Fire for Effect Athletics




who we are

At Fire for Effect Athletics, our top priority is functional fitness that applies to your daily life. This includes everything from strength and cardio, to flexibility and gymnastics.

We are a strength and conditioning facility that has a unique focus on Strongman exercises. We love these exercises because they mimic movements that the people do in their daily lives. We want to give everyone the tools to safely lift odd objects. We believe that the stronger and more confident you become will  help prevent injury and let you keep a healthy lifestyle for many years to come. 


Our programming is designed for everyone, regardless of physical ability or age. We are able to customize any workout to benefit people at any stage in life - from kids as young as 7, to folks in their 70’s, as well as elite athletes.



Join a small group class or have a personal session with a trainer in a one-on-one setting. All of our coaches are trained in strength and conditioning, and are dedicated to proper form and safety. Anyone, of any age or skill level, can do one of our workouts to see positive results. We also have a trained nutritionist on board to help guide your meal plans to improve your overall health.

Ask us about trying it out today. Your first workout is FREE!









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    Owner | Head Coach

    For over a year, James followed the guidance of a team of medical professionals, with little to no relief from his pain. Medications, four epidural shots to the spine, MRI’s, X-rays, physical therapy…nothing helped. The culmination of this was a very matter-of-fact prognosis from his Doctor, “you need back surgery and you will never lift heavy or play sports again.” It was on that same day that an orthopedic surgeon in the same office strongly advised him against having the surgery…and invited him to come to his CrossFit. Six years have passed since that day in the hospital, James has not had the surgery, is completely pain free as well as stronger, faster and more fit than he was as a nineteen year old infantry Marine. It was through this that James saw it fit to open FFE and help those, like how functional fitness has helped him. 


    James is now a retired combat veteran, after 21 years of serving within the Marine Corps and Army. His extensive coaching experience includes: CrossFit Level 2 coach, former CrossFit Seminar Staff member, CrossFit Strongman trainer, qualified Marine Corps Martial Arts instructor, and a US Army Master Fitness Trainer. He has successfully coached people ranging from children as young as 5, to professional and collegiate athletes, to fellow combat veterans returning stateside. 

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    General Manager  | Coach

    Tracey has been involved in CrossFit and strength and conditioning training since 2012. She is CF-L1 certified and working towards her CSCS. She was born and raised in Georgia making her a Southerner at heart. She relocated up north in 2017 and made Philly her new home.


    Her fitness journey started as a young child, who was always involved in various sports. She was on the varsity cross country, track, swim, and soccer teams. During high school she was the captain of her soccer team for 2 years, and still loves team sports. To stay active during college, Tracey began competing in distance races and triathlons until a close friend invited her to a CrossFit workout. After the first class, she realized her passion for the sport, and began her fitness career.


    Tracey enjoys working with clients one-on-one to see big results fast. You can often find her sweating and dancing along with everyone else in classes.

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    Adam Trapanotto

    Assistant Manager | Coach

    Adam graduated from Temple University as an Exercise and Sport Science (ESS) Major, with a concentration in Strength and Conditioning. Prior to college, he took this passion for athletics into the Navy, where he served and trained with multiple Naval and Marine Corps commands. During his service, Adam incurred multiple orthopedic injuries during those various training programs, including while in the selection process for Naval Special Warfare (NSW). At the time, Adam thought his competitive athletic pursuits were done, allowing his injuries to cause a mental road block and limit his physical activity goals. What would follow, helped Adam find ways to adapt exercise protocols to anyone’s fitness needs or goals—including his own. As he continued his military service, he learned about the Navy’s Command Fitness Leader (CFL) program, which kick started him down the ESS path and into becoming a coach. While serving as a CFL, Adam trained the sailor’s at his various commands to meet physical fitness standards in order to maintain deployment readiness in the fleet, he also created additional training protocol for those seeking selection candidacy in NSW, as well as developed programming for sailors returning to service with adaptive training needs, such as service-related injury rehabilitation or post-pregnancy fitness training. 

