ROD 051011




Twister Tuesday

This is a timed effort of 45 work / 15 rest with 1 min. rest in between 4 rounds

  • Reclines
  • DB highpulls
  • Sit-outs
  • KB cleans
  • Wall Ball shots
  • Dbl KB Deadlifts


Enter The NXT World At Your Own Risk

By Dave Berenbaum

Dave Berenbaum is a student at SUNY Albany, NY. He has been a member at Nxt Level for about a year when he is not in school. He is majoring in Journalism and will be graduating this semester. Dave chose to do his Final Paper from one of his classes on our facility. All of us at Nxt Level want to thank Dave for choosing us as the subject for his paper as well as being his training facility.

This his Final Paper…

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Enter The NXT World At Your Own Risk

            On the same side street as the strip club, Curves, you would never think there would be an underground gym just past the security booth. Going over the two speed bumps- one before the booth and one after- slowly may take your mind off of where you’re going, and may put your mind in a different place of where you want to be. If you’re going to a night class, the doors to Curves are always open. However, once you go over the second speed bump, Curves is out of sight.

            Welcome to NXT Level Performance.

            Regardless of your gender, if you drive past a strip club, you’re going to think about it. However, once you leave NXT Level, the only thing you’re going to think about is how fast you can get home so you can rest- but first, you must get through the grueling workout.

            “Come on, all the way down,” screamed Juan Becerra, co-founder of NXT Level, during a 7 p.m. class on February 22nd, 2011. “Everything you got! Everything you got!”

            Becerra is a certified underground strength coach. NXT Level was founded in 2008, but it wasn’t just out of the blue. “Back in early 2007, I weighed 250 lbs (my nickname was quarter ton, at work),” said Becerra. “I was always an active guy who ran, played basketball and football- but I worked out like a dinosaur.”

            Becerra was working at Jeffries & Company, Inc. – a full-service securities and investment banking firm- (where he still works today), where one of his colleagues told him about a weight loss pool that was going on. “I decided to join, but everyone in the pool was starving themselves,” recalled Becerra. He knew it was time for a change.

            Enter the world of High-Intensity Training

            “It’s safe to assume that training to failure has been a part of weight training from its very beginning, but it rose to mass popularity on the backs of ‘70s bodybuilding gurus Arthur Jones (inventor of Nautilus machines) and Ellington Darden, who developed the system of High-Intensity Training (HIT),” said Jay Wainwright, in his article, “Failure Is Not An Option, in the May 2011 issue of Muscle & Fitness.

            “To be clear,” Wainwright continues, “HIT followers are talking about the last rep possible, not the last one you feel like doing. For many trainees, that can be an additional two, three, or even five, or six excruciating reps beyond where common sense tells them to stop, and they’ll use spotters to help them force out their last few reps to get there.”

            Becerra was introduced to a high-intensity workout through one of the other two staff members at NXT, Chris Brown- who, according to Becerra, “had also lost approximately 40 lbs in prior years.” After Becerra decided to go workout with Brown one day, “I realized what I was doing was ineffective and boring,” he said.

            “To make a long story short,” said Becerra, “I lost 30 lbs, did not win the pool, and I didn’t stop there. As of today, I have lost 85 lbs.”

            Enter the ROD (Routine of the Day); your worst nightmare.

            “In a commercial gym, you join, and the rest is up to you,” said Becerra, “meaning you have to figure out what machines to do and what to do each day.” After walking through the door, stepping foot onto the basketball-court floor, and seeing all of the equipment that NXT Level has, one would know that they are about to participate in something they have never experienced before.

            NXT Level is an underground gym because of their “location and method of training,” Becerra said. NXT Level focuses on High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and can offer equipment that commercial, or “Globo,” gyms can’t- sledgehammers, kettlebells, truck tires, and sandbags. The reason why NXT Level isn’t located somewhere more open- like a major street or near the mall- is because “our cost to our members would be too expensive,” said Becerra.

            Enter the mastermind behind the ROD, Donald Girard.

            Do not get fooled by the bald head. At first glance, Girard may look like a sweet, kind man- and maybe he is-, but once he steps foot into his home away from home, he’s all business. And that business attitude will get you the goals you wish to attain.

