August 2019 Islip Crossfit Member Spotlight


Congratulations to Paul, our August member spotlight. Paul has demonstrated great dedication to his fitness goals. He shows up and puts in the hard work, even if that means modifying or scaling a workout to get the best outcome. He’s a team player and never shies away from an early morning sweat session. He pays attention to his coaches cues and continuously works on improving his form to build strength on his lifts. Congratulations Paul, we are proud to call you a member of our Islip CrossFit family and honor you as this month’s spotlight!



I love when I get to coach Paul in class!  Paul always comes to class with a smile and a positive attitude and is eager to hone his skills to increase his overall fitness.  Paul WODs with class 4-5 days a week, but he’s also in the box for open gym regularly working toward his personal goals of increasing his cardio and his strict pull up skills.  He is always up for a challenge and is showing that more and more with increasing the weight and intensity of his workouts while maintaining good movement patterns. I respect his determination and positive attitude and love how those qualities are helping him achieve his goals! Way to go Paul!! –Coach Christine

Paul is the epitome of what CrossFit is about.  He shows dedication and hard work in every workout and in his fitness in general.  He is very coachable and makes smart choices in scaling to continue growing as an athlete.  Also just a cool guy! Congrats Paul! –Coach Phil


  • Tell us about yourself? Originally born in Philly.  So yes, a Philly sports fan LOL.  Then moved to the suburbs just outside of Philly to Bucks County when I was about 12.  Came to NY in 2000 to attend college at NYIT. Graduated with a degree in architecture and minor in construction management.  Interesting enough I met my wife Kristen through a member of Islip CrossFit. Steve Affelt was my little brother in my fraternity.  He was having a party one night with college and high school friends and met Kristen there. Funny thing is I felt the need to tell her I was 22 when I was 21.  Not that 1 year was going to make a difference LOL. Been married almost 10 years now. Have 2 healthy and energetic kids Paulie and Savannah as most of you see around the gym.  In my free time I enjoy woodworking building new things, riding my ATV, skeet/trap shooting and spending time with my family. 
  • What do you do out in the real world? I’ve been working for the same construction company for the past 15 years since graduating college.  I am a Pre-Construction Executive. I’m sure your guessing what that is? Typically, I am in charge of putting together estimates and proposals for new work for the company.  Ranging anywhere from $500K to upwards of $200 Million for new construction throughout Long Island and NYC. As well as going to new client interviews and currently am the project executive overseeing a $165 Million project down on the lower east side. 


  • What brought you to Islip CF? Believe it or not Kristen got me going to CF. I always was interested in what kind of workouts took place there.  I was always athletic growing up but over the years became lazy and stopped watching what I was eating. Obviously poor eating and drinking habits in college was a big factor.  So of course, came extra weight. So figured it was time to do something about it and always heard great things from Kristen (besides I thought she was weird for watching workouts late at night on her phone in bed but I soon caught myself doing the same after joining too LOL).  So, it was only a matter of time. How long have you been doing CrossFit? Started CF just about 6 months ago back in February. 
  • What was your first CF workout? AMRAP w/ overhead squats, box jumps, toes to bar and rowing. Obviously had to modify every movement.  
  • What did you think after your first WOD?  Felt good and wanted to push myself harder and further.  Next day was sore too!
  • What changes have you made in your workouts that have been the most successful? I think I have finally got a good feeling on what the workout is and how to scale it if need be.  Word of advice don’t be afraid to scale the workout. Also try not to come out too hot to avoid a complete meltdown. 
  • Most embarrassing/funniest gym moment?  To tell you the truth I really can’t think of any embarrassing moments at the gym. But if someone knows please do share.  I won’t get mad LOL. I do have to say I was embarrassed to say I hurt my shoulder at home doing push ups. Would have rather said I PR’d a push press or something a little more manly with weight LOL.  Funniest moment? That’s a hard one to think of since I have had so many fun moments with all the members.    
  • Favorite movement? I got to say I like doing kettlebell swings and anything cardio related. 
  • Least favorite movement? Anything involving the barbell overhead, burpees, snatch squats and thrusters.  
  • Favorite Benchmark WOD?  Tough decision between Helen and Cindy.  I’ve set a goal this year for strict pull ups so both WOD’s have pulls mixed into them.  
  • Favorite memory at Islip CrossFit? My first RX workout was definitely a great moment.  I owe it to Christine for pushing me to do the RX weight.  The workout was 5 rounds: 100’ walking lunge, sit ups and power cleans.  I also just recently decided to do a 5K max effort row. Why? I don’t know but was extremely happy I did it and maintained a good pace from start to finish.  Was the longest workout in the same position counting down the meters LOL. Boring to say the least. But definitely recommend everyone try it at least once.        
  • If you could program it, what is your perfect workout? Would definitely involve a mix of running, rowing, maybe sit ups, kettlebell swings and maybe some toes to bar. 
  • Favorite workout music? Old school hip hop gets me into that workout mood.    
  • Advice for a new member or someone thinking of trying CrossFit? Just do it!  You won’t regret it.  Keep pushing yourself.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  And never give up. 
  • How do you find/make time to get your workouts in? I always thought I’d never find time to make it to the gym.  But you’d never know until signing up and pushing yourself to go.  You make time one way or another. The major bonus is being able to bring the kids.  Even though there’s no day care the box is kid friendly and they typically play quiet off to the side.  Of course, with the occasional yelling to sit down and wait until the workouts over when there’s a lot of weight being lifted during a WOD. 
  • What is your favorite part of Islip CrossFit? All the members encourage each other to do better and cheer everyone on down to the last person to finish.  There’s no competition. Everyone is there to do the same workout and finish no matter how long it takes them.  Especially great coaches who take the time and tell/teach you when you’re doing something wrong and how to correct it.  I definitely have had my fair share of being told to stop arching my back LOL. But that’s what will make you a better athlete.  Constructive criticism is well taken by me. 
  • What motivates you to keep coming back each day? No matter how hard the workout looks it feels good to show up, do the workout and finish knowing you gave it your best.  And definitely a bonus if you RX or PR a workout!
  • What is your greatest achievement in your fitness so far? Just how I feel physically and mentally about myself. With changing my diet and going to CF it has helped me health wise and made me determined to push harder and not stop here.  In the first 3 months of joining Islip CF I lost 35 pounds. That alone made me more confident not that I could lose weight but continue to push myself harder and do the workouts I once was winded minutes into a WOD.   
  • What has been the most challenging part? Probably having a double hernia surgery less than 5 months prior to joining Islip CF.  That always lingered in the back of my head every time I thought I may have overdone it did and set myself back.  I think I am over that hurdle. But more so lately my shoulder. Thankfully there’s no tear but I typically do anything involving weight overhead lighter and just try to push myself faster for those workouts.  Hopefully slowly building the shoulder strength back up to be able to do RX weight. Thanks Matt for the bulletproof shoulder workout. 
  • Short term goal? I set 3 goals this year. 5 strict pull ups, RX 3 WOD’s and double unders.  I am up to 3 strict pull ups (when I started, I couldn’t even do 1), 2 RX WOD’s and ways away on the double unders but will keep trying to complete all by the end of this year.  
  • Long term goal?  RX every workout. 
  • What/Who motivates or inspires you? Definitely my wife Kristen.  She has had a great CF journey so far with her continued dedication to her health and fitness and it shows more and more everyday as she continues pushing forward.


