Our #MondayMember is Elaina!

We love having Elaina at Hammonasset Conditioning + Fitness! She always shows up with positive energy and a cheerful smile ready to tackle any challenge put in front of her. She continually impresses us as she improves in her CrossFit movements and Yoga practice. Our community would not be the same without her! Read below for more on Elaina’s HCF journey:

“After graduating college, working out had become a chore until I found group fitness.  I had always wanted to try CrossFit and then the opportunity presented itself when Hammonasset Conditioning + Fitness opened. I nervously and excitedly signed up not knowing what to expect. I have never looked back after that first class!  For me HCF is so much more than a gym, it’s become a second family—the family that you can choose and likely would not have met if not for HCF.  I love the variety that is offered in terms of classes with CrossFit, Boot Camp, Box Camp and Yoga.  I have never felt stronger and more connected to my body and mind.  A visit to HCF can turn around a stressful day or be the cherry on top of an excellent day. HCF has helped me to accomplish things I never thought possible inside and outside of the box, including participating in the Opens, the Madison Triathlon, the Closer to Free Ride and standing on my head!  I know there are many more fun adventures in store to look forward to.  The camaraderie and support HCF provides is truly unmatched. I am so thankful for the encouragement of all of the coaches and members each day.  And for anyone who finds working out to be a chore, come to HCF and you will look forward to working out!”

Fun Facts about Elaina:

 *She has a fear of heights but one of her favorite trips was the Bretton Woods Canopy Tour zip lining through the mountains. 

*She loves coffee and baking and dreams of writing a cookbook or having a recipe blog.

*She loves being a “dog mom” to her 15 year old Shih-tzu, Chloe.


To nominate a HCF athlete for #MondayMember Spotlight, email us their name and few sentences telling us why you’re inspired by them.

Happy Anniversary to HCF! 3 years and going strong!

Happy 3rd Anniversary HCF!

 Special shout out to our ‘OG’ members who started with us back in July/August 2015 and have stayed with us ever since. Thank you for believing in us!

Doug P

Lisa Mcminn

Melanie Scull

Pamela Murphy

Rick Bond

Melissa Porter

Rebecca Malazzi

Nicole Graham

Kim Chorney

Lorie Pill

Melissa McCormack

Matt Young

Lara Hajek

Chris and Kristin Walsh

Mike Carr

Steve Rozea

Rich and Jill Lingan

Leah Lingan

Laura Luther

Mike Vece

Elaina Parahus

Karyn O’Beirn

Kate Madura

Jacqui Waddock

Jessica Root

Matt Menard

Brian Langille

John DellaVentura

Jeannie Young

Kayla Rozea

Sarina Yerkes

Kristina Krsiak

Tim Henry

Tina Leese

Rebecca Banerji

Erin Abarca

Keith Mirante

Amber Brevoort

Jean Noyes

Dashana Kyttle

Catherine Zaneski

Outstanding Attendance Club (total number of classes attended):

 800+ (Rockstar Status) Club

Melissa McCormack 875

700+ Club

Nicole Graham 769

600+ Club

Rich Lingan 687

Jill Lingan 680

Chris Walsh 617 


Karyn O’Beirn 592

Rebecca Banerji 564

Mich Menard 558

Ed O’Malley 537

Steve Rozea 519

Kate Madura 513

John DellaVentura 506

400+ Club

Mike Vece 498

Lyndsey Hayden 483

Jeannie Young 479

Doug Pucillo 456

Catherine Zaneski 445

Tina Leese 437

Sarina Yerkes 431

Laura Luther 414

Melissa Porter402

 300+ Club

Jacqui Waddock

Lara Hajek

Rob LaVigne

Elaina Parahus

Matt Young

Matt Menard

Melinda Malley

Kayla Rozea

Jean Noyes

Kim Chorney

Lorie Pill

Scott Taylor

Amber Brevoort

Tracy Hardy

Teressa Reese

200+ Club

Lisa McMinn

Maria Bernardo

Tim Henry

Linnea Carlson

Devin Lingan

Dashana Kyttle

Keith Mirante

Jess Root

Jess LaVigne

Todd Hajek

Shawn Banerji

Matt Madura

Rick Bond

Congratulations to our badass moms who had babies while at HCF:






Thank you everyone for believing in us and helping us achieve our dream of bringing CrossFit to our community.  

