Use Your Fitness. Embrace Adversity.

Earlier today I joined about a dozen and a half members of our gym to run the Ollis 5k in New Dorp. It was hot, and I have to admit I didn’t do very well. I started off fine, and then around a mile in I started feeling tightness in my right shin/calf areas. This soon spread to my left leg. I tried to fight through it, but had to stop to stretch because the cramps got really bad. I walked for about a half mile trying to make it go away, andit took every bit of mental fortitude I could muster to not turn off on New Dorp Lane and quit. I was able to finish, and the last three quarters of a mile was my best running of the day. The 20 pound vest I wore definitely contributed to my difficulties, and I didn’t warm up properly. But, no excuses. It wasn’t my day. Some might say it wasn’t my day because there were no barbells involved in the race, but that’s a different discussion.

It got me thinking how great it is to be able to use my fitness, even on a day that for me was objectively not a good one. I didn’t perform close to how I should have. We spend so much time in the gym getting fit, it is important to go out and use it!  This means that if we see a race like today’s we want to run, we can do it without much stress or concern. It means that if our friends ask us to play football or basketball with them we can participate. It means if our kids want us to chase them around that we can and won’t get out of breath. How great is that? Can you remember a time when these things were hard to do?

None of us are elite professional athletes. That’s ok. I’ve come to grips with it. Despite the fact that we aren’t “elite,” believe it or not, all of us are probably fitter than 99% of the general population. Most don’t workout out nearly enough, and many have a gym membership that they hardly ever use besides a few low intensity weekly trips on a treadmill. For those who don’t do what we do in the gym every day, running a 5k can be a daunting prospect. They aren’t used to the activity, and they aren’t used to adversity. I had moments of self-doubt today. As I watched people pass me and I simply couldn’t perform like I knew I could, I felt self-conscious. I was dealing with adversity, and although I was having physical problems I believe it was mostly mental. I didn’t want to start running again because I feared I would start cramping again.

Each time you come to the gym you are getting physically fitter; but more importantly, you are learning how to overcome adversity, both physical and mental, so when difficult situations happen you can fight through and succeed. I consider today a success because I finished despite the difficulty and adversity.

Use this summer to go out and enjoy the fitness you are building. Enjoy your ability to fight through adversity. Do something that challenges you, and even scares you a little.  Embrace the difficulties. Embrace the challenges. Embrace the process. Have fun, and enjoythe options you have because of the fitness lifestyle you have embraced.

Elite Functional Fitness June Newsletter

Welcome to the Elite Functional Fitness (CrossFit 103 & The Squat Academy) Monthly Newsletter. A monthly publication to keep you up to date on news and events in our fitness community. 

 

May Recap

 

May was a very active month at CrossFit 103. Here are a list of things that happened, in case you missed:

 

  • Memorial Day Murph was a huge hit! We had over 60 people perform the wod and ALL finished, and more than 100 members and non members stopped by during the day to wod, eat, drink, and hang out! We are grateful for the support of so many local businesses, who contributed raffle prizes, helping us raise more than $1,100 for our Charity of the Month - The Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Community focused events like this is just one of the factors separating us from all the other gyms on the island. Special thanks to all those that helped set up, clean up, and plan the event, and an extra special thanks to Mike Morgante for Djing and Ryan Miller for manning the grill most of the day. We are all looking forward to next year’s Murph, which we know will be bigger and better!

Murph Pics will be posted soon! 

Finally able to get a good coaches group shot pre "Murph" 

Finally able to get a good coaches group shot pre "Murph" 

 

  • Coach Sal performed 1,120 burpees (one for every dollar raised) to raise money for April's charity of the month "Carl's House", part of the Bini Foundation. At the conclusion of this effort, the gym presented a check for $1,120 to Bini Foundation President, Massimo Didonna.

Sal and Gil with Massimo from The Bini Foundation 

Sal and Gil with Massimo from The Bini Foundation 

 

  • Coach Matt judged at the CrossFit East Regionals, getting the chance to judge some of the Fittest People on Earth, including reigning Fittest Man on Earth, Mat Fraser and reigning two-time Fittest Woman on Earth Katrin Davidsdottir. Matt was also chosen to lead a Demo Team, demonstrating movements to competitors.  Awesome job Matt!