  • Favorite Cheat Meal? Of course, a good Philly Cheesesteak!  Followed by pizza. 
  • What changes have you made in your diet that have been the most successful? I used to be a huge snacker.  Especially late at night. Cutting that out along with snacks/chips throughout the day was tough but helpful in keeping my weight down. 
  • What is the worst “diet” you’ve ever been on?  About 10 years ago I went on a no cheese diet for 6 months. It was terrible because I love cheese but at that time I lost over 30 pounds. 
  • What’s your go to breakfast? Since joining CF I have stuck to 2 hard boiled egg whites and Greek yogurt. 
  • Do you eat before you workout? (If so, what?) Mornings nothing ever before a workout besides a pre-workout shake.  If going to a night class I typically have a banana or a cliff bar at least an hour before. 


  • Something no one at the gym knows about you?  I’d have to say I am a freak when it comes to my lawn.  I am constantly out there looking for weeds and bare spots.  I won’t hire a landscaper because I am too paranoid, they won’t cut it the way I like it.  I am a stickler for straight lines LOL. 
  • What was your first job? My first job was working on a farm.  I baled hay and milked cows. I made $5/hr cash and thought I was rich.  Worst part was you came home itching like crazy every day. 
  • If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself when you were a teenager? Set goals, never give up on those goals and continue to set new goals.  Knowing you achieved those goals will make you realize life’s not that hard.  There’s no hurdle too big in life to get over. 
  • Favorite Quote? It’s a tie between “Hard Work Pays Off” and “Never Give Up”
  • What Superhero are you? Was never big into superheroes.  So, I’d have to say my dad! He was a police officer (which I always wanted to be growing up) but unfortunately lost his battle to cancer at the age of 36. He always made sure we were safe as kids.   
  • Biggest Fear? Getting old.  That’s been a big reason for joining CF.  I want to be in the best shape and health wise to be able to keep up with my kids as they grow and have grandchildren. 
  • Best Vacation? It’s a tie between my honeymoon to Greece and the Greek islands and Lake George with the kids.  Seeing the kids having so much fun camping couldn’t put a bigger smile on a parent’s face. 
  • If you aren’t at the box, where would we find you? Besides work probably hanging around the house with the family. 
  • If you won lotto, what would you do? Pay off any debt, put away enough to pay for my kids college, make a trust fund for my kids, pay off any debt my parents or siblings may have, take my entire family on a nice vacation and move to a house on the water (nothing extravagant maybe something like 3,500SF with 5 bedrooms and a bulkhead for a boat)
  • If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why? Definitely back to Greece to experience our honeymoon all over again.  This time maybe with the kids to let them experience it with us. If not Iceland to see the northern lights.  Its been on my bucket list for a while now. 
  • Who is your celebrity crush? Kristen asks me this all the time and I always say no clue.  In my teenage years I’d have to say Mariah Carey. Now a days if I had no choice but to pick someone, I’d say Jessica Alba or Meghan Fox (and yes, I had to google “hottest celebrities” LOL). 
  • Last pic on your phone? Paulie standing in front of a Mustang Shelby GT350
  • What’s the wallpaper on your phone right now? My 2 kids standing on a dock out at a friend’s house in Hampton Bays
  • What’s in your most frequently used emoji tab? thumbs up
  • What’s the last thing you searched for on Google? CrossFit Games 2019 (before I searched “hottest celebrities”)
  • Summarize your lifestyle in 5 words or less: Hardworking, Loyal, Friendly, Team Player

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