After growing up playing soccer, participating in dance, and running to keep a bit of fitness, I’ve been racing triathlon since 2011, more competitively sine 2013. There hit a point after the 2015 season that I had maxed out what I could accomplish on my own as a self-trained athlete, so I signed on with ETA Coach to guide my training and help me find the next level. Working as a personal trainer in college, and now holding a Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy, I am no stranger to the benefits that strength training can have for performance, efficiency and injury prevention for endurance athletes. I continued to program my own strength training for a while. Then, I had a friend in a Master’s degree program at Florida State University who created a very comprehensive strength training program for me as part of a school project. I worked through the 18-month program she had put together, however, while I gained a good deal of strength during this time, I often felt bound-up and my hips and legs lacked a sort of suppleness making swim, bike, run feel all the more challenging. At the close of Summer 2018, I had added long(ish) distance trail running on top of triathlons, and I really felt that I needed a fresh perspective to my strength component to better compliment my endurance training.
Chris Sanchez and I worked side-by-side while he was involved with Velocity Sports Performance and I with The Training Room Physical Therapy when both were located in the Echo Plaza in Washington Twp., NJ. Velocity in that area closed its doors in 2015 and Chris moved on, although he maintained a strong presence on social media. I continued to follow the development of his career in personal and performance training, and I appreciate his attention to detail, concur with his training philosophy, and commend his drive to always learn and continue to improve. There was not a single doubt in my mind that he would the one I’d give the reigns of my strength programming if I wanted to maintain my durability, improve my performance, and feel better during my endurance workouts and events.
We started the coach/client relationship in the fall of 2018, and I can honestly say it was a very solid move for my athletic career. Chris has a way of structuring sessions to cover the bases of strength, stability, mobility, and rate of force production and distribution to create complete and challenging workouts that complement without robbing energy from my endurance training and competition. As I worked through the last year, I have remained 100% injury-free, lacking even the right hamstring irritation I have had every year with high run volume that is the result of an old high school soccer injury, and my results have been impressive. I have taken 2nd overall female in two trail races, I was 8th in my age group at Ironman 70.3 St. George, and I cut 5 minutes off last year’s time and was 19th overall female at a mountain race called the Rut that draws a strong international crowd.
Beyond the results, I have felt solid and powerful throughout the season and even with fatigue, there was never a sensation of breakdown. As if I have not already made it perfectly clear, Chris’s programming has had a very positive impact on what I do as an endurance athlete and, as long as I’m still at this, I won’t be working with anyone else. I can’t thank him enough for his help.
I started working with Chris when I was probably in the worst shape of my (very young) life. 20 pounds heavier after a year working my first desk job. I needed the motivation and consistency. Chris is wonderful for both of this things! Not only did I finally start to see the scale move again, I learned so many techniques that I can use and apply on my own. I had to take a break from working with him for a bit due to personal reasons but he made sure to text me and remind me to make good choices and check in on how I was doing. I couldn’t have asked for a better trainer and I am so glad to be back down to my pre-office job weight!
I have been training with Chris Sanchez for 2 years now, first at LifeTime and now at Grit Fitness and Performance. When Chris left LifeTime, I didn’t have to stay with him – there are certainly cheaper places to work out – but I stayed with him because of the knowledge and passion he brings to his job every day. As I’ve gotten older, my exercise goals are no longer based on what I look like in the mirror; I’m now more focused on maintaining my overall fitness and mobility. Both Chris and Matt have demonstrated a level of expertise that is head and shoulders above any other trainer I have ever worked with and I trust them completely with my health. They are constantly challenging me to improve in a fun and safe environment!
