Thursday, January 4, 2018


 Due to the storm, all night classes will be

The Last Adult V-Fit will be at

All Athlete Sessions
(Male, Female & Junior Strength and Conditioning)
Will be held at


The gym will close at

Be Safe!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Epic Gym FAILS!

No more epic gym fails! Start the year off right by cleaning up some bad techniques in the gym and reducing the chance of injury. It’s easy to get caught up wanting to do some of the latest “fad” exercises. You know the ones you see pro athletes and ripped fitness pros doing on YouTube and on ‘The Gram’. However, buyer beware, as not all exercises were meant for everyone. Depending on your own goals, mobility, strength, and specific physical limitations, some exercises that might be good for a professional athlete, might not be good for you. Some are just downright dangerous!

Here is a list of some of the top gym “culprits” that have led to some seriously EPIC GYM FAILS:

OVERHEAD SQUAT: The OH squat was made famous by Olympic weight lifters who compete in the Clean & Jerk and Snatch events of international weightlifting competition. It has also been popularized by the CrossFit games whose athletes have to perform these movements as part of the competition.

WHY WE WANT TO TRY ITThere is no better way to develop true “pillar” strength throughout your core and spine than lifting weight overhead.It also looks totally badass in the gym when performed correctly! Lastly who doesn’t want to look like Matt Fraser or Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet?
WHY WE SHOULD NOTMost people lack the shoulder, hip, thoracic, and lumbar spine mobility to perform the exercise properly.This places at the top of the RISK vs REWARD category and has led to a TON of injuries in the gym.It also requires a great deal of shoulder, and back strength just to get into position.
WHO SHOULD DO ITCompetitive Olympic Weightlifters who compete, CrossFitters who compete, and/or individuals who have very high levels of strength, mobility and balance. Not to mention months of time to master the movement properly.
WHO SHOULD NOT99% of the world!
SAFER VARIATIONOverhead carries. Carrying weight overhead will give you nearly the same core and spinal development without the risk of injury.You can use a variety of implements from dumbbells, to kettle bells, and sandbags to keep your training fresh and fun.Use them as fillers in between exercises or as part of a “core” finisher.

BENCH PRESS: THE KING OF ALL EXERCISES! There isn’t a meathead alive that does not dream of a big bench. It is the “benchmark” by which most casual gym goers measure themselves. Guys grow up seeing pictures and videos of their favorite sports stars and bodybuilders pumping out rep after rep. Arnold was famous for his 30-40set chest workouts! Who hasn’t seen Pumping Iron?!

WHY WE WANT TO TRY ITThe idea that a big bench will lead to a massive chest like Arnold of course!Not to mention TOP DOG bragging rights in the gym.
WHY WE SHOULD NOTThe bench press places tremendous stress on the shoulder and the biceps tendon.If done improperly it can lead to a variety of shoulder related injuries ranging from tendonitis, labral tears, and even ruptures of the associated musculature.
WHO SHOULD DO ITAthletes, power lifters, and/or regular individuals who use proper form and have the mobility and strength to perform the movement pain free.
WHO SHOULD NOTIndividuals with any pre-existing shoulder, neck, or biceps injuries.Basically, every guy who as ever spent a lot of time in the gym!
SAFER VARIATIONGood old pushups.For most people pushups are a safe and yet challenging variation to benching.There is also a LOT less ego involved, therefore a lot less chance of injury.Push ups also allow you to customize your hand and body position to fit your body type and mobility.You can do them with a neutral grip and switch up your body position from flat to inline.

BALANCING ACTS: STANDING ON ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE GROUND! Functional training is a huge buzzword in the fitness industry. You see it everywhere from the magazines to the TV. The media is littered with people standing on everything from balance beams, to physio balls. I once even saw someone doing a single leg pistol squat on top of a kettlebell!

