Empire State CrossFit


How to use the ZenPlanner App

We have exciting news! You can now download Zen Planner’s mobile app to view our calendar and book classes from your phone!
You will now be able to do the following from the app:
  • Reserve a class, add yourself to a waitlist and cancel your reservation
  • View all class information, including: Name, Description & Spaces Remaining
  • View Instructor Pictures & Bios
  • View “Who’s Coming” to classes
  • Update basic profile information
  • View & record your results for today’s workout
Click on the icons below to view the Zen Planner app in the iTunes or Google Play store.  If you have any questions concerning the app, you can access the help documentation here.
We hope you enjoy the app!

May Committed Club at North – are you in?

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We saw this awesome idea from CrossFit New England about their “Committed Club” and we want you to be part of it.

There is no better distinction at North than to be recognized into the COMMITTED CLUB “CC”.

To be accepted into the June Committed Club you must have trained at North at least 15 times during the month and checked in on the laptop.

Being a part of the committed club is an honor and a testament to fitness gains. To kick it off, here are the folks who did so last month.

Congratulations to the May Committed Club!!! #SquadStrong

Meredith McIntyre
Elizabeth Rondon​
Karen Grigsby​
Vincent Cuccia​
Eszter Balint​
Anthony Diaz​
Marcia Blieden​
Orv Reddinbok​
Robby Mirabal​
Cenit Mirabal​
Taylor Bensaia​
Danny Pineda​
Gabe Forhan
Mirna Hernandez​

If you believe that you were here more than 15 times in May (and I’m sure a lot of you were), be sure you are RSVPing and checking in EVERYDAY when you come in.

Let’s DOUBLE the number of CC members next month!

My first time…

By Coach EJ

I wrote this article 4 years ago but is still relevant. Pay attention to your body and don’t let nagging pains turn into something more serious. Address the issue, don’t ignore it. For our folks at North, there are two referrals listed at the bottom of the post. 


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After 2 weeks of the crunchy shoulder feeling, I finally went to get checked out. I’d be lying if the recent bouts of conversation about labrum tears and surgery didn’t start to scare the bejeezus out of me. Usually little nags/pains go away, but this seemed to linger.

So far in my CrossFit career (albeit short – going on 2 years), I’ve been able to navigate my journey without having to see a doctor. I try to mobilize more (woo, mobility certified – Kelly Starett’s the man), take time off when something wasn’t feeling right, and try to address injuries at their beginning phase to avoid seeing the dreaded doctor. But alas, it happened. My nagging shoulder was something I needed some additional help with.

What I anticipated was a doctor saying, ok, what are you doing? What caused the pain? Then during my explanation of CF, getting those crazy eyes and given a prescription to get a cortisone shot and to stop working out for a few weeks.

Enter in my chiro/ART guy!!

After my unpleasant experience with thrusters on Sunday, I went straight to my affiliate’s referral list and booked myself to see him. Why of all doctor’s I chose him? Well it was because he’s been in my shoes – he CrossFits and he has a long standing history with two local affiliates that I know would only provide the best for their athletes.

What was awesome was that he understands the gripes and the Type A personalities that don’t want to be told to stop. I had my initial consult and he walked through what was going on with my wonky shoulder and then got down to some ART (active release techniques)


“ART is a patented, state of the art soft tissue system/movement based massage technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. … These conditions all have one important thing in common: they are often a result of overused muscles”

What was great, was that as opposed addressing the “pain” by shooting in some cortisone at the localized spot, we addressed the “issue” . Anyone can write you a script for meds and give you a magic concoction to stop the pain. But that doesn’t fix it!  It’s not surprising that CF athletes get injured every so often in their career. Our sport is intense! However, by addressing the heart of the issue, you can rest easy that this is something you can continue to do safely, as long as you think rationally, and as they say “leave your ego at the door”.


We have a few folks we refer people to at North. The great thing is that each doctor takes the time to answer any questions, explains the issues at hand, keeps it real and basically their focus is  “to give hope” to people that their physical issues can be addressed without having to get under the knife. My first time seeing a doctor was better than I thought.