Before finding Matt Emmons my biggest struggle was being consistent. I would always find a reason not to exercise. I needed that push but it wasn’t there. I knew I had to do something, make a change. For the past two years my blood work results have been coming back as borderline diabetic, with my cholesterol a little out of whack and blood pressure moving towards medication. I was very frustrated when leaving his office. He would tell me the same thing every time, exercise and cut out the starches. I didn’t have a problem cutting out the starches… it was the exercise. I kept telling myself I needed a trainer. My next thought would be that is going to be expensive. One day as I struggle with these thoughts a friend told me about a new gym she was joining. I said, wow, I am going to give this a try. The first day I visited the gym was in September it was kind of hard in the beginning but I hung in there. Matt really works with you. He meets you where you are which was great thing. I am committed to the program. I faithfully go twice a week. I went back to the doctor in November my blood work came back excellent. My doctor said keep doing what you are doing. Matt is a great trainer he keeps me wanting to come week after week. It is never boring it is a bright future. People have noticed my transformation. I would recommend the Matt Emmons to anyone, it is the best thing that has happened to me in a long time.
I tell everyone who asks me what I’ve done to lose 65lbs that I work out with the best trainer around. Someone that keeps me motivated and someone that really pushes me hard.
Before joining, I really struggled with staying motivated and being consistent with my workouts.
The program is great, we are always doing different exercises and the camaraderie with everyone has been awesome.
Again, the camaraderie is great and Matt gives individual attention even though we are in a group environment. If I talked to someone that was interested in joining Grit Fitness and Performance I would give them Matt’s number and tell them it would be the best thing they have ever done. Ask Geno, that’s what I told him 6 months ago.
Happy Hour! That’s how I refer to my 6:00 AM Training Sessions at Grit. Matt Emmons, our certified trainer, designs workout programs that are challenging. Our class has a wide range of age groups and abilities. Matt is able to make adjustments to the program for each individual so that they receive the maximum benefit. Most importantly, Matt corrects our form so that we do not injure ourselves. That being said, the 6:00 AM class – laughs and laughs often. It truly is the best hour of my day. I would encourage anyone willing to improve their athletic abilities to join our gym. I promise you, you will see the benefits almost immediately and you will be surrounded by coaches and peers encouraging you all the way.
This past summer I made the choice to commit to getting stronger and I chose Chris at Grit to help me achieve my goals. I told him what I wanted to achieve and from there he customized a plan for each month. I train 3 times a week and I have to say I never dread a workout! He makes me feel motivated and holds me accountable. I’ve always worked out on my own and I have never hit personal records like I have been the last several months, each month I’m stronger than the last! I’m doing things I never thought I could do. I love being strong and highly recommend Grit!
Antoneta “Peach” Sevo
2020 was life-changing to say the least. As I found myself post-grad and in the midst of a global pandemic, I was in the worst shape I had ever been. I was in a weird place mentally and the worst physically. I never was the athletic type and only focused on school for all of my 22 years. As a graduation gift, my sister got me a month to train with Chris.
Fast forward 6 months I have never felt stronger. Due to Chris’s expertise in building my personalized program, I have seen changes I never thought were possible. He has helped me mend the physical limitations I had which in turn healed many other aspects of my life. His attention to detail and genuinely caring about my progress has made the biggest difference in my journey and self-motivation. The environment is focused yet lighthearted and feels like I’m working out with family. If I enter in a sluggish mood, I leave in a happy one ready to take on the day. Chris, the other trainers, and clients there are responsible for that.
To date I have lost 20 pounds, 8% body fat, and gained more muscle than I knew I could. I am truly excited about the progress I have made and cannot wait to see what happens in the next 6 months! Thanks for the muscles Chris!
My biggest struggles in finding a fitness program that worked for me was finding a program that was diverse, motivating and challenging with well educated trainers. Also, one that offers nutritional guidance. Matt’s program has helped me with injury prevention, building muscle and strength, and improving my overall health. I dance for a living so staying healthy is imperative.
I enjoy the small group sessions which also provide personal attention when needed. My trainer, Matt Emmons, pushes me and challenges me during the workouts, always making sure I’m pushing my limits. He’s extremely knowledgeable, and I respect that he takes his own fitness seriously and practices what he preaches.
I workout in the 6am classes and really enjoy the group of people I workout with, they work hard and stay focused yet we all have fun at the same time. It’s a great way to start my day.
You will love doing this for yourself! Being stronger, leaner, happier, and more capable can make for a better life. Don’t wait! Do it now!
