June 29, 2015 By Christian Murray
A new fitness center will soon be opening in Sunnyside that aims to get its members in shape through group training sessions.
CrossFit Sunnyside is expected to open in September and will be located at 47-01 Barnett Avenue where Magic Touch Auto has been located for years. The facility will be an affiliate of the more than 13,000 CrossFit gyms worldwide.
Michael Seewald, the owner of CrossFit Sunnyside, said that many people are attracted to CrossFit since the program not only involves fitness/strength but it also creates a sense of community. He said that there tends to be between 10 and 15 people per class and the members form a bond with one another.
“What happens is the people in each class get to know one another and share in the struggle to get fit,” he said. People then encourage one another and help make sure that their peers keep going to classes, he added.
“It’s different from a big box gym where you typically don’t know the person beside you– where it is more of a solo, impersonal experience.”
He said that CrossFit is a combination of strength training and general fitness and that people of all different shapes and sizes can be in the same class.
Athletes tend to lift bigger weights during a session or do more pull-ups than people who have just started or are a little out of shape. The classes involve running, rowing, pull ups, jumping rope, squats and other exercises.
He said that more women are doing CrossFit than men these days because they like the sense of community and tend to join classes together.
Seewald, who lives in Astoria, said he started doing CrossFit when he was 41 after he got out of shape working in the corporate world. “I was a high school and college athlete and like most of us I just stopped being active.”
“I would sign up for the gym and would stop going after a few months,” he said.
He started doing CrossFit in Long Island City and shed 35 pounds. Five years later he is opening CrossFit Sunnyside.
The standard CrossFit gym, he said, has a little over 150 members. His aim is to have 50 people signed up by the time he opens.
He said that CrossFit also focuses on diet and he will be encouraging members to move toward a Paleo way of eating which involves, in part, the avoidance of refined sugars.
He plans to hold free sessions on Saturdays at Lou Lodati Park until he opens.
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