October 2018 Athlete of the Month - Matt Amato


As October flew by, I didn’t have an athlete of the month ready to announce. I had a couple names that stood out but I wanted to hear who the other coaches and staff members felt was most deserving. This is no lie. Every single one of them had Matt on their list. So that was a decision the team made and we could not be more proud of Matt’s efforts and achievements.
Congratulations Matt! You are the youngest member to be Athlete of the Month.
Matt is almost 17 and started crossfit a few years ago to get in shape for wrestling season. I later learned that he was a track & field athlete as well. I am jealous that you started doing CrossFit in high school. There are numerous members who are in the same boat as me wishing we had this structured training at the high school age. Enjoy it and continue to take full advantage of it, Matt.
Other than being a two sport athlete, Matt refs soccer games as well. He is always a pleasure to have in class. The kid workouts his ass off every time he comes to the gym and trusts his coaches. There is no hesitation to ask how much weight he should lift for a workout. He knows we have his best interest in mind and we are here to help him succeed. By the way, Matt can back squat almost 300lbs. I’m sure he will hit it next time he tests the lift. He’s got some raw strength.
Make sure you congratulate him when you see him in class. At the end of this month he be taking time off from the gym until the summer July because of wrestling and track & field seasons. 
Keep working hard Matt!

Written by: Coach Rob Moloney

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Q&A
How long have you been a member and how long have you been doing CrossFit?
I have been a member and have been doing CrossFit on-and-off for three years.

What is your favorite thing about the gym?
My favorite thing about the gym Is learning new movements using the barbells.  

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome since joining the gym?
The biggest challenge that I've overcome in the gym is being able to run longer distances and still being able to function doing other movements. 

What is your favorite moment at the gym so far?
My favorite moment at the gym is when we do the annual barbells for boobs event at the gym. This event is a great way to do something nice for a great cause. 

What's your favorite "cheat" food?
My favorite cheat food is late night ice cream 

What would you say to someone who is thinking about starting?
I would say that at first it's pretty rough, but eventually you make improvements and feel great after each class.

What drives you?
What drives me is making steady improvements at many different movements 

What is you biggest fitness goal right now?
My biggest fitness goal right now is being able to do strict pull-ups and improving my hand stand position. 

September 2018 Athlete of the Month - Geri Dunckley

This was an easy selection for me. I remember so vividly the day Geri called the gym and I answered the phone . We told me we went to another gym to ask about membership and how to get started but they weren’t very welcoming. I am thankful that I I was next to the phone when she called because I told her to come in right away and I would show her around the gym and get her started as soon as possible. Over the past year, Geri’s fitness journey has been pretty awesome. She started out not very coordinated, not comfortable lifting weights and had little confidence in the gym. Geri’s mindset is something that has had the biggest improvement. Through elements and even her first couple months, anytime Geri expressed negative self talk, I had her do burpees. This was more of encouragement to flip the mental switch into optimism and opportunity rather than verbally and mentally beating herself up (consciously or unconsciously.)
She is not the only one who struggled or struggles with this. Many people do and it has been awesome to see the change first hand. Geri now is not a shy member who comes in, does the work and leaves. She is vocal, cheering on her fellow members and is nothing but positive. The journey is long and if you always strive for progress, there’s a very good chance you’ll continue to attain it. As a physical therapist, being strong and confident is a must. Geri has said with pride after hitting a tough workout, “have a great day. I’m off to treat clients for the next 8 hours.” How awesome is that? When I look back at my first interaction with Geri when she came to our gym for the first time with her three kids, I am thankful I got her started right away. There are numerous people who are in the same shoes she was and were not as committed to take the plunge. Congratulations and thank you for being you, Geri. Keep working hard and striving for success. I’m proud to coach you.

Written by: Coach Rob Moloney

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Q&A
Why you started Crossfit?
The reason I walked into that door was because my husband challenged me to complete a Spartan Race, which I did, but he had to lift me (literally over most of the obstacles and emotionally to keep my legs moving). I was proud I completed it, but knew I had to complete most of the obstacles on my own. (Which I did this past year, thanks to CIP).

What’s your background? 
Exercise background? I don't really have one. I played a little basketball in high school, but that about sums me up, besides my one year of stair climber obsession. I never lifted a weight or barbell ever. My exercise for the last 8 years has been chasing my 3 children. :) 


How long have you been a member and how long have you been doing CrossFit?
I've been a member for almost 15 months. If you count those 14 months and change, that's how long I've been doing CrossFit. 

What is your favorite thing about the gym?
The people. Hands down. No question. The coaches, the athletes, the community. The inspirational, motivating, encouraging crew that surrounds me at 6am is a blessing. I was welcomed into 6am with open arms and have never once felt judged by a single person.

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome since joining the gym?
For me, it's not physical. It's my shyness and lack of confidence that is the biggest challenge I've overcome since joining. For me to work out with people watching, used to make my stomach turn. Now I work out like no one is watching. :) Plus I'm the most shy person on the planet and being in such a supportive and kind community, I've broken out of my shell quite a bit. I'll chat with anyone. 

What is your favorite moment at the gym so far?
It's hard to narrow down, so I'll just have to say, the first day I walked into the gym. Rob was so kind, calm, understanding and encouraging. It took a lot for me to call and walk in. He got me set right up with my first elements class and got me moving. And look where that got me!!! Walking in most mornings and walking out a better me every time. Let the journey continue. 

What's your favorite "cheat" food?
This week? Chips and salsa. I'm a "reformed" junk foodie who would rather have dessert than a meal. I've committed to eating a more healthy life style.. So I only splurge for special occasions, like birthdays, or Saturdays and some Wednesdays. :) 

What would you say to someone who is thinking about starting?
Do it. You have to be stronger than your biggest excuse. Just come in. There is absolutely no judgement. Everyone starts from somewhere and CrossFit Island Park is a great place to start. 
What drives you? My kids. I want to show them what hard work and dedication are. I want to be able to chase them and participate with them. Enjoy them. I want teach them a healthy life style and lead by example.

What is you biggest fitness goal right now?
My fitness goals are ever changing. Right now, I just want to be a better me. Oh and to complete the 10k I signed myself up for. Look in the mirror, that's your competition.

August 2018 Athlete of the Month - Jo Cecil

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Congratulations Jo on all your hard work. As I told you when I announced that we are honoring you with August Athlete of the Month, hard work does not go unnoticed. You have such a contagious positive energy that fills the gym. You have been on the radar for athlete of the month and your consistent drive throughout this summer solidified my decision to honor you. Jo is an OG member of this community which has changed a few times since it's opening. Of recent, Jo made some serious decisions to take better take of herself and became noticeably driven to attain her goals. As she will explain below, she decided to do 50 burpees a day for 50 days. This streak was one that kept her on a positive path to success. She is one of the most enjoyable people to coach. She responds well to cuing and feedback. She has some of the best form for olympic lifts in the gym. Also what many of you may not know, Jo completes the round or more of the workout after the time is up. She continues until the job is done. I hope this honor fuels you to continue towards more goals and inspire others to create better habits too. 

Written by: Coach Rob Moloney

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"Okay, so instead of just doing a Q and A, I wrote a little story"
The year was 2010, and I was walking down Beech Street when I noticed a new sign was up over a store front- “Crossfit King of the Beach” (KOB). It had these boxes stacked up in the window and barbells on the wall.  I said, what is this place?
A few nights later we saw a group of people sprinting up and down Beech Street, coming out of the crossfit storefront and my then boyfriend, (Jeremy and now husband) recognized one of them as his friend Rob Santoro.  So Jeremy texted Rob asking him what crossfit was all about. A few weeks later we started our first elements class. 
I was never an athlete so I was very nervous and very self conscious.  But I was so bored doing the same 3 machines (and avoiding eye contact with everyone) at the “regular” gym.
So we joined and I will never forget, I couldn’t jump up and hold on to the rig.  It was so embarrassing, but to my surprise no one made fun of me, only encouraged me and shared their own struggles and success.

Then in October of 2012, like most of you reading this, Superstorm Sandy altered the course of our lives- our crossfit lives too.  KOB closed, never to re-open.
They relocated to a warehouse and rebranded to Crossfit Island Park (CIP) and opened in early 2013.  I didn’t join immediately because there wasn’t enough time to go to 6am class, drive back to the West End, shower, change for work and make my train.  And I wasn’t a fan of going after work- It gave me all day to make up an excuse not to go.
But I missed it so much, I tried showering after class and going straight to work from there. The timing worked perfectly so we joined CIP.  The 6am crew was full of genuine, positive people who quickly became my closest friends. They say friends who sweat together, stay together.  My best friends today were made in that 6am class. 
So I’ve been a cross fitter for years now, but i didn’t really consistently attended.  In April of 2018, I saw a picture of myself and was horrified.  I made the decision that I needed to seriously commit to the gym and re-evaluate my eating and drinking habits.

In June, I could feel myself getting sucked into summer laziness and decided to copy my classmate Pat Mullany and do a burpee challenge -  50 a day for 50 days- to keep me focused.  Even if I couldn’t make it to the gym I made sure I did my burpees- on the beach, on the bedroom floor, at friends houses, and anywhere from 7am to 1130pm when I was in bed and remembered I didn’t do them.   68 days and 3,400 burpees later I decided that was enough.  But it worked- kept me focused on my ultimate goal of feeling comfortable in my own skin again.  