My journey working out with Chris began three years ago. I have a desk job where I am not moving very much during the day. Over the years I could see a change in my mobility and flexibility. I would run a few times a week for exercise, occasionally working in strength training, which consisted of exercises that I learned twenty years ago. I concentrated more on the upper body, thinking that my legs were getting a work-out with my runs. I wasn’t consistent with the strength training, and if I was tired or busy it was quickly dropped from my routine.
When I started training with Chris he asked me for my goals and put me through a series of tests to see what shape I was really in. He put together a plan with goals to increase my strength and mobility. Chris varies the exercises, keeping everything fresh and constantly challenging my body. I am doing exercises that I would never do on my own, such as lunges (since I despise them), bear crawls (still reminds me of a donut), and squats. Chris takes the time to demonstrate the exercise, makes sure I understand what I need to do, and offers real-time correction and pointers.
Over the time that I have been working with Chris I have seen great results. I have lost over 40 pounds, reduced my body fat percentage by more than 50%, and took off nine inches from my pants size. I have become a much stronger runner, decreasing my pace by 2 minutes per mile. Despite still sitting at a desk all day, I am much more mobile and flexible. Friends and family have noticed as well, commenting on how much stronger and solid I have become. All of this I couldn’t have done without Chris. So what are you waiting for? Take that first step and call Chris to schedule an appointment, you won’t regret it. I certainly haven’t.
Chris takes the time to put you through an initial mobility assessment, to identify any asymmetries and compensations which helped me work through injuries and course correct to prevent further injuries. Chris planned unique workouts customized to the goals I wanted to achieve. I’m the strongest I’ve ever been and can’t thank him and Grit enough!!
Chris has gotten me to physically do what I mentally committed to. I have the confidence to be able to lift more than I thought was possible with the guidance of such a knowledgeable coach!
I would highly recommend training at Grit Fitness and Performance. After open heart surgery I began training with Chris Sanchez. He is a very experienced trainer and worked with me gradually to build up my strength and stamina over the last 18 months. I can honestly say I am healthier, toned and stronger than I have been in years. I credit this to Chris! Thank you! Grit is a great place to be and all the trainers are fantastic! When you are there – you feel like you are among friends. Just a fantastic atmosphere!!
Chris’s program ensures I stay consistent week to week in my strength training and progress at a pace that works for me based on an initial assessment.
The numerous benefits of strength training are invaluable and allow me to progress week to week in every aspect of life.
Because my wife and I do couples training it has also been a cool way to spend time together outside of our 2 kids and motivate each other to get stronger while increasing our energy levels to be more present as parents even after a long work week.
Chris and Matt are extremely knowledgeable on movements that allow the body to move and strength train efficiently, based on the individuals makeup. I think this allows for a great training environment where the trainers are motivating and holding their clients accountable while maintaining a low stress atmosphere and efficient session for everyone training.
If you are thinking about joining Chris and Matt’s program, make the best decision of your life and start.
When I met Chris a few years ago I was a sleep deprived mess after my son was born and hadn’t been to a gym in over a year. After his initial assessment we started doing basic movements to create a foundation for strength training and progress week to week safe and efficiently. Within a few months of being consistent (the most important thing) I had increased strength, flexibility, and felt better with more energy than anytime I could remember.
I had been in and out of gyms for years with no real direction and probably was lucky I didn’t get injured. The investment in a strength training program with Chris and Matt has benefits beyond the training (sleep, diet, mind) that make it one of the best investments I’ve ever made!
“The Team” Kim Schadt and Debbie Calabro
We first started training with Matt about 10 months after Liver Transplant surgery. Kim was the donor and Debbie was the recipient. Our goals were basically to gain muscle tone without injury. We listened to everything Coach Matt told us and followed along. Every time we had a question – which was often – Matt spent lots of time with us to make sure he truly answered our questions and if he didn’t know an answer he did homework to find out the answer and follow up with us the next time he saw us. He had very thorough explanations for every question we had for him.
We both like the fact that the classes are never the same and the class size is never too large. It makes it feel like the trainer is giving you personal attention so it feels more like one on one than a full class. There are also monthly InBody assessments to track your progress toward your goals.
The coaches are top notch, personable and highly knowledgeable. They really are committed to getting you to your goals.