CrossFit Massapequa is owned by three very fit individuals—Steve Bonetti of Levittown, Rich Flynn of Massapeaua, and Brian FitzGerald of West Babylon. Their gym—a former garage located at 30 Brooklyn Avenue—is raw, rough and unrefined; just the place to grind out the grueling workouts they’re apt to put you through.
If you’re on the lookout for CrossFit Massapequa, you might find yourself cruising by it unknowingly a few times, as it could simply be mistaken for one of the many other garages that line Brooklyn Avenue. The fact that they decided against putting up a sign that actually faces the road could factor into that as well, but that choice was made for a perfectly good reason, Flynn said.
“We made the decision early on that we wanted to be a bit off the beaten path,” he said. “Sometimes there’s trouble if you’re in a storefront with neighbors…we figured that we’d save ourselves the trouble and remain hidden. We don’t bother anyone back here, since noise and neighbors aren’t a factor.”
Flynn has always been into fitness. Being a life-long athlete throughout his lacrosse-playing days in college and beyond, it’s always been his passion, he said. Bonetti, meanwhile, was in the Army for six years. During his time in the 82nd Airborne Division, he was a physical trainer and continued in that vein once he returned to civilian life, earning a degree in nutrition and exercise science. Likewise, FitzGerald, has always been a major fitness buff.
Eventually, the three men put their heads together and thought, since fitness was such a driving force in their lives, why not open their own gym? And if they were opening their own gym, Flynn said, why not put their own unique spin on it?
“Everyone has their idea of how they want to do their training. There’s so many gyms and types of exercises out there, and we feel that we have a style of training that sets us apart,” he said. “We have a bunch of different programs here. We have regular CrossFit, we have athletic performance, boot camp…we have everything under one roof to cater to multiple people. We can help everyone meet their own individual goals in their own individual ways.”
However, the gym’s namesake—CrossFit—remains at the core of many of the training principles due to its sheer effectiveness, Bonetti said.
“The definition of CrossFit is constantly-varied, functional movement at high intensity,” he said. “What that means is that we take the best of a lot of different aspects of fitness like power lifting, Olympic lifting, gymnastics, bodyweight calisthenics, cross-training, and just mash it up into one general fitness program.”
“The intensity sets it apart, that’s the biggest benefit. We’re intense, quick…it’s like a metabolic blast,” Flynn added. “There’s a community aspect to it. The people in your class cheer you on, plus you’re never left to train on your own. Each class has a trainer who gives you your warm up, your workout, your cool down. Unlike at a regular gym, you’re always told and shown what to do.”
After being open for several years and experiencing an increase in their membership due to word-of-mouth, CrossFit expanded their gym, breaking through the wall into the adjacent garage that currently faces Brooklyn Avenue. Previously, they had only occupied the garage in the rear of the building, putting them even father off the beaten path.
Julie Cardona of Massapequa has been a member of CrossFit for almost a year. While she initially found the establishment rather intimidating—it’s a garage converted into a gym situated next to train tracks, after all—she quickly became a steadfast believer, she said.
“I know it sounds hokey, but they really changed my life,” said Cardona. “I used to see exercise as something to just get over with, but then I came here, tried it and it’s completely different. It’s motivating, it’s a great community. When you’re a mom like I am, you may think that your fit days are over. But then you come here, and I’m doing stuff I’ve never done before.”
At the age of 65, Wantagh resident Keith Farrell is in the best shape of his life. He credits that to the crew at CrossFit Massapequa putting him through the paces ever since he joined up nearly three years ago.
“It’s great…everyone helps you,” said Farrell. “The coaches here are very supportive, and you work out harder because there’s a team atmosphere…if I went to the gym by myself I wouldn’t train this hard.”
Visit CrossFit Massapequa’s website at www.crossfitmassapequa.com .