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Michael Elliott, CrossFit L1 Coach/Personal Trainer

My passion is helping people reach their fitness goals. Learn more about how I can help you change your life for the better!

Personal Training

Uncomfortable working out in a group? Have physical issues that need extra attention? Need help with your Olympic Lifts or Muscle-Up progression? One-on-one Personal Training or Group Coaching is for you!


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Friday, January 30, 2015

FOOD FOR THE WEEKEND: Homemade Crispy Kale Chips Recipe

 - This was originally posted about three years ago.  With the Super Bowl being this weekend, I thought it may be good to give you a good idea for a healthy game-day snack.
Just about everyone loves that familiar crispy, salty crunch of a chip, cookie or cracker, but we all know most of that stuff isn't very healthy. Wouldn't it be great if a crispy snack existed that satisfied your cravings while providing you with many essential nutrients and none of the bad stuff?? Look no further! That's right, the green garnish you usually see under your shrimp or fruit at fancy restaurants is edible, and actually quite delicious!  It's got a name, and it's KALE. Give this recipe a shot, you may be surprised at how good it is. It's super easy and only takes about 2 minutes of preparation and 10 minutes of cook time in the oven.

What you will need:
  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 1 Bunch of Kale
  • Salt & Pepper to taste (and whatever other spices you're in the mood for)
  • Bowl
  • Oven-safe pan or dish
  • Turn the oven on to about 350 degrees (I don't even wait for it to preheat, just pop them in when you're done mixing in the oil)
  • Rinse Kale, shake off excess water 
  • Tear the Kale into "chip-size" pieces, put into a bowl
  • Drizzle oil on Kale
  • Sprinkle on the Spices
  • Mix so each piece is coated with oil
  • Spread evenly onto oven-safe dish
  • Bake until crispy (about 10-12 minutes)
  • Check on them about halfway through and flip them over to cook them evenly
  • Leaves should turn dark green. They're done when the edges are crispy and the middle is no longer soft
  • Let them cool for a couple of minutes, then chow down!

    Nutrition Facts:

    click to enlarge

    Fun Fact:  Kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods in existence!

    Thursday, January 29, 2015


    "I can still work out coach!"
    In college I majored in Kinesiology/Exercise Science.  I learned all about anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, exercise physiology and exercise programing.  I learned in a training session you should program compound movements, like squats, dead-lifts and bench-press, before doing isolation movements like 1-leg dead-lifts and dumbbell reverse flies.  At my CrossFit Level-1 course I learned about a different way to program.  A way that is constantly varied.  In CrossFit you program to be well trained in every time frame and weight.  You program heavy, light and moderate loads.  You program short, intermediate and long workouts.  You program all types of movements, like weightlifting, gymnastics and monostructural (cardio) movements.

    The one thing I never learned in all my course work was how to adapt on the fly.  I had to learn this through experience.

    There have been numerous times that I have had a great workout planned for a client.  I wrote the workout down and thought "this is perfect".  My client comes in for their training session and says "I did something to my X".  Well, time to tear up that perfectly programmed training session plan and quickly think of something else.

    What to change to is a complicated issue.  It depends on the injury, the severity of the injury and the client's goals.  The best suggestion I can give is to stay completely away from the injured area.  They have a knee injury?  Now it's an upper body workout.  Bad shoulder?  They are going to be doing a lot of squats!

    You must also be able to adapt for how a client feels.  When you are working with people, you are working with not only their physical being, but also their mental/emotional state.  I like to sometimes give clients what I call a "mental toughness" workout.  These are mentally challenging workouts designed for you to "fail".  If a client has been up all night because their kid is sick, a "mental toughness" workout is not appropriate for that day.  You must adjust to a lower intensity workout to hopefully help that person feel better.

    Learning to adjust your plan on the fly is essential to being a good trainer.  You must be able to quickly asses the situation and quickly come up with a new, and effective, plan for your client.

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015

    WEDNESDAY'S MID-WEEK RANT: Don't Believe Everything You Read

    I recently came across an article titled...

    "Your Dreams Have Come True: Tequila Is Actually Proven To Help Weight Loss"(click to view article)

    In this article the author claimed...

