Divergent CrossFit: Getting Fit in a Supportive Environment

Co-owner James Do makes sure weights are used properly. Photos by Mario Boucher

Three entrepreneurs wanted to start a brick-and-mortar fitness business in South Pasadena, and in just one year, it has proven to be most successful.

“We’re really lucky,” said Divergent CrossFit co-owner James Do.

The proximity to where he and his partners, Raymond Tiria and Michael Chu, live was an important factor in choosing their location at 1101 Mission Street.

“This is where we live so we wanted to stay close and be within our community,” said Do. “I believe that things work out for a reason and the timing was great and the building was exactly what we were looking for.”

Co-owner James Do helps a member achieve her best.

Open since July 1, 2017, Divergent has 168 members and provides a variety of fitness programs at its 5,000-square-foot site There is a reason why CrossFit has grown exponentially.

“CrossFit is the type of fitness program that, historically, has been used by the military, law enforcement, and first responders,” said Do.

“Things that require multi-joint movement is what we really do at CrossFit,” he said. “If you want to summarize in a nutshell, CrossFit is a combination of weightlifting, gymnastic, and high-intensity interval training to give you a full-body workout,” said Do.

Using the rowing machine at Divergent CrossFit is just one of the ways Lillian Sanchez is getting in shape.

CrossFit involves workouts featuring a variety of high-intensity functional movements that builds strength and conditioning. The CrossFit philosophy is coaching people of all shapes and sizes to improve their physical health, including cardiovascular fitness, in a supportive and encouraging environment. The workouts vary and challenge members to push themselves in an environment that inspires people to help and motivate each other.

“We’ve grown almost to full capacity in just the last year,” Do said.

Lillian Sanchez of So Pas said there is no pressure from the staff and you can start with basic exercises.

“You go at your own pace and do the exercises that works for you,” she said.

There’s something else, too: Divergent members have each other’s backs.

“You’re here to support each other and that makes a big difference,” she said.

Do echoed that sentiment.

“For me, since we’ve been open, the biggest accomplishment that we’ve experienced is watching people grow in self-confidence,” said Do.

Members of Divergent CrossFit support each other.

Some individuals come in for the first time feeling a little timid but soon experience a confidence boost, he said. “It’s something you get to watch from the ground up, which is very interesting.”

Do said the philosophy is for members to support each other while pushing themselves physically.

“Our primary focus at Divergent CrossFit is really to help individuals explore ways to be healthier and stronger as a team,” he said.

Cassie Tsang said members encourage each other without the pressure of doing something that feels uncomfortable.

“I’ve been doing CrossFit for four years now and what I like is the community and everyone helping each other,” she said.

And there is no age limit. Tsang said there are people of all ages here, including members in their 70’s.

“Everyone is so friendly and helpful to make you the best that you can be,” she said. “We all have something in common which is to be healthier.”

Divergent CrossFit is located at 1101 Mission St. in South Pasadena. Hours are Mondays 5 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4:30-8:30 p.m., Tuesdays and Wednesdays 5 a.m.-12 p.m. and 4:30-8:30 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays 5 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4:30-8:30 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and Sundays 9 a.m.-12 p.m. (626) 274-7763

The Divergent CrossFit Business Spotlight appeared in the print edition of the South Pasadena Review on 8.3.18.