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CrossFit Aspire in 2012: The Year in Review!

Posted on by Alycia

It seems like just yesterday that we were dragging mats across the floor of our ‘new, big gym’ in December of last year. Leaving our tiny gym behind, we settled into our big home and our family grew. More than doubled, actually.

This past year has been filled with some amazing moments, new faces, PR’s, fun, community and camaraderie.

                  We can close our eyes and remember the days when class didn’t know where to meet….the new gym was just…so….big! “Do we stretch up near the front of the room? Or all the way in the back? Which direction do we do our running drills? Where’s the chalk bucket? I can’t hear anything over the echos!”

In February, we did something completely different and entered into an indoor rowing competition. A few of our members even won their age group (ignore the fact that there weren’t any other athletes on the podium…).

February was also the start of our CrossFit Kids program. We began with a small group of 5-8 year olds, and grew from there. We now have over 20 kids enrolled in the program. They have all made such impressive progress from then until now, and we are excited to see where they’ll be in a year from now. Notable moments were Declan’s no-hand headstand, Braeden’s climb to the top of the rope, Gabby’s unassisted pull ups, Anthony’s handstand push ups, Craig’s improvement in running and coordination, Alex’s gymnastics abilities and technique, Kelsey’s strength and form and Josh’s 135lb deadlift.

March kicked off our Olympic Lifting program which has become a sold-out weekly class with coaching from Olympic hopeful Darren Barnes. You’ll be able to pick out which members go to this class by looking at their form and improvements on the whiteboard. Congrats to all of our Olympic lifters for taking the time to work on a skill that has bought increased power and explosiveness.

In April, we hosted a Balanced Bites seminar with Diane Sanfilippo. She taught us a ton about food, nutrition, digestion and health. The seminar kicked off a gym-wide “30 Day Real Food Challenge” in which tons of weight was lost and gym performances increased. In the “A Day in the Life Of” feature, we got to see and read about what other people on the challenge were eating. It was a great way to connect, compare and start conversations about food throughout the challenge.

May was the Broad Street run 10 mile race, in which several of our members competed and got personal bests! The long run was something that was definitely not in everyone’s comfort zone, but completing the race was a great show of willpower and inner strength.

At the end of the month, some of us ventured up to the Northeast Regionals of the CrossFit Games to see the best athletes in our area compete. Wodify was just getting up and running at that time, and this was their first big CrossFit event!

In June we hosted the CrossFit For Hope fundraiser for St. Jude’s Research Hospital. Over 60 athletes showed up, gave 100% effort, and donated toward a great cause. Plus, it was a ton of fun!

Run Club began on Sundays in July, and Justin, Alycia, Wodify, Jon Maron and Jason Keesal made a trip out to California to see the CrossFit Games. No big deal. We were just in the same place as Annie and Rich.

We also sent about 30 of our athletes to the “Test Your Metal” event in Allentown, PA. Everyone did really well, and Alycia, Brianna, Alex and Jon made it to the final event!

August saw more competitions – we sent some competitive athletes to the Summer Classic at the Piazza in Philly and they did really well and Justin and Mike made it to the 2nd to last event!

At the end of the month, we decided to give everyone a chance to feel how great it is to compete, so we held our own In-House Competition, Superhero Sunday. Our members were split into beginner, intermediate and advanced, and competed against other members in their group. We saw some really impressive performances, including Liz Earle’s push press and Dan Mellor’s overall score. Dan Kirkpatrick also showed up his younger counterparts in the beginner group. Francine, Jamie and Liz W took the top spots in the female category, showing that hard work and consistent attendance pays off!

September kicked off another 30 Day Real Food Challenge. This time we had a lot of first-time challengers on board and we were happy to hear that so many people had success on and after the 30 Days. At the end of the month, we attended and competed in Beat the Streets, a fundraiser for Steve’s Club. It was a fun time, and our girl Brianna and Liz W. were the top performing female team nationwide!

In October we put our muscles to use for good when we volunteered to help build a house with Habitat for Humanity. We shoveled, and shoveled, and shoveled, and moved a huge pile of dirt the old fashioned way. It was hard work, but gratifying to say the least!

The end of the month was when Hurricane Sandy hit, and we were forced to hold daytime-only classes. We were so grateful for patient members who understood the situation. We also had a great Halloween Costume WOD!

November was our chance to get back on track. 30 of us ran the Turkey Trot 5k race and many got personal bests. Cathy, Dave DiValerio, and Alycia won age group medals!

The very next day, we competed with local Gymnasts and other CrossFit athletes at our “Showdown to Save the Shore” fundraiser for Hurricane Sandy Relief. All athletes showed off their skills on muscle ups, handstands, ring L sits, wall balls and rope climbs, and they competed in an 8 min AMRAP that included a row, pull ups, burpees and ring dips.

December has been hectic to say the least. Alycia & Justin have been working to get the new side up and running, with the help of volunteers at the gym. (Thanks, Ron, Ryan, Mike H, Marvin, Dan W, John D, Jay, Matt S, and John A!).

We also decided to donate gifts to 50 underprivileged kids from Camden. They each got a duffel bag stuffed with goodies! All of the gifts were wrapped at our Holiday party, which turned into Club Aspire by the end of the night. Good times were had for sure.

As we look back, it’s hard to believe that we did all of that in one year. Each month, we were able to coordinate our members to do something fun, compete, give back or make improvements. Our gym has reached the level it’s at now in such a short amount of time because of the ongoing support and enthusiasm of our members.

We would also like to sincerely thank our entire coaching staff for their enthusiasm, continual quest for knowledge, and ability to adapt and think on the fly when class are big, small, cold, hot and everything in between. This gym literally could not exist without your hard work.

We continue to reflect on the great things that go on in our gym every day, and it makes us happier than imaginable to know that we are helping people become fit, have fun, learn new things and meet other great people every day. It’s our pleasure to bring you together with other amazing people in the pursuit of hard work and fun.

We’re looking forward to 2013 being an even better year!

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Holiday Hours 2012

Posted on by Alycia

Holiday Hours
Sunday, Dec 23rd:  Run Club CANCELED. Open Gym is still on.
Monday, Dec 24th: 9am ONLY
Tuesday, Dec 25th: CLOSED
Wednesday, