Reflections on Year One.....

Reflections on Year One….


By: Coach Chris


This post will be a little different than usual. When I write I usually have a main point or a nugget of wisdom I want to impart, and I edit it many times. This, however, will be different. It will be a stream of consciousness reflection on our one year anniversary with little editing. So, if it lacks coherency I apologize in advance.  




Today is our one year anniversary.  One year of new friendships, life transformations, dramatic weight loss, strength gains, PR’s, and watching many people do things they never thought they could or would do. 


We experienced the Open together, did Memorial Day Murph, attended a crazy Halloween party, and raised a lot of money for some really great causes. Despite those fun events, my favorite part of the last year has been the normal day to day experiences, the drudgery of working out together and improving our lives day in and day out.  




I remember the first day clearly. We programmed Fran. As a worrier by nature, I of course worried whether anyone would come that day and in the future. Some came, but nowhere near the numbers we see today. But I remember walking around the gym early to take it in and envision what the place would look like jam packed. I expected that to take a long time, but it was only a few months later when the truth matched my vision.



There’s been so much positivity around this place, and I look so forward to walking in. The best part for me is whether I am coaching, restocking the fridge, or wiping down the rig it never feels like “work,” instead it feels like my calling. I know the same is true for both Gil and Sal, and for our entire coaching staff. We love what we do, and look forward to working with you every day.


There have been disappointments, for sure. Nothing could have prepared me for the shock of seeing someone make such positive life changes in a short time, only to receive the dreaded “this is my last month” text or email from that same person a short time later. It’s a shock because I know that all that progress might be going to waste. 


But the positives have greatly outweighed the disappointments. I’ll never forget seeing a member in Old Navy last spring who had several pairs of pants in his hands, and excitedly told me that he needed all new clothes because he lost so much weight that none of his old clothes fit him anymore.


I won’t forget the excitement of hearing the details about someone’s first obstacle course race or their first competition experience.





Personally, I’ve grown a lot during the last year. While I still consider myself a CrossFit “athlete;” that is secondary now. I now consider myself a coach first, and an athlete second. I’m happier watching and hearing about your accomplishments than experiencing my own.  With that said, I still intend on winning the Open in a couple of months (that’s for you Matt, Sal, Gil), and will always give it my all and be competitive.




I hope I’ve inspired some of you in a small way. 


Thank you to all our athletes for showing up every day and giving it your all.  Without you, there would be no gym, and I sincerely appreciate the trust you’ve placed in us.


Thank you to all our athletes who spent part of the year with us and left for whatever reason. If you are reading this, you are always welcome back, and we hope to see you again.   


Now, we are on to Year 2, and bigger and better things. The friendships will continue and deepen, the events will get better, and we will welcome many more new people into our midst. Let’s continue to be as welcoming as we have been to those new to our community, and let’s always stay “beginners” at heart, with open minds always learning and improving.


Again, thank you all. I can’t wait to see what the next 365 days bring.  

Elite Functional Fitness December Newsletter





November Recap

November is the time of year when most people start eating more and getting lazy. The good news is it seems we made it through one of the toughest times of year without this happening.  Everyone is looking great and most Turkey Day calories are worked off by now! Now it's time to tough it out one more month and make it to everyone's favorite time of year to get back into the gym - New Year's. By staying on course, you'll be 2 steps ahead of the resolution crowd!  Here are some of the things you may have been a part of, or missed, over the past 30 days.


We held our first annual "Barbells for Boobs" 🎀 on November 11th, helping to raise money for breast cancer awareness. As a gym, we raised close to $3,000 and had an excellent turnout for the workout "Grace." Another amazing job by our members to give back to those in need, particularly Vinny C. who raised almost $1,300! You guys/gals rock!




Congrats to all the members who completed the Spartan Super on November 4th in Mountain Creek, NJ. This definitely wasn't an easy one with all the uphill climbing and downhill running over 8+ miles with 30+ obstacles. This was no easy task and you guys/gals crushed it!




Welcome our newest piece of equipment to the gym - a Peg Board! See a coach for pegs and instruction.

Please note: if you do not have 3 strict pull ups, do not attempt.

Side effects may include but are not limited to:
upset stomach, dry mouth, and drowsiness. A side effect is considered serious if the result is: death; life-threatening; hospitalization; disability or permanent damage; or exposure prior to conception or during pregnancy caused birth defect.




Congrats to member Karla Milazzo on the birth of her baby boy - Mateo Milazzo weighing in at 6lbs 8oz, born on November 15th. We look forward to seeing Karla back at the gym. 

Baby Mateo

Baby Mateo


A Look Ahead to December

Now comes the time of year to eat (grilled chicken), drink (protein shakes), and be merry (lift all the weights)! The holiday season. Everyone's favorite time of year! We're here to help you make it even better! Here's a look ahead.

On Saturday, December 23rd, we will be hosting our 2nd annual Christmas Pajama Party. Classes will run in heats like normal event days, and we will be performing a workout IN OUR PAJAMAS! After the workout hang out, eat food, and have a few glasses of egg nog. More info will be posted in the member group soon.




We are thrilled to introduce a new addition to the coaching team at CrossFit 103.

Crizzy Romano is a CrossFit level 1 Trainer as well as Power Monkey fitness - gymnastics ,aerobic capacity, Olympic Weightlifting, CrossFit judges course certified, she ranked in the top 4% in the open and worldwide in 2017. She has 4 years CrossFit experience, played basketball thought out high school and trained MMA for several years. She is very skilled in gymnastics, calisthenics, and muscle ups and will be a tremendous asset to our team.

Please give her a warm welcome and introduce yourself.




Many have asked about the new Fit3D this week. Here are the new services available upstairs in our office beginning this weekend.

Please see Gil or Sal for more details.

We invite any member interested in learning more for a complimentary scan, by appointment.




We are officially a Toys for Tots drop off location. They will be our charity of the month for December. Please help out those less fortunate than us by bringing in NEW UNWRAPPED toys and dropping them off in the big red box we have at the gym.




We are looking for new sweater / t-shirt designs and need your help! Post your designs on Facebook and they will be voted on by members. Best design goes on our next shirt. Please - no cheesy slogans. =)



Thank you to Jessica Mattsson for coming up with an amazing design for our new heavy pullover hoodie. We are now accepting pre-orders. Please comment on our Facebook post asap with size and quantity. If you are not on Facebook, then please email Hoodies price is $50.




A casting director from American Ninja Warrior contacted us looking for CrossFitters to participate in the upcoming season. Please let a coach know if you are interested. To apply, and for more info, you can go to They are looking for skilled warriors with some kind of story (which should be told in the video you need to create). If they accept your video, you'll compete in a local Ninja Warrior Competition with a chance to go on to the finals and compete for a 1 Million Dollar top prize!




November's Big PRs and Firsts


Another month with too many to post! Damnnnnnnnn EFF Fam. You guys are crushing it!!!




Welcome Our Newest Members!


Winona Scheff

Sebnem Dagli

Erica Skiba

Jacqueline Marks

Frank Longo

John Simonetti

Lana Guney

Tracey Marino


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


5 Tips to Avoid Falling into the Holiday Trap



Halloween is over, and we are entering into “The most wonderful time of the year.” 

That’s right; we are rushing headlong into the holiday season.  

It’s filled with turkey, eggnog, family, joy, presents, parties, and busyness.

What often takes a backseat during this busy time of year? That’s right, our fitness.

We get so wrapped up in all the busyness of the season that we let our fitness routine suffer and we see our progress come to a screeching halt – only to begin   the cycle again in January when we make a resolution to get fitter and more dedicated.  

You don’t have to allow this to happen.      

Here are five helpful (I hope!) tips to not fall into the holiday trap this year:


Remember your “why”.

Whether it is to lose weight, gain strength, or just have more energy to play with the kids, we all have a reason why we spend so much time in the gym. Remind yourself each day why you choose to do this.  Let’s admit, it isn’t easy, and it is often much simpler to sit on the couch after work drinking wine and relaxing or sleeping late, than it is to push yourself to the limit in the gym. But, we all have a why, which is the motivation that keeps us coming back. Keep your “why” front and center at all times.  



Keep each other accountable. 

One of the many ways that CrossFit has revolutionized fitness is the social aspect. When we work out in a group and suffer through the same experience we form a bond, a camaraderie that is difficult to explain. We’ve all experienced it, which comes from shared experiences. That is why those in the military form such a close bond with each other. We all end up with training partners, those who come to class at the same time as we do. I know I don’t like letting my training partners down by missing class. Commit to your training partners that you won’t let them down and you will continue coming to class during the holiday season. 



Don’t be too hard on yourself. 

Does anyone think you can get into perfect shape by working out one time? No, of course not. It takes hours and hours of dedicated effort over a long period of time. So, why do we think if we slip up on our diets at a party that this will destroy all our gains? It won’t. We are allowed to enjoy our lives, and if this means eating poorly and having a few drinks at a party that’s ok. Problems start when we make that a habit AND stop training in the gym. So, during this holiday season you will likely overeat or go off your diet at some point. That’s ok. Don’t see that as a failure that will ruin the gains you’ve made. A slip up here and there just means that you are human. The day after feasting on two pies of pizza, don’t give up and say “screw it.” Instead, recognize it for what it was, a symptom of being human – and start again the next day. Just like one day in the gym will not make you Rich Froning, one day of feasting on pizza will not destroy your progress.  

yeah-im-into-fitness-fitness-whole-pizza-in-my-mouth-18325440 (1).png


Make a plan and stick to it. 

Isn’t it true that when you plan to do something you are more likely to do it? It takes the decision-making out of the equation, which is important since we know that when we have to make a decision we often choose the one that brings us the most comfort, instead of what is best for us. At the beginning of each week decide which classes you want to attend and reserve your spot in those classes. Just like any other responsibility you have, see your hour in the gym as non-negotiable unless an emergency situation takes place. 



Look at the big picture.

You have made so much progress. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste. Think of how difficult it would be to come back to the gym after taking almost two months off spent eating and gaining weight. Think of how hard it would be to get back into your fitness routine. Walking in the door is often the hardest part. It becomes harder and harder the more time you spend away.  



We want to see you succeed, and we know this is the time of year when many people start to fall off, simply because of their busyness and the temptations all around you. The coaches at CrossFit 103 commit to you that we will be here for your every step of the way in your ongoing fitness journey. Make the commitment to yourself that you will continue staying consistent. Let’s make this holiday season a “Fit” holiday season.  



Elite Functional Fitness November Newsletter




October Recap


October has always been a fun month - costumes, decorations, parties, pumpkins, apple cider donuts, apple picking, and lots of lifting. It's always sad to say goodbye to October, but at least we have some great memories as we prepare for Thanksgiving and the winter season. Here are some of the things you may have been a part of, or missed, over the past 31 days.



Our 1st annual Halloween Party was a huge hit! Over 60 members showed up in some amazing and creative costumes. We ate good food, drank (A LOT), danced, played flip cup, beer pong, some weird balloon popping game, and much more that we can't talk about here 😏. The 3 top costumes went to Lenny D. (The Hulk), Vicky and Pete (Happy Gilmore and the Alligator), and Erich & Michele (Flo from Progressive & Jake from State Farm). If you missed this party, don't worry, we'll have one again next year!


The crew at the Ragnar Trail Series at Wawayanda Lake

The crew at the Ragnar Trail Series at Wawayanda Lake

We had a bunch of members competing this month in races and competitions. Erich, Matt, Jess, Mike, Natalie, Valerie & Corinne competed in the Ragnar Trail Series (above), an 8 person relay race that covered close to 130 miles (split about 16 miles each) and took a total of over 25 hours to complete! Awesome job. We also had a bunch of members compete in the "Rookie Rumble" CrossFit Competition in NJ. Congrats to Erich, Natalie, Pete, Allie and Victoria for crushing it and setting some Oly Pr's! Let's keep it up!



Every Halloween our little friend comes out to play. For some reason, she is fascinated with coach Cristina. Don't worry; she doesn't bite. least not that we are aware of. We're  actually surprised Gil didn't toss her because of her terrible spelling. Good thing she didn't write "Your."



Another Challenge class started, and this was a memorable one with many great new members. By the time you read this they will all be in classes. Introduce yourself and say hi! We were all "new" once too.



Leah just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Alessandra Michele, weighing in at 5lbs, 9ozs and 18 1/2 inches long! Congrats Leah!!! Best of luck, and we can't wait to have you back in the gym in a few weeks!



A Look Ahead To November


Our next big event is Barbells for Boobs on Saturday, November 11th starting at 9am. We will be performing the WOD "Grace" (30 Clean & Jerks - scaled versions for non CrossFit) for breast cancer awareness. More details will be posted this week. Please join us to help raise money and awareness. If you have not yet joined our Barbells for Boobs team, please do so by clicking this link  Barbells for Boobs Team Page.


After many successful challenges, we are starting a new 6 Week Challenge on November 14th. Many of you have had amazing results with our 6 Week Challenges, and have continued with us to see even more amazing results. Now is your chance to help a friend! If you know anyone that needs this, please let us know and have them reach out to us!



Thanksgiving is just around the corner. This is the season where many people fall off and start gaining back weight. Don't let that happen to you! Get in the gym! Take a few cheat days, not months! Enjoy the turkey and pies - AFTER YOU LIFT!!! 💪🏽🍗


October's Big PRs and Firsts


Yea......So many pr's this month and I got too lazy to type them all. So what?! 😝💪🏽💪🏽

Awesome work Fit Fam!!!!!!

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Welcome Our Newest Members!


Charles Manz

Charles Stengel

Christina Ortalano

Delailah Candelaria

Eddie Guadalupe

Gina Como

Jackeline Hernandez

James Marino

Jayson Garcia

Jonathan Boehme

Joseph Atalla

Kevin Flanagan

Lauren Rudolph

Matt Meltzer

Melissa Antonelli

Nicole Antonelli

Nicole Laudadio

Rajiv Gupta

Ronald Ferlisi

Ronnia Girgis

Sarah Aly

Suzanne Wright

Victoria Colletti

Winona Scheff

Vinny Bardong


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


Elite Functional Fitness October Newsletter




September Recap

Wait.....September is over already?!?!?! Wow. The month flew by fast! the kids are back in school, and hopefully in a routine by now. Pumpkin Spice Everything is full throttle. Leaves are falling. Classes are starting to get busier once again. Don't "fall" off this fall! Now's the time to keep on working hard straight through the holidays and into the new year. Don't fall into the seasonal trap! The weather is cooler and it is a perfect time for Fitness.

Lets get Jacked .jpg


Some cool stuff happened the past 30 days. Here's a recap!

The Tribute Crucible

The Tribute Crucible

Sal and Gil took a chance when firefighter Brandon Heaney from the Salt Lake City Fire Department gave them a call and invited them to Utah for a 9/11 tribute event in the mountains. Brandon was looking for an FDNY member to participate in the 30+ hour, no sleep, trek/tribute with 15 other participants. They hiked up mountains, bushwhacked (hiking with no trails) down the steep side of the mountain, carried logs, did yoga, learned hand to hand combat, learned SWAT techniques,  hiked some more, went in and out of a freezing cold lake repeating the Gettysburg Address, carried sandbags, did team relay races, hiked more, and paid homage to those who gave their lives on 9/11. It was an experience like no other. Oh, did I mention they didn't sleep for almost 40 hours???? Sal will create a blog post about the entire experience in the coming weeks.

Locking arms in the freezing cold lake at 2am

Locking arms in the freezing cold lake at 2am

Coach Matt completed a Half Ironman Triathlon in Lake Placid, NY in a little over 7 hours. A half Ironman consists of a 1.2 mile swim, followed by a 56 mile bike ride, and ending with a 13.1 mile run (half marathon distance). Just the thought of that is exhausting. Finishing an Ironman is an amazing feat. Awesome job Matt! #BlameItOnCrossFit

Congrats Matt!

Congrats Matt!


We welcome Yoga Instructor Stephanie Locricchio who started teaching yoga classes at our gym. For now, we have 2 classes to gauge interest: Tuesdays & Friday' at 11:15am. We will add classes as we get more interest. Remember - your first class is FREE; so get in on a class to try it out! What do you have to lose?



A Look Ahead To October


You're not going to want to miss our 1st Annual Halloween Party on Saturday October 21st! The party will start at 7:30pm sharp at the gym. It will be an ADULT ONLY Costume Party. There will be a costume contest with prizes, so dress to impress! We'll also have fun games like "Scare Cristina with the Zombie Girl" & "Bobbing for Kettlebells". We ask that all members who attend bring either an appetizer, dessert and/or your favorite adult beverage. We will create a Facebook post with a food list. There will be no working out that night; just a time to socialize and have fun. 



A new 6 week challenge class kicked of on Saturday with our nutrition seminar. Please be aware of challenge class times - Tuesday and Friday at 6am, 10am & 7pm (630 on Friday). Say hello to the new members. Welcome them to the family. Remember - many of you were once challenge members yourself.

Gil showing off his biceps

Gil showing off his biceps


We welcome new coach Hila Dery with her HilaFit classes. Hila is a popular Staten Island fitness instructor and personal trainer. Her classes are very high energy & fun. Classes are open to all CrossFit & Squat Academy members. Hila's class will also be taking over the 8:30am Tuesday & Friday Core Class. See Sal, Gil or Hila for more info.

Hila's Schedule

Hila's Schedule

Sunday Coffee & Mash will now be held on the 1st Sunday of each month for now. We will keep you posted if this changes. You may continue to bring whatever you wish and hang out with us on Sundays. ALL class times will remain the same.

coffee and mash .jpg


For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October's charity will be "Barbells for Boobs". As a non-profit organization dedicated to the early detection of breast cancer, with an emphasis on women under the age of 40 and men of all ages, Barbells for Boobs has been active in the CrossFit community for years now, hosting fundraiser WODs and informational meetings at affiliates all over the United States. We will be performing the WOD "Grace" at a date in November TBD. Announcements about the event and how to help raise money coming soon.

barbells for boobs.jpg


Don't forget to sign up for the Spartan Super at Mountain Creek on Saturday, November 4th. We have about 10 members from the gym signed up already. Our Team Name is "CrossFit 103" and the Password is "squateveryday". Let's get another great turn out for this race. Use Discount code: CSTEAMCF103 for 15% off. Members who are Military/FD/PD/EMS will receive 25% off by signing up to Govx. Link is on Spartan site. Also - The Rookie Rumble is this weekend in Cherry Hill, NJ. Good Luck to those competing! Let's get some members down there to support them.

spartan race.jpg


August's Big PRs and Firsts

Kristel H. - First Box Jump!

Victoria P. - Double Unders!

Peter O. - Hand Stand Push Up!

Irma - 3 Rep Max Front Squat @185!

Laura P. - 5 Rep Max DeadLift @ 115!

Jess Matts - 110# Hang Clean!

Andrea S. C&J @95!

Linda F. - C&J @107.5!


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

Elite Functional Fitness September Newsletter



August Recap

Summer came. Summer passed. Way too fast! We hope everyone has enjoyed the season, and has plans this weekend to spend time with family, friends, beer, and bbq. Then it's times to again get serious about health and fitness. We are anticipating an exciting Fall with fun programming, a few events, including our annual Halloween party, new members coming in, and old members coming back. We are on a mission to be the greatest gym on the island, and thanks to our members we are well on our way there!



