Strongman competitor William Harris opened his gym to help exercisers achieve ultimate physical conditioning with an innovative approach to fitness that eschews the mirrored walls, isolated machine workouts, and pie-eating competitions of standard gyms. His cadre of personal trainers—most of whom are certified Level 1 CrossFit coaches—draws on real world athleticism: trainer Phaidra Knight was named the women's' rugby player of the decade 2000–2009, and Rob Gutierrez works as a physical trainer for the NYPD. For CrossFit sessions, certified trainers design intense, ever-changing workouts that safely push members while providing motivation and support. Classes rotate through various challenges such as calisthenics, weight lifting, kettlebells, and sprinting, relying on both intensity and variety of motion to improve comprehensive fitness. To bolster long-term health, coaches dispense nutrition tips that keep bodies fueled and give clients the tools to spur fat loss and muscle gain. The results build bodies that function in real-world tasks, such as running to catch a bus, lifting a sack of dog food, or throwing a discus and riding it to work.
Derrick Bell knows how to train athletes. Just ask his sons—one is a top prospect for high school football, and another was named one of the top basketball players under the age of 14 in the United States. Bell gets the most out of the athletes that he trains by meeting their enthusiasm, dedication, and motivation with his own. He leads them through intense strength and conditioning exercises to prep them for tests and drills, get them noticed by recruiters, and help them increase their speed and endurance for their sport of choice.
The trainers at Harrison Strength & Fitness don’t care if their students are dead-lifting with 500 pounds or with a broomstick. That’s because the CrossFit workout scales to all fitness levels and requires only that participants perform at their personal max. To help them do this, owner William Harris designed his no-frills gym without the distractions and hourly tea parties offered at fancy fitness clubs, reminding exercisers that their primary objective is to get healthy.
Harris, a North American Strongman competitor, certified personal trainer, and certified CrossFit coach, helms an equally credentialed staff. They lead classes designed to maximize the body’s proficiency in 10 foundations of fitness: strength, stamina, speed, flexibility, agility, accuracy, endurance, power, coordination, and balance. Though workouts vary each day, exercisers can expect to perform moves such as squats, lunges, jumps, throws, and pull-ups. Harrison Strength & Fitness also offers personal training as well as nutrition training that teaches patrons how to balance their meals with lean proteins, grains, and greens and design a dietary plan according to their individual goals.
Cesar Bravo—a gymnast who holds certifications from CrossFit, the International Sports Sciences Association, and the USA Gymnastics National Safety association—opened Bravo CrossFit in 2009 with a few sandbags and a single rusty barbell. His gym has evolved leaps and bounds since then; it recently moved to a new, 3,000-square-foot facility, in which Cesar still teaches every class. He helps clients from all walks of life get in shape, including students, business executives, athletes, and stay-at-home parents. He leads these clients through functional exercises that eschew the muscle-isolating machines and movements of traditional gyms. The daily-changing routines harness kettlebells and calisthenics as well as training skills from Olympic weightlifting and gymnastics. He further helps his clients overhaul unhealthy lifestyle habits with nutritional training, and posts healthy, flavorful recipes online for dishes such as slow-cooked coconut-ginger pork and bacon-wrapped chicken to ensure that taste buds don’t get bored and wander into a pint of ice cream.
At CrossFit Englewood, the certified instructors lead their charges in a different workout each day. All the exercises focus on prepping the body for everyday movements, incorporating exercises such as pushing, squatting, and lifting, which can be scaled to suit each participant's fitness level. In the team-training program, patrons can focus exclusively on strength and conditioning specific to the sport of their choice. To ensure participants are performing to their fullest abilities, they evaluate postures and prescribe corrective exercises. With performance psychology, the trainers motivate patrons to apply the benefits of CrossFit lessons to life challenges, such as being expected to brush their teeth every day.
Having shed 115 pounds through his own fitness regimen, Syncere "Syn" Martinez became a CrossFit devotee driven to help others discover their dream physiques. His tenacity has propelled him to complete several triathlons and earn certifications in disciplines such as running, Olympic weightlifting, and kettlebell training. Along with his experienced team of coaches, he fosters a competitive atmosphere in their trademark Brutality course, in which he motivates patrons in intense functional training and furious bouts of Battleship. In this course, he pushes patrons to reach their peak endurance, strength, and agility with running, free-weight lifting, and gymnastics maneuvers. Encouraging patrons of all backgrounds, their Afro Brutality line of clothing and CrossFit team celebrate diversity among their client base.
Syn and his team ascribe to CrossFit's ever-shifting workout-of-the-day program, and emphasize the development of sound technique to better execute the intensely challenging workouts. Tailored Brutality classes may aim for weight loss, strength, or stamina, and Brutality camp charts a custom fat-burning plan of exercise, nutritional guidance, and really, really hoping. The universal scalability of CrossFit maneuvers ensures that dedicated guests of all experience levels can enlist in CrossFit Harlem's class series.