            Girard, along with his ACE (American Council on Exercise) and CPT (Certified Personal Trainer) certifications, has many other titles to his name that make him known as, “The Coach.”Girard is a CrossFit Level I Coach, CrossFit Olympic Lifting Coach and a Kettlebell Instructor.

            Unlike the other two staff members, Becerra and Brown, you’ll never see Girard partake in one of the classes. It’s probably due to the fact that Girard has partaken in the hardest part of the workout; creating it.

            Or is it the hardest part for Girard?

            Girard feels the best part of working at NXT is his “freedom to be creative as a trainer.” Becerra and Brown knew exactly what they wanted and expected from Girard. “The guys [Becerra and Brown], knew that NXT Level needed a makeover and fresh ideas,” said Girard. “I knew that eventually we were going to become a training center of choice. That’s the way the industry was going and, functionally and physiologically, it made sense. “We as humans,” Girard continued, “move as an integrated unit, not as isolated muscle groups.”

            Enter the world of betrayal.

            Before being hired to work at NXT Level, coincidentally, Girard worked at the YMCA for 10 years. In 2002, while working at the Y, Girard received the Quality Service Award for his Outstanding Training Modality and Service to the Membership.

            So how come Girard decided to leave such a prominent, successful company?

            “My creative training techniques, in their mind, were not represented of the training modality the YMCA wanted to project,” said Girard. “Plus, when I was asked to become the Interim Director of Health and Wellness, I was not allowed to purchase ‘strange’ equipment.” Some of those “strange” pieces of equipment were ropes, Olympic plates and kettlebells- three pieces of equipment, especially kettlebells, which NXT develops most of their routines off of. Putting those into his routines was part of the way Girard trains his clients. That’s his style.

            “After 10 years of service, they treated me at the end like a criminal,” recalled Girard, “believing that I would steal equipment and members for my personal business.”

            With the freedom he has now, Girard can live out the kind of training style he’s always wanted to provide for his “students” without having to hold back because it isn’t appreciated. “Come on, pushups! All the way down, all the way down!” Girard said to some of the members who were doing “NXT” pushups. NXT pushups are exactly what the main definition sounds like, a push, up.

            To successfully perform a NXT pushup, you start with your stomach on the floor and your hands to your sides- where they normally would be if you were in a regular pushup position. When you are ready to perform the move, one slaps their hands onto the ground, giving them momentum to push off of the ground, into what members who aren’t familiar to NXT would consider a regular pushup position. Then one goes down to the floor and returns to the starting position and repeats it for reps or time.

            You won’t see a move like that performed in a commercial gym.

            Enter April 22nd, 2011; the workout of a hero.

            Dressed in a light green, short-sleeved Diesel shirt, white running shoes, and black sweats with a white stripe going down the sides (like the Adidas sweatpants) covering the lower body of a man who looks like he can squat 300 lbs and deadlift 350, firefighter Danny Bosso was ready for an intense workout.

            ROD: Perform this for three rounds for time: Run 100 meters, 50 [NXT] pushups, 100 m run, 100 m run, 50 situps, 100 m run, 50 squats (bodyweight), 100 m run, 50 supermans. Girard likes to look at this workout as “600 repetitions and a 1200 m run,” as opposed to adding each workout up (150 squats, 150 situps, 150 pushups, and 150 supermans). “I like to put it together,” Girard said.

            Bosso, who works at Engine 159, located on Richmond Road and Four Corners in Dungan Hills, started out with his 100 m run, and he got through it in the blink of an eye. When he went in to perform his first set of 50 pushups, every time his hands hit the floor, you see the toughness he has in him; the face he made was the face of determination.  

            That same intensity can be seen when Bosso performs his situps with his feet hooked under two 45-pound dumbbells. Or the same can be said for when Bosso performs his supermans.

            Supermans are performed lying on your stomach, in full extension, one’s arms straight ahead. At the same time as raising your hands up as high as they can go, you simultaneously lift your legs up as high as they can go trying to touch your hands to your legs.