Jess, Matt, and Shane  

#MondayMember Spotlight

This week's #MondayMember is John!

John is a powerhouse! An awesome athlete and a friend to all, he consistently goes out of his way to introduce himself to new faces and encourage others in class. He is often the first to give a fist bump after a tough WOD. We love having John at Hammonasset CrossFt! Read below for what HCF means to John:

"'I'll never CrossFit!' I said this to my wife (Sarah) for years. I had heard stories of other CrossFit "boxes"… I was resolved to the fact that CrossFit was not for me. I was wrong. CrossFit does not define a "box" or gym, the members that make up that gym do. Some may say it is cliche to say gym friends are like family…I don't. I have forged relationships at HCF that are amazingly strong. I'm yelled at, pushed, encouraged, sweat on, fist-bumped- high-fived, and I love it. I have genuine conversations about work, family, politics, etc., that I am hard pressed to find anywhere else in my daily routine. HCF means family to me. The best example of this was during the 1st annual Wishing Wheels Bike Drive. My wife & I established a non-profit (Roots4Relief) for our daughters to empower children to make a difference in their community. With over 80 bikes to build (in a day!) and distribute to less-fortunate children, the task seemed daunting. But there, on the day of the event, next to my own family was my HCF family ready to go with tools in hand! It was an amazingly humbling experience, and I am so thankful that my HCF family played a part in it."

Fun facts about John:
*General Manager for Opus AVC, a residential integration company (Smart Homes)
*Two daughters (Grace-9, Abigail-8)
*Two dogs Max (beagle) Danny (black lab)
*Married to his life-long friend (Sarah Bishop-also an HCF member!), who he has known since Kindergarten. They will be married 14 years this Fall.
*A passion for music that stretches from Jam Bands, to Indie Rock, to Classic Rock, to Jazz, and everywhere in between.
*He believes in giving back to your community as much as possible. Created Roots4Relief (a non-profit dedicated to empowering kids to give back and make a difference in their community). Served as President of Guilford Center for Children, and currently VP of Guilford Land Conservation Trust.
*Craft Beer Lover. He is always up for a pint, and enjoys traveling the Northeast to explore craft breweries.
*Loves anything involving family…traveling, hiking, drives in the jeep, sitting/cheering on the sidelines, weekend trips to farmer's markets.
*Currently memorizing every word to Blackalicious's Alphabet Aerobics with Grace his 9-year-old. She's already up to letter P. 🙂

To nominate a HCF athlete for #MondayMember Spotlight, email us their name and few sentences telling us why you're inspired by them.

Fueling for Murph WOD

Every year on Memorial day, Crossfit gyms around the country participate in a workout called “Murph” in memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005 (read more about this courageous hero here: https://btwb.blog/2018/05/11/memorial-day-murph-who-what-why/?utm_source=facebook&utm_content=murph-who–)

The work out for time is:

1 mile run 

100 pull-ups 

200 push-ups 

300 squats 

1 mile run 

Here’s some tips for pre and post Murph fuel:

  • Carbohydrates are the body preferred fuel source. “Carb loading” the night before shouldn’t consist of three plates of spaghetti. Instead, enjoy a balanced meal including a healthful portion of complex carbs and don’t go to bed hungry. Some meal choices can include:
    -chicken, whole grain rice, and vegetables 

-fish and sweet potato or baked potato with a side salad 

-pasta with turkey and vegetables 

  • The morning of, make sure you eat something!  These are some good options 1-3 hours before Murph  

– oatmeal with fresh berries and nut butter

– a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread 

– ½ bagel with peanut butter 

– yogurt or smoothie bowl 

– orange and string cheese 

*Notice protein is paired with every carbohydrate (nut butter, turkey, yogurt, low fat string cheese, eggs)

  • If you’re an early riser and your breakfast was 2-3 hours before Murph, or your going to eat something quickly in the car ride to the gym, you should consume an easily digestible carbohydrate for some quick fuel such as: 

– a slice of toast with jam

– a small box of raisins 

– rice cakes 

– a small apple or banana

– a few sips of a rehydration beverage 

  • Remember, your moving muscles take priority over digestion during a workout so avoid high fat, high fiber meals right before to prevent an upset stomach.
  • Make sure you are staying hydrated in the days leading up to Murph, during the workout, and after. Enjoy mimosas after with your gym friends but keep your water bottle close by. 
  • When it comes to post work out fuel, keep in mind what your body needs to refuel after a strenuous workout. The goal of post workout fuel is to replete glycogen stores,  promote muscle recovery, and replace electrolytes to maintain fluid balance. The best recovery results are obtained if athletes begin consuming nutrients within the first 30 minutes after a workout. Pack fruit, dried cereal, or oats as a carbohydrate source and a protein shake, nuts, or hard boiled eggs as a protein source for after to snack on. 

After Murph, I’m sure majority of us are going to be headed to parties. Remember my mindful tip, “never eat anything you don’t enjoy and truly enjoy everything you eat.” Have a plan when you head to Memorial day barbecues. Let other people go first in the buffet line. Walk through the line once and take it all in. Then, go back to get your plate with food and make sure you only take food you really enjoy. Remember you are eating because you love your body and want the best recovery possible after a tough workout. Eat slow and listen to your hunger cues, and leave room for a tasty dessert! 

Happy Memorial Day!

Mindful Eating Tip of the Day

“Never eat anything you don’t enjoy, and truly enjoy everything you eat.” 

At a recent Mother’s Day party, I was eating a side dish and I caught myself thinking “I don’t really like this, it’s only on my plate because my aunt told me it was good.” Shaking the food police is going to be tough, but have a plan when you go to parties. Let other people go first in the buffet line. Walk through the line once and take it all in. Then, go back to get your plate and make sure you only take food you really enjoy. Eat slowly and listen to your hunger cues. Stuffing yourself full is no fun plus, I’m sure you want to leave room for a tasty dessert!

#MondayMember Spotlight…

This week our #MondayMember is Tina!

Tina has impressed us with her never-ending energy and desire to improve. We love having Tina and her husband Frank at HCF.  

Below are Tina’s words describing her HCF experience.  I think many of you can relate to her first session:) Thank you Tina for trusting us and coming back for more!

“When I started in HCF I remember being very discouraged after my first session, very sore – of course ☺️ and amazed to realize how weak I was and felt. Doing just simple exercises was challenging!

With time, hard work and encouragement from our amazing coaches and members, I am feeling stronger and stronger every day – physically and mentally. I love hanging with all the members and cracking some laughs! I met some amazing people at HCF that I can now call friends.”

-Tina M.

Tina has been married to her husband Frank for 7 years and is mom two little girls Gia (5) and Samie (3) and a dog Benson (Cockapoo). She is an illustrator/ graphic designer

When not at the gym, Tina loves hiking in the woods, bonfires, log cabins, traveling to her home country Slovakia, painting, …. and of course relaxing and finding some peace on the beach.

We feel very fortunate to have you at HCF!!

To nominate a HCF athlete for #MondayMember Spotlight, email us their name and few sentences telling us why you’re inspired by them.

-HCF Team

Our first #MondayMember is…

Our FIRST #MondayMember is…..Nicole Graham!

Nicole walked into HCF 3 years ago. She was a little nervous to start but those nerves quickly disappeared when she realized the coaches and HCF community were a supportive and welcoming bunch.


Nicole slays workouts at the 5am hour and does not have a problem throwing around weight that’s usually bigger than her! She is one fierce CrossFit athlete! In the Open this year Nicole RX’s 2 of the workouts. We are honored to have her at HCF and inspired by her drive and determination on a daily basis.


Fun Fact: Nicole has been married to her husband Keith for 20 years and has three sons, Jordan(24), Nick(18), and Vin(14). During the summer months, Nick and Vin join their mom at HCF. Nicole is a shining example of leading by example.


