Roaming LGBT fitness popup to fundraise in Manayunk

Roaming LGBT fitness popup to fundraise in Manayunk

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OUTWOD, an LGBTQ-inclusive fitness program with a CrossFit core, comes to Manayunk Athletics Oct. 6 with a 90-minute class welcoming beginners and beyond.

As with all OUTWOD workouts, the event doubles as a fundraiser, with 30 percent of the $30-per-person, per-class cost donated to a local community organization and the remaining 70 percent going to The OUT Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit. The Manayunk event’s local organization of choice is William Way LGBT Community Center.

It says 30% is donated to an lgbtq nonprofit - which is incorrect - 100% is donated.

The “wod” in OUTWOD stands for Workout of the Day, a CrossFit term describing a series of core-strengthening exercises that uses kettlebells, dumbbells, ropes and body weight to provide a varied, full-body workout.

Registration for this weekend’s workout is accessible on OUTWOD’s website and open to the public. 

“You don’t have to have done CrossFit to participate,” said OUTWOD organizer Will Lanier. “We create a workout and scaling abilities for anyone who comes. Like our youngest person who has ever come was 11. Our oldest guy was 76. Everyone has a great time. It’s for the novice. It’s for the 100-percent competitive athlete. Everyone gets their fix and their fill.”

Lanier said the cool thing about these events is the community style. Classes focus as much on providing a good workout as on helping participants build connections with other fit-minded folks.

To spark these conversations, OUTWOD supplements each event with a post-workout gathering.

“It’s usually going to brunch or to a bar down the street, or we’ve got people coming to cater,” said Lanier.

This weekend’s aftermath event will be announced following the workout.

OUTWOD’s roots are in community-building. When Lanier was working as a Cross-Fit instructor in New York City a few years ago, he noticed other CrossFitters be-coming devotees of a single gym.

“My whole goal was to rid our community of that clique vibe and be like, All right, everyone is coming from around the city to do this. It’s not just this gym.”

To bring people out of their home gyms, Lanier began hosting events at different gyms throughout the city.

“We would have one in Brooklyn, we’d have one in Queens, we’d have one in Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea, Upper East Side, Upper West Side. And every month it would change, so people would feel included no matter where they were.”

One year in, workouts have grown from “six or seven gay guys at a gym” to 120-people events.

“At that moment, I was like, OK, there’s something building here,” said Lanier. “How can I use this community now to do good for our own community?”

Lanier began charging a fee for workouts, between $25-$35, and donating a percentage to a different LGBT charity in New York City each month.

As OUTWOD bounced among gyms, sessions brought in non-New Yorkers who loved his program and wanted to bring it to their cities.

“I remember our first non-New York event was in Chicago and it was this kid who was 20 at the time and he reached out,” said Lanier. “I flew out and we did an event. We had about 65 people and it was the start of our nationwide takeover.”

Now OUTWOD works on a full schedule of 120 events per year.

Late last year, OUTWOD obtained 501(c)(3) status as The OUT Foundation with a host of goals in its five-year plan. Year one’s benchmarks are developing an OUTWOD certification program that will give gyms a seal of approval as a 100-percent LGBT-inclusive space, and hosting a weekly podcast that will feature LGBT athletes.

In September, OUTWOD announced New York University’s Langone Health Center as its official transgender service partner. The partnership includes a fund that aides transgender patients in need of ancillary services who lack insurance cover-age. 

OUTWOD is also funding six gender-affirmation surgeries through its partnership with NYU Langone.

“Once the NYU partnership goes well and we’ve developed the framework for that, our goal is to take that to other communities and other markets and push for-ward from there,” said Lanier.

OUTWOD Philly is Saturday, October 6, from 10 AM - 11:30 AM at Manayunk Athletics/Crossfit Manayunk, 126, Entrance on Baker Street, Leverington Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19127. For tickets visit

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