WHY WE WANT TO TRY ITPeople want to do cool shit!They want everyone to look at them and say that would look great on Instagram.Also, we have been misled to believe that “functional” training must involve some complex logarithm of crazy exercises standing on one foot while holding a barbell and doing a Med Ball slam at the same time.Please tell me how some good old back squats are not functional and I’ll pay you to train me!
WHY WE SHOULD NOTIT'S DANGEROUS!It should be clear as day, that if you are holding a weight in a gym where there are metal objects everywhere, if you fall you can get SERIOUSLY hurt.
WHO SHOULD DO ITMaybe only Tony Hawk and Laird Hamilton, but even that’s a stretch.
WHO SHOULD NOTEVERYONE who values their lives and limbs.
SAFER VARIATIONIf you want to build functional strength there is no better way than basic lifts such as the squat and deadlift.Another great way it to carry a variety of objects such as sandbags, MedBalls, Kettelbells.Lastly, you can add a ton a variety using MedBall throws, battle ropes, and sled pushes to give your training that “cool factor” everyone is looking for nowadays.

Make 2018 your best year of training! The best way to achieve your desired result is to be able to train often. If your hurt, you can’t train. Try some of the above variations as replacements for some of the “culprits.” Don’t become an EPIC GYM FAIL! 

Happy New Year!
 - Coach Joe

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

YMCA 52nd Annual Sports Award Banquet (via Varsity Highlights)

GARFIELD - Former New York Jets running back Bruce Harper, who played from 1977 to 1985, was named Person of the Year by the YMCA of Greater Bergen County when they hosted its 52nd Annual Sports Award Banquet at The Venetian Nov. 21. Commonly called the “Who’s Who of Bergen County Sports,” the event brought together top athletes, coaches, administrators, parents and fans to celebrate achievement and kick off the holiday season.

Harper co-founded (with Susan Rudolph) Heroes & Cool Kids in 1998. It is an organization that teaches leadership and anti-bullying principles. He said he was “flattered, blown away” when he learned he was being honored. In 1980 the YMCA named him Professional Athlete of the Year.

“When I think about people who are doing all the wonderful things in Bergen County, for our organization to be singled out means an awful lot,” he said. “It means people value what we are doing.

We have positively affected the lives of the students we work with. In 19 years there have been 1,000’s of students, many of whom are now adults.”

The original program had high school students (Heroes) mentoring middle school students (Cool Kids) from November to May each year. The Heroes are trained by keynote speakers and professional athletes and they must pledge to stay drug and alcohol free. The program is currently in 58 schools throughout New Jersey.

A “Sidekicks” program has been added, where eighth graders mentor kids in fourth grade about what they call “real fun,” like playing games and “fake fun,” like drugs and cyberbullying.

Lifelong Bergenfield resident Ed Volmer was honored with the Richard Poor Service to the Community Award for his 30-plus years of coaching and heading the Bergenfield Junior Wrestling Program. He is also an officer of the Twin County Junior Wrestling League and is involved with the Bergen County Coaches Association’s Holiday County and Freshman County Tournament for more than 20 years. Off the mat he has been a coach, manager and president for more than 25 years with the Bergenfield Little League, the Bergenfield Baseball League and the Valley Central Scholastic Baseball League.

He is a town employee of Bergenfield and also serves as Recreation Director.

Volmer credits three-time New Jersey wrestling state champion (and later college coach) Ed Kochakji and former Bears wrestling coaches Sal Cascio and Alex Turnaminan with giving him a love for coaching.

“I respect them for everything that they taught me and I enjoyed the time together,” he said. “They left me with many memories.”

Volmer saw his athletic career at Bergenfield High School cut short due to injuries and surgeries but he fought his way back to wrestle for Bergen Community College.

At the banquet he thanked BHS Athletics Director Tom Curry for nominating him and then he turned his attention to his family: his wife of 33 years, Lucille and his children Edward, Daniel, Nicole and John, who were seated at Table 15. Also seated was Volmer’s Godson, Rob Correggio, another former star wrestler for the Bears.

“This is very humbling,” Volmer said. “I really appreciate it.”
Brian Dunn is this year’s winner of the Nicholas G. Saingas Service to Youth Award. Saingas was an athlete all his life and he understood the importance of sports in the development of young people. His son, Chris, was on hand to present the award to Dunn.

“Sports is a great way to engage with kids without the structure of a classroom,” Dunn said. “It gives a coach the opportunity to see what motivates them and what they dislike or enjoy. You find out what they are passionate about and it’s a way for them to develop a work ethic.”

