Stephen Macioci credits his background as a punk rock roadie for a lot of things in his life. Most importantly, he attributes the mentality he learned from that culture to the creation of CrossFit Ignite in Park Ridge, New Jersey.
“I blame everything on punk rock,” said Macioci. “At my young age, it really taught me a lot about a do-it-yourself attitude and a counter culture that is very into community. You would base things off of how you truly felt, not just because of the way things should be.”
Before opening CrossFit Ignite, Macioci knew he wasn’t following the path of his true feelings and passion. As a personal trainer for a company working with professional athletes, he was bringing in $15,000 to $20,000 a month in revenue for the company.
After a company meeting about working smarter and not harder, Macioci had a lightbulb moment. He grouped his individual clients together to save them money and to give him more time. His revenue shot through the roof and he quickly became the number one producer at the facility while only working three days a week. However, the corporate higher ups didn’t quite understand Macioci’s reasoning.
“I explained to them about the ‘work smarter, not harder’ speech they gave and they weren’t having it,” said Macioci. “Their final comment to me was, ‘Well, look how much you made in three days, imagine what you could do in five?’ That was my kiss of death. They burnt me out.”
After leaving the personal training company in 2008, Macioci went to Retro Fitness, where he ended up on the corporate side. One day, he picked up a magazine and read an article on CrossFit.
That was the turning point for Macioci. He quickly made his way to Jacksonville, Florida, to get his Level 1 certificate and became Affiliated directly after. Within eight months, he opened CrossFit Ignite.
“I was done with the corporate side and opened a place with the ethos that I want people to come here and be who they are and not worry about anything else,” said Macioci. “I wanted to create a community to influence people and used fitness as that catalyst. It has just been a wild ride since then.”
As a small Box in New Jersey, CrossFit Ignite aims to focus on longevity of the business. While it can be easy to jump on new trends and seek out the newest equipment, Macioci’s main goal is his community.
“I find a lot of bigger Boxes are more interested in their internet perception than what they truly are,” said Macioci. “We are no frills in the sense that what you see is what you get, good and bad. We are on the same level as you, never above you.”
Within that community, Macioci promotes his punk rock mentality. He encourages his members to always be checking in with themselves mentally first, then work on where they are physically.
“Do not settle for anything less than what you think is right,” said Macioci. “What you think is right is not wrong; whether or not I agree doesn’t matter. I stand by it no matter what your beliefs are or social status. If you are not taking care of yourself first, you are not at your best. If you have mental health, physical health will flow like water.” X