Expertise programming, comradery among peers, and a welcoming atmosphere. War Horse has perfected this formula which is why I - and many others - keep coming back. Chris, Jaclyn, and the staff at War Horse have truly separated themselves from the mundane, uneducated, apathetic representation of what most "commercial gyms" have suddenly become. They take the time to work with each individual to provide appropriate programming in a motivating environment. Whether you're looking to drop a couple of pounds or deadlift 2x your body weight (or 2.5x, thanks to Chris!), War Horse is absolutely the place to check out if you're in the Philly area.
TRAIN AT WARHORSE BARBELL CLUB
Love this gym! I've been a member at Warhorse for a few years now and here is my review. The owners (Chris and Jaclyn) are awesome and really make the gym comfortable for all members. This is the starting point for everything great with War Horse. There is no stress signing up for classes or fretting over what the workout will be (They let you know beforehand!). There is a philosophy behind the training and they take it serious. Chris and Jaclyn attend the latest seminars in fitness and training and bring that detail back into the programming.
Do yourself a favor and stop by for a session. If weightlifting is your thing, this is your place. All workouts can be scaled according to your needs and ability. They want the best for you whether it is getting back in the swing of things, being a competitive weightlifter, or maintaining, there is something for everyone.
If you want community they have it. Between the ice breakers, local meetups at breweries, great music during class, this is just a fun, comfortable gym with great staff and members.
Only drawback...no Fishtown location (hint hint).
I can't say enough about this gym. Try it out.
During my senior year of high school, I asked my basketball coach to write me a letter of recommendation for the Naval Academy. It basically read as, “She’s a great leader now and has potential for future leadership. But she leads through example. Don’t expect her to be vocal.”
In college, I never raised my hand to ask or answer a question. This isn’t hyperbole; it never happened. I questioned what idiot gave the final OK to let me in there in the first place, and I boiled down my acceptance to the idea that they basically had to let me in. My dad went there and right off the bat, legacy kids have a 1-in-4 chance of acceptance. They hadn’t accepted my brother. And finally, I applied as a woman into the engineering program. I knew there was nothing I could possibly ask or say that would convince someone that I deserved to be there, so I never raised my hand.
When I applied to the medical school I wound up attending, I applied into a program that focused on returning doctors to rural, underserved areas to practice. Of course this is why they accepted me. And of course, I kept my mouth shut during that education, too.
This lack of belief in myself was so prevalent in everyday life that it was something I never actively thought about or struggled with. I didn’t have to work to convince myself that I wasn’t worthy or deserving of things. It was already hardwired into me. The only confidence I felt in myself was when I reflected on my success at deceiving people into thinking I was intelligent enough to attend their school. After three decades of living, I began to unconsciously uncover the disservice I’d done myself. And this took place through a medium I would have never expected: a gym.
In the book, The Boys In the Boat, rowing is described as a sport that requires the perfect mix of ego and humility for success. In reflecting on my time at Warhorse, I’ve determined that the balance of these same qualities is also required for successful strength training, and that this same balance has helped make me a better, more confident person outside the gym, too.
Gaining strength requires an awareness of current limits, an acceptance with the present. But it also requires a willingness and confidence to push beyond the present. There’s nothing more humbling than when a lift feels far heavier than it is in reality. There’s also nothing more satisfying than the opposite: when a lift is so smooth that it looks and feels far lighter than it is. Despite the differences, both circumstances result in motivation to be better: to improve upon your failures and to build upon your successes. In the right environment, and with the right mix of humility and ego, you find yourself picking up a heavier dumbbell thinking, ‘I’m pretty sure I can do this...Yeah, I can do this...Well, shit, I’m actually doing this.’
Inadvertently and unconsciously, I found that I was successful (side note: my definition of success is my own) at strength training because I’d started to figure out the balance between ego and humility on an individual level, and as part of a group.
Unlike rowing, lifting is often viewed as an individual sport, but for me, that’s wrong. Lifting at Warhorse is more like a team sport than I’ve ever experienced. Like a team attending practices, we consistently show up. We experience the pain of the same airdyne workout. We can tell when someone is off or is coasting. We feel the push to be better when someone beside us is working their ass off. We watch as our teammates progress from negative chin-ups, to chin-ups with the green band, then the blue band, to body weight, all the while, inspiring the rest of us. We support each other. We challenge each other. We lean on each other. All so we can individually be better and by consequence, and perhaps unknowingly, make the entire unit better. And all by sensing when to call each other out and when to call ourselves out. Lifting is a team sport.
Without initially realizing it, I started taking what I felt and learned inside a small space on 2nd Street and applying it to the rest of my life. I started to push myself a little more. I started to be more assertive in my relationships and work life. I recognized how much more I could learn by speaking up. I started to expect more of myself and of other people. I began to slowly feel confident in voicing my opinion and needs, and admitting when I was wrong, all to try to make myself, and the groups I was a part of, better. Eventually, I became aware of the constant tearing down of myself that I’d been so great at my entire life. Eventually, I made the decision to actively root in myself some confidence. And eventually, I began to see the fruit of striking a balance of ego with humility outside the gym.