The YMCA of Greater Bergen County holds a special place in the hearts of the Dunn family, especially for Dunn’s son Thomas, who has autism.

“When he was 4 years old he would sneak out of the house, cross the street and try to climb a fence to get into our neighbor’s swimming pool,” Dunn said. “My wife and I decided that he should learn how to swim.”

Dunn brought Thomas to the YMCA. What they found was a pool filled with kids of different abilities and challenges from age 4 to 25. Dunn also saw volunteers in the same age group in the pool.

“For 10 to 12 years we went to the Y once a week,” Dunn said. “It was the one hour we looked forward to each week. This place is great and it made a huge difference in our lives. Today, Thomas is an expert swimmer - he can even swim in the ocean. He is able to participate in boating and surfing.

“I am humbled by this award because the Y is the expert at being of service to kids. They think I deserve this award but anything I’ve done to earn it pales in comparison to what they’ve done for me.”
Pascack Hills coach Kevin Kirkby, who is the volleyball junior varsity coach and head coach of baseball, stepped down as head coach of the basketball team this past March in order to spend more time with his 6-year-old son. Kirkby was honored with a Special Achievement Award for his many years of coaching. His basketball teams won six league titles and four sectional titles in his seven years of coaching. In his five years of coaching baseball the Cowboys have reached the sectional finals three times, winning a title this past spring.

As the 2017-18 basketball season approached Kirkby said he missed preparing for the upcoming season.

“I was most excited during tryout week and mapping out plans for the next three weeks,” he said. “I loved the preparation and it was tough for me to not be doing it.”

At the banquet he thanked his parents, adding that his father coached him from his younger days right up until he went to St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia to play baseball. He now coaches his son in soccer, basketball and baseball the same three sports that earned him 10 varsity letters at Pascack Valley.

Kirkby challenged the athletes who will play sports in college to put their talent to good use after they have finished playing.

“Through skill and hard work and the help of coaches,” he said, “you have an opportunity to continue playing. Pay it forward to the community, your child or the kid down the street.”

Former NV/Old Tappan softball star pitcher Juliana Rodriguez, who is now patrolling the outfield for UCLA, was honored with a J. Barry Stanford Award, given to recent high school graduates who have received significant recognition in sports.

She holds all the hitting records for the Golden Knights, including only one strikeout in her four-year career. She was the pitcher for the first NV/Old Tappan state sectional championship team in 33 years and was New Jersey Softball Gatorade Player of the Year in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Off the field she was a member of the National Honor Society for four years.

Rodriguez said she was thrilled when she learned she was receiving this award.

“The [softball] season was just ending and I got a bunch of awards,” she said. “I was overwhelmed by this recognition - it was more than I ever got before. I was really proud that someone noticed.”

At UCLA she has just completed the fall season, had a week off for Thanksgiving and will participate in light workouts during the week after Thanksgiving. She will start up again in February after winter break.

She admits that she doesn’t miss pitching, which she only did for the Golden Knights.

“I was ready to stop [pitching],” she said. “ I chose to pitch for the high school - I didn’t pitch in travel ball. It’s a commitment.”

She says she was ready for the preseason tournaments and triple-headers because the travel ball schedule during her high school years was “just as heavy, game-wise.”

A Varsity House devotee, she has high praise for the gym that prepared her for college-level play.

“Varsity House prepared me more than I needed,” she said. “The workouts at Varsity House were the same or harder than the workouts at UCLA. I was not surprised at UCLA by the amount of exercise because of all the work I did with Joe Riggio. I recommend them to any athlete.”

In the meantime Rodriguez is simply enjoying her time out west.

“It’s fun, I’m having a great time,” she said. “I chose the right school. It’s been a positive experience so far. My teammates and the coaches are great and the facility is tremendous.”

Rodriguez’s high school coach, Melissa Landeck, accepted the award for her at the banquet and expressed Rodriguez’s “deepest gratitude” for the recognition.

“She is working very hard at UCLA,” Landeck said, “to make Bergen County proud.”

