette has always been attracted to competitive sports, especially ones where they compete with themself. In high school they threw shotput and discus, always trying to best their own scores, and even though they hated running, they aced their PT scores in ROTC. As an adult in NYC Jeanette joined basketball and football leagues, and while meeting their wife in their first season of basketball was a plus, they still struggled to find something that would challenge them. Jeanette found CrossFit after hitting a mental and physical health roadblock in 2018. Weightlifting (and finally embracing a little cardio) not only provided tangible success, but a gateway to a sport and community that finds space for everyone. Jeanette coaches because they want to help make spaces for all kinds of folks and bodies, making sure anyone can feel empowered through fitness.
Outside the gym, Jeanette is making movies, writing, or out exploring with their wife Ciara, daughter Everly, and pup Geoff.
Pre & Post Natal Coach Cert – Girls Gone Strong
Sarah grew up in Lake George, NY. She played volleyball, swam and ran track in high school. She went to Nazareth College of Rochester, where she studied biochemistry and played division 3 volleyball. She got her masters at Jefferson University to be a physician assistant. She now works as a spine surgery PA in Marlton, NJ.
Sarah started CrossFit in 2012 during her junior year of high school to prepare for collegiate volleyball. She continued throughout college during her off seasons. After college, she turned her focus to olympic lifting. She competed in USAW U25 Nationals in 2017 and 2018. In 2017, Sarah became a CrossFit level 1 certified trainer. She coached at CrossFit Park Ave in Rochester, NY for 2 years before moving to Philadelphia. She recently got her CrossFit level 2 certification in June of 2022.
She now largely trains in CrossFit, but still has a soft spot in her heart for olympic lifting. Her favorite workout is Karen. Favorite movements are wall balls and thrusters. Least favorite movement is push-ups. Favorite cheat meal is cereal. Favorite show is Great British Baking Show. Pump up song is Roll With the Changes by REO Speedwagon. If she’s not at work or the gym, she’s probably at home cooking a recipe from one of their many cookbooks with her loving partner Connor.
Although she now calls Philadelphia home, Tori grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania and first found her love for CrossFit while living in Washington, D.C.
After exploring machines and free weights in her college gym, then following powerlifting programs on her own after college, in 2017, she started CrossFit after being enticed in by a free class. She loved the “constantly varied” of CrossFit that brought new movements like gymnastics and weightlifting that she had never tried before, and was quickly hooked.
Tori is naturally more competitive with herself than others, so from day one, she was on a mission to learn all the CrossFit movements. She quickly learned, and began to even enjoy, bettering her weaknesses and building on her strengths (even though she still says anything over five reps is too much cardio).
In 2019, Tori became a CrossFit Level 1 Certified Trainer. Her goal in coaching classes is to help others realize how strong and capable they are — mentally and physically — and to make the gym a safe and happy space for every member.
Outside of CrossFit, Tori works full time as the Director of Digital Fundraising at a digital agency helping democratic campaigns and non-profits run successful digital programs funded by grassroots donations.
South Philly native Jessica was a very active kid and spent a lot of her free time outside climbing trees, riding bikes, and flipping off of swings at Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pa. Throughout middle and high school she participated in sports like Field Hockey, Diving, Swim Team and Figure Skating. She finished her junior and senior year in Colombia where she learned and competed in show jumping.
In July of 2012, she attended her first class at Fearless Athletics CrossFit South Philly and fell in love with the community, barbell and gymnastic movements. She’s competed in a few individual competitions, but truly enjoyed and thrives on a team.
In 2018, while reminiscing about playing sports, her lifting coach encouraged her try something new, so she attended a Philadelphia Rugby Football Club game. She was instantly hooked and joined their D3 team. She currently plays 15s (Fall & Spring) and 7s (Summer).
She joined Novem in November of 2021 with her partner Graham. She enjoys taking both Bootcamp and Fit class, but when she’s not at the gym she enjoys tending to her many plants, hiking, and sneaking out to the burbs to relax and ride horses.
She looks forward to coaching existing and new members and hopes to make them feel heard and supported while on their fitness journey at Novem.
Jai grew up in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. While in high school, instead of regular PE, she took weight lifting to supplement track and field training. The love for fitness continued while she attended Florida State University, majoring in Biology. Later, she earned her Doctorate in Optometry from Nova Southeastern University. During one of the rotations in 2013, she was introduced to Crossfit. It was an instant love, reminiscent of her times on the track team.
Crossfit taught Jai what it meant to be both physically and mentally strong. Jai became a Crossfit Level 1 Certified Trainer in 2019 so that she might help others the way her coaches helped her. The gym is a safe and caring place for all.
Jai and her wife, Erica, sold everything at the beginning of the Pandemic and travelled around the country in an RV. They got to meet people from all walks of life while exploring nature. Her wife is originally from Philadelphia and so when it was time to have roots, Philly was the obvious choice. In Jai’s spare time, she enjoys cooking and spending time outdoors with their 3 pups.
Lindsey grew up in upstate New York where her love for fitness started with her dad bringing her along to the gym as a teen and throughout high school. She got her degree in Athletic Training from Springfield College where she taught group exercise on campus, and worked as a high school athletic trainer for two years before realizing she loved helping people avoid injury through fitness more than she enjoyed treating injury. She earned her master’s degree in Sports Leadership from Northeastern while transitioning into the Head Coach position at Orangetheory Fitness in Rhode Island. After just eight months in studio, Lindsey moved to South Florida to work for the Orangetheory corporate headquarters, opening studios and training fitness Coaches in ten different countries (and four languages!) including Poland, China, the UAE, and India. In June of 2022 while spending a month in Philadelphia, Lindsey took classes at Novem and quickly realized this style of training would be her next fitness venture. Lindsey loves that in CrossFit there is ALWAYS something to get better at, and most importantly that you need to eat A LOT of food to keep up with the workload. Lindsey became a full-time Philly (and Novem!) resident in June of 2023 and when not in the gym she can be seen taking her pups out on coffee walks around Fishtown.
Growing up in Ithaca NY, Peter played a number of youth sports, but never enjoyed them. By the time he reached college, he had abandoned sports and fitness activities almost completely. However, during senior year, a friend convinced Peter to sign up for a group cardio fitness class. For the first time, something clicked. He couldn’t wait to attend the class every week, and soon was adding in his own workouts.
Over the next eight years, Peter became a devoted distance and trail runner, triathlete, thai boxer, obstacle racer, and extreme endurance racer. He has completed hundreds of races, from 5k fun runs up to continuous multi-day adventure races (including two over 57 hours long!).
In 2013, Peter decided to give CrossFit Novem a try. Much like that first group fitness class, he quickly became hooked. After five years at Novem, Peter became interested in the training aspect of fitness, and took the next step of becoming a coach. He finds coaching extremely rewarding, and loves helping people improve their form and build strength while remaining injury free. Having discovered fitness relatively late in life, Peter also understands the power of setting achievable incremental goals.
You may also be interested in: