Coach Spotlight-February 2019

We’d like to congratulate and honor Nick Ullman who was voted by the members of Islip CrossFit for our Coach’s spotlight. Our very own Papa Smurf with a distinctive head vein and a heart bigger than his biceps.  We can’t say enough great things about Nick and how much we truly appreciate the way he leads us. To say he is a great owner and coach is an understatement. His passion and dedication to the box and each member is something to be admired.  He’s an athlete, he’s a coach, he’s an owner, he’s a father, a husband, a brother, a son, and a wonderful friend. Nick, we love you and we thank you, from the bottoms of our hearts, for being our fearless leader. You make us better.

Islip CrossFit explains why we love Coach Nick…..

Nick is the only coach that won’t let you get away with anything because he is watching like a hawk! Which also speaks to Nick noticing every little improvement and acknowledging it! And even though I’m tired/sweaty from his warm-ups alone, his classes are my favorite because we always get sh*t done!

While we don’t always see eye to eye on all things CrossFit,  in the 5 or so years I’ve been a part of Islip Nick has been the tie that binds the place, a teacher,  and a mentor to me. If not for Nick not only would I not be the coach I am, but I probably never would have coached at all.

Nick is the heart and soul of Islip Crossfit. His passion and commitment to our fitness community are contagious. Nick is dedicated himself to always improving his skills and strength. Nick is super knowledgeable and you know when he is your coach that not only is he going to get the best performance out of you, but you will always learn something no matter how long you’ve been CrossFitting.  Nick cares more about the members’ progress than his own. He trolls wodify and can talk to you 5 days later about an awesome workout you had, even when he wasn’t your coach that day, down to your split times. You know you worked hard and scaled appropriately when Nick likes your workout. Thanks, Nick, for pushing us all outside of our comfort zones and for keeping things in perspective. Islip CrossFit: family, fitness, fun! 💪🏻👊🏻

Nick is special. His ability to teach and motivate, while at the same time screaming in your face and pushing you find another gear you’d never hit on your own, is a gift. He has a unique way of letting you know he cares, and wants to see you do your best, and similarly calling you out on your bullshit when he knows you can be better. We’re truly lucky to have Nick as a coach.

Nick’s passion for fitness is contagious. Every class he coaches feels like a personal training session because he is focused on helping every individual in the class improve. When I workout with him at 7 A.M. on Saturdays, he remembers how I did in each workout all week and we talk about things I can work on. I hear him have similar conversations with other members too. He’s also everyone’s favorite coach to beat in a wod, though it doesn’t happen often…

Nick is a wonderful coach. He coaches with a very pragmatic approach and focuses on everyone, rather then just those in need of extra assistance. He’s very well rounded, provides great feedback, and doesn’t let you give up.

Nick has a great energy, enthusiasm and respect when he coaches.  Aside from being a great athlete himself, he always helps the members scale appropriately, or push when they doubt themselves.  He knows his sh*t!!! 🙂

I love pulling into the lot for class and seeing that Nick is there.  Whether I wod with him or he is coaching I feel like Nick is always pushing me and helping me in one way or another.

Let’s Learn All About Nick:

  • Tell us about yourself? I’m 38 years old, married for 10 years (this year) to my wonderful and understanding wife Rachel. We have 2 kids, Maya (7) and Luke (4) as well as a ferocious guard dog, Charlie Funk (8).
  • What do you do out in the real world? Manage onsite operations of workplace services/amenities for corporate customers. I’ve been doing the same thing since college which is great because I’m good at it, yet boring because it’s the same thing I’ve been doing since college.  
  • Most embarrassing gym moment? Trying to chase Jon down in a chipper, I was doing box jump overs after a million OHS and just ate it. I didn’t even bang my shin, I just completely fell over, sprawled out and nearly knocked over his box next to me.


  • Favorite movement? Least favorite? Benchmark WOD?


  • Favorite movement: Toes to Bar
  • Least Favorite: Front Squats, regardless of weight it crushes me.
  • Benchmark WOD: I don’t love any of the benchmarks but the Seven is my favorite hero wod.
  • Favorite memory at Islip Crossfit? Wow – after all these years I have so many it’s impossible to pick just one.  
  • Something no one at the gym knows about you? I stuttered really bad growing up, it still pops up from time to time but it was brutal when I was young.
  • What is your greatest achievement in your fitness? Winning WODStock with Pete and Andrew was awesome. I’m pretty sure I was the oldest guy there (or close to it) and I felt great that day. Anytime I can beat out the younger guys it’s a good feeling.  
  • What/Who motivates or inspires you? My motivation has always been to be as active as I can as I age. Now that I’m pushing 40, my current motivation is to live the longest, healthiest life I can so I can be there for my wife and children. (and have a 6 pack)   
  • What changes have you made in your diet or workouts that have been the most successful? Moving to macros a few years ago, made me aware of my intake and I started eating more calories in general, but specifically more carbs. Which can be tough to do when eating real, whole foods. When I first started CrossFit, Paleo was the popular diet. Let me tell you, there is no way to sustain a Paleo/lo carb diet if you want to improve your athletic performance. It’s simply too demanding on your body. I still play with my macros to find a sweet spot but eating more overall has increased my performance exponentially.
  • What’s your go to breakfast? 3 eggs, ½ cup oatmeal, 2tbsp PB. I’m very routine I eat about the same 10 things in various formats.
  • Do you eat before you workout? (If so, what?) Depends what time I’m going, if its early just 1 egg and maybe half a banana. Get all the food groups in small amounts.
  • Favorite Cheat Meal? Sunday Funday…. All of it.
  • Favorite Quote? I’m not sure if it’s a real quote or not but my dad always told me this growing up “Everything in life is a tradeoff”. I still live by that and teach my kids the same.
  • What Superhero are you? I work a demanding full time job, have a podcast, manage the gym, coach classes, train 2 hours a day, drop off kids, pick up kids, taxi to/from activities and never miss a school function. I AM a fucking superhero.
  • Biggest Fear? Death
  • Favorite workout music? I’m fairly flexible other than Taylors techno/house beats.
  • Best Vacation? Ah so many… I’d probably say Beaches Turks and Caicos. We went last year for Rachel’s 40th and it was pretty awesome.

Nick’s Adventures in Coaching…

    • What do you thrive on as a coach? When members reach a goal, or perform a movement they never believed they could. It makes my day in ways I cannot articulate.
    • How do you manage/balance bettering yourself as an athlete while trying to better your members? My goals are secondary to theirs, that is why I opened Islip CrossFit to begin with. I typically must train alone due to my crazy schedule and the fact my wife hogs the 6am. So, I still get to work on things but in a different setting, then when I find something that works for me I try to pay it forward in my next class.
    • What excites you most about coaching members? Seeing their progress over time, not just physically, but mentally and skill wise as well. The smile on their faces when they do something new or if a cue clicks in their brain is awesome.  
    • What goes into planning weekly WOD’s ? Are there specific parameters or a mastermind behind it? I’ve recently moved to a programming service to take that off my plate as it is very time consuming. However, I chose a brand that aligns with my beliefs.  Primarily that for the general population, it shouldn’t be complicated. I have the old-school mentality of keeping it to simple couplets and triplets and go really hard. In my opinion, the effort and intensity of what you are doing is far more important than any “magic” programming.
    • If you were coaching yourself through a tough wod, what words of encouragement would you give yourself? This is not the hardest thing you’ve ever done nor will it be moving forward, so just relax and keep moving. At the end of the day, it’s just exercise!   If working hard was easy everyone would do it, which we know is not the case.
    • What is your greatest achievement in your coaching tenure? I’ll answer this from an ownership standpoint, which is keeping this place alive and well since 2013. The relationships formed not only for me but the members with each other is nothing less than life altering.
    • What has been the most challenging part of being a coach? Scaling options for such a wide variety of populations, I’m continually learning new techniques.


  • Words of wisdom to other coaches, leaders, or those considering?:
  • Always keep learning, keep reading, keep getting better. Keep an open mind to new ideas.  If you think you are the smartest guy in the room, you’re probably the dumbest. This applies to every industry.  
  • Workout with your members, it builds a comradery that you cannot create otherwise.
  • There is no one size fits all method to coaching, each person has a different personality and skill set, therefore they have different needs. You must be able to adapt to having those multiple personalities in a single class and treat each person as they need.


Just for Fun Coach Nick Facts….

  • If you aren’t at the box, where would we find you? Likely sitting in my home office working.
  • If you won lotto, what would you do? Build a gym from the ground up that would be the biggest, most awesome place to work out at. And charge a very small fee because I wouldn’t care about bills!
  • If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why? Bali at one of those over water bungalows. Rachel and I always talked about going but it’s going to have to wait until the kids are older. I’m not traveling across the globe with them. 5 Hour flights are my cap with them.
  • Who is your celebrity crush? Kate Beckinsale, since forever. Rachel is fully aware.
  • Last pic on your phone? The trampoline my parents got for the kids at Christmas, I just built it this week since it was 60 degrees.  
  • What’s the wallpaper on your phone right now? The same wallpaper that’s been there since February 15th 2013. Me kissing Maya on the balcony of our hotel in Grand Cayman, she’s not even 2 yet.
  • What’s in your most frequently used emoji tab? Probably a tie between the drunk, drooling smiley face and the guy with the facepalm.
  • What’s the last thing you searched for on Google? The details of the medicine my dad was on.
  • Summarize your lifestyle in 5 words or less.  OCD. Balance. Effort. Family. Friends.

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