NV/Demarest track star Michelle Rubinetti was honored with one of the 10 High School Student-Athlete awards, presented to recent graduates who have received All-County recognition in sports, while maintaining a B average or finishing in the top half of their class. She had a 12’6 PR in pole vaulting, both indoors and outdoors on her way to winning 10 Varsity Letters for the Norsewomen.

“I’m so excited to be getting recognition for the hard work both on the runway and in the classroom,” she said.

She broke the New Jersey indoor record in her junior year with a 12’3 jump and then a couple of weeks later broke her own record with a 12’6. That week she was named Athlete of the Week by The Record.

Rubinetti won the Bergen Meet of Champions last May and was Group 2 champion indoors and outdoors in her senior year.

But she “only” finished second indoors last February at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions.

“I had the No. 1 vault all season,” she said, “but I lost on attempts. It’s tough when four girls clear 12’6, especially since 12’0 won it the year before. It was the best meet of the season, though.”

She is attending the University of Pennsylvania, which she says is the “perfect school” for her.

“I love it,” she said. “It’s a great environment. It’s tough at times but my teammates and coaches are there for you. It’s fun.”

Rubinetti admitted it’s been a tough transition from high school.

“The preseason has consisted of lifting, workouts and a little jumping,” she said. “I’m the only freshman jumper for high jump, long jump and pole vaulting of the boys and girls team. I’m the baby of the pack.”

She was a gymnast in her younger days from kindergarten through eighth grade.

“It was four hours a day for six days a week,” she said. “I don’t regret giving up gymnastics, [however]. I had a great time but I wanted time to devote to high school activities.”

At the banquet Rubinetti thanked her parents, who she said came to every one of her meets.
“There is no better support system,” she said.

She also praised Demarest coach Mike Ives for “improving my vault” and athletics director Greg Butler for nominating her for the award.

James Kelly earned six varsity letters in football and track and field weight events for Northern Valley/Old Tappan High School. His success earned him the High School Student-Athlete award.
“Initially I felt pretty honored to be honored along with some of the top athletes and coaches from our area,” he said. “It felt very cool to be chosen for such a great award.”

He is a freshman at Bucknell University where he is throwing the javelin for the track and field team, while majoring in computer science.

“I think Varsity House played a huge role in my development as an athlete and a person,” said Kelly. “The people there are great coaches, mentors and friends who really push you to become successful in whatever you are trying to achieve in life. At the same time I’m able to train at a state-of-the-art gym with the best athletes around. I’m thankful for what Dan [Goodman], Joe [Riggio] and everyone at Varsity House for helping me become the athlete and person I am today.”

“At first I did not know what it was,” John Van Cleft said of the High School Student-Athlete award. “My athletics director, Ms. [Beth] Del Vecchio told me I got it. I feel honored to get it. My brother [Rich] won it in 2012. I’m grateful.”

Van Cleft earned seven varsity letters in football and track and field weight events for the Cougars. He has given up competitive sports for now and is now attending John Jay College, hoping one day to serve in the DEA.

He also trained at Varsity House, as did the Cresskill team over the summers of their high school careers. 

“Dan [Goodman] invited me to come and work out with the college crew before my senior year,” Van Cleft said. “It’s not fun to work out but I loved what we were doing. It was a great atmosphere.”

At the banquet he thanked the YMCA for “this prestigious honor that allows me to represent Cresskill High School.”

“I would like to thank the administration, [Schools Superintendent] Michael Burke, [Principal] John Massaro, [Athletics Director] Beth Del Vecchio and my football and track coach Kevin Quinn,” he said. “They prepared me mentally and physically. I would also like to thank my family. They are my No. 1 support group on and off the field.”

Harper’s award, which closed out the banquet, was presented to him by former New York Giants offensive lineman Karl Nelson.

“Bruce Harper is my little buddy,” the 6’6 Nelson said about the 5’8 Harper. “When I went into Google to get some information about him, Google came back with, ‘Don’t you mean Bryce Harper?’ There is no better person than this football player to win this award.”

“Karl,” Harper began, “I hear you look up to me.”

Harper told the audience how great it was to see so many familiar faces.