Coach Matt getting ready to "No Rep" 3 times CrossFit Games athlete Dani Horan 

Coach Matt getting ready to "No Rep" 3 times CrossFit Games athlete Dani Horan 

 

  • One 6 week challenge class ended and one began. Welcome to all members who participated and are now in our regular classes!

 

  • We started Sunday “Coffee & Mash,” which is quickly turning into a tradition at CF103. For those who don’t know, Our Sunday Mash, “mashes” three WODs into one workout. Our Sunday classes are now 90 minutes long to accomodate the Mash.  It looks like this is going to be a big hit for the summer. Remember, feel free to bring whatever you'd like for Coffee & Mash, including bagels, creamers, eggs, other breakfast type foods/snacks, and bacon. We’re still waiting for someone to step up and bring Bacon!!! We supply the coffee!

 

  • We welcomed Coach Donald Girard to the family with the start of his Functional Edge Fitness Class. Donald brings over 30 years of experience to the gym and probably knows just as much about the body as anyone, including well known science nerd, Gil. The combination of the two has NASA keeping close eyes on us.

Donald instructing member Karen DiPalo

Donald instructing member Karen DiPalo

 

  • We started our first specialized weightlifting class, which is led by Coach Cristina. This is a "sign up only" 8 week program. We will add more like this in the future.

#DoYouEvenLift? 

#DoYouEvenLift? 

 

  • Congratulations to all the members that competed in the High Rock Challenge. We had teams at the event and took 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall in the "Gym Team" category (Even though the the event was sponsored by another facility who trained for it specifically for months. =P)!

The High Rock Crew! 

The High Rock Crew! 

 

 

 

A Look Ahead to June

 

  • The Bone Frog Challenge is June 17th at 9am. We will run together as a team and stay together the entire race. We have over 30 members signed up so far. It's not too late to join. Sign up here http://www.bonefrogchallenge.com/event/new-jersey. We will bring the truck with food and drinks to hang out after the race. Use coupon code “CROSSFIT 103” for 15% off.

 

 

  • June's Charity of the Month is the "The Ironman Foundation." Coach Matt will be competing in the Lake Placid Ironman 70.3 Triathlon this September and is raising money for the Ironman Foundation.  THE IRONMAN FOUNDATION WAS ESTABLISHED IN 2003 AS A WAY FOR IRONMAN TO LEAVE A LEGACY BEHIND IN COMMUNITIES WHERE IRONMAN EVENTS TAKE PLACE. THE MISSION OF THE IRONMAN FOUNDATION IS: TO LEAVE THE IRONMAN LEGACY THROUGH PHILANTHROPY, VOLUNTEERISM AND GRANT MAKING BY SUPPORTING VARIOUS ATHLETIC, COMMUNITY, EDUCATION, HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND PUBLIC BENEFIT ORGANIZATIONS AROUND THE WORLD.THE IRONMAN FOUNDATION HAS PROVIDED OVER $46 MILLION DOLLARS IN GLOBAL SUPPORT TO NONPROFITS THROUGH ALL OF THEIR PROGRAMS SINCE THEIR INCEPTION. You can find more info and donate here: https://www.crowdrise.com/2017-ironman-lake-placid-703/fundraiser/mattgallo

 

  • To raise money for the foundation, Coach Matt will host a Marathon Row event. He will be rowing 26.2 miles (42.2km) and invites teams of up to 6 people to join him. The event will take place on Saturday, June 24th. More information to come!

 

  • Two new Assault Bikes were recently delivered, and those who came to class on Sunday, May 28 got to experience them in a wod for the first time.

It's an all out Assault! 

It's an all out Assault! 

 

 

May's Big PR's and "Firsts"!

 

  • Tommy M. got his 1st bar and ring muscle up as well as butterfly pull-ups!

  • Lenny D., one of the hardest working members in the gym, got his 1st pull-up and is down 11 inches on his waist since joining in January!

  • Ryan Miller hit a 155 Strict Press!

  • Brian Y. hit a 265 Deadlift!

  • Coach Cristina hit a 75lb snatch and 175 Back Squat!

