296 Morris Road, Schenectady NY 12303 | 518-374-5968 | info@CrossFitSchenectady.com


Personal Training

April 11, 2012

I don’t talk a lot about “Personal Training” for the obvious reason: It’s Personal! Personal Training is not for everyone; however some people have special needs or circumstances that require a personal touch.

When “George” was in his 20’s he had a bad car accident that landed him in hospital paralyzed from the waist down for 4 days. (Fake name to protect his identity). Gradually over time he gained back the feeling and ability to move his legs. At 67 years old George was still dealing with the results of that accident. He enjoys playing golf and playing with his Grandchildren and was finding both difficult due to scar tissue that has built up in his back from that old accident. After several weeks of physical therapy he started working with me to gain flexibility and strength. Some days he comes in ready to go and do a regular “CrossFit” workout. Other days he sends me a message a few hours before his appointment to let me know that his back is “acting up”. In those cases we do a warm-up that will last about 20 minutes with gradual increasing intensity until by the end he is breaking a sweat a little bit. Then we spend about 30-40 minutes stretching. His back is usually pretty good for at least 2-3 days after those types of sessions and if it isn’t he knows it’s time to go back to the physical therapist.

In the past 2 years that George has been working with me I think he has gotten about 6 years YOUNGER! It took a lot of work, but George tells me all the work is worth it: Workouts with me 2 days a week, jogging 2 days a week, walking the golf course 2 days a week and trying to keep a healthy diet low in processed foods and “moderation” when it comes to vino and partying with the boys.

It is circumstances like George’s that make Personal Training a better option than group classes. If George was signed up for group sessions he’d probably miss about 1/3 of them because of the issues with his back. This way he gets the personal attention he needs when he needs it and gets a good old fashion workout the rest of the time.

April 28th Team WOD: “Move 42 Horse stall mats for time”

April 18, 2012

Yes, that means that April 28th is moving day. We’ll be starting at 9am with a group warm-up and finishing mid-afternoon with some Paleo food and adult beverages. The plan is just to move the stuff (mostly the flooring: horse stall mats and plywood), lay down the floor in the new place. I’ll be returning on Sunday and Monday to get everything else organized. If you can’t come on Saturday but would like to help please let me know if you can come Sunday or Monday and we’ll find something for you to do.

There will be a sign up sheet at the gym for volunteers to help with:

• Moving stuff – please bring vice grips if you have them…maybe work gloves too.
• Bring breakfast type snacks (at 9am): Fruit, cheese, eggs, etc…
• Bring lunch food (at around 1pm): Any combination of meat, cheese, veggies & fruit…
• Bring beer & ice (at around 1pm): Make some of it light beer please!

Plan on hanging out at the new place when we are done.

Thanks in advance for your help and support!


May 11, 2012

It’s amazing when I think back to we all started. Only 2 years ago I was still training out of my 1 stall garage. Now we have a beautiful new facility and tons of equipment. I knew you when:
• Stephanie couldn’t do 1 pull-up with the grey band (she just did 12 with green!)

• Dan couldn’t do Kettlebell swings with 35 lbs. — Recently he’s been doing tons of them with 45 lbs and may be trying 50 lbs soon!

• Beth, Dawn & Lorraine C. couldn’t touch the ball doing squats – Now they are all back squatting over 45 lbs and doing overhead squats with weight!
• Ramana was popping out of her size 10 pants – Now….she’s getting close to size six!
• Christina couldn’t lift her hand over her head….now she presses over 50 lbs!
• Jay could barely do a few pushups – Now pushups are the warmup!

I could keep going on forever with these stories! I’m so proud of all of you! Keep up the great work!

Thank you for all of your help, support and friendship!

Why should you drink Alcohol?

September 13, 2012

You should drink Alcohol if you want to get drunk! That’s it! Pretty simple right? If you don’t want to get drunk then don’t drink alcohol.

“But….I like a glass with dinner every night. Isn’t that ok?”
“But….I like the taste.”

– Simple answer: “I don’t give a sh!t what you like!”

“But….It helps me sleep.”
“But….It makes me feel good.”

– Simple answer: “Again…Do you see anyone that gives a sh!t?”

There are no good benefits from consuming alcohol. I’m sure you can find some study about drinking wine every day being good for your heart or that a beer every day will stop prostate cancer in elephants…whatever! In reality you can find a study that proves just about anything you want it to.

Want to get drunk? Then drink alcohol! That is the only benefit!

Want to get healthy? Improve performance? Feel better? Think better? Then don’t drink alcohol!

We’ll be talking more about this, but for now I want you all to think about these ways alcohol affects your body:

• Alcohol interferes with hormone (insulin and glucagon) regulation, disturbing normal blood sugar levels. This can cause systemic inflammation and lead to blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure imbalances.

• Alcohol reduces inhibitions making it easier to make poor food (and life) choices when under the influence of even small amounts of alcohol. Furthermore, the effects on the brain carry over until the next day, which means a drink or three on a Friday night may lead to a weekend’s worth of junk food.

• Remember how sugar is “empty calories”? Alcohol is nearly twice as calorie-dense, with no micro-nutrition to speak of.

• Alcohol, even moderate amounts, has been shown to alter the balance of gut bacteria, potentially contributing to irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive issues.

• Finally, alcohol is acutely neurotoxic, even in small amounts, altering the normal activity of your nervous system, causing damage to nerve tissue, and disrupting or even killing neurons, the cells that transmit and process signals in the brain and other parts of the nervous system.

Now, I’m in trouble….again! Because I have to suck it up and take my own advice! Ughhhhh! I hate it when this happens!

Where do you live?

September 28, 2012

Why do we have people come to CrossFit Schenectady from all over the Capital District? Of course most of our members are from Schenectady or Rotterdam, but we also have folks coming from East Greenbush, Clifton Park, Menands, Niskayuna, Scotia, Duanesburg, Latham, and Cobleskill.

I like to hope it is the great coaching! For some the location is close to home. For some they came because the bigger ‘boxes’ turned them off. Some came to workout with friends or family. But I know that it’s partially about the type of community that we’ve developed. It’s great to see you all getting to know each other.

Whatever the reason I think we have a great group developing and I want to keep that small community feel as we grow. Please take the time to get to know the new folks…some of them are pretty interesting!

My responses to questions about CrossFit Schenectady

October 2, 2012

Below are my responses to questions from a friend that asked about coming to CrossFit Schenectady. Hopefully they will help you too:

I’ll try to answer all of your questions and if you like the answers give me a call and we’ll set up a “free consultation” visit for you to come over and check it out.

1. The ‘program’ and technique uses a combination of weight training, body weight training, flexibility and cardio put together in unique ways. See http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf/56-07_Understanding_CF.pdf for more of an explanation.

2 – For prices check out: http://www.crossfitschenectady.com/rates_page.php – Yes x number of visits for X dollars is probably the way to go….at least at first. If you come more than twice a week then you could go for the unlimited package.

3 – Whats done in a typical session? Each class usually consists of about 10-15 minute warmup, 10-20 minute strength training, 10-20 minute cardio and some light easy stretching. The strength training is heavier than most people are used to and the cardio is shorter bouts of higher intensity work. Every day is different and workouts are rarely repeated. However, the terms “Heavy” and “High Intensity” are very relative and depend on the persons ability.

4 – “Does your technique give consideration to someone with shoulder and lower back issues?”
In order to know for sure I’d need to evaluate the shoulder and back issues in person. Without any further information I’d say if you are patient then CrossFit can work for you. But patients is the key. You may not be able to lift as heavy or most as fast as you want to, especially at first. But, if you focus only on what you are capable of doing and don’t worry about what others are doing then you should be fine. I’d suggest the following steps in this order: 1 – Free consultation to check out the place, the shoulders and the back. 2 – A visit to your doctor to ask if light weight lifting is ok and what (if any) movements you should avoid, 3 – come back for visit 2 with doctors notes in hand.

Let me know if you have any further questions. Give me a call at 518-374-5968 to schedule an appointment to come in.

Is everyone here already in pretty good shape?

October 15, 2012

This was a question posed by one of the new people this week. It made me think a bit. My first reaction (that I didn’t say out loud) was “Yes, they are pretty fit, but they didn’t start out that way!”.

It made me think back to where you all started from and WOW, compared to that you are all doing awesome! Sure, everyone still has things they need to work on. We all will always have a “suck list”. But those of you that have been around for a while are certainly performing and looking pretty damn good!

Now, there are a few of you that have been slacking off lately…life has just gotten in the way. Perhaps the gym and taking care of your body used to be a top priority and suddenly a new girl/boyfriend has taken over or maybe you are working too much…or maybe both! And, when you read this you’ll know that I’m talking about you.

There are also a few of you that started out at what I’ll call “ground zero”…that is zero mobility, zero strength, zero endurance, zero stamina, etc… I want you to realize that even though it may feel like you have so much more progress to make you are no longer at zero! On the scale of 0 to 100 there are a few of you that started out at zero almost a year ago and are now up around 30 or 40 out of 100! So, granted to someone off the street you may not perform or look like a super star athlete, but compared to where you started you certainly are doing great.

So, take a look back in your workout log of where you were 3 months ago, 6 months ago, or a year ago. How have you changed? And, what do you attribute it to? Workouts alone? Diet? Rest? Are you happy with your progress?

What's your excuse?

October 16, 2012

CrossFit Schenectady -- No excuses!
I hear so many different excuses for NOT working out!

If you don’t have the money I understand that. I know it’s not cheap. But not too long ago I got a message from a long time member saying “I can’t afford to come any more.” I told her “but you’ve pre-paid for 10 more classes so you might as well use them.” I haven’t seen her since.

I got a message from a member the other day that owns her own business and makes her own schedule. She said “Our schedules just don’t work together. There is no good time for me to come.” Really? If you liked it that much you’d organize your schedule differently.

I got a message last week from someone that said they had to move furniture. Well, ok….at least you were getting a workout. Kind of.

You won’t hurt my feelings if you just say “I don’t like you much and I’m not coming back”. I know that it’s possible you don’t like me or don’t like the other people in the class. After all, we’re all different and we work pretty closely together so we have to get along.

Don’t make up excuses! Just admit to yourself and to me. Admit it If it isn’t a priority and you can’t make time for it . Admit it if you’d rather spend your money on Martinis and Movies or fancy shoes. Admit it if its just too hard. Admit it if you don’t like me or don’t like the gym or the workouts. But stop lying to yourself and to me!

What does “For Time” really mean?

November 25, 2012

There are many different, but correct ways to handle a workout “for time”. And those strategies may be different from how you would address an AMRAP workout. The key things are: Pain Free, Good Form, and work towards your own personal goals.

• NEVER work through PAIN! However, discomfort, fatique, tiredness are all fine and are NOT a reason to lower your weight!
• NEVER complete 10 reps at a time with bad form! Slow it down to 3 reps at a time, or even 1 at a time to keep safe form! If you slow it down to 3 reps at a time and still can’t keep the correct form, then it may be time to consider lowering the weight. Ask your coach first!
• NEVER lower your weight and finish first! Or even 2nd! Only lower it if you are in PAIN or if you just can’t complete your reps safely. You should really be struggling before lowering your weight. It should be enough of a struggle that you are not able to catch up with the leaders.

• STOP if you have pain! Tell your coach! They will watch your form & help fix it. If it still hurts lower the weight or change to a different movement. Don’t keep doing something that hurts.
• Keep form safe! As intensity increases expect form to suffer a little. If 100% represents perfect form you should start between 90-100%, be about 85-95% in the middle and finish at about 65-85%. Stay closer to 85% if dealing with injuries. If you can’t keep form safe then stop & rest more. If you can’t continue with good form then lower the weight.
• Before each workout decide if you will work on Strength or Cardio. Work toward your fitness goals (not being first on the leaderboard!).

I’ll use myself as an example of how to work toward your goals. I want to get stronger and gain a little weight (muscle). I’m also constantly protecting a prior neck/shoulder injury. Because of my goals and prior injury I often do my workouts with heavier weight and move slower than many others. I may only get ½ as many rounds in an AMRAP, but I used the same weight as girls that weigh 30-50 lbs more than I do. In a “For Time” WOD I’m almost always last because I’m using heavier weight and focusing on form.

If your goals are weight loss then maybe you want to use less weight in an AMRAP (move faster & sweat more) and slightly more weight in a WOD that’s “5 Rounds for time” (move slower & sweat more). If you use light weight in a “5 Rounds for time” WOD then you may only get a 5 minute workout when you could get a 20 minute workout (Shorter workout = fewer calories burned).

If your goal is GPP (General Physical Preparedness) with no bias toward Strength or Cardio then you should choose each day based on how you feel. An AMRAP is always a good opportunity for cardio. A WOD that is “5 Rounds for time” should be done with a moderately heavy weight, keeping good form and needing to take a few breaks.

If you’re not doing the workouts RX’d and you’re always near the top of the leaderboard then you need to use more weight or less assistance. And, if you’re always at the bottom of the leaderboard then you need to use less weight and more assistance.

Please feel free to post opinions and comments! I’d love to hear your input!

Before, During and After

December 30, 2012

The Before picture was AJ before he started working out at all. That was about a year ago. He started running on his own and came to CrossFit looking for something less boring and painful with better results. The second picture is what I’ll call “During” because that is AJ now…in the middle of the process of reclaiming his body!

How did AJ do it? Determination: He went from nothing to running miles 3-5 days a week. He’s been averaging about 5 CrossFit workouts a week since he started. He’s gone from zero to 7 or 8 dead hang pullups at a time. His Deadlift has gone from literally not being able to bend over to get to the bar to lifting well over 300 lbs. Since AJ has been working nights he’ll come to a workout, go to work, then come back for his second workout of the day. WE are all very proud of him!

Why is it “During” and not “After”? Because AJ isn’t done! In the next picture you will see his abs…you know …you’ll see the “six pack”. So what are the next steps? How will he get there? Three things AJ has to do to get to the next step: Keep up the hard work, ditch the “six pack” to get the “six pack” and work on flexibility & mobility.

It’s not just drinking a beer here & there, but tightening up the diet a little bit more will be necessary. AJ, I know that Sunday is your big day to eat & drink whatever you want and for you that’s fine, but the rest of the week needs to be tightened up! Fresh, not packaged foods and lots of water.

And how will flexibility & mobility help with the “six pack” that we all want? The body works in opposites. When one muscle is tight the opposite muscles will be loose and usually weak. AJ’s tight muscles are his back, hips & hamstrings….what are the opposite muscles? Abs!

Let’s work on reversing that! Make the abs strong & tight and stretch out and mobilize the back & legs! You’re Deadlift & Back Squat will skyrocket, you’ll move faster with less pain and you’ll look even better on the beach!

Nice work AJ! But….don’t think it’s over! We’ve got some work yet to do!

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