“It makes me feel good to get an award from the YMCA,” he said. “I’m proud to be from Bergen County. My football coach at Dwight Morrow taught me that I represented the school, the town and the team while I was playing. I had kids watching me so I had to be careful. You high school and college athletes are role models so be accountable role models.

“Besides marrying my wife, Nancy, and bowing down to my Lord Jesus Christ, Heroes & Cool Kids is the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Article By JC Baumuller

Friday, December 1, 2017

Top 5 Healthy Holiday Tips with Simone Leta

In addition to making better food and drink choices, keep these helpful tips in mind over the holiday season. Don’t deprive yourself, but be conscious of what you are doing. You don’t want to start the new year off stressfully trying to start all over again.

1.  Contrary to what I usually would say, during the holiday season you should weigh yourself regularly. By being aware of when we start to gain some weight, we can make minor adjustments to our diet and exercise regimen to get us back on track. If we wait until after the holidays to face the scale, we may have to make much larger, harder adjustments to get back on track.

2. Practice portion control without having to completely deprive yourself of some of your favorite holiday meals. Instead of indulging, practice eating only 1/4 or 1/2 servings of these meals and load up the rest of your dish with healthier choices. These healthier choices should be high fiber vegetables and leaner cuts of meat to help keep you full longer.

3. Make time for exercise on a regular basis. This will help maintain your weight and could be a great stress relief since the holiday season also comes with a lot of chaos. Try to keep your regular training regimen but if you can't, realistically find 3-4 days during the week to break a sweat for 30 minutes. Are you traveling and might not have a gym to go to? There are tons of routines you can do in your hotel room. [vacation guide download link??]

4. Plan ahead so you know what you’re doing, where you’re going, and what will be there. Never go to a holiday dinner on an empty stomach, that is a disaster waiting to happen. Doing so will result in overeating and making poor food choices. Have a snack, or even a small meal, before going to a holiday event and don't go straight to the food when walking in. Also, avoid socializing by the food table. You subconsciously will start picking and the next thing you know the bowl of chips are gone and you’re onto the next platter.

5.  Practicing mindful eating means you are paying attention to what and how much you are eating.  You listen to your hunger cues and only eat until you are full. Some tips to mindful eating are eating sitting down, eating slow and actually chewing your food, and focusing on how you're feeling when you eat so you know when your body is telling you to stop eating.

BONUS: Drink a cup of tea before bed. Poor food choices can cause poor sleep patterns. Having a cup of chamomile tea 30 minutes before bed can help to sooth and relax the body. It can also help fight off the bloating caused by some of those not so healthy foods you chose at the holiday party.

Don’t be so hard on yourself this holiday season, but also don’t let yourself totally fall off track. Continue your routines leading up to the holidays, focus on clean whole foods, and plan your holiday schedules. Remembering these strategies and swaps will allow you to still enjoy your celebrations, but also be more mindful of what your putting into your body. Healthy eating is a lifestyle, it’s not a temporary diet. Don’t allow the holidays to ruin all your hard work. Make better choices, eating healthier, and get some workouts in here and there. Trust me, your body will thank you later.

Happy Holidays!

Simone Leta

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Building The Community (Business Of Strength Podcast)

Finding Your Ideal Client
Business Of Strength Podcast
Episode # 8 

Soundcloud: CLICK HERE
Show Notes: CLICK HERE

In this episode Joe and Dan discuss the importance of identifying and finding your ideal client. They will show you how finding the right clients can skyrocket your gym, while the wrong ones can burn it to the ground. The guys tell their story of how they were able to focus on a single “ideal” client that helped define their business. Take the next step toward becoming a true Strength-Entrepreneur™ and make serious business gainz! 

Topic Include:
Six rules for finding your ideal client.
How knowing yourself will attract the peole you want.
Is your competition leaving you holes to fill?
How doing less will get you more.
Referrals are STILL the key, you just have to ask.
Building your ideal client avatar.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

6WT Part 13 Winners & Red Carpet

 Congrats to our 6 Week Transformation winners! 
Total weigh lost: 402.5lbs!

Click the link below for pictures from our red carpet event: