Local gym offers comradery, guidance and holistic physical training to members
A lot has changed in the ensuing three years. In April of this year, Sweet opened the doors to CrossFit Axis, a physical training gym chock full of weights and barbells, climbing ropes and hanging rings, oversized tires, strips of PVC pipe and a plethora of other objects used in Sweet’s twice-daily workout sessions. But for all that’s changed and as new members continue to join in, one thing has remained the same: Sweet’s commitment to helping people of all ages and fitness levels develop a healthier lifestyle.
“Most of these people have been with me for the last three years, right back to Darling Field,” Jason said. “We had no weights, we had nothing. And they’ve all stayed. I think I had about 20 people when I started here in April. And now we’re up to somewhere between 50 and 60. New people are coming in every week.”
CrossFit Axis, located at 402-412 N. Perry St. in Johnstown, is co-owned by Jason and his wife, Martha, who are both certified CrossFit coaches. CrossFit is a brand of fitness regimen created by gymnast and personal trainer Greg Glassman, initially designed to train law enforcement and military personnel. Jason describes CrossFit as “a series of constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity, working different muscle groups, in different ways, through different time frames and loads.”
With four certified coaches on hand — Amber Murphy and Rebecca Danelorich in addition to Jason and Martha — CrossFit Axis offers multiple hour-long training sessions on weekdays, including their most popular session at 5:30 a.m. and a 9 a.m. session on Saturdays.
“It’s a different workout everyday so it’s very important to keep data so people stay motivated and keep coming back and know that it’s working,” Jason said. “It’s very skill based, so you have to develop skills. I wouldn’t call it exercising, I’d call it training. Where you’re progressively getting better at something. You’re learning how to move properly, how to lift properly and training your body to become stronger, faster, and fitter.”
Jason served six years as a military police member in the United States Army, where he worked for a Special Reaction Team, similar to SWAT, in the 90s. He ended up leading physical training for his group and it was there that he gained his primary background and knowledge of fitness training. Jason’s interest in physical training continued after his time in the military.
After being hired on by the Gloversville Fire Department, he soon found himself leading physical training sessions for the fire crew. Jason said his interest in CrossFit developed over time as he found more and more of his own methodologies aligning with those of CrossFit.
“As my knowledge was starting to increase, and I was training these guys and wanting to get better for myself and for them, I started to do more research. And really, the more I read and learned about CrossFit, the more it made sense,” Jason said. “It definitely fit the mold of what I believed were correct movements and the correct way of training. It was a very easy fit for me so it just went from there.”
In addition to running CrossFit Axis, Jason continues his work as a fireman, which he calls “a challenging combination,” but a labor of love, nonetheless, as Jason’s commitment to training people of all backgrounds is readily apparent.
“I want people to know that we specialize in the true beginner. The only thing we’re looking for is someone that has the want to do it and we’ll show you how,” Jason said. “I have everything from 16-year-old football players to 60-something year old women who have never done a thing [like this] in their life, and I’ll have them in here in the same class, doing the same types of movements, getting the same workout right next to each other. Just modifying the movements slightly and modifying the loads and the weights slightly for the individual.”
Since opening its doors in April, CrossFit Axis has seen slow, but steady growth. But it is the loyalty and commitment of its members — not just to Jason but to each other — that proves the program’s effectiveness.
“That’s really what we’re looking for because I tell people all the time, it takes consistency over time to see the results you are looking for,” Jason said. “I would say that our people are very happy with the results, especially since they’ve been here since 2015, so three years or more for some of them.’
In addition to physical training, Jason and his team also offer nutritional guidance to members, preaching “clean eating,” and a diet and consisting of “meats and vegetables, nuts, seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar.”
“I just feel like we are much more than a gym — a place to get fitter,” Jason said. “I think we’re helping to change the culture of the community. More positive, healthy living. The whole holistic view of healthiness.”