Oct. 22, 2015 By Christian Murray
A new fitness center is opening Monday that aims to help residents get in shape through group workout sessions.
CrossFit Sunnyside will be holding its first class at 6 am, October 26, at 47-01 Barnett Avenue, where Magic Touch Auto had been located for years.
Michael Seewald, the owner of CrossFit Sunnyside, said that 26 people have already signed up, with members ranging in age from their early 20s to mid 50s. Most live within walking distance to the facility and are new to the CrossFit concept.
CrossFit involves running, rowing, pull ups, jumping rope, squats and various exercises in a group setting. Weights, machines, medicine balls, parallel bars and other fitness equipment is used.
Seewald said that CrossFit combines 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 out of shape.
Members encourage one another to attend classes, often socialize together and even communicate with one another through online groups. Seewald is setting up a special Facebook group for CrossFit Sunnyside members.
“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.”
Classes will be offered at 6 am, 7 am, 8 am, noon, 5 pm, 6 pm, 7 pm and 8 pm Monday through Friday. There will be two classes available on Saturday, with the facility closed on Sunday. Each class lasts an hour.
There will be a free trial class each Saturday at 10 am.
Seewald said CrossFit can be tough for new members.
He said people often feel stiff and sore after they take their initial classes.
However, he said, for new members, its 80 percent about showing up.
“You get here and then we will take it from there,” Seewald said. “We have the workout ready and then you just do it.”
Seewald said after two or three months members get used to the routine, have typically lost weight, have more energy and feel confident. They are also more connected to the Crossfit group and look forward to coming.
“We do our best to make sure people come to class,” Seewald said. “If we haven’t seen someone for a while we will call them and check up on them.”
He said CrossFit is not like the big box gyms where the business model is about having thousands of members paying $20 per month—with most not showing up. He said it’s about high attendance, group exercising and friendship.
Seewald aims is to build membership up to about 200 and then limit it at that.
Seewald is currently offering a “founding member” rate to the first 30-plus members. That rate is $169.95 per month.
He said that he does not lock people into lengthy contracts. He said that people can leave with 15 days notice.
“People get injured, move out of the neighborhood or anything,” he said. “Life can get in the way sometimes too.”
Seewald, who lives in Astoria, said he started taking CrossFit classes five years ago 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. Now he is opening his own facility.
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