Two first time entrepreneurs, Ron Yellin and Michael Tiberia, are changing the way Greenpointers work out.
Crossfit, designed about a decade ago by gymnast Greg Glassman, combines gymnastics, weight lifting, powerlifting and Olympic lifting with running, rowing and other cardio movements to create a workout routine focused on function and long-term health.
Like many Crossfit devotees, Yellin and Tiberia were seeking a change from traditional weightlifting/cardio workouts and came upon the new discipline around 3 to 4 years ago. They met in 2010 and talk of their own Crossfit gym soon followed. When they discovered a lack of similar programs in Greenpoint, they found a large enough space on Freeman Street and made the neighborhood their home last November. To date, they’ve signed up more than 100 members to take part in their alternative training program.
Walking into their facility, your eyes are immediately drawn to the murals of the Incredible Hulk (green for Greenpoint!). The center of the room is empty with workout apparatus on either side. A white board stands at the entrance. Members are encouraged to write their workout results on the board, which is photographed and used to track everyone’s progress. Each class consists of 8 – 12 students and is taught by Yellin, Tiberia or one of their two instructors. Classes vary daily and members don’t know what they’re in for until the night before when the partners post the next day’s program on their website.
One of Crossfits’ biggest attractions is its scalability to different fitness levels. “Before trying it, people can be intimidated,” Yellin explained. “They’ll see what the workout is and say ‘I can’t do that.’ Every single person can have a workout modified for them – if they have issues with their knees or with their back –everything can be scaled for them. That’s one of the coolest things about Crossfit.”
To increase Crossfit Greenpoint’s accessibility, every new member must take a two week Foundations class in which they are taught all the major movements used in Crossfit. Foundations lets the partners test each new member’s fitness level, “but also to build you up,” Yellin explained “so when you come into the classes it’s not a complete shock.”
Crossfit Greenpoint offers two packages: the unlimited ($200 per month) and a three times per week package ($150 per month). Discounts are available to military, law enforcement, students and couples. On the weekend, there’s open floor, where all members are welcome to use the gym. In addition to indoor workouts, the instructors take their members on outdoor runs. They also organize group events such as hiking, paintballing, biking and trips to the beach.
Tiberia and Yellin definitely look like they’re having fun, but Tiberia points out that there’s a business side to this too. “Interacting with the members, that’s what we were familiar with, but now, having to deal with the back end stuff like accounting that isn’t as much fun. It’s a challenge, but it’s good.”
So far, the biggest surprise in their young business has been its growth. “I know, it’s a good problem to have, if we’re going to have a problem, but one of our biggest issues is accommodation right now,” Tiberia said. “It’s figuring out the best way to accommodate everyone in the facility and to be able to run the classes smoothly so everybody has a good experience.”
Ultimately their success boils down to one factor. “We get results here,” said Yellin. “For someone interested in improving their fitness or their general health, Crossfit is an amazing program.”
195 Freeman Street