And it made me so much better at other movements too; rope climbs, push-ups and  jumping up and holding onto the rig.  I still need my first pull up, but I know it’s not far off, especially after I hit my next goal of losing another 20 lbs.

I would tell someone considering crossfit my own struggle and journey and then tell them
not to be scared! It’s not a cult and it’s judgement free!  Everyone is friendly and will root for you.  Just try ONE class ... then one week... one month.  The worst excuse in the world is “I’m not in good enough shape to go to crossfit.”  It’s not true-  there are scaling options for everyone, at every age and level, injured or not.  It’s a decision you need to do for you. Give yourself one hour -  put aside the significant other, the kids, the job, the errands. And do it for you. No one else will do it for you.

And don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy-  it requires patience and some sacrifices- getting up when that alarm goes off at 520am, getting a salad instead of a cheesesteak.  But damn it feels good when you come out on t:he other side. 

I was truly shocked when Coach Rob announced in Tuesday’s 6am class that I was August Athlete of the Month-  that him and Dr Jeremy and all the other coaches noticed my renewed commitment and effort has truly touched me and inspired me to keep going. It’s just what I needed to reach my next goal.  Thank you to all my former and current coaches- I’ve learned something from every one of you and appreciate all the tips and encouragement.

To my fellow crossfitters everywhere -  thank you- for your positive energy and always cheering me on when I’m (usually) the last one still working out.  See you on the other side of the pull up bar!

Written by: Jo Cecil

July 2018 Athlete of the Month - Vinny Famularo

 Congratulations Vinny for being our July Athlete of the month. You are very much deserving of this honor. This title is not necessarily given to the best athlete in the gym and it is certainly not a title that someone should "compete" for. Athlete of the Month is given to those who our staff feel best showcases the attitudes, actions and behaviors that we seek in every member. Within that, every single one of these honored members has their own story and interesting background. It's pretty amazing to learn about every member in the gym. Our community is filled with people from all walks of life and numerous talents. 
I worked with Vinny one on one in his elements when he joined. His buddies Jason and Travis had joined a few weeks prior and wanted to get more of their friends in; (fast forward to now, they have resurrected the 6pm hour.) I couldn't read how Vinny was at first and wasn't positive he would stick with the gym. I did know that if  his friends continued to come at 6pm every day that Vinny would be with them. In elements, we spoke about his athletic background in wrestling a bit and I knew he worked in law to some degree (most of their crew does if you need legal advice.) 
Vin is a paralegal at my brother’s law firm right here in Long Beach. "It is called Rosenbaum Famularo P.C. as well as Amazon Sellers Lawyer. We help Amazon Sellers from all over the world fight their suspensions, complaints, and intellectual property disputes."
Something most of you would never know is that Vinny is an avid video gamer. Imagine that, a guy who plays video games, is part of the crossfit community and is social. (Have you kids who won't put down the xbox come talk to Vinny on how to balance these interests.)
Vinny was in fact ranked #1 in the world in Call of Duty Advanced Warfare as well as top 10 in a few other games. That is pretty damn impressive and something you don't learn everyday about a fellow member. If you're into games, go talk to him. It is his passion. 
What solidified my decision to name Vinny our Athlete of the Month was on the day we painted the back wall of the gym. He stayed after class to help move the equipment along with the other members in the gym for the 9am class. He then stayed until 3pm painting with us. During this time, I learned he had planned to do movement testing with Dr. Jeremy but saw that no one else showed up for it so he figured he would help paint and do the testing another time. What a selfless and incredibly polite guy. So Vin, as much as you said you can't believe that you are the Athlete of the Month, believe it! Thank You for being yourself.

Written By: Coach Rob Moloney

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Q&A
How long have you been a member and how long have you been doing CrossFit?
I am finishing my fourth month here at Crossfit Island Park which is how long I’ve been doing Crossfit. It has been the best, most life-changing decision of my life and I am extremely grateful for it.

Why you started CrossFit?
I used to wrestle back in high school but haven’t done anything healthy for my body for the majority of the last ten years. What gave me the motivation to make the change in my life is due to losing my mother from lung cancer this past December. This woke me up to start getting back in shape and really change my whole lifestyle. However, I wouldn’t have gotten this far if it wasn’t for my best friend and fellow member Jason “Admiral” Timchula. He really has pushed me to go and continue to go to the gym even when majority of the days I am waddling to get there. This is still true today since most days I am still waddling my way to the gym for the next workout.

What is your favorite thing about the gym?
There really is no way to single out my favorite thing about the gym. Between the people, coaches, facility, workout plans; everything about this gym is my favorite thing. Everything about this gym is designed to push you through the workout and find new personal ceilings every day.

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome since joining the gym?
When I first started the gym, I couldn’t climb the rope and I could barely put the bar over my head. Little did I know, until Coach Rob told me to go see Doctor Jeremy, this was all due to having muscle tendinitis in my shoulder. After a couple of months of seeing Doctor Jeremy while consistently attending the classes I have seen tremendous progress. I can climb the rope, my bench went from 135 to 230, I went from barely putting the bar over my head to putting 155 on clean and jerks earlier this week. Its honestly incredible how much better I’ve been doing, and I surprise myself all the time. But I would have never been able to do any of it if it wasn’t for this gym, the coaches, the people and Jason pushing me to get to the gym.

What is your favorite moment at the gym so far?
This is hard to decide because there are always great moments of the gym. Its either between hitting the PR’s as stated in the last question or during my first week barely losing this ski race when I first started. It was the first time using the ski machine and it was a partner WOD for a 3000-meter ski. We barely lost, but the race was so close and we were all so dead at the end of it. This might have been when I got hooked on CrossFit, the workouts and the competitive atmosphere.

What's your favorite "cheat" food?
There is nothing like the “Dominator” or the “E-train” at the Brands Deli in Long Beach. Those sandwiches are so good, but Jason reminds me how much those sandwiches are going to hurt later when I get to the gym. I also fall for any sort of sweets. Cookies, ice cream and cake are definitely my kryptonite.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about starting?
If I can do it, you can too. Do not be intimidated with all the incredible athletes and how good they are at each exercise. You just need to have the motivation to try and better yourself. This motivation to make yourself better will drive you through every day. What I have been saying since I started doing CrossFit is 85% of the workout is just getting there. Between the people and coaches, you will get through that hour and feel so much better after when you accomplished whatever the workout of the day was. CrossFit has made me, the most unmotivated person in the world, motivated. If it can do all this for me, it can do it for you.

What drives you?
Becoming a better version of myself is what drives me to go to the gym every-day. In my mind that is what CrossFit is. It’s about giving yourself personal goals and attempting to achieve them. Once you do, there is another goal right behind it. It’s a constant opportunity to improve yourself every day. What also helps with these goals is seeing the incredible athletes at the gym every day showing what can be possible with time and work. I call these super athletes “Captain CrossFit’s.” These are the people who just make everything looking easy and each of them should probably be in the CrossFit Games. These people help me push through each workout because they are inspirations. They show what you can become as long as we stick to the gym and the process.

What is your biggest fitness goal right now?
Besides trying to just do better at everything every day I go to the gym, I really want to be able to do those kipping pull-ups as well as muscle ups on the bar and hopefully the rings one day. I know it’s going to be a long road until I achieve these goals, but I am ready to take the challenge.

June 2018 Athlete of the Month - Joe Murdy



Joe was born and raised in Lido Beach, so he's a local guy. He said he was never very athletic and was quite overweight while growing up. It was in High School when he started on a consistent fitness regimen and wrestled. "In one year, I dropped 50 pounds. During this time, I experienced the powerful benefit of exercise on enhancing mood and mental clarity, and I was hooked. However, I never felt like I was pushing myself too hard in the gym, and that is what brought me to CrossFit."  It has been very evident over the past few months that Joe is on a mission to become as fit as he possibly can. Hard work does not go unnoticed! 
Joe is one of six who took our muscle up specialty class. He found himself burnt out at times from over-training during the weeks, but learned his lesson as he had goals in mind. I was fortunate enough to coach Joe for a few of those specialty classes and helped him string a few muscle ups together. Just this past weekend, he did 35 muscle ups in a workout. That is awesome!
Set goals and go after them. Keep up the great work Murdy. 

Written by: Coach Rob Moloney

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Q&A
How long have you been a member and how long have you been doing CrossFit?
I have been doing Crossfit since I started at Crossfit Island Park 5 years ago. When I started, I had just finished my first year of college and was in a rut and not keeping on top of my fitness. A half a decade later, I think its safe to say it was the best decision I've ever made. 

What is your favorite thing about the gym?
The supportive atmosphere and infectious energy that permeates the gym every day. I've been to quite a few gyms around the country (and a couple in Australia) and not a single one can channel the energy and intensity at Crossfit Island Park. The community that has been built here is full of so many hard working and inspiring athletes that it makes being chosen as Athlete of the Month such a great honor. 

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome since joining the gym?
In case you can't tell from the many sounds that come out of me mid workout, I have built quite a reputation as a puker. What most people don't know is that two years ago, I was so frustrated by this that I almost stopped doing Crossfit altogether. Luckily, I didn't and I've watched as fewer and fewer workouts send me to the bathroom. At this point, I wear it as a badge of honor. 

What is your favorite moment at the gym so far?
Hands down, this year's Open. The atmosphere was pure electric, and it was a great opportunity to get to know athletes I don't usually take weekday class with. Doing 18.4 in a leprechaun suit will forever be the most fun I've ever had while exercising. I remember halfway through the workout bursting into laughter thinking at how ridiculous I must look doing bear crawls.

What's your favorite "cheat" food?
Donuts... and milkshakes. Especially milkshakes with donuts in them

What would you say to someone who is thinking about starting?
Don't be intimidated! No matter our present fitness level, we all share the same goal of self improvement. Most people who are on the fence about starting don't think they're strong enough for Crossfit. My advice to them is not to dwell on what you cannot do but consider what you may soon be able to do. Cherish EVERY victory, no matter how small.  With a positive attitude and commitment, there are few limits to what you can accomplish. 

What drives you?
Being better every day.  Nothing compares to that thrill of being able to do something you could not do the day before. And that is why I love Crossfit so much. There is always room for improvement and progress is easily quantifiable. Its humbling but very rewarding.

What is you biggest fitness goal right now?
Of all the goals I've set for myself, I'd consider being better upside down my biggest goal at the moment. I struggle with handstand push ups and would love to be able to have more control of myself while in a handstand. Down the road, I'd love to be able to do handstand walks. 

May 2018 Athlete of the Month - Sarah Mordetsky


Each month, I come up with a few names of members who exemplify the characteristics we love to be around in the CrossFit Island Park community. Thank you Sarah Mordetsky for your authenticity. It was an easy choice and I am proud to give you this month's honor. 
Sarah and her husband Joe "The Beard" have been members for almost a year now. Sarah is a regular in 9:30am class. She is a hard-working, fun loving mom of two who doesn't take life too seriously. Sarah is so selfless. As president of the Kiwanis Club, she is always looking out for others and trying to give to those less fortunate. She was as huge heart. I want to thank you Sarah for giving us the opportunity to positively affect the lives of military children and cover the costs to send 4 of them to camp this summer (at $465 each.) That goes to show the culture we have at CrossFit Island Park is not all about what we do inside the gym. Our members are great people. Being in the gym seven days a week, it is very rewarding to see the positive changes occurring in you all as individuals, in the gym itself and the overall culture. Thank you Sarah for being a leader and congratulations on this month's honor.

Written by: Coach Rob Moloney


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Q&A
What is your background and why did you start Crossfit?

I am a former commercial banker, turned interior designer, turned stay at home mom.
I was approaching 40 and I didn't like how I felt anymore. I was waking up with aches and pains for no reason. My body had become something I didn't like or really recognize after two kids and I needed to make a change. I still wake up with aches and pains now, but at least I have a very solid idea of where they came from.

How long have you been a member and how long have you been doing CrossFit? 
I have been a member of Island Park for about 9 months, though it feels like much longer thanks to the 9:30 class. I have been going to CrossFit for a year and a half.

What is your favorite thing about the gym?
The people. It's like coming to an adult playdate every day. We all push hard to get it done, but it never feels dull or boring and that's because we are all suffering together and laughing while we do it. And while it is fun, there is real training going on. Coming from a place where the fun came first and the training second, its really nice to be at a place where our coaches take pride in what they do and how they teach us. 

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome since joining the gym?
Everything? No seriously, everything. I didn't work out for a very long time, and I'd never taken on fitness at this level. I couldn't do a lunge, a push up, I couldn't lift more than the 15lb bar over my head when I started. I was always the lightest weight and last one done at -all- of it.  I might still be last one done, but I'm growing stronger every day I show up. Crossfit really humbles me with how hard it continues to be. 

What is your favorite moment at the gym so far?
It was Murph. Having an incredible group support a charity honoring military families and honoring a fallen hero felt really good to be a part of.  I was grateful when you guys offered to send any kids up to camp. But 4? It’s just awesome. I know I’ve said thank you a million times and I wish there were better words for it, but thank you again. It just goes to show the kind of people we have in this fitness community.  Then there was the actual work out. I was nervous that I wouldn’t finish and I’d run out of time. I modified to try and mitigate that, but I still thought I’d fall behind and not get all the middle work done.   I did.  I had Kerrin with me, which helped me move forward. If she can finish being new at all of it, I had no excuses. I finished under an hour and completely surprised myself. Next year, Rx.  Best day at the gym, hands down. 

