“Coach Dan is an amazing coach! He has helped me to become the athlete that I am today and for that, I am forever thankful. He understands that there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach to fitness. He has the gift of being able to look at every athlete, individually, and figure out how to make them better.

I would say that one of his major strengths as a coach is programming. Coach Dan took a deliberate and objective look at my strengths and weakness, he set goals for me and then programmed accordingly. So many of my personal weaknesses have now become my personal strengths, thanks to Dan. You can’t ask for a more personalized program than that!

Another obvious strength that Dan has is his motivational coaching style. Since he was a former fighter, he knows what it is like to push the body and mind to the extreme. He has a rugged, energetic, sometimes instigative, type of coaching approach. He constantly challenges you to get more out of yourself which builds your mental toughness. 

BUT.. If I had to choose my most favorite Daniel Stearns trait, it would have to be his way with people. He has a gift for lighting up the energy in the room immediately when he walks through the garage door. He makes every person in the room feel special and important, and they ARE to him. It’s so necessary to have a coach who CARES.

I worked and trained at Empire for 2.5 years and it is still, to this day, one of my most favorite places on earth. Whether you are looking to shoot for the stars and pursue goals as large as qualifying for the Crossfit Games or just strive to better your life and get healthy, Empire State CrossFit is where you want to thrive. It’s a special community and you wont regret it!”

-Briana Gongloff

(Mid Atlantic Regionals competitor)


“Training at Empire State Crossfit has really helped shape me as an athlete in a lot of ways. I’ve been a competitive rower for 15 years, so I was already an athlete coming into ESCF, but I have gained so much through the training, coaching, and community here.

First of all, I am stronger now and in better shape overall than I have ever been. Secondly, I’ve worked with a number of coaches in my athletic career, and I can honestly say the coaches at ESCF are second to none when it comes to getting the best out of their athletes. Not only are they exceedingly knowledgeable and capable, but they genuinely want to see you succeed and it’s incredibly motivating to work with coaches like that.

Finally, as someone who’s used to being part of a team, I’ve really loved finding a second team at Empire. In addition to the support you get from the coaches, you get motivation/support/cheering/advice/ camaraderie from the other members, and it makes you push that much harder.

To sum up, I literally can’t say enough good things about Empire State Crossfit; training here has made me a better athlete and I’ve loved every second of it.”

-Megan Carmody


“Approaching my late forties, I walked into ESCF curious to find a way to get into—and stay in—shape. I had never considered myself an athlete. But I was feeling the effects of middle age. I was attracted by CrossFit’s emphasis on constantly varied functional fitness—really just a mixture of old-fashioned calisthenics, Olympic weightlifting and simple gymnastics. I liked it enough to urge my wife to join. She progressed farther and faster than I did. But Coach Dan’s infectious enthusiasm kept me coming back through the first few months when I was exhausted and sore.

Dan has an uncanny ability to motivate. From a rising high school athlete to a sedentary person looking to get moving for the first time to a new mother trying to reclaim her body to aspiring CrossFit competitors—Dan remembers your abilities, keeps an eye on your goals and monitors your progress. He shares your ambitions; he’ll offer you personalized guidance; and his ebullience carries you through with more confidence than you can muster for yourself.

But it isn’t just Dan. What makes CrossFit something more than a gym for me is the entire community. At ESCF, I learned as much from my fellow members as I do from the coaches. When I worry a work out is too hard or I want to
quit, I look over and see someone with no greater physical gifts than I working that much harder; and I think, if they can keep going, what’s my excuse?

First I lost weight; then, I got stronger. Over time, I progressed through new skills, higher PRs and faster times (full disclosure: I’m still usually the last one to finish.) Each workout seems long and challenging but the years have passed quickly. I surprise myself still. When I turned 50, I learned gymnastics moves I would have never have tried as a fit 20-year old. I got advice, encouragement, inspiration and plenty of teasing from everyone I work out with. Together we make our way through each class like a platoon of recruits—different sizes, ages, occupations and
backgrounds—thrown together on a mission. Each day we come together with one common goal: to finish that workout! We don’t go at the same speed or use the same weights or have the same skills. But no one gets left behind.

It is not uncommon to see couples in classes together or parents working out with their kids. There is no sight more satisfying than watching a child root for, compete with and encourage a parent to try harder. The camaraderie of CrossFit has kept me and my wife motivated and accountable for more than five years and counting. With a community like the one Dan has built at ESCF, you’ll find over time—and with determination—that you are able to accomplish much more than the goals that first brought you to the gym. CrossFit has changed the way I eat, it has challenged my mental and emotional resilience, and taught me valuable lessons about myself.”

