The Hygge Fitness Team

Meet the Team that is Dedicated to Your Success

our founder

Tommy Alfinito

The first person I ever trained had a bad back due to herniated disks from a car accident, diagnosed short hamstrings (thanks, doc), weak painful wrists, and unremarkable strength (read: none). In fact, I was happy just to complete a workout using the training bar. Yes, my first “client” was myself, and I learned so much just trying to fix my own issues. I spent hours pouring over information on mobility, flexibly, proper form, and rehab principles because I wanted to become more athletic and move better in everyday life.

My eye was always on the future. I asked myself, “If I have a bad back now, what will it be like when I am 40?” I saw strength and conditioning as a gateway for people to do the thing they enjoy. Things like: picking up your kids, hiking through the woods, or scoring the game-winning goal.

I dreamed up Hygge Fitness as a community of people who felt the same way, and I have been lucky enough to turn that dream into a reality. Along the way, Fitness has done more than just fix my back. It has made me productive in everyday life, allowed me to surround myself with great people, and even given me a six-pack. It is amazing how your outlook on everything can change from just 5 hours a week working out.

I have accumulated thousands of hours teaching people proper weightlifting mechanics and positioning.

Founder of Hygge Fitness

our coaches

Coach Dana Pancost

Dana Pancost

BEFORE STARTING AT HYGGE FITNESS, I HAD NEVER LIFTED A WEIGHT IN MY LIFE. I WAS A DANCER, CHEERLEADER, AND HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF GYMNASTICS BACKGROUND. I STARTED FUNCTIONAL FITNESS AS A TRAINING PROGRAM FOR AN UPCOMING TOUGH MUDDER RACE. AT THE TIME, I THOUGHT I WAS ONLY GOING TO DO IT FOR THE THREE MONTHS LEADING UP TO THE RACE, BUT HERE I AM TODAY AND I REALLY CAN’T IMAGINE DOING ANYTHING ELSE.

SINCE JOINING HYGGE FITNESS IN JANUARY 2011, I HAVE BECOME A CERTIFIED CROSSFIT LEVEL 1 TRAINER, COMPETED AT THE 2012 AND 2013 CROSSFIT GAMES NORTHEAST REGIONALS, AND COMPETED IN THE ELITE DIVISION AT WODAPALOOZA IN 2015 AND TEAMS ELITE DIVISION IN 2017.

WITH THIS TYPE OF TRAINING COMBINED WITH PROPER NUTRITION, I QUICKLY NOTICED IMPROVEMENTS IN MY ENERGY LEVEL, STRENGTH, SPEED, ENDURANCE, AND BODY COMPOSITION. WHEN I FIRST STARTED, I COULDN’T EVEN DO A PULL-UP. I HAD TO USE THE HUGE GREEN BAND TO HELP ME GET MY CHIN OVER THE BAR. TODAY, I CAN DO 30 UNBROKEN PULL-UPS.

EVERYONE HERE AT HYGGE FITNESS IS SO INSPIRING AND PUSHES ME TO BE THE BEST COACH AND ATHLETE I CAN BE. I LOVE SEEING SOMEONE GET THEIR FIRST PULL-UP OR BACK SQUAT SOME WEIGHT THEY NEVER THOUGHT WOULD BE POSSIBLE. I FIND MYSELF LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING IN THE GYM EVERY DAY. IT DOESN’T MATTER IF I AM COMING INTO A WORKOUT OR TO COACH AND MOTIVATE EVERYONE TO PERFORM TO THE BEST OF THEIR ABILITIES.

Coach Lauren Fiske

Lauren Fiske

I have loved sports and being active my entire life. I was never the most talented athlete, but I love to work hard and train hard, putting the time is necessary to improve. In college, I thought I would end up becoming a teacher or a lawyer, but at that time, my father’s health was deteriorating. He had congestive heart failure and had a transplant on Sept. 11, 2001.

As a result, I decided that I would follow my heart and do something in the field of Exercise Science. In graduate school, I discovered strength and conditioning, and I have never looked back. I have been in strength and conditioning since then and I love working with athletes of all ages and ability levels.

I found FUNCTIONAL FITNESS through Olympic Weightlifting – somewhat backwards for most people. FUNCTIONAL FITNESS is the best of strength and conditioning all in one place. I love the weightlifting element of FUNCTIONAL FITNESS, but I also love how all of the major elements of FUNCTIONAL FITNESS (weightlifting, gymnastics, and metabolic conditioning) relate to one another. I love to find a skill and develop it, which is why FUNCTIONAL FITNESS is so appealing to me and it leaves me constantly trying to improve as an athlete and a coach.

My favorite part of coaching is seeing people conquer things they never thought possible. Anyone can do FUNCTIONAL FITNESS, no matter what their background or ability level is. The Hygge FUNCTIONAL FITNESS community is something that can’t be adequately explained until you experience it. I encourage everyone to try it, no matter their age or FUNCTIONAL FITNESS level. You will challenge yourself and discover the strength that you did not know existed. And there will be other awesome people cheering you on every step of the way and experiencing the highs and lows by your side.

Coach

Heather Sponseller

I have always had a love of fitness. I grew up dancing and competing in dance. I ended up getting a BS in Accounting and I knew quickly that was not what I wanted my career to be. After taking a college course in nutrition, I decided to go for an MS in Exercise Science. I worked in many gyms as we moved around for my husband’s military career, holding jobs managing gyms as well as working in group exercise teaching yoga, pilates, spin, and boot camp.

EVEN THOUGH I WAS VERY INVOLVED IN FITNESS, I HAD NEVER DONE ANY OLYMPIC LIFTING PRIOR TO TRYING FUNCTIONAL FITNESS. I was interested in trying it because I wanted a new challenge. Being in my late 30’s at the time, MY FIRST IMPRESSION OF FUNCTIONAL FITNESS WAS THAT IT WOULD BE A REALLY GREAT WORKOUT, but there was no way that I was going to climb that rope…or ever be able to do a double under…or even think about doing a handstand pushup. Now I can do all of those things and I actually really love all three! There are so many exercises that I am still working on and I always hope to improve, but functional Fitness has given me a sense of accomplishment and motivation to encourage others that they will be able to do it!

The crossfit Level 1 training was amazing and I love constantly learning and improving for myself as well as being able to help others on their fitness journey. I started our current kids & teens program in September 2019 and it has been so awesome to watch all of the kids come in and have fun with fitness. We laugh and have fun but I am also helping kids who want to improve their sports performance as well as help kids who have not found a sport that they like learn to be confident in themselves and be healthy. Fitness & nutrition for lifelong health is my passion and I love that I get to share my passion with others every day!

ELENA

MOVEMENT, FITNESS, EXERCISE, WHATEVER TERM YOU’D LIKE TO USE, HAS BEEN A PART OF ME FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER.

GROWING UP A COMPETITIVE GYMNAST, I’VE SPENT MOST OF MY DAYS IN THE GYM FROM A YOUNG AGE. DESPITE MY LOVE FOR THE SPORT, I FOUND THAT THE CONDITIONING ASPECT WAS WHERE MY PASSION ROOTED FROM.

WHEN I WALKED INTO A CROSSFIT BOX FOR THE FIRST TIME, I KNEW I HAD FOUND SOMETHING SPECIAL! OVER THE YEARS, TRAINING HAS LED ME TO BUILD RESILIENCE, GAIN CONFIDENCE, AND FIND FRIENDS WHO FEEL LIKE FAMILY.

MY LOVE FOR FITNESS AND MOVEMENT LED ME TO PURSUE MY EDUCATION IN THE SPACE. I HAVE A B.S. IN EXERCISE SCIENCE FROM TCNJ, AND I HOLD THE TITLE OF A CERTIFIED STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING SPECIALIST (CSCS) THROUGH THE NSCA. I LOVE TO LEARN AND I AM ALWAYS STRIVING TO GROW, ADAPT, AND EVOLVE IN THE CONSTANT PURSUIT OF IMPROVEMENT.

WHILE I DO BELIEVE YOUR 1 HOUR IN THE GYM CAN HAVE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE, I WANT TO HELP WITH THE OTHER 23 HOURS, TOO. OFTEN I FIND THAT IT IS NUTRITION, SLEEP, AND STRESS THAT PLAY A MAJOR ROLE IN YOUR PERFORMANCE BOTH IN THE GYM AND IN LIFE. ALONG WITH FITNESS COACHING, I AM ALSO A CERTIFIED NUTRITION COACH THROUGH TWO BRAIN COACHING AND CURRENTLY WORK WITH CLIENTS ON IMPROVING THEIR NUTRITION THROUGH BOTH LIFESTYLE/HABIT-BASED NUTRITION INTERVENTIONS AND MACRONUTRIENT-BASED METHODS.

HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO COACH, EDUCATE, AND LEAD IS WHERE I FIND MY “FLOW”. WHETHER IT IS DURING A HIGH-ENERGY GROUP CLASS OR A FOCUSED ONE-ON-ONE SESSION, I LOVE IMMERSING MYSELF IN HELPING OTHERS ACHIEVE MORE THAN THEY THOUGHT POSSIBLE.

MY GOAL IS TO NOT ONLY HELP YOU WHERE YOU ARE, BUT TO PROVIDE YOU WITH EDUCATION, SKILLS, AND STRATEGIES TO USE LONG-TERM. I BELIEVE EDUCATION FUELS CONFIDENCE, AND ULTIMATELY SUCCESS.

Layla

I started functional fitness as a way to get stronger during the track and field off season back in high school, which at the time used to be my main sport. I made the tough decision not to run in college due to injuries and decided to “push my chips” into making Functional Fitness my official sport; and I absolutely fell in love with it.

Growing up, I always thrived in a fitness environment. I grew up playing every sport you could think of and loved being active. With that, I struggled in school due to some learning disabilities that I have. I understand how difficult it can be when you’re trying to understand something and it doesn’t quite “click”. This is how I found my love for coaching. During my track and field days, I would help other student runners work on their performances before and after practice. I knew that feeling of frustration that I always felt in the classroom and wanted to be there for them as best I could. With the time spent helping them, and being able to see their performances change, was beyond rewarding. And in those moments I knew that coaching is what I was meant to do. I recently graduated from Syracuse University (GO ORANGE!) with a degree in Health and Exercise science. Being able to coach here at Hygge is really a dream come true! I’m beyond lucky to be a part of the Hygge team and I look forward to tons of fun and exciting workouts with the Hygge community!