  • Teresa D. did 5 Deadlifts at 160lbs after a previous DL PR of 140lbs!

  • Cindy J and Lorrie G can now jump on 3 plates after being terrified to jump at all! Boxes up next!

  • Coach Chris did a 3:04 Fran. Nice work Chris! You'll get that sub 3 soon!

  • Maureen T with a 115 Back Squat!

  • Chris D with a 7 rep max on bar muscle ups!

  • Newcomer Kevin M lost 22 lbs and 5 inches on his waist in the last challenge class!!

Congrats to all!!!!!

 

** Want to make our newsletter??? Add your PR's or "Firsts" to the new "Achievement Board"**

 

Welcome New Members!!!

 

CrossFit:

Jessica Mattsson

Olivia Iacono

Diana Iacono

Gianna Pepe

Alexandra Holovinsky

Natalie Allen

Ruslan Shamal

Bart Cambria

Nicholas Varacalli

Michael Uckar

Jenny Dillon

Joseph Santigate

Gia Santigate

 

TSA:

Samantha Russo

Carli Bruno

Veronica Bruno

Kim Manzo

Shannon Sadler

Welcome New Challenge Members:

Jeanderson Da Silva

Yvette Palomares

Guy Seth

Denise Talley

Paul Ciliento

Vanilda Babosa

Victor Ramos

Karen Franzese

Stephen Matrangolo

Dilshan Weerasinghe

Danielle Demato

Suada Halili

Monika Misiurek

Carlos Zamora

Debra Furnari

Clare Misiurek 

Ralph Guzzo 

Nermeen Basta 

Mayury Suchcicki 

Liza LaTour 

Gaetano Donatantonio 

Kamil Suchcicki 

Marissa Pommerenk 

Irlene Lewery 

Allison Candelaria 

 

 

All this happened in just one month! Can't wait to see what the future has in store! Thank you for being part of our community! 

~ The Elite Functional Fitness Fam

Tips for CrossFit Open Wod 17.4 (AKA 16.4) by Coach Sal

Get to that wall!    Photo by Frank Pensabene

Get to that wall!    Photo by Frank Pensabene

                                     17.4. AKA 16.4. AKA a fun kind of torture =). I know a few people who were extremely excited at the announcement of this repeat Open WOD.  After it all soaked in, I think I was one of those people as well. I remember doing it twice last year. After moving well and finishing the row in really good time, I died out on the HSPU. I didn't get nearly as many as I had imagined I would - both times. I knew I had better and have been waiting for the opportunity to do this again. Come up with a better game plan. And Thursday night was my chance to put that game plan to work. The results - MUCH better than expected. Thursday night was supposed to be a trial run, since I did 45 Deadlifts at 225 the day before, as well as 45 HSPU. I was SAF (Sore as F*#$). I figured just do a test run to see if I'm comfortable with my plan. Then Coach Chris decided to go head to head with me. It was on like Donkey Kong.

                                    So what was my plan that allowed me to crush last years score(s) while I was sore and tired (9pm is past my bed time)? Before I break down each movement, there is one important tip to help you decide the correct way to break it up. Know Your Body! I've been CrossFitting for a little over 4 years now. I know when I can move fast, and what makes my body scream at me. The most important thing is to know how your body handles each movement, then break up each movement accordingly. This is called "Pacing". To me, pacing is the most important thing in any WOD. Not only knowing how to break it up, but when to rest, and when to push your limit. 

                                    After you figure this out, now comes the fun part. Breaking down each movement.

  1. The Deadlift. 55 of them. At 225. Ouch. That's 10 more than "Diane". Since I love Deadlifts for reps, and can do "Diane" unbroken, I needed to pick a good number that wouldn't destroy my back and burn me out for the rest of the 13 minute WOD. I knew that 10 reps would be a magic number, where I wouldn't get tired, and my back and hamstrings wouldn't burn. But since the rep scheme was 55, I wasn't going to do 10.s with a last set of 5, so I decided to do 5 sets of 11 reps. Like I said, know your body. Figure what works for you. Break it up into 5's if you have to. I coached Gil through that and it worked for him. Just think of a number that works for you and STICK TO IT! Make sure the number you pick allows you to take short rests. Do your reps, drop the bar, count to 5, or 10, then get back to it. Short rests are key in this entire workout. Another big tip - SAVE YOUR BACK! Use your hamstrings! Make sure you do legit deadlifts. Not the low weight, high rep, totally screwed up deadlifts that most people do in WODS. I can't stress this enough. If you don't listen to this tip, you'll see what I'm talking about.

  2. Wallballs! Everyone who knows me, know that I like wallballs like Elf likes maple syrup.  Not sure what all the hate is about. For the wallballs, the key is the same as the deadlifts. Break it up into a manageable number. Don't burn your shoulders for the HSPU's. Again I chose 11 as the magic number. Doing 11 reps allowed me to save my shoulders, and take very short rests. None of my rests were longer than 10 seconds. Pick your number, do tour reps, and rest as little as possible. Drop the ball on the last rep, the take a few deep breathes and get right back to it. I think it's a bad idea to try to open with a big set. You'll save time and energy by breaking this up. You have a lot of rowing ahead of you.

     3. The Calorie Row.  Another one of my faves. For the row, there is no breakdown. The key here is to keep moving an to breathe. Calorie rows differ from meter rows, in that, on a calorie row, you should be pulling as hard as you can and taking a short rest (about one deep breath) at the end. Men should shoot for close to a calorie a pull, women should shoot for a cal every 2 pulls. Men will have a much easier time on the rower. Just try to keep the same exact pace throughout the entire row. Your hammies will probably be on fire at this point. Just work through the pain. When you complete the row, you will not use your legs for the rest of the workout. If you don't know how to calorie row, please ask a coach to teach you before you attempt the WOD.

    4. Hand Stand Push Ups. Oh boy. We worked our butt's off to get to this point. Now What??? The best advice I can give here is as follows. If you don't have handstand pushups, go for it. Try one. With your adrenaline going, you may hit your first one ever! If you are ok at HSPU's, break them up into very small numbers. Even singles. Just do one at a time. Come off the wall, breathe and get back to it. If your HSPU's are good, just like everything else, break it up right away! I did sets of 5's to start because I was feeling good. I originally thought sets of 3' (which coach Chris did and stuck to the whole way) but I was feeling good so I listened to my body. I got all the way up to 30 before I started to tire then dropped to sets of 3's from there, and eventually to singles. I think for these, you need to listen to your body on the first set. Don't come out with too big of a set, or you will burn your shoulders out quick. See how you feel and adjust accordingly. That's the best advise I can give. Side note - If you make it to the wall with little time to spare, just go! All out! Whatever you have.

                           If you are skilled enough, or lucky, to make it back to the Deadlifts, a game plan would be based on how much time you have to spare. If little, then go all out, if over a minute, then break it up into smaller numbers. I'm hoping to get to this point on Sunday so I'll have better advice for you on this part. =)

                          As far as the warm-up, we will have a good one written on the board. The key is to get your heart rate gong, stretch those Hammies, and open the shoulders and wrists.

                          Whatever you do, and wherever you make it to, just remember to breathe and have fun!!!

Three Reasons Why You Should Participate in the CrossFit Open

Those new to CrossFit may not be aware of it, but we are only weeks away from the most fun time of year in any CrossFit gym.  I am talking about the CrossFit Open.  The Open, as it is called, is a five-week test of fitness. During those five weeks, every Thursday night CrossFit Games Director Dave Castro will announce a workout. Then athletes will have until Monday evening to complete that workout in the presence of someone judging them, and then enter their scores online. They then get to compare themselves to others around the world on that workout. The Open is designed to be accessible to all athletes, and for the past two years has included an option for scaling workouts.

The Open is unique in sports because it means CrossFit is the only sport where non-professionals will do the exact same work as the professionals. This means for those five weeks you will be doing the exact same workouts as 2016 CrossFit Games champions Mat Fraser and Katrin Davidsdottir. The exact same workouts! This is truly unique. You may be a great softball player, and hit .450 in your local softball league, but you can’t compare yourself to Major Leaguers based on the performance since the quality of the pitching differs. In the Open, Mat Fraser will be doing the workouts in a CrossFit affiliate, just like you will, in the presence of a judge… just like you!

So, here are the top three reasons you should participate in the Open:

1.     You will regret if you don’t. I have to admit; I did not participate in the Open my first year of CrossFit. I had begun CrossFit about a month and a half before the Open and I didn’t think I was ready. It was before there were scaling options and I couldn’t do a Muscle Up or a Double Under. So, I didn’t think should do it.  I regret it. Once the Open started I was doing the same workouts as the other people in the gym, but their intensity level was higher than mine because they were registered.

 

2.     It’s fun! There is nothing quite like the energy in the gym during Open workouts. Everyone steps up it up. Everyone cheers each other on. There is always talk of strategies for tackling a workout. Everyone is impatient to see the Thursday night announcement of the next workout. Plus, there is always friendly competition amongst friends.

 

3.     You get to be a part of the worldwide CrossFit community. During the Open, CrossFitters from every nation and continent are all performing the same workouts. During the Open you realize that although you workout at CrossFit 103, there is a worldwide community of more than 13,000 CrossFit affiliates where people are persevering through the same workouts as you. Let’s face it, CrossFit offers us fitness, but also community. Unlike a traditional gym, we are here for each other to cheer one another on and celebrate our successes together.  

So, at only $20, there really is no reason not to sign up for the Open. Registration starts Thursday, January 12, and the first workout, 17.1, will be announced on February 23. Sign up and participate!  

At CrossFit 103 we will use the Open to celebrate our local community, as well as the CrossFit community as a whole, and we will have fun throughout the five weeks. If you are not yet signed up for CrossFit, there is still time to join us at CrossFit 103, go through Foundations, and participate in this year’s Open.

Click here to learn more about the Open: http://games.crossfit.com/about-the-games/the-open.

 

Five Important Tips For Working Out Without Hurting Yourself

 

Let’s face it; any kind of physical activity includes the risk of injury. That’s the nature of working out. But, the alternative, staying sedentary and facing the real possibility of a life sentence of obesity and preventable diseases, is by far the worse alternative. 

There are important steps we can and must take to minimize the risk of injury.  These are important for all of us to remember, especially those new to a high intensity fitness regimen like CrossFit. Below, we share five tips that will help you minimize the risk of injury.  These are important because nothing quite stops progress in the gym like an injury. 

1.     Learn proper technique from a qualified instructor/coach: What separates CrossFit from your local gym or a typical Boot Camp style studio is the fact that we have qualified coaches who spend time teaching proper technique. Let’s face it, the Olympic lifts, for example, are complicated and if performed incorrectly can lead to injury. That is why it is important to have a trained coach with you every step of the way to break down techniques step by step and correct you when appropriate and necessary. The other four tips below are related to this one.  

2.     Don’t lift too heavy until you are ready: It is human nature to want to throw around big weights, especially when you see others doing it.  Resist the urge to take unnecessary risks before you are ready. It is better to nail your technique first, before you let your vanity take control. This is related to number one because your coach is trained to work with you to help you determine the appropriate weight you should be lifting. 

3.     Practice, Practice, Practice: Take advantage of open gym hours to practice your technique. A good snatch when performed by an athlete on the Olympic stage is a beautiful thing to watch. They make it look so effortless. It’s hard to remember that it only looks like that because that Olympian has likely been drilling the movements since they were kids and has spent countless hours in practice failing, picking themselves up, and trying again. The more you practice, the better you will get at a movement. Your coaches are there to help you correct problems and offer tips for improvement.

4.     Listen to your body: It’s easy, when we are in the so-called honeymoon phase of any new activity, to want to constantly do it without a break. Taking this attitude towards working out is inviting injury because our bodies need time to heal. It is important to rest when necessary and not to try to work through real pain. Remember, there is a difference between soreness and pain. Pain is our body’s way of telling us “time out.”  Respect your body, listen to it, and rest when necessary. Just as you won’t become fit by working out once, you also will not lose your gains by missing one workout.

