By New York Sports Clubs with Mike Counihan and Joe Schiraldo
When it comes to “being bold,” it’s hard to find a tougher job than leading the life of a first responder. That’s why New York Sports Clubs (NYSC) teamed up with local firefighters and police who are committed to sharing healthy lifestyle goals for its latest addition: the Bravest & Finest workout.
Bravest. Finest. Boldest. Strongest. Those are all words reserved for the women and men who willingly respond to the call to protect, serve, and run cities around the world every day. To achieve that status, you also have to be among the fittest.
"Bravest. Finest. Boldest. Strongest. Those are all words reserved for the women and men who willingly respond to the call to protect, serve, and run cities around the world every day."
The 60-minute class is designed on the stuff of true grit, by NYSC lead trainer Alyssa Exposito in collaboration with New York City firefighter Joe Schiraldo and New York City police officer Mike Counihan. Both are also part of New York Sports Clubs’ #IBuiltThis social media campaign, which celebrates the stories behind staying committed to strong and active lifestyles.
While Joe Schiraldo is known for putting out fires — he’s also known for bringing the fire to the ring as a Golden Gloves competitor for the FDNY boxing team. (He also miiiiiight have appeared in one of the FDNY’s annual calendars!) There’s no doubt his commitment to fitness is key when it comes to the business of saving lives and keeping the public safe.
“I've done sports my whole life — from college football to competing in the Golden Gloves — but one of the most important moments was being on the 17th floor of a smoke-filled hallway and trying not to panic so I wouldn't run out of air,” explains Joe. “I was just thinking, ‘Shut up, slow down, focus and just breathe.’ I can climb 30 stories with 100 lbs. of gear on my back to save someone's life.”
NY police officer Mike Counihan’s been busy inspiring his more than 40 THOUSAND followers to leave behind that pastry with his @NODONUTSHERE Instagram account. What started as his personal mission to encourage other police officers to stick to prioritizing their health, and not slip into doughnut-eating stereotypes, has caught the attention of entire communities wanting to improve their health and up their fitness game.
“I do this for the community, my brothers and sisters in blue and other first responders. You have to apply yourself, stay dedicated and put in the hard work. If you can’t get out of a situation, you can’t save someone else,” says Mike.
The Bravest & Finest workout will bring a new set of challenges every week on NYSC’s specialized UXF Zone of artificial turf. Everyone will train to complete some of the same physical tasks found on actual first responder physical exams — and just like in the life of a firefighter or police officer, no day is the same. A mix of intensive circuits can involve carrying a heavy fire hose up a Step Mill, maneuvering 90-pound dummies, and battling ropes, sleds, heavy bags, and sand bags. Sessions will not only draw everyday civilians, but you’ll often find responders in-training sweating right alongside with you, as they work for an extra edge to pass the physical tests to earn a badge.
"Sessions will not only draw everyday civilians, but you’ll often find responders in-training sweating right alongside with you, as they work for an extra edge to pass the physical tests to earn a badge."
It takes a lot to be bold… it’s no joke! And NY Sports Clubs is taking it one step further to support our own Bravest & Finest: the workout will be FREE and OPEN to ALL, members AND non-members. (We think that’s a pretty BOLD move in terms of working to make fitness more accessible to everyone.) Right now, the program is already running in New York City, and will be expanding to more locations in the Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington DC areas over the next few months.
"It takes a lot to be bold… it’s no joke!"
Join in with NY Sports Clubs’ latest social media call to action: #IBuiltThis. First responders are incredible examples of what it takes to build not only strong bodies, but strong minds. And when you swing by for your workout… make sure to snap a pic of the sweat you’ve earned and tag @nysc, with hashtags #IBuiltThis and #BravestFinestNYSC. After a workout like this one, you’ll deserve a “selfie” gloat.