Hi NorthEast CrossFit Community,
I know I haven’t been around much. I know I’ve been saying I’ll be around more for quite some time now. I’ve been getting a lot of the playful jokes of “where have you been?!” What’s funny to me is when I go to Eastchester, many assume I just spend all my time at Hawthorne and when I go to Hawthorne, the assumption is that I am always at Eastchester! And no, I am not on an island eating fresh fruit and working on my tan. I always get a good kick out of it. But the truth is, I’ve been busy trying to hone in on what my true role is at NECF while balancing out things in my personal life.
The week that I was gearing to leave for the CrossFit Games a good friend of mine gave me a book to read. I never make the time to read books, so I was happy to have read half of it on the plane. The book really got my brain rolling, which got me into a “manic Manny” mode. “Manic Manny” is often overstimulated with caffeine, is feeling uber inspired and ready to crush the world! My staff knows when I get in this state because of the rapid fire emails and urgency to chat about ideas. To add more fuel to my inspiration flame I had the opportunity to meet and talk to the founder of CrossFit, Greg Glassman, while at the Games. Meeting Coach Glassman felt like the missing piece to my CrossFit puzzle. It opened my eyes to what my role has to be in order to achieve my goals for NECF. This lead me to taking the week off from the gym when I got back from the Games. It was my time to refocus on my vision, goals and priorities. Coming to the decision on what my next step is was a bit difficult. I’ve always felt that this should be my path, but was a bit stubborn and probably afraid of taking that next step. No, I am not selling NECF or anything of that nature. But before I get into what this role is, I just want to take some time to talk about what I’ve been up to.
Like most of us, life can get super busy and managing time for everything can become a daunting task. Since I haven’t been around the gym as much in the past few months, this is probably a good time to (re)introduce myself to any new members. Hi! I’m Manny and I’ve owned NECF for almost 8 years now. I have a fluffy white dog who typically accompanies me everywhere I go. I recently opened up our second location in April, which has been going very well! My fiance and I bought and renovated a house that we just recently moved into. We are expecting our first kid on October 30th, which is pretty scary but exciting! And we are getting married in April! It has been a wild past 6 months for me to say the least. As both gyms have been going through changes, many roles within our staff have changed as well.
My role for a long time was being at the gym for 12+ hours a day coaching and what not. I used to know every single person’s name at the gym. As the business grew, I was able to slowly take myself out of the main coaching role and delegate to some really awesome people. I was still spending a similar amount of time at the gym, just doing more admin work with a smaller coaching schedule. This step was really difficult for me as I like control and had to train and trust others to do it “my way.” NECF has grown into something that I’ve always dreamed of and I’m really grateful to have such a great team behind our vision. As NECF continues to grow, our roles continue to evolve with it. We’ve gone through many changes and it has so far worked out very well. With the recent experiences that have further fueled my vision, it is clear to me what my role in NECF has to be. This role unfortunately means that I cannot be at the gym as much as I would like to be.
My role has always been to be the visionary. But the more I am actually at the gym, the harder it is to carry out this vision. The past two weeks have given me a lot of clarity. I have a very clear vision of what I want our brand to represent, how I want the operations to flow and how to best serve our community. This requires a lot of planning, reading, meetings etc. In order to carry this out effectively, I need to make more time which means I have stay in the background a bit more. It is actually kind of ironic and a little funny to me that I always find myself back to my roots. Truth be told, I was never the guy in the spotlight. Despite my accomplishments in wrestling, I was always a low key athlete. I always had to earn and scrap my way to make noise, instead of using a flashy personality. It’s probably why I don’t have a ton of Instagram followers like many of my fitness peers. Faking who you are to get attention isn’t quite my thing (but who doesn’t want a few more likes for a shirtless picture amirite?). To be honest, who the hell has that kind of time to spend on social media anyway?! Okay, back to the topic, my role can only be truly effective if I am able to see things from afar. Things like how to improve our programming, scaling and modifications, staff education, events and media are just a few of the many things that we’ve been working on behind the scenes. I recently made time to meet up with our General Managers to tackle some things to improve our service and to catch up with what has been going on. I could feel how fired up they got from our meetings, which made me feel confident in my decision to let go more.
This doesn’t mean that you’ll never see me. I’ll still be around at the gyms, especially mid day. As much as I miss all of your faces and seeing your successes, I know that Cameron and Chris are doing an excellent job running the gyms. I couldn’t have a better and more dedicated team to carry out the NECF vision. It is our mission to make this world a better place and we will accomplish this by making every individual a healthier, happier and more mentally strong human. We will always stay true to who we are and what we represent. This is not a destination for us, but a journey. A fun journey with no end, so we will always continue to strive for better. Thank you all for being a part of the NECF community and I am fired up to making your fitness experience at NECF better and better!