How Fitting!

CrossFit: It could quite possibly change your life

By Barbara Pierce

CrossFit is popping up all over the place.

It’s showing up in magazines everywhere and has a huge presence online. If you have friends or coworkers who work out, you might have heard them talking about the newest CrossFit “box” (gym) that just opened up down the street.

Q.: What is CrossFit anyway?

A.: “It’s hard to explain in words,” said Anthony Mucurio, owner and head coach of CrossFit Utica. “It is popular here. When we opened in 2015, we were the second to open in the area. Now there are five.”

“It’s different from a gym,” explained Mucurio. “You won’t see any machines. There are no treadmills or pull-down machines. It’s all free weights, just using your body.”

“Our training methods produce undisputed, tangible results for all levels of fitness — from children to elite athletes, and everything in between,” says”

“Our program efficiently combines the most effective training methods of weightlifting, gymnastics, and high intensity cardio,” the website stated.

“It makes me happy. I’m healthier and I’m stronger,” says a woman on

“I love it!” claims another. “The team atmosphere makes you better. You’re part of something bigger,” declares a man.

“It’s awesome!” says another.

“CrossFit is a training philosophy, coaching people of all shapes and sizes to improve their physical well-being and cardiovascular fitness in a hardcore yet accepting and encouraging environment,”

Mucurio caught the CrossFit bug when he was a high school teacher, coaching a football team. “One of my former athletes was into it and he introduced it to me,” he said. “I tried a few of the workshops. All have a little different flavor, though all use the same methodology based on what was created by the originators.”

He liked the concept so much he opened his own CrossFit box.

Q.: Why are people drawn to CrossFit?

A.: “The camaraderie,” said Mucurio. “The community aspect — you meet others going through similar things; it’s a group thing. We motivate one another, cheer one another on.”

“Community is at the root of what we believe in,” says “Working out wouldn’t be the same without a built-in friend group cheering you on. You won’t just find friends here; you’ll find family.”

“We dig deep and pat everyone on the back,” says one fan online. “You see, we get it. No matter how heavy or light your load is during a workout, we get it. I saw your determination, and you saw mine. We suffered together. We get it.”

“Accountability is another reason why people like it,” said Mucurio, “If you go to a gym by yourself, you have no accountability. It’s hard to stay motivated. But our coaches and the people in your group are what keep you going.”

“We keep our classes small,” added Mucurio. “There are usually eight to 12 people. It’s like having a personal trainer. You get individual attention.”

Q.: Is it really challenging?

A.: “Yes, it’s challenging,” said Mucurio. “Partially because it’s unfamiliar. It can be intimidating but we offer the safest way: small groups and individualized training.”

“Don’t come to watch,” he advises. “That’s intimidating and discouraging. Just do it. Take that leap. It could change your life. Many members have been here since we opened. They’ve had good health outcomes, lowered blood pressure, and lowered their risk for osteoporosis.

Q.: Is it for me?

“CrossFit Utica is for people of all ages,” said Mucurio. “We help improve the lives of everyone. Everyone can participate. We do movements that you do in your everyday life, such as standing up and sitting down, picking things up off the ground, and putting things over your head.”

Q.: What about the risk of injury?

“If you’re doing any kind of sport, you’re more likely to have an injury,” said Derek Ochiai, board-certified orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine expert in Arlington, Va.

“The group dynamics in CrossFit make people push themselves,” he added. “People get excited and overdo it. But the cardio benefits far outweigh the risks.”

“Start at a reasonable pace and work your way up,” he advised. “Then your chances of getting injured are less. It’s best to do it with friends, a gentle friendly workout. Make it fun.”

“And don’t expect to make major gains in six weeks, or even three months,” he cautioned. “Just go slow and don’t aim too high.”

“Anything that gets people excited is beneficial. Yes, you can get injured. But you’re getting your blood pumping and your muscles moving and that’s good,” he added.

Q.: How can I get involved in CrossFit?

“We offer a free introductory meeting and a free initial training session. We’ll go over your goals, your strengths and weakness, and your history of sports. We’ll take you through a workout and then set up goals and priorities for you,” said Mucurio.

To learn more about CrossFit Utica, see or call 315-765-6351.