In 1991, after years of boxing and a great love for dance, Bernie began teaching a step aerobics class, which led to various other courses, such as High Impact Cardio, Boot Camp, Cardio Kickboxing, Core and Conditioning, and a host of other classes on a part-time basis. In 1996, Bernie started kickboxing and fell in love with Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). By 2005, Bernie opened his own gym, IMPACT Fitness, where he taught cardio, conditioning, military boot camp, kickboxing, and MMA classes. In 2009, Bernie began teaching classes at Synergy gyms, giving him the opportunity to broaden his scope in training and educating people on fitness, nutrition, and self-love. It was through his MMA training that he discovered CrossFit, changing his life forever. It was kismet that Bernie and CrossFit merged. He encourages a sense of community, camaraderie, support, and love for your fellow athlete. Bernie believes that working out should be about more than just working up a sweat and getting stronger and faster; it should be about building a connection with others in order to support and encourage each other to be better in whatever endeavors they are seeking. He believes that CrossFit is about family, and that with faith, love, and determination you can overcome any challenge. With those beliefs he walked away from corporate America and began his new career as a CrossFit Coach.
Favorite Scripture: "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
- Hug Yourself, Love Yourself
- Prepare for the Unknown and the Unknowable
- I train warriors!
Favorite Quote: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." – Marriane Williamson
Favorite WOD: Fight Gone Bad, Randy, and Helen
CrossFit Level 1/Level 2,
CrossFit Coaching and Prep.
CrossFit Olympic Lifting
CrossFit Gymnastics Trainer
AFAA Group Fitness Instructor, AFAA Kickboxing Certification, AFAA Personal Trainer
Using fitness as therapy, Stephen wanted to stay healthy and keep in shape. It wasn’t until he met a group of crazy fitness fanatics that his view on training completely changed. Stephen quickly discovered how much fitness could help in all aspects of life; thus, his "call" to coaching was born. Through his association with Bernie Henry, a fellow coach, and his crazy ideas, he became a part of a team that started CrossFit Sanctuary. His managerial and organization skills that he developed from years of corporate work experience were pivotal in the foundation of the Box. His patience and desire to teach others naturally led him to become the head of Sanctuary’s Base Camp Program. Stephen always feels a sense of achievement when a member perfects a movement or accomplishes a Personal Record (PR), knowing that he was an integral part of that process. Every day, he feels blessed that he was able to touch lives and encourage others to reach their goals.
Favorite WOD: "Karen"
Favorite Movement: Hang Clean
CrossFit Level 1, CrossFit Kids
Ann Feldstein, a marketing executive, always knew she would venture into the fitness industry in some way. This became a reality when she met Bernard Henry in the spring of 2011, changing her life forever. Just one year later, the doors to CrossFit Sanctuary opened. Ann always loved lifting weights, but struggled to stay committed to a regular gym schedule. Once she met “Coach Bernie” and his cult following, her commitment level was no longer an issue. Through the consistent support, strength and encouragement from her CrossFit family, she developed a new found love for her workout routine.
Ann loves the “No Man Left Behind” community that makes CrossFit, well CrossFit.She believes in paying it forward and hopes to inspire others to get involved in the sport, as Bernie did for her. In her spare time, she loves to travel, talk about CrossFit, and is a totally foodie!
Favorite WOD: DT
Favorite Movement: Hang Clean
Her favorite quote: “CrossFit is my therapy”
Credentials: CrossFit Level 1/ Owner
Half-marathoner Viviana Poveda began her quest for a fitness routine that encompassed more than just cardio. On the way, she found something that involved both endurance and weightlifting: CrossFit. Two years ago, she was introduced to CrossFit and immediately fell in love with the atmosphere, the intensity, the adrenalin rush, and the rule that “quitting” is not an option. After a year of experiencing CrossFit, she went for her Level 1 certificate so that she could share her passion for the sport with others. She enjoys encouraging and pushing athletes beyond their limits.
Favorite Wod: Fight Gone Bad
Favorite quote: “CrossFit is a way of Life. You eat well, you train hard, and you push yourself. It teaches you so much about yourself.”