What's your favorite "cheat" food?
That's a joke right? I eat the food from my kids plates. But really I don't "cheat" myself out of eating the good stuff or bad stuff. But everything in moderation. Even fast food has a place in my diet, just not a regular one. 

What would you say to someone who is thinking about starting?
Don't be intimidated. There is always a modification to take the workouts down to a level you can do. Everyone starts at the same place, so showing up is the biggest hurdle. Once you are there you'll be amazed by what you are capable of. Its what makes CrossFit "addicting" in my mind.

What drives you?
What drives me most is a desire to be a better person. Not just with fitness, but with life. I am a firm believer that small efforts lead to big impacts. Holding the door for someone. Picking up an extra piece of trash from the beach. Even smiling and saying thank can change another person's day. I try to teach my kids that and lead them by example in that regard. I'm always really grateful when someone else sees that and they decide to make a small effort too. It's contagious and leads to bigger things.

What is you biggest fitness goal right now?
To get kipping pull-ups. If I've learned anything at CrossFit, it's that Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is my pull-up progression. But I'll get there. A year and a half ago I started off with ring rows and a band across the bottom of the rig. I've just got to keep chipping away.

April 2018 Athlete of the Month - Kate Flynn

I am proud to announce our April Athlete of the Month is Kate Flynn. It was a pretty easy choice for me as I brainstormed who was deserving of this honor. Kate's presence and attitude is a true example of the type of person we all want to be and the type of person our community cultivates. As you read her Q&A, many of you may relate to the words Kate uses. She was a very active kid growing up, had no worries or concerns about exercise or diet because you were always doing something. Then life gets in the way when we grow up and school and jobs. Having the discipline to continue and work towards the happiness and goals you set out to attain is something that is very much respected. Kate joked with me saying she joined the gym to get less fat. I responded to her with, "and now you want to out-squat the guys." It's funny how our initial intentions change as we realize that many of us joined CrossFit for similar reasons (to get in shape or lose weight). Now, several months or years into it, we are a community of fit, health-conscious men and women who hold ourselves to a much higher standard than before we committed ourselves to this lifestyle. Kate also said to me, "the gym has reshaped my life in countless positive ways and I'm very excited to see what the next year brings." I'm excited to see what you're able to achieve this year as well. 

Written by: Coach Rob Moloney

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Q&A
Why you started CrossFit? What’s your background? 

I was always a multi-sport kid growing up, I played volleyball, tennis, I have a black belt in kung-fu, even did shot-put for bit.  Once I started college though, I completely stopped everything.  I was more focused on cramming last minute for exams and partying than any kind of fitness or nutrition.  By the time I finished grad school in 2015, I had hit my heaviest weight.  I was completely out of shape and miserable.  I spent 2+ years in and out of trying personal trainers, yoga, running, anything to just get me out of the slump.  A few months after I moved to Long Beach, I decided to give CrossFit a try.  I called CrossFit Island Park, started elements that following week, began frequenting the infamous 8pm class, and I haven’t looked back. 

How long have you been a member and how long have you been doing CrossFit?
I’ve been a member/doing CrossFit for a little under a year now.  
It’s crazy how fast it has gone by. 

What is your favorite thing about the gym?
There is a lot to love about the gym.  The programming is always fun and challenging and the coaches are fantastic.  But, it definitely comes down to the culture for me.  The 8pm class very quickly became the best part of my day, and continues to be.   People really support each other, cheer you on, celebrate PR’s, and some of them have become my closest friends. 

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome since joining the gym?
Definitely my own self-doubt and frustration.  Learning a new skill, not hitting a weight, being too slow etc...  If you’ve seen me trying to do double-unders then you know exactly what I am talking about.  There is always some swearing and complaining involved.

What is your favorite moment at the gym so far?
This is the hardest question for me.  There have been so many incredible moments in the gym that have shaped my life for the better over the last year, it’s really hard to pick just one.  The first was the night we maxed out pushing the sleds back in October.  It was the first time I think I had ever truly given 100% on a workout in my life.  Even though I couldn’t get the sled back to the start in one go on the last run and I dropped to the ground, I knew that I gave it everything I had.  That was a very powerful feeling, and it made me want to really commit myself more to the workouts after that.  The second has to be when I was the only one who showed up for 8pm in a snowstorm.  Coach Rob stuck out the storm with me and helped me find out I could do HSPU’s (16 of them!) when I had never even attempted them in class once.

What's your favorite "cheat" food?
NY style cheesecake.  Bonus if it has oreos involved.  

