KATONAH, N.Y.—While the warm weather might be able to take a break in the winter, successful warm weather athletes are not allowed such a respite. Despite the frigid outside temperatures, athletes from near and far have been heading to Katonah to work out and keep in playing shape, while also trying to improve.
On the downtown strip on Katonah Avenue, John Praino and Bill Felice weekly rent out Shawn’s Personal Fitness space for their own venture, Maxed Out, which is a personal training service tailored to the athlete, from little league to professional level.
Praino and Felice, who teach physical education in Yonkers, started the company that has now trained student athletes all over Westchester, from the Somers High School soccer team, to the John Jay Boy’s Lacrosse squad in Cross River, to the highly regarded Mahopac High School Football team.
Recently, two members of John Jay ventured to the space to get themselves ready for the season that will not start for a few months. But the fact that they are working out at all during what could be their winter break sets them apart from most.
“Everyone individually is working as hard as they can, outside of team effort,” said Jack Lambert, a member of the football team and lacrosse team for John Jay. “So, for me to be here, knowing I’m working when others aren’t, is very good.”
“It’s definitely important to get my strength up to get a better advantage on the field, and to improve my game in every respect,” seconded Andrew Duffy, another member of the lacrosse team.
Felice knows that they have bought in to what he and Praino have taught, which is to be smart about preparing their body for the onslaught of the season.
“Especially these young guys, in their off season, to get their bodies up to par for the stresses of their season,” Felice said. “They need to be strong enough to make those cuts on the field. If they go into the season unprepared and weak, that’s when injuries occur.”
Across the room stands a professional athlete, C.J Riefenhauser, a 22-year-old left-handed pitcher who is in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. Despite his great success in his hometown of Mahopac, as well as his ascension to the high A level of the organization, he is getting the same treatment as the high schoolers.
“When I come back home at the end of the year, I look forward to it. Each year I’m trying to get better, and I know a lot of guys have a lot of opportunities in the hot weather, throwing outside and stuff,” he said. “So I really focus in the gym a lot, doing what I need to do to stay in shape.”