    "Based on a recent study, tequila can aid in weight loss.

    Yes, you read that correctly. TEQUILA WILL HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT.

    Not only will it assist in the weight loss process, but it will also help to lower blood sugar.  This is amazing news for people suffering from type-2 Diabetes."

    The author then continues to discuss what the study actually found.  Not that tequila will help weight loss; but that agavina, a sugar found in the agave plant (which is used to make tequila), has been shown to aid in weight loss in mice.

    This is a perfect example of a blogger trying to get views.  The problem is, it worked!  Last I checked, it had 803,000 "likes" on Facebook.  I really hope those 803,000 people don't actually believe this headline.  The sad truth is, they probably do.  They will be ordering tequila the next time they are out with friends claiming "it will help me lose weight!"

    Not all articles on this subject are so irresponsible.  The following article from "TIME" is very well done...

    "Study: Sugars found In Tequila Could Help You Lose Weight"(Click to view article)

    In this article the author says...

    "A type of natural sugar called agavins come from the agave plant, which can be used to make tequila. These sugars (which are not the same as in the more commonly known agave syrup) are non-digestible and do not raise blood sugar, according to Mexican researchers."

    This author lets the reader know, right away, that it's not tequila itself that will aid in weight loss, but the sugar found in the agave plant.  Trying to say tequila will aid you in weight loss is a huge leap from what this study actually says.

    Be careful when reading about health and fitness.  You have to dig deeper than just the headlines.  Actually look at the study they are discussing.  Never take what someone writes at face value.

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

    TUESDAY'S TIP OF THE WEEK: Getting True Sleep At Night

    The following was written by Patt Commeret. 
    One common mistake that is keeping people from fully recovering from workouts, or keeping the cognitive focus during the day, is getting real deep sleep. A number of faults could be going on with someones sleep habits. One that is often over looked is artificial lighting.

    Computers, ipads, night lights and cell phones all can suppress Melatonin at night time. Melatonin creates that deep sleep needed to fully recover from workouts, or fully recover your brain for the next days work. A study done by RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) found that 2 hours of exposure to this light before bed could dramatically reduce production of melatonin during sleep.

    Here are a few things you can do to quickly black out your bedroom.

    1. Put your alarm clock in a nightstand drawer. You'll still be able to hear it, but the glowing light won't illuminate your bedroom. 
    2. Blackout Shades. These will keep any outdoor light out of your bedroom. 
    3. Keep your TV in the living room. If the TV isn't in your bedroom, you can't watch it. 
    4. Eye Mask. If you really want to make sure no light gets to your eyes; cover them! 
    Black out that bedroom to create what some call a sleep sanctuary.

    Monday, January 26, 2015

    MOTIVATION MONDAY: "Fittest On Headson"

    Athletes and volunteers
    This past weekend we had our first in-house "Functional Fitness" competition at CrossFit Syracuse.

    It was a great event.  It was great to see so many great people put their athletic abilities on display.  Every day I see these people competing with others, and themselves, to  simply better themselves.  It was very exiting to see these improvements put on display in a competition setting.

    Congratulations to Dawn Basciani and Pat Commeret for being the "Fittest On Headson".  These two did very well in all three events to take home the crowns.  I would also like to congratulate every single one of the participants.  Especially the people who competed in their first competition.

    Doing a "functional fitness" competition can be very intimidating.  It's one thing to work out in a class with people you know and feel comfortable with.  It is a different feeling to do a work out in a competition.  That is why this event was such a great idea.  It gave people a chance to compete along side people they knew and felt comfortable with.  People performed better than they expected and did things they weren't sure they could do.  This is a great confidence booster that hopefully will lead to more competition participation in the future.

    If you are at all interested in competing, get out there and sign up for a competition now.  Don't be intimidated or fearful.  You may be nervous before the competition, but you will be happy you did it and I'm sure you will quickly sign up for your second competition. 
    1st: Dawn, 2nd: Bonnie, 3rd: Kayleen
    1st: Pat, 2nd: Rich, 3rd: Ben

    Great support from everyone in attendance!
    Chase watching two of our best athletes.  Couldn't ask for better role models!

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