Dr. Russo – Shrub Oak
Dr. McCoy – Jefferson Valley 



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Article content courtesy of CF Littleton

Often times that image above are the faces we observe when we’re at the whiteboard explaining the workouts. We thought it would be important to take some time to explain the schemes and the lingo we commonly use at Empire.

First, if you are past the trial phase (generally the first 4-6 weeks) and you want to continue with this kind of training and get the most out of your time at the gym, you need to focus on perfecting the mechanics of the lifts, gradually adding weight and writing down EVERY instance of each lift: The lift (Power Clean), the scheme (5×3) the load (115#), how you warmed up to that weight and any notes. This will teach you about the relationship between volume and load, how you best warm up for various lifts and about your current ability in that lift.

FYI, new folks tend to start their progressions too heavy. Occasionally it’s possible they will start too light. The reason we want you to start “so light” is so that you can continue to practice and refine the lift for the next 6 weeks before the weight starts to come on. Then you are better prepared to bear the load and you have somewhere to go – meaning you’re not going to fail on a 3×5 five weeks in (it should take you somewhere around 4 months before you start failing). As a guideline we tell clients to go by feel in establishing their first 3×5 number for the back squat for instance. At the end of 3 sets of 5 reps, on a scale of 1-10 (1 lightest, 10 heaviest) I want them to tell me the weight was a “5”.

As you continue to progress, it’s important that you resolve to get your 1 rep max’s (1RM) established and recorded. This is basic. Some of the programming we write, particularly for veteran or advanced athletes, is relative to your maximal ability in the lift/movement. I.E. Back Squats programmed at 80% of your 1RM. In order to get the most out of the programming, you need to know 80% of WHAT??

Certain requirements must be in place before you go for a heavy single but once a base level of mobility/range of motion, stability and strength in the position have been established it’s time to move forward. There may be lifts for which you have no business attempting a 1RM yet because you’re physically not capable of assuming the correct position. Which is fine. I would say the Back Squat, Deadlift and Press are a good starting point. They are fundamental for strength, some of the least dynamic and technical lifts and are generally achievable for most clients fairly quickly. They are also the building blocks of the Olympic lifts and their derivatives.

Generally the first time you will do a 1RM is when you reach failure in the various lifts that constitute the foundation of our strength program (ie you can only add 5 lbs to your back squat for so long before you fail). Once you fail, then we test your 1RM the following week. If you started your progression light, at the proper place, generally most people will fail at the lifts somewhere around 4 months (*if you’ve been coming consistently!*). This is not an absolute, it’s just a starting frame of reference.

Once you have competence with these lifts and have established your 1RM’s, you can progress to getting 1RM’s for other common lifts we do as your ability/technique allows. For the Olympic lifts specifically, your coaches may have you spend the first few months working from the hang so that you can learn correct mechanics in the 2nd and 3rd pull and then progress to pulling the bar off the floor. So certainly it may take longer to get a 1RM Power Clean number than it does to establish your 1RM Press.


80% means 80%. Not 75% and not 85%. And certainly not some random weight you used in a metcon/WOD 2 months ago. The load you use should be within 1 lb of the exact percentage written. (of course if your body is telling you otherwise, let your coach know)

Now let’s cover some of the most common ways we write numbers:

5-5-5-5-5 – This means 5 sets of 5 reps, generally progressing in load each set, ending in a maximal lift for 5 reps in the 4th or 5th set. The dashes are the key to letting you know to add weight each set. Also, the first set of 5 is NOT A WARM-UP SET. You do all your warming up prior to that. It’s a “working set”, let’s say somewhere around 70% of the heaviest load you finish with.

3×5 – This means 3 sets of 5 reps, all performed at the same load. All of your warming up is done prior to the first set of 5. As you mature in the progression you may very well wonder if you’ll be able to get through 2 more sets at that weight after you rack the first set. When you’re new it’s easy to overestimate or possibly underestimate what load is appropriate. Your coach can help you get the load for your first 3×5 established. Remember we are looking for a “5” in terms of intensity for your starting weights in each lift. NOT HEAVY.

Here are the lifts in the gym and a general suggestion with how to progress:

  • Back Squat, adding 5lbs each week
  • Press, adding 2.5 lbs each week
  • Bench, adding 5lbs each week
  • Pull-Up Work, first assisted, then bodyweight, then weighted adding 2.5lbs each week

5RM – This means the heaviest load you can move for a continuous set of 5. (In the case of the deadlift/Olympic lifts, don’t bounce the load or carry momentum into the lift when training for strength or technique. That’s for metcons. ) 1RM’s, 3RM’s, and 5RM’s are basic touch points to reference your strength in any given lift. They can be training tools in and of themselves and they are markers for your ability in that lift.

I hope this helps explain some of the crazy numbers and schemes you see everyday. The better handle you have on this stuff the more productive you will be when you’re lifting.

And if you are really taking this in and trying to get it all figured out, congratulations for not quitting and sticking with something that is both very hard and very rewarding. Most people won’t so don’t forget to give yourself the credit you deserve.

Here are a few other acronyms just for fun:

UB – unbroken

ME – max effort. Seriously. 110%.

BW – body weight

ROM – range of motion

OMEM – on the minute every minute

EMOM – every minute on the minute (same as above!)

AMRAP – as many rounds/reps as possible

C2B – chest to bar (pull-ups)

T2B – toes to bar

HPC – Hang Power Clean

HPS – Hang Power Snatch


May PRs at North

Congrats to everyone!

Alexis65# Strict Press, 90# Jerk
Amy65# Strict Press
Annette75# Strict Press, 100# Split Jerk
Ant205# Jerk, 195# Power Clean
Beyonce85# Hang Power Clean
Bre140# Hang Power Clean
Cenit235# DL
Chris235# Jerk
Danielle75# Strict Press
Danny245# Hang Power Clean, 245# Jerk, 275# Power Clean, 205# Strict press
Dayana70# Jerk
Diana155# Deadlift
Elizabeth115# FS, 195# DL
Figgy18 UB Dus
Gabe115# Jerk
Gina145# Split Jerk
Hess160# Power Clean, 165# Jerk
Howard155# Split Jerk
Jen75# Snatch, 210# DL
Jenna95# Strict Press
Kevin180# Split Jerk
Leanna170# Split Jerk
Lisa75# Jerk
Lori77.5# Strict Press, 90# Split Jerk
Maria110# Split Jerk
Matt180# Split Jerk
Mirna87.5# Strict Press, 110# Snatch, 155# Jerk
Nat120# Split Jerk
Nicole90# Jerk
Robby215# Jerk
Sandy105# Power Clean + 2 PP
Steph80# Strict Press, 100# Split Jerk
Taylor220# DL, 105# Hang Power Clean, 125# Jerk
Tee70# Power Snatch
Tina85# Push Press
Tori115# Split Jerk, 110# Power Clean
Trish155# Power Clean
Vinny425# DL, 245# Jerk
Zoey125# Snatch

Own your training

There comes a time in your CrossFit career that it’s time to take off the “training wheels” and YOU start to take accountability for your training. Sure you come in each day, with that vigor to crush your lifts, but you’re still a touch unsure. So that’s when you run over to your coach to ask them what they think you should do or how to load the bar.  Granted, that’s why we’re there. To help you out.

Now, put yourself in your coaches shoes, compound your question with 50-60 individuals asking the same thing. It can get pretty complicated trying to remember every person’s capabilities but we do our best.

At a certain point in your CF journey, it’s time to spread your wings and not have to rely on your coach to always tell you what to lift or what to do. Take an active role and OWN your training. Don’t let others dictate what you’re supposed to do.  You’ll never get better if you don’t understand the why’s or your own personal limitations. Be able to think and know where you’re thresholds are and be confident in your decisions. Made a mistake and went too heavy? Made an error and went too light? That’s what you need to understand on your own in order for you to continue to grow.