When Nicole is not at the gym, she loves spending time with her family especially watching her sons sporting events. She also loves running, cooking, and reading books. The beach is her paradise.  


Nicole- Thank you so much for sharing your fitness with us. We are so inspired by you.

Keep your eyes peeled to learn more about our spectacular athletes. 

To nominate an HCF athlete, email us their name and few sentences on how they inspire you. We love our members. Thank you for making us awesome.

Fueling On-The-Go


Do you find yourself skipping meals before and after workouts because you’re pressed for time? 

With little planning, you can be prepared! Stock your gym bag or car with these on-the-go fueling essentials. 

When you have less than an hour before your workout, try eating a snack made up of quick-digesting carbs like fresh fruit, applesauce or fruit puree pouches, fruit smoothies, pretzels, or low-carbohydrate sports drinks. 

For sustained energy throughout the day, snacks composed of whole-grain carbs and healthy fats are best! Fruit and nut bars, whole grain crackers and hummus cups, pre-popped low-fat popcorn, PB&J on whole grain bread, instant oatmeal, fresh fruit, and pre-cut veggies are all great options! 

Proteins are optimal for mid-day snacks or refueling post-workout to keep you satisfied and aid in muscle repair. Beef jerky, hard-boiled eggs, string cheese, Greek yogurt, deli turkey or chicken, dry-roasted edamame, tuna or chicken pouches packed in water, shelf-stable chocolate milk, or single-serve peanut butter packets are some great protein-packed options! 

Remember to stay hydrated throughout the day as well. Always carry a water bottle with you and aim to drink at least 8oz per hour!

Jordan Park


Hydration is key to maximizing athletic performance.

Hydration, hydrate, hydrate!

 Hydration is key to maximizing athletic performance. It improves your ability to recover faster after training and minimizes muscle cramps and injury. 

Optimal hydration requires a balance of fluids and electrolytes. Hydration provides many benefits:

 1) moistens tissues in the eyes, nose, and mouth

2) provides lubrication to the joints

3) assists in regulating the body’s temperature via sweat

4) transports nutrients, oxygen and wastes in the blood and across cells 

5) muscles are 75% water. 

Our bodies feel the repercussions of under-hydration especially when we exercise. Headache post-training, dizziness or lightheadedness, fatigue, moodiness, thirst, decreased endurance performance, nausea, cramps and a dark, low volume of urine are all signs of dehydration. Hydrate before, during and after training sessions to ensure proper hydration and optimal performance for workouts. If you are a heavy sweater or exercising outdoors in hot and humid conditions, it is importance to replace lost electrolytes. 

Low-carbohydrate electrolyte drinks, 100% pure coconut water, or lightly salted fruits are good choices for replacing electrolytes post-exercise.

The Whole Life Challenge with a TWIST!

New Year. New Challenge.

As a Registered Dietitian, I’m not a HUGE fan of most challenges. Earlier this week, I shared an article on the pro’s and con’s of Today’s Trendy Diets.  I encourage you to read the article along with this blog post before choosing a Wellness Challenge.
My goal for the this blog post is to provide you with solid guidelines on what to look for and what to avoid when it comes to wellness challenges. Be sure to click on the links for more information.