What would you say to someone who is thinking about starting?
It can be a lot to take in at first, but embrace what the gym has to offer you, and just give it your all.  You will get back what you invest 10x over.

What drives you?
I think if you asked me this 9 months ago, I would have said I just want to be less fat.  Now, I’m driven by the training process and having fun with everyone at the gym.  I enjoy the work we put in for over the course of a few weeks and getting to test our progress.  Fortunately, by loving this process I’ve become less fat, so it’s worked out pretty well so far.

What is you biggest fitness goal right now?
Squatting 300# is definitely on the radar for 2018.  I’m really looking forward to getting better at the Olympic lifts, and competing in my second power-lifting competition in July.  And, of course I want to do at least 1 workout RX in the 2019 Open.

March 2018 Athlete of the Month - Nick Soldatenko

It is my pleasure to honor Nick as our March Athlete of the Month. Our coaching staff continuously discusses the members who stand out and display that extra something we are always looking for. Nick has definitely possessed this extra something that is tough to describe. As he mentions below, Anita was his first coach when he joined us back in 2015. Not realizing until reading Nick's answers, Nick and I made the move from Brooklyn to CrossFit Island Park within a month of each other. I am continuously impressed and shocked to witness the growth in many athletes we have. Nick is one of a few former chain smokers. The will power to quit that or any type of addiction is remarkable. I have the utmost respect for the discipline and
determination to make the life changing decision. Nick's sportsmanship and devoted efforts to his goals to not go unnoticed. He loves helping his teammates push towards their goals and loves to be challenged. I enjoy having you in my classes, Nick. And was extremely impressed with your speed through the thrusters and pull-ups on 18.5. Well done!

Written by: Coach Rob Moloney

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Q&A
Why did you start Crossfit? What’s your background?
Before CrossFit I was a 30+ year old chain smoking couch potato who never had a gym membership in his entire life. I was realizing that I needed a lifestyle change and happened to see a review of a CrossFit class on YouTube. I thought I would give it a try.

How long have you been a member and how long have you been doing CrossFit?
I started CrossFit at CF718 in Brooklyn in the end of 2014, was a member there for a few months until I bought a place in Long Beach and moved here. Coach Dariel from 718 told me about CrossFit Island Park. According to him it was a very good box, but it took me a while to give it a try after I moved. On December 1st 2015 I pulled myself together, walked into CFIP, met coach Anita, and the rest is history.

What is your favorite thing about the gym?
Most definitely the coaches and the athletes. They both create this great atmosphere in the box where everyone is encouraged to work on becoming their better self. I think we got extremely lucky with the coaches. This past year I’ve been to a few boxes around the world and realized that not everybody is as lucky as we are.

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome since joining the gym?
My own destructive behaviors. In the beginning it seemed so much easier to stay in bed and skip class, or go have a cigarette and relax instead of getting ready for CrossFit.

What is your favorite moment at the gym so far?
18.4 a few weeks ago. Andy [Dickson] and I did it together and were head to head on the HSPUs. This movement is challenging for both of us, so we both had some no reps, kept trying, succeeding, then failing again, then trying some more, but not stopping and not giving up. For me this is what CrossFit is all about – trying, maybe failing, but still making the best effort, and doing it with friends.

What's your favorite "cheat" food?
Ahh muffins, donuts, anything with sugar.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about starting?
Do it. This will be the best decision you’ve ever made, and you’ll be thanking yourself later.

What drives you?
Seeing incremental improvements is very powerful. Noticing that I’m able to do a little more, go a little faster is a great validation.

What is you biggest fitness goal right now?
Summer(ish) body. I was with friends in Upstate last summer and someone pointed out that I was starting to show a six pack. That was the first time my name and “six pack” were used in the same sentence. That guy still keeps telling everyone I have a six pack. So I feel very pressured to make sure I actually have it by the summer.

February 2018 Athlete of the Month - Dakota Clark

Choosing the February Athlete of the Month was a pretty easy selection. I didn't discuss this one with anyone. Dakota's continuous display of commitment, camaraderie, drive, discipline, poise and competitive spirit do not go unnoticed. His work ethic is something to admire and I appreciate the effort each and every day. Many of you, like myself, don't know a lot about Dakota.
He joined our gym in the summer after leaving another crossfit on long island. He's relatively quiet but a very respectful guy. He has been a police officer for the last three years now. Prior to joining the force, Dakota served in the Marine Corps from 2007-2013. "While stationed down there I did two deployments to the middle east, my first one being in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and the second deployment being in support of the American embassies during the Arab Spring uprising, all being with the 2nd Marine division as a designated marksmen."
Thank you ten times over for your service!
Dakota grew up in Suffolk County and played high school football and ran track. You can tell he's got an athletic background when running or sprints are programmed. Also, good luck in a push-up contest with him. Another question outside the regular Q&A was why he started CrossFit. He said,  "I started CrossFit to change up my workout routine. I was getting pretty bored of regular weightlifting and just doing the same routine in the gym everyday. CrossFit was very big in the military community when I was in and I always wanted to get into it but never really made the time for it. While on deployment we had limited bars and dumbbells that we had with us, so we would always look up CrossFit workouts. They would be simple lifts but I have alway's been interested in the idea of it. 

