John Beneduce's—a professional MMA fighter and black belt in Brazilian jiujitsu—fellow fighters introduced him to CrossFit. They touted the high-intensity, functional workout for the advantage it gave them in the ring, but John soon realized that it could aid fit-seekers of every ability level. He and his wife opened CrossFit Bayside to offer an effective alternative to standard gyms.
“The way we do it at CrossFit Bayside is pretty much the total opposite of how a traditional gym would work,” John said. Rather than coming in to use equipment solo, members attend a packed schedule of one-hour sessions, which all begin with a warm-up before everyone spends about 15 minutes mastering new techniques. Once they can safely and effectively do the workout, students get to work, hoisting medicine balls, swinging kettlebells, climbing ropes, and dead-lifting weights. The workouts change each day, and John usually waits about three months before repeating one. Two days a week, he gets students kickboxing, infusing the workout with his martial-arts expertise. As groups cool down, John leads a discussion on a health-related topic, ranging from nutritional information to how to keep a fitness journal without making your diary jealous.
The gym is always stocked with free bottles of water, and after the workout, members can dig in to organic produce such as nectarines, bananas, and cherries. “We really care about our members,” John said. “My wife and I run it together as a family business.” He added that the members themselves uphold the gym's mission, warmly welcoming new members and throwing themselves fully into each workout. “There’s no negative energy at my gym,” he said.