            As Bosso is performing this move, he groans to push himself through it. Bosso doesn’t care if his firefighter friends didn’t show up to their class that morning. The 11 a.m. classes on Friday are made for firefighters, but on this day, Bosso and two women are performing this routine. But it doesn’t matter if there are two people there or 20; Bosso would never know.

            “I envision myself being on the job,” said Bosso, “and imagine that I see smoke.”

            Bosso never shows any signs of slowing down. On his final round, starting with his first 100 m run, he is still going as strong as he was from the very beginning.

            On his final set of situps, Girard yelled over to Bosso, “Danny, you on your last round?”

            Yeah!” screamed Bosso in mid situp, not breaking his stride.

            Out of nine people who performed this routine (six the night before), the fastest time was recorded at 28:45. . . until Bosso finished the workout.

            His time was 27:07.

            Bosso has been going to NXT for a year. He came across a flier when he was going for a job-related injury. “I’ve tried many lifts, been doing circuits for years, a lot got stale,” he said. “I wanted something fresh.” Besides the fact that members of NXT Level never perform the same routine twice, how does NXT provide Bosso workouts that won’t let him get that stale feeling again?

            “Sled pushes/pulls,” Bosso said, “simulate carrying a victim out of the fire. You can perform circuits for 20 minutes and, if you breathe right [on the job], you can last for 20 minutes before changing the air bottle.” That is Girard’s exact plan for the firefighter class and Bosso knows it. “Donald can choose workouts that benefit us.”

            Enter the world of the man everyone “hates.”

            It’s no cliché, everyone hates Chris. Brown is RKC certified (Russian Kettlebell Challenge) and he brings the punishing pain to the gym every time he runs the class (Monday and Wednesday). He is known as the “NXT Level Nazi,” incorporating moves such as the “squat and push” into the warm ups. The squat and push is when one has a medicine ball (half the size of a basketball) in their hands, they squat down and simultaneously push the medicine ball out, keeping perfect form, and coming back up when Brown tells them to. “When Brown tells them to” is the key phrase and the long pauses that he does in between countdowns from 10 is probably the reason why he got his nickname.

            In order to receive his RKC certification, Brown had to go to a weekend seminar and perform 100 kettlebell snatches with a 24k kettlebell (roughly 52 lbs) in five minutes. At the end of the weekend, Brown -and the other people trying to get their certification- had to partake in a training session where a “random” person would be picked up off the “streets” and Brown had to guide him through performing movements like it was the man’s first time.

            “Some people they get are RKC; mine went to an RKC trainer,” Brown said, so he was getting a true test.

            “It inspires me that as much as they hate it,” Brown said, “they’re willing to do it.”

            NXT Level is preparing to move into a bigger facility that is double the size of the one their in now. “Finally, our message is catching on,” said Brown. “People understand the benefits, the progress- literally- to the next level.”

            Enter the world of the athlete.

            Not only can anyone join, but NXT Level has created some great athletes- or are in the process of doing so.

            Becerra’s son, Alex Becerra, is a 14-year-old freshman at Tottenville High School (Staten Island), who loves the atmosphere at NXT Level. “You got people motivating you all the time,” Alex Becerra said. “You can’t really quit cause then you get yelled at, and they just make you have to work out.”

            “At the (*left to be unknown*) gym, nobody really gives a shit,” Alex Becerra said. “Here [NXT], they actually care how you workout and how you do.

            Or ask senior Samantha Bennett, who pitches and plays first base for the softball team at Rider University (New Jersey), how her performance has increased on and off the softball field since she joined NXT in Winter 2010.

            “The small group instruction at NXT has helped my form on deadlifts and squats that I always have to do at Rider, but may not have always done right at school” said Bennett.

            Every athlete is to perform the FBI physical fitness test in the beginning of the school year. “This includes a 1.5 mile run, 300 m sprint, max situps in one minute, and max pushups,” Bennett said. “The summer going into my senior year (2010) was the first summer I worked out at NXT consistently and I performed my best on the fitness test.”

            NXT Level doesn’t focus on how much weight you can lift or how strong you are; they focus on the “Four Pillars of Human Movement: locomotion, pushing & pulling, level change and rotational movements,” Girard said. “That’s how we move and that’s what we should strengthen.