BY Molly Congdon
HALFMOON — Caleb Nelson and Ian Hogan, co-owners and directors of Purebred Athletics, showed the diverse offerings of their gym during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday, Feb. 7 at 11C Solar Drive.
The two make the ultimate dynamic duo in the health and fitness industry. Nelson is certified in every element of CrossFit imaginable, including CrossFit Nutrition, CrossFit Endurance, CrossFit Powerlifting, CrossFit Olympic Lifting, CrossFit Rowing, CrossFit Mobility and Movement, CrossFit Goal Setting Trainer Course and CrossFit Kettlebells.
Hogan, who attended the Center for Natural Wellness School of Massage Therapy, specializes in myofascial release, structural/functional integration, neuromuscular therapy and sports massage.
Their team of supporting specialists included physical therapists, massage gurus, chiropractors and CrossFit coaches; each person has a niche.
Nelson began working with weights when he was 13 and continued throughout his time at Ossining High School as a member of the football team. When he went away to college, he wanted to stay involved in athletics in some capacity. His next four years were spent at SUNY Cortland, studying kinesiology with a concentration in fitness development. He didn’t know what he wanted to do with his degree, but he knew what he didn’t want to do — physical therapy.
“I didn’t like the vibe that the field had,” Nelson said. “I didn’t like that people would just show up at my door because they had to be there because they got hurt. I wanted people to show up and be really inspired to try to better themselves prior to injury and other types of issues befalling them.” Shortly before his college career came to a close, he found CrossFit. “That’s when the light bulb switched on,” Nelson said. “I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life.”
After graduating in 2009, he started an internship to further his education at Albany CrossFit. At the time, it was the only gym in the area offering the intense regimen of multiple repetitions, Filthy Fifties and handstand push-ups. Soon he was hired as a full-time employee. But after a few years, he branched out on his own and opened CrossFit Clifton Park, which was located on Route 9 in the front half of a tae kwon do building.
This is where he met his current business partner. “Ian was a member at CrossFit Clifton Park, and I had a passion for body work, massage therapy and holistic medicine as a whole, so we struck up a relationship,” Nelson said. “We helped each other, our friendship grew from there and it blossomed into a great business.”
Purebred Athletics was officially established as a business on Jan. 1, 2014, but in November made a short move into a brand-new 6,000-square-foot facility that they expect will let them make their vision a reality.
“It’s a great place for us to grow. I tend to be a fairly ambitious person, so I think of quadrupling the size, but for right now it’s exactly what we want and what we need,” Nelson said. “We have a staff area for our therapists and coaches during down time, massage and treatment rooms, a much larger gym space and some outdoor space that will really lend itself to us during the summertime to train for one of those tough mudder runs.”
Purebred is dissimilar to other CrossFit gyms because it brings the whole picture into focus. “We wanted to have more of a wellness center type of feel; to be able to address all issues by adding in physical therapy, massage and other rehabilitative aspects of health and wellness,” Nelson said. “We have all of somebody’s fitness, health and nutritional needs all under one roof.”
CrossFit is the main element. “Our bread and butter, the core of everything is our gym and our Crossfit program, so most people that come in are inquiring about that right off the rip,” Nelson said.
The first step is going through the four-week CrossFit Foundations Program, which teaches fundamental movements and techniques in order to make a safer transition into the CrossFit realm. “It consists of core stability, foundational gymnastics movements, a lot of body awareness stuff the first week, and then a strength program so they get comfortable with using a barbell and doing everything from squats to presses to deadlifts, but with really light weights focusing on technique,” Nelson said. “It gives people a glimpse whether this will be the right type of program for them, and we feel comfortable having them involved in regular classes because they are prepared not just physically but also with the nutritional guidelines that we’ve already provided them with.”
CrossFit isn’t the only type of workout offered. Members can also take part in yoga, tai chi, kettlebell and weightlifting classes.
CrossFit has grown into a major trend over the last several years, and there are many reasons that men and women get hooked on this intense, competitive workout style. “It’s challenging — people want to be able to push themselves and really see how far they can take their body, and it’s addictive when you feel really good and you see results — it’s encouraging to see a lot of change,” Nelson said.
However, the most significant aspect of CrossFit is the social dynamic that surrounds it. “Some people go bowling on Thursday nights, some people have knitting groups; for our group, our population, people are like, ‘My thing is CrossFit and I like to go in and be healthy as opposed to just going out, chugging beers and not taking care of my health,’ ” Nelson said. It’s the community is what keeps people coming back and they find encouragement during a workout when they are having a tough time.
“I’ve watched people break down in tears because they have stressful things going on in their life and it just so happens that the gym kept them going during those trials and tribulations,” Nelson said. “If I had to hang my hat on one reason that Crossfit has blown up over the last few years that would be it, because without a mass following and loyal community it wouldn’t have been brought to the forefront.”
Despite being a full wellness center, at heart, Purebred Athletics is another Box — a CrossFit term that refers to the bare-bones nature of the training. Nelson explained: “It’s simple; four walls, not a lot of glitz and glam, and hard work.”