The 2017 CrossFit Games were once again very exciting, especially the nail biting finish between Kara Webb and Tia Toomey. Congrats to Tia for barely pulling through at the end and being crowned the "Fittest Woman on Earth." On the Men's side, Mat Fraser once again dominated, winning by the largest margin in CrossFit Games history. Even though it was so lopsided, it was still very exciting to watch him pace his workouts so well and always come out on top. It was also great to see the sport get some amazing coverage and a large audience on CBS Sports. They will be replaying the Games on CBS Sports in case you missed some events.



Speaking of competitions, congrats to those who competed in the "War at the Shore" in the beginning of the month. The teams of Erich W/Chris Didonato and Natalie/Jess Matts both placed 5th overall in their respective divisions. Coach Sal and Coach Chris placed 15th in a very competitive division against athletes half their age. In another event, Coach Matt competed in a competition at CrossFit Shrewsbury and placed 5th overall in the Rx Division. If you would like to get involved in competitions, please see a coach and we will find one that is right for you.




Thanks to all of those who helped out and donated for this month's Charity of the Month "Sunrise Day Camps" in Mount Loretto. Our Muscle Up Marathon raised over $750. Our coaches did a combined total of 150 muscles ups during the 2 hour marathon. Sandy Haft, director of Sunrise Day Camp Staten Island, is for grateful that we have such a giving and caring community. Keep up the good work!



As we continue to grow, we continue to build our gym and purchase new equipment. This month we stocked up on Dumbbells. We have plans for future expansions and purchases. Stay tuned.




A Look Ahead to September


As kids go back to school, and everyone comes back from vacation, we expect classes to be full again. Please make sure you book early so you don't get locked out of primetime classes, especially 6:30pm. We will also be running another Challenge, with interviews starting the second week of September and classes probably starting at the end of September. If you know anyone interested in attending the 6 Week Challenge, please have them contact us. At the start of the Challenge we will also be hosting a nutrition seminar that is open to all. Stay tuned for exact dates. 



Our coaches/members are doing 2 big events this month. Sal & Gil are headed out to Utah for 5 days to compete in a team challenge in the mountains, which will include hiking, kayaking, running, climbing, memorizing sections of the Gettysburg Address, and learning some crucial outdoor survival skills. This is an event honoring fallen FDNY firefighters from 9/11. We will receive our tasks and must complete all tasks as a team. We will not be able to sleep until everything is complete. Past challenges have gone on for more than 30 hours. 

Coach Matt & Erich will be competing in a Half Ironman Triathlon on the same weekend. Over 70 miles of swimming, biking, and running in Lake Placid, NY. Not an easy task. Wish us luck!!! 

Matt & Erich after their marathon row preparing for the Ironman

Matt & Erich after their marathon row preparing for the Ironman

We have a lot of members signing up for the "Rookie Rumble" on October 7th in Cherry Hill, NJ. This competition is for beginner and intermediate CrossFitters only. There will be no "rx" division. This is a great "first" competition and is an excellent opportunity to test your craft and feel the thrill of hearing a crowd cheering you on for your final reps. It's and awesome rush and we encourage anyone to experience it.  Click below for more info.



Save the Date

We will be hosting the most Epic Halloween Party in the history of Staten Island, USA on Saturday, October 21st. The last time a Halloween party of this magnitude was hosted on this island, we were part of the 13 colonies. No, we will not be working out. Yes, we will be eating, drinking, dancing, partying, having a spooktacular time and dressing up in costumes. Friends and family are welcomed and encouraged to come to this ADULT ONLY event. Stay tuned for more info. 

halloween party.jpg



August's Big PRs and Firsts

Stephanie R. 115 DL for 5 reps!

Giuliana G. officially got full push-ups!

Peter B. got his first bar muscle up! 

Leah C. did 45 consecutive double unders and she's 29 weeks pregnant! 

Teresa D. hit 5 consecutive double unders! 

Frank P. 2 mile run in 16:30!

Erin L. toes to bar! 

Erich W. consecutive ring muscle ups, 155lb snatch and 215lb squat clean!

Chris DiDonato 350 lb Deadlift! 

Tommy M. HSPUs and Double Unders! 



Special Congrats to Eduardo Caiche on the birth of his baby boy on July 31st! 


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

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