  1. Does the Challenge address your medical condition, if you have one? Generally speaking, most short-term challenges are fine if you are a healthy individual.  HOWEVER, if you have a medical condition, check with your doctor FIRST!!  High blood pressure, heart disease, thyroid dysfunction, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes are just a few medical conditions that could potentially improve when paired with proper nutrition.  Work with a Dietitian to formulate a plan that works with your specific dietary needs and helps you achieve your wellness goals.
  2. Does the Challenge sound realistic to YOU? Are you being asked to give up your favorite foods for 30+ days? How will that help you after the challenge is over? I have seen people follow challenges PERFECTLY for 30+ days only to fall off the wagon on day 31 and never return. Ask yourself if the challenge is realistic for YOU! Weight Watchers (WW) shows promise for long-term weight loss (1).  As you probably know, WW does not eliminate any foods but rather teaches you how to enjoy the foods you love in moderation. Check out this article from John Hopkins Weight loss program review 
  3. Does the Challenge motivate you?  Do you look at the challenge details and get a deflated feeling? If so, that’s a pretty good sign the challenge is over before it even started! Asking friends and/or family members to join could be the motivation you need. Everything is more fun with friends! Find a challenge that allows you to create teams and friendly competition. Social support is a great motivator!
  4. Does the Challenge encourage S.M.A.R.T goal setting? S.M.A.R.T goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. “I’m never going to eat ice cream again.” is too broad and unrealistic.  However, “I’m going to have one scoop of my favorite ice cream on Fridays with my family” is more realistic. “I’m going to walk for 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday," is another example of a S.M.A.R.T goal setting.  Make three S.M.A.R.T goals for yourself.  SMART goals 
  5. Does the Challenge determine a realistic weight loss goal? Often I hear a client’s desire to lose an unrealistic amount of weight. It is important to pick a realistic weight loss goal to avoid frustration and remain motivated.  Work with a Dietitian to determine a realistic weight loss goal for you.  Visit this Calorie Calculator for some basic guidance.
  6. Does the Challenge track your nutrition (calories and macros)? Eating too many or too few calories can be detrimental to your success. I have seen gym go-ers, who were full of energy, join a challenge and suddenly fall apart in workouts. Why does this happen? Simple. They are not getting enough calories (most likely, CARBS!). Using an app like My Fitness Pal, will allow you to track your calories and check in on your energy balance. FYI…carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel.  Eliminating carbs from your diet is like running a car on fumes.  EAT YOUR CARBS and track your nutrients! 
  7. Does the Challenge eliminate ENTIRE food groups? Many challenges eliminate 1-2 food groups, usually dairy and grains.  By eliminating entire food groups you are eliminating key nutrients such as calcium, Vitamin D, and fiber. Find a challenge that DOES NOT eliminate any food groups! Excluding food groups from your diet due to sensitivities and/or an allergy is a whole different story. 
  8. Does the Challenge offer an exercise component? Nutrition is about 80% of your success.  Research shows that people who combine diet with exercise are more successful long-term (4)   Isn’t that our goal?  Additionally, physical activity can reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Aim to add moderate levels of physical activity 3 to 5 days a week for 30 to 45 minutes. The long-term goal should be to accumulate at least 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, and preferably, all days of the week (2) The American College of Sports Medicine suggests, adding strength training 2 or more days a week (7).   Strength training shows improvement with building muscle, reducing fat and reducing risks for osteoporosis (6). Check out Hammonasset Conditioning + Fitness. I hear they have awesome trainers, a variety of fitness classes and is a super supportive environment!
  9. Does the Challenge encourage proper sleep, stress reduction and relaxation? Challenges should be multifaceted. Did you know sleep deprivation can led to an increase in calorie consumption during the following day? (5) Try RomWod and set a sleep reminder on your watch.   
  10. Does the Challenge keep you accountable? Programs supervising attendance, offering social support, and focusing on dietary modification have better adherence than interventions not supervising attendance, not offering social support, and focusing exclusively on exercise (3). There’s something to be said for being held accountable. Challenges are great at keeping people accountable.

Bottom line, find a challenge that is realistic, offers exercise and nutrition, accountability and support.  At HCF, we will be hosting the Whole Life Challenge (WLC) with a twist. We are modifying some of the parameters of the WLC to meet the above guidelines.  Jessica, our Dietitian, will be on hand to help answer any questions. Join us at Hammonasset Conditioning + Fitness on January 14th at 11am to learn more!

  1. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/few_commercial_weight_loss_programs_show_reliable_evidence_of_effectiveness_johns_hopkins_reports
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2009/#A99
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4990387/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19175510/
  5. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161102130724.htm
  6. http://health.usnews.com/health-conditions/bone-joint-health/osteoporosis/prevention
  7. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2015/03/23/all-women-should-lift-weights