CrossFit South Rockland

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ray Traitz's passion for fitness has others believing

Ray Traitz's passion for fitness has 

others believing

Trainer's unique style resonates with young, old, those in and out of shape

12:16 AM, Jun 27, 2012   |  
Trainer Ray Traitz opened up his own gym, AMRAP Fitness CrossFit South Rockland, in Chestnut Ridge in October 2011. / Carucha L. Meuse/The Journal News

CHESTNUT RIDGE — Even with the address, Ray Traitz’s gym is hard to find. There is no sign for AMRAP Fitness, no indication that inside a corporate park there is a workout facility.

The only visible difference between Traitz’s gym and the other offices located at 80 Red School House Rd. is the door. It is made of light brown wood, and it is grungy.

“I wanted to change it, but a client compared it to going to (New York) City, where clubs have disgusting doors but are awesome on the inside,” Traitz said in explaining why he chose to keep it.

Inside AMRAP — an acronym for “as many reps as possible,” a philosophy of CrossFit gyms — ropes and rings hang from the ceiling. Two American flags are draped on white walls parallel to each other, a Yoda poster is taped to a red wall, across from a photograph of Traitz helping a fallen athlete.

Traitz, 34, is a CrossFit trainer who opened up his own gym, AMRAP Fitness CrossFit South Rockland, in October 2011. Traitz’s gym joined other nearby CrossFit facilities in Nyack, Hawthorne, Elmsford, White Plains, and Port Chester.

CrossFit Incorporated was founded in the 90's as an alternative to more traditional gyms. Training consists of constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movements.

Traitz, a Chestnut Ridge resident, competes too. He finished 33rd in the 2012 Northeastern Regional of the CrossFit Games, an event held annually since its inception in 2007 that aims to determine the fittest athlete on the planet. Traitz finished higher than any other local CrossFit trainer in the area.

The events in the CrossFit games vary each year, just like the daily workouts Traitz designs for his clientele.

Traitz does not waste space in his 1,600-square-foot facility with benches or barbell racks. Instead, his clients pull chains and lift kegs filled with water. His workouts are not limited to the confines of four walls, as Traitz has also marked out 100, 200 and 400 meters in the parking lot with spray paint.

The clients are different ages, and in different stages of fitness, but for the most part they train as a group. That is the CrossFit way.

Barry Slivka, 34, trains with Chad Skier, a self-employed 51-year-old who has made a living in the ice cream business. Skier, of Upper Saddle River, N.J., is the senior member of the group, and they let him know it. As the day’s partners were divvied up, Traitz told Slivka, “You’re with your dad.” Skier smiled, then held his own.

Skier had never been on a team in his entire life.

“This is my first one, and it helps a lot,” Skier said. “The 7 a.m. group motivates me. We all motivate each other.”

“There is no animosity or competitiveness as if they were going against each other,” Traitz said. “They feed off of each other, picking each other up when they are down.”

Mike Fratterelli, a 47-year-old from Woodcliff Lake, N.J., finds family within the group, and inspiration from Traitz.

“Ray pushes you to limits you would not ordinarily reach,” he said. “You tell him you can’t do it; he tells you that you can.”

Traitz’s passion is constant. Slivka, who also lives in Woodcliff Lake, has been training with Traitz for three years, and has yet to see him slack.

“I keep waiting for him to get lazy,” Slivka said.

But Traitz keeps teaching; it is in his background.

Traitz majored in education at Kutztown University, where he also played Division II football for three years. He did not play his senior year because he could not afford to. He paid his own way through school and earned money by working as a trainer.

He has also aquires a great deal of education on his fitness journey such as: MS in Health & Physical Education Certified in Crossfit Level 1 & 2, Crossfit Kids Instructor, Kettlebell Instructor, Olympic Weightlifting Instructor, Gymnastics & Advanced Gymnastics Instructor; Basic Barbell/ Strength Instructor, Crossfit Endurance Instructor, Pose Tech & Crossfit Running Specialist, Concept 2 Rowing Instructor, Powerlifting Coach, Movement & Mobility Specialist, Strongman Trainer, USA Weightlifting Level I Sports Performance Coach,Sports Pedagogy, Sports Psychology, Sports First Aid, & Coaching Certified Professional Personal Health & Fitness Consultant Specialist in Weight Management

Traitz started working at “Fitness by Ina,” a gym much smaller than AMRAP. There he learned the basics, before working at “The Gym” in Montvale, N.J.

There are a lot of facilities in the area but, “CrossFit is only a program, and Ray is a person,” Frattarelli said.

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