Favorite accomplishments: Rope climbs and kipping pull-ups
Credentials: CrossFit Level 1
Vinny Palma has been training throughout his life. He is always searching for the perfect workout; one that gives power and strength, stamina and endurance, speed and coordination, flexibility and agility, balance and accuracy, all without the boredom that is usually influenced by the same “old” routines. He finally found his calling through CrossFit. CrossFit is a workout that is always challenging and has a fascinating variation of routines that help gauge development and change. Vinny believes that CrossFit is the most overall intense workout that a person can have, and the rewards of it are even better.
Words to Live By: Make no excuses, Stop feeling sorry for yourself, nobody else is.
Quotes to Live By:
“There’s only one way to succeed in anything, and that is to give it everything.”
“Winning is not everything – but making the effort to win is.”
“Winners never quit and quitters never win.”
“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”
Coach: Travel Baseball, Travel Football
Favorite WOD: Hero WODS, They are always a challenge, and I'm working out with a purpose.
Certifications: CrossFit Trainer Level 1, CrossFit Olympic Lifting, CrossFit Kettlebell
Jonelle is a graduate of SUNY Cortland where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education. She then went on to graduate school where she completed her Master’s in Health Education at Hofstra University. She has been teaching Physical Education for the past 11 years. Jonelle brings a wealth of coaching experience to CrossFit and has an athletic background in soccer, volleyball and basketball.She began CrossFit almost two years ago with the goal of staying in shape.After seeing immediate results in her overall performance, she knew it was her calling to coach and influence others.
Favorite WOD: Annie
Favorite Quote: It's quality not quantity
Certifications: CrossFit Trainer Level 1, CrossFit Kids
Rawya Khafaga began her relationship with fitness five years ago while taking intense cardio kickboxing and boot camp classes with Coach Bernard Henry. During that time, she was also personal training with a certified personal and group trainer. Rawya joined CrossFit after looking for a powerful exercise regimen without the cost of an accompanying personal training. She calls it love at first sight. Shortly thereafter, she attained a CrossFit Level 1 coach certification. Perhaps because she is a teacher by profession, even before her official certification, Rawya was “coaching” and encouraging others. She joined the staff of CrossFit Sanctuary in December 2013 and continues to coach, encourage, and share her passion for CrossFit with others.
Favorite thing about CrossFit: She loves the camaraderie and heart that the coaches and members have as evidenced daily. She also loves that she has gotten over her fear of heights since the rope climbs!
Favorite WOD: EMOM strength WODs (anything with a bar)
Favorite Hero WOD: Victoria Soto Hero WOD … for obvious reasons
Favorite Quote: Her favorite quote comes from her colleague Jonelle Major…“We may not be the strongest box, but we have the most heart.” No truer words have been uttered.
Credentials:, CrossFit Level 1, CrossFit Kids, NYS Certified Elementary School Teacher
Alyssa has always displayed a strong passion for sports and fitness. She grew up playing competitive soccer both nationwide and overseas before moving on to play Division 1 at Manhattan College. After graduating, she started taking Cardio Kickboxing and Spinning Classes to stay active and fit. While these classes were beneficial, she longed for the intensity and sense of community that she once felt playing soccer.
In 2012, Alyssa discovered CrossFit and immediately felt a sense of camaraderie within the community and the high level of intensity that was expected of each athlete. She left her first Base Camp Class gasping for air, sore from head to toe and wanting more. After participating in CrossFit for two years, Alyssa decided that she wanted to achieve her Level 1 Certificate and pursue coaching. She joined the coaching staff at CrossFit Sanctuary shortly thereafter and continues to share her passion for CrossFit with others.
Favorite Movement: Deadlift
Favorite Quote: “The myth that women shouldn't lift heavy is perpetuated by women who fear hard work and men who fear strong women.”
Credentials: CrossFit Level 1
Laura professes that she is not an athletic person and is older than the “average”CrossFitter. However, she came into this on the heels of Bernard Henry, who has kept her moving over the last 9 years. She is the wizard behind the curtains managing the financial and back office operations. CrossFit Sanctuary is her fitness dream come true. She has the ability to see the people she trains and how they love and support each other both during and after each of the WODs. Besides keeping the financial records in shape, Laura loves to WOD and work hard to keep herself in shape.
Favorite Workouts: Olympic lifting with dead lifts being her best lift (it's all in the hips).
Least Favorite Move: Pull Ups -still working hard to accomplish. But no matter what I can or cannot do, I always feel accomplished that I am at the Box, participating, improving and becoming stronger every day.