So, here I am now, attempting to harvest some of that fruit as I strive to reach my career goals while I also broken-heartedly acknowledge that I have to leave behind the place that’s helped provide the tools I had no idea I needed my entire life.
To say that I no longer struggle with confidence would be a total lie. But I no longer let it define me like I once did. I’m acutely aware of it and put in regular work. I’m still self-deprecating, but my self-deprecation is more rooted in humor than in actual belief these days. I still struggle with the idea that a residency program thinks that I would be a good fit. But, my time and energy are better spent being the best physician, coworker, and advocate that I can be. Picking up a barbell wasn’t the silver bullet--therapy was a great potentiator--but I truly feel that lifting was a gateway for me.
I was on a work call the other day when I asked if I could offer my opinion. With a laugh, my boss responded with, “Well you’d give it to me anyway, even if I said ‘No.’” I’m proud that she knows that I’ll speak my mind when it’s appropriate. I’ve come a long way from that letter of recommendation that my basketball coach wrote and I’ll continue to attempt to find balance between ego and humility as time goes on. It’s time for me to lead by example, and when appropriate, with my voice.
Chris and Jaclyn, thank you for creating a space that’s provided the tools to build in me something that’s so much bigger than physical strength. I wouldn’t be taking the steps I am without you and your gym. WHBC community, your fellowship is something I would have never expected to extend beyond the confines of the gym; how ignorant I was. Its presence is something I’ve come to lean on and for which I’ll be forever grateful. Thank you for holding me accountable inside and outside those walls, for showing up every day to work your asses off, and for some really entertaining ice breakers. I love and will miss you all, even 6AM Bryan.TRAIN AT WARHORSE BARBELL CLUB
Warhorse is more than just a gym. The owners, Chris and Jaclyn, are incredibly passionate about the personal success of every member, in and out of the gym, and they use fitness as their means of accomplishing that. Not only do they personally hold themselves to a high standard, but they pick all of their coaches based on this too. They have been very successful in building a staff that has the same selfless values that they do. They are very knowledgeable in what they do, so you are in good hands. They are welcoming to anyone that walks through their doors, whether you're a world-class powerlifter or you have never picked a weight up in your life.
If you come and check the gym out, which you should, you will truly see how much they cater to the needs of the individual in order to boost confidence, rather than just throwing you in. If you come here, you will not regret it. If you are intimidated by the gym scene, you will not be when you come here. If you have a tough time staying consistent with fitness, come here. They create an environment that makes it hard not to come back every day. If you want to get started, but don't know where to go, come here. It is a pretty easy choice coming to Warhorse.
If you are reading this review because you are thinking about trying it out, do yourself a favor and just do it. You won't regret it!
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I joined Warhorse a little over a year ago after a 6-year break from lifting. In the past, I've tried just about everything fitness-wise: from bro-splits to CrossFit. I had a simple goal when I walked in the door, to get back to my old strength levels and just get in all-around better shape. I figured it would take a good bit of time, in the past it had taken months to years to make any sort of progress for myself.
Within 3 months I was stronger at 31 than at any point previous in my life. A few more and I was easily in the best shape of my life, and the gains keep on coming. I've since competed in my first powerlifting meet and am currently preparing for a second. Training at Warhorse has helped me realize two important things:
1.) my previous "programming" was all garbage
2.) I was severely limiting myself with what I THOUGHT I was capable of
Training at Warhorse has allowed me to rid myself of any self-imposed limitations and simply focus on my training, knowing that I will continue progressing in a safe and sustainable manner. The programming is great, regardless of your goals. If you are looking to get stronger, get in better shape overall, do supplemental training for a sport, or even get into powerlifting, Warhorse is the place you want to train. No matter what you think you are capable of Warhorse can help get you there, and beyond.
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Gabriela De Hoyos
I am not exaggerating when I say that this gym changed my life. And I am also not exaggerating when I never thought in a million years that a gym could do that. In the year and a half that I've been a member at War Horse, I learned how to turn my self-doubts into motivation, how to get to the gym consistently without considering it a chore, how to get physically strong without risking injury, and how to push myself past all the limits I previously set for myself.
Chris, Jaclyn, and all the coaches at War Horse not only offer their expertise in training but also pay incredible attention to detail and the well-being of every War Horse member. They emphasize having a balance between work, life, and training and are constantly reminding us to get enough sleep. They don't promote easy fixes or bogus workouts that will finally get rid of your "problem areas." Instead, they provide knowledge, support, and space for members to work hard and get strong.
If all that's not enough, the gym is always clean, has tons of great equipment, and two dogs that work behind the front desk, and in general is a great place to hang out. In conclusion, Warhorse Barbell Club gets 10 stars out of 5 in my book.
TRAIN AT WARHORSE BARBELL CLUB