Crunch! It’s a Movement!

Crunch! It’s a Movement!

June 27, 2024

An abridged excerpt from Crunch, A Complete Guide to Health and Fitness. It has been edited for clarity and length.

– February 1997

Crunch is a gym in New York-not one of those cruisers and bruisers gyms, but a user-friendly, home-away-from-home kind of gym. More than that, Crunch now represents a whole new approach to fitness, one that’s helped energize and transform the way hundreds of people exercise.

crunch book

The idea for Crunch is simple:  Everyone Is Welcome!

The idea for Crunch is simple:  Everyone Is Welcome. We don’t care who you are, and we don’t care what you look like. We don’t care what kind of job you have, or where you live, or whom you’re sleeping with. We’re not here to tell you you’re not cool enough, or pretty enough, or rich enough. If you’re motivated, we’ll help you get in shape. If not, we may even help you get motivated, but we’re not going to be bullies about it. Don’t let the name mislead you: Crunch is not one of those sadistic spandex regimes. All we want is to get you moving, get your heart beating and your lungs pumping, your muscles working, and your mind stretching.

Our slogan is Crunch: It’s a Movement. See, it’s a double entendre:  movement like an exercise and a movement like people coming together and experiencing a change of consciousness… oh, you know what we mean. The point is that Crunch is about more than just gym stuff. We believe if you have a chance to exercise, you end up healthier, and happier, and with a better body to boot.

crunch logo

So you say you’re not built like Cindy Crawford. Don’t worry. Few of us are. When most of us look in the mirror, we see a distortion based on our doubts and based on society’s notion of the beautiful body that we couldn’t possibly live up to.

In fact, we’re all very different. Some of us are clumsy, and some are lazy; some of us smoke too much, and some of us sleep too little; and some of us have skinny little arms, some of us have big asses. Okay. But you can still be the healthiest, strongest, happiest, clumsy-lazy-tired-skinny-armed-big-assed person you can be.

What’s more, we all have different desires, expectations, abilities, and tolerances. And since fitness should be a lifelong activity, why spend your life doing someone else’s workout? It’s your body, and we believe in helping you find the program that’s right for it – your exercises, your diet, at your speed.


Most important, we think exercise should be fun!

Most important, we think exercise should be fun. Believe it or not, the time you spend training can be enjoyable, engaging, even interesting. That way, you can exercise not just your muscles but your mind, your personality, your spirit, because you can have all the muscles in the world and still be out of shape if you don’t feel beautiful and confident. You know all those ridiculous New Age platitudes about looking good and feeling good, being spiritually tuned up and in harmony with the universe? We know they’re ridiculous. We know they’re platitudes. But we believe them anyway.

Seven years ago, we opened a tiny fitness studio in Manhattan’s East Village, just a funky little spot with a few new ideas: that exercise could be more than just the same old sweaty grind, and that fitness could be more than just bulging biceps and flat bellies. With the help of a lot of creative instructors, we offered classes in everything from gospel aerobics to specific sport training to yoga cycling. Our teachers were not only experts but rappers, modern dancers, and professional boxers.

And people came. Men and women, young and old, thin people and not thin people. We attracted Hasidim, Hell’s Angels, pimply kids, (homemakers), supermodels, and store clerks. Boho types, too:  artists, musicians, dancers, and designers. Deborah Harry came; so did Betsey Johnson. And yeah, so did Cindy Crawford.

olivia crawford

Soon, we expanded into five big gyms in New York, one in Los Angeles, and we now have thousands of happy members. (It’s all part of our plan to take over the world; one body at a time.)

 crunch gym

And then there are all the instructors, members, and assorted free spirits, savants, and visionaries who’ve helped us develop the program from the beginning. When you get down to it, that’s what we hope (Crunch) will bring you; a way of life. So go ahead and jump in. What the hell, have a ball.

– Doug Levine, founder of Crunch

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