    Since his military service, he has worked within multiple coaching and athletics roles, including: lead strength coach and assistant instructor for THE BEASTS Tennis Squad; performance data analyst for Temple Athletics D1 Men’s Soccer Program; lead tactical strength coach and training advisor for Temple’s ROTC program (a first of its kind program in the nation). 


    Adam is currently the assistant gym-manager and intern-supervisor at Fire for Effect Athletics (FFE), helping guide future coaches in the strength and conditioning profession. What drives Adam as a coach is helping many of his clients overcome fitness misconceptions, avoid chronic injuries, and ease pre-existing conditions—in a way, assisting others to avoid the training mistakes he had made himself. He actively works with veteran-centric networks, like The Weekly Fight and Team RWB to help fellow Veterans overcome their service-related injuries, both the physical and mental. He regularly programs public endurance events with these networks as well, to help build a stronger community at FFE and all of its affiliates.

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    Leah Shelley


    Growing up in Wichita, KS, Leah was active on her school dance squad but would tend to choose art activities over sports. As she got older, she became more interested in fitness, taking kickboxing, pilates, and yoga classes here and there. However, nothing ever stuck. It wasn’t until giving birth to her daughter Reagan in 2011, that she decided to join her husband at a CrossFit gym. 7 1/2 years later, CrossFit has become one of her favorite hobbies and helped her discover her love of fitness.


    Leah continues to grow in her fitness experience and education. She is an educator inside and outside of the gym and uses great patience and understanding when she approaches every member. 

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    Carrie Gillespie


    Carrie developed a passion for physical activity and sports at a very young age. She grew up playing every sport under the sun--- soccer, softball, lacrosse and field hockey, and eventually chose to pursue a competitive swimming career. This led her to the University of Scranton, where she earned her degree in Exercise Science and Sport, while also dominating the pool. Carrie swam for the Scranton Royals, helping them win two conference championships, and also individually qualifying for the NCAA Division III championship meet. After her career at Scranton, Carrie set her sights on East Stroudsburg University, where she earned her Master's in Exercise Science. Post graduate school, Carrie moved back home to Maryland and worked as a personal trainer and swim coach for her former local club swim team before ultimately deciding to enlist in the Coast Guard.  She felt the calling to do more with what she was given physically and wanted to give back to her community and country while she still could. In the Coast Guard, Carrie was stationed in Bayonne, NJ working the Aids to Navigation in the NYC Harbor (no better way to see the city than on the water) and then worked in Nashville, TN (yes! the Coast Guard has a station in TN) as a Marine Science Technician inspecting facilities and responding to pollution incidence in the surrounding area. Nashville was where Carrie was introduced to the CrossFit style workout and absolutely fell in love with it. Carrie is now living in Philly, attending Temple University to earn her Doctorate in Physical Therapy and loving life with a special thanks to the community here at FFE and her helpful pup companion, Mr. Bentley Beans. She is passionate about sharing her love of fitness with anyone she comes across and wants to keep everyone safe while she helps them make big progress in the workouts.  

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    Jim McBride


    Native Philadelphian and Pizza snob. Jim was always waiting until he “got in better shape” to join a fitness community.  He was afraid he couldn’t keep up or wouldn’t fit in.  His then pregnant wife, Leah told him that everyone has to start somewhere, and that you go to the gym to start getting in shape--not after you are in shape. After her sound advice, he joined a CrossFit Gym. 


    Over the last 8 years of learning from coaches, as well as trial and error, he picked up a wealth of knowledge. Jim figured out how to and how NOT to do movements. He spent time learning why certain methodologies work, and how to use proper form to keep you healthy and strong for many years to come.  Jim looks forward to sharing that knowledge to help people reach their fitness goals.

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    Jordan Olenginski


    Jordan is a senior Biology major at St. Joseph's University with the plans to attend medical school in the fall of 2021. She has been doing CrossFit and strength training for over seven years. Athletics has played a big role in her life as she is currently the captain of the field hockey team at St. Joseph's.


    Jordan is intrigued by how quality fitness and clean nutrition directly correlates to performance on the field. It is her passion to help others create lifestyle changes and be there for them every step of the way. For delicious, and healthy recipes, nutrition tips, and hardcore workouts, check out her Instagram page @justasprinkleofjordan. 

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    Daniela Guzman Fernandez

    Admin Assistant

    Coming to the United States from Colombia in February 2018 made a huge impact on my physical and mental health. So after five months of being here enjoying the fast food life, huge portions in most restaurants and moving just the necessary to get through the day, I noticed that not only I had gained weight but I was having trouble enjoying things, and felt sad for no apparent reason.

    I used to hate going to the gym and the feeling of been judge especially in a foreign country. It took some self-motivation but I made the decision to stop the excuses and do something about it. That's why in July I started working out here 3 times a week and I started to see results, after two months I was all in coming every day and after 5 months I was offer a position.

    I love for people to feel welcome and comfortable so they can achieve their goals, if you need someone who understands the awkward feeling of being out of the comfort zone or just want to hear a funny latino accent, don't hesitate to talk to me

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    Anna Nowak


    Anna grew up in Delaware playing pretty much any and every sport she could. She started attending classes at a CrossFit gym in 2017 and began coaching soon after. The initial reason she was so drawn to functional fitness is because it combines so many different sports and movements and you are constantly learning new skills. 


    Anna graduated from University of Delaware with a BS in Neuroscience and moved to Philly in August 2020 to attend medical school at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Joining a new gym was very important after the move and she immediately joined FFE.  She enjoys the amount and variety of equipment available at FFE. Anna likes to learn new movements and finding new ways to challenge herself with odd object lifts.


    As a future physician, Anna believes preventative medicine, such as an active lifestyle and good nutrition, should be at the top of everyone’s list. Joining such a supportive community like FFE makes it so much easier for people to learn the basics of health and fitness and to improve their lifestyle overall. She is so grateful to be able to share what she has learned over the years with the members here, and loves seeing the progress everyone makes!



This is a great gym, clean facility, great equipment, and a parking lot. The one thing they have that you cannot buy is awesome coaches that motivate, instruct, and push you to be the very best. When I first walked in to check out the new veteran owned business I had no intention on signing up. I still can’t tell you why I did it. I am 40, overweight, 4 kids, and zero time. But looking back it was the best decision of 2017. Can’t wait to go tomorrow.


Here I am running down the alley with an actual smile on my face. For those of you that know me you know I had until August to make some serious changes with my health. Today I had occasion to be at the doctors and he was excited at my weight loss and my blood pressure problem has turned into a non issue. It’s been four months of Crossfit and the changes in my health are remarkable at best. Thank you all for your encouragement and for putting up with me saying “I’m not doing that” ... because I “decided to do that” with the help of my coaches and all of you I’m succeeding 

Sanetia Castillo

Feel in love with this place last year during Bonsai Brawl. Started dropping in every Thursday night for the Weekly Flight and just recently signed up to become a FFE member!! Hannah, James, Tracey and the rest of the crew of coaches are always welcoming. You will never feel out of place or feel like you don't belong. Everyone that walks into those doors for classes are excited to be there. The energy they have is amazing. It's not only a place to workout but a place you will call home and eventually become family. If your looking for a new home and people that will encourage you, look no further.



Wednesdays at 6:30pm

Jamie Pinto leads the Steel Mace Flow class that teaches you to make strong beautiful. He will help you find the leaks in your exercise routine to make you more flexible and gain more control over your entire body. 



Fire for effect athletics

James Taulbee | Owner

123 Leverington Ave.

Philadelphia, PA 19127

Tel: 717-779-5789

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© 2021 Fire For Effect Athletics, LLC.

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