5.   Be coachable and accept constructive criticism: Those who are coachable are humble. They know that they don’t have all the answers and they are perfectly content with that. They have a mind open to new ideas. No matter where you are on your fitness journey, always keep a “beginner’s mind.” The Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki described it like this: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” Always keep that beginner’s mind point of view, open to all possibilities and ways of looking at things. In other words, stay coachable, always.  

If you follow these tips you will minimize your risk of injury.  If you are looking for a gym with top quality coaching, a commitment to helping you meet your goals, and that always puts your safety and well-being first CrossFit 103 is here for you.

Join the Committed Club

According to the Oxford Dictionary, “Commitment” can be defined as: “The state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.”

Think about some of the things you are committed to.  Your spouse, your children, and your job are three that come immediately to mind.  And those are certainly positive things to be committed to.  Some of us are committed to various hobbies and activities; die-hard sports fans are certainly committed to their teams.  We show what we are committed to by how we spend our time, effort, and resources.  

Are you committed to your own health, fitness, and well-being? We are here to tell you it’s ok to be. It is so easy to allow ourselves to get distracted by the busyness of everyday life that we end up neglecting some important things. And, our time in the gym is definitely an easy one to neglect. We have all experienced an alarm clock going off on a dreary morning and wondered if the extra sleep was more beneficial than getting our workout in; or had an exhausting day at work and wondered if having a glass of wine on the couch would help us relax more than going to work out. 

The beauty of the CrossFit methodology is that we don’t have to spend hours working out to see results. Gone are the days when long, lonely, and cold runs or hours spent on an elliptical are considered the gold standard of fitness. CrossFit teaches us that intensity and not volume is the key to getting fit. So, instead of disrupting our lives with hours spent at the gym, we can spend an hour a day at the gym with the appropriate intensity – 4 or 5 times a week – and reap the benefits of it. And, this hour a day is preparing us for so much that life could throw at us. Isn’t that a great thing? Are you committed to your fitness?  Can you find an hour a day to dedicate to your own health? Make the commitment. We offer classes starting before dawn and our last class of the day starts at 8:30pm. Whether you are a morning, daytime, or night person, chances are we have a class for you.     

To publicly recognize the commitment that so many are making to their health and well-being, starting at the end of this month we will announce our first “Committed Club.” Come to the gym 18 or more times a month (classes or open gym) and you will be a member of that month’s Committed Club and publicly shouted out on this page. Make it your goal for January (and every month thereafter) to be a member of the Committed Club. 

Give it a shot. All you have to do is show up consistently to become a member of the Committed Club. And, better than any public recognition you know that you are improving your health and wellness. 

 

 

Fighting chronic disease.... together!

As of right now there are about 13,000 CrossFit affiliates worldwide. To put that number into a little perspective, right now there are about 36,615 McDonald’s worldwide, 15,000 Burger Kings, and 6,500 Wendy’s. 

This tells us that we still have work to do. Far too many people have much easier access to fast food facilities than they do to CrossFit boxes. And, we know that the lifestyle associated with fast food is one of the key drivers of chronic, preventable diseases.   

We believe that constantly varied, functional movements, executed at high intensity are the best means for individuals to become healthier and lead better and more fulfilled lives. The fact is 13,000 CrossFit boxes are out there helping millions of people become better versions of themselves as they work to stave off preventable diseases. As CrossFit founder Greg Glassman has elucidated on many occasions, CrossFit boxes are the best places to fight chronic disease because of the methodology we employ that is simple and simply works.  As Coach Glassman has said, “[CrossFit has] hacked health.”

We are so excited that our doors are now open and are working with Staten Islanders of all ages and fitness levels to achieve their goals. CrossFit has changed the lives for our owners and coaches, and we are confident it will change yours too if you are ready to work hard. So, whatever your goals are – to lose weight, increase strength, become more mobile, have fun, test yourself, improve your cholesterol levels, have a greater ability to chase around the kids or grandkids, or anything else you can think of – we are here to help you meet your goals. In the end, we believe your efforts at CrossFit 103 will help you in your efforts to prevent chronic disease and, just as important; you will have fun during the process and will be thrilled with the transformations you see.  

To read more from Coach Glassman on the important topic of preventing chronic disease, please see: http://journal.crossfit.com/2016/08/fitness-luck-and-health.tpl We look forward to working out with you.