-Marion Manaker

“Empire has changed the way I look at fitness and health. As a former gym rat and runner, I was always interested in working out. When I joined Empire, I was much more concerned about what my body looked like, rather than what my body is capable of doing. I remember my first pull-up and how incredibly strong I felt and how happy the community was for me. It wasn’t just my victory. It was shared by my coaches and friends. Small moments like that happen often at Empire.

Dan (and my other coaches) has a way of making you work harder and feel like you are capable of much more than you think. I couldn’t be happier that I found this place. It’s way more than a gym.”

-Erica Ungar

“ESCF has become an integral part of my life. There is simply no better investment of 60 minutes per day that I could make for my physical and mental health. The community of coaches and athletes there has taught me so much - and helps me achieve new milestones month after month.”

-Ian Macgregor

(aka - The lobster king)

“I call it my “Fun zone” because that’s exactly what it feels like when I walk into ESCF every afternoon. I started my fitness journey about four or five years ago with a personal trainer but after a while I knew I needed more. I decided to join ESCF two years ago and have been hooked ever since. The welcoming environment made me feel comfortable and ready to work. Over the past two years my strength, stamina and endurance has drastically improved - these result would not have been achieved without ESCF.

Everyone at ESCF is willing to support, encourage and motivate and provide in-depth knowledge on proper technique and most importantly nutrition. ESCF is not my gym, it’s my home - the trainers are not trainers they are family, my CROSSFIT FAMILY.

My journey has not been easy but it’s made me stronger, both physically and mentally. If you’re looking for a lifestyle change and to jump start your fitness journey, I highly encourage you to GO! Now!”

-carina peralta

“After going to the traditional gyms and doing workouts on my own for years, I decided 9 months ago to switch up my routine and try CrossFit with Empire State CrossFit. The experience has BY FAR surpassed my expectations. Now in my 40s, my overall fitness is as good (probably better!) as it was in my 20s thanks to the top-notch coaches at ESCF. Not only are the coaches elite athletes, they are also extremely knowledgeable about all things fitness and nutrition, excellent communicators and great motivators who truly care about making every single person better. And they are focused on helping everyone maintain good technique to prevent injury and stretch personal limits safely. They all bring passion, positive energy and good senses of humor to the gym creating a very special, upbeat environment. Training at ESCF has been the most challenging and the most fun I have ever had working out. Thank you Empire!”

-Scott Waksman

“I was always a member of a gym but like most people made every excuse not to go. The moment I walked into Empire State CrossFit and saw the intensity of the workout I knew I was canceling my other gym membership ASAP. The coaches here inspire you to be a better person and all around better athlete.

I’m an avid runner and within 3 months I was able to shave minutes off my 5k and 10k person bests.



-Jonathan burgh

“I started at Empire State Crossfit in the fall of my sophomore year of high school, unable to squat or lift. I came in on a Sunday morning, nervous but excited to try and find an exercise routine I would enjoy. Despite barely being able to walk until the following Wednesday, I loved the community that Dan Stearns created. His programming allows people of all abilities to challenge themselves in ways appropriate to them. He knows everyone’s skill level like they are his own and pushes and encourages them like they are his family. Dan, Justin, and all the coaches treat people like family because Empire is their family. Each member cares about one another and makes an effort to get to know each individual. From the first person to finish a workout to the last, and I’ve experienced both, the enthusiasm and energy in the gym remains strong. Going to college this past fall, I missed the comfort of Empire State Crossfit. Getting to work out with my dad and the rest of the gym has become a relaxing space for me to decompress and relieve stress. While I still have far to go in my fitness journey, I can easily say I have improved way beyond where I was when I began. Much of that is due to the work of Dan Stearns and the coaches at Empire State Crossfit.”

-Jeremy Hoffner

“Empire State CrossFit is a truly amazing place. Fantastic coaches, outstanding programming, friendly and encouraging members and great results! Starting in my fifties was intimidating at first, but it only takes a little while to surprise yourself and get hooked. I can’t recommend it more highly.”

-David Hoffner

“Evidence Based Fitness – I am a believer! Group training specifically scaled to individual ability. Awesome staff and community. Empire State Crossfit has exceeded my expectations!”

-darren levine

“ESCF is so much more than a box. It all starts with Dan and his staff of coaches. Regardless of your level of experience or fitness you will feel part of a community from day one. Coaches at ESCF simply get it. They are the perfect mix of fun, motivating, tough and encouraging.”

-David (larchmont)