Written by: Coach Rob Moloney


Q&A
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How long have you been a member of CrossFit Island Park?
I have been a member of the gym since Summer of 2017. I have been doing CrossFit for a little over a year, more now then ever. 

What is your favorite thing about the gym?
My favorite thing about the gym is the consistency it provides with the workouts and coaching. Everyday the coaches and even the members push you to be better.

What has been your favorite moment at the gym?
My favorite moment at the gym so far is being able to complete a ring muscle up. 

What is your favorite cheat food?
My favorite cheat food is definitely Taco Bell or buffalo chicken pizza.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about joining?
Anyone who is thinking about starting I would tell them to just go for it. Even if your doing it just for fitness reasons, it provides you a personal goal everyday to reach and the gym is very accommodating to each individual.  

What drives you?
A few things drive me to become better. I get excited to see progress each time I go to a class or to an open gym. This is my first year doing the open and I definitely want to do better next year so that has provided me with a lot of drive to train to just see better results. Movements that I thought I could never do like muscle ups or even heavy squats that I have accomplished so it kind of makes you wonder what else you can achieve in a positive way. 

What is your biggest fitness goal now?
My biggest fitness goal right now is to increase my strength in all the Olympic lift movements. This is where I feel like I struggle the most and by next year I would like to be hitting certain weights with squats, cleans, etc. Along with the weight, I would like to become smooth with the technique as well. However I know its going to take time and patience and it makes me want to strive to do better everyday.

January 2018 Athlete of the Month - Andrew Dickson

Our selection to start the 2018 year has been a long time coming. Andrew Dickson is one of the hardest workers you will meet. We now have a husband and wife duo on the wall as his wife Cariann was our June Athlete of the Month. Andrew is an Army veteran and a sergeant in the NYPD. Thank you Andrew for your continuous efforts to serve our country and the city of NY. Due to his work schedule, taking classes at the gym isn't always ideal. This doesn't stop Andrew from getting in the gym. It's great to see his discipline in training. He truly enjoys the process and loves sharing his passion for working out with his wife. Keep up the hard work Andrew! Enjoy the honor because you deserve it. I hope to see that championship belt soon.
  
Written by: Coach Rob Moloney

Q&A
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How long have you been a member and how long have you been doing CrossFit? 
I have been doing Crossfit probably about 5 years and I have been a member at Island Park for 4 years. 

What is your favorite thing about the gym?
The class times/open gym. The scheduling is great, especially for some one like me with an ever-changing work schedule. I can always find a time slot to work out and of course the coaches, even when I am only able to make it to open gym, the coaches never hesitate to see how I am doing or give advice on lifts or movements without me having to ask. 

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome since joining the gym?
My biggest challenge was probably recovering from some shoulder problems. For a long time, I never thought I would do anything overhead again. Thanks to hard work, patient coaches, acupuncture, massage and Dr. Jeremy working his magic, I don’t have any pain with anything I do. 

What is your favorite moment at the gym so far?
I would have to say last year’s open. I convinced my wife to sign up and do it for the first time and neither one of us could do Saturday mornings because of work so we would go on Friday and do the workouts. We had a lot of fun doing that together and there was always friends that would stay from previous classes or come in just to cheer us on. I still remember after 17.5 laying on the ground gasping for air and Cari standing over me saying “I think I did better than you!” 

What's your favorite "cheat" food?
I love sweets it’s really my downfall. If I had to pick one, nothing beats a good brownie. 

What would you say to someone who is thinking about starting?
Just have fun with it. Enjoy the pain and suffering of each workout. Have fun talking about how much it sucked afterwards. Celebrate every accomplishment and PR. Welcome the challenges that the sport brings. Above all, use as much chalk as possible when moving a barbell, the weights will fly up. 

What drives you?
I just love working out. I enjoy the process of trying to be better than I was yesterday. 

What is you biggest fitness goal right now?
More consistency. I want to have more consistency with class attendance and diet. I have a little bit of an inconsistent work schedule and too often I use that as an excuse to eat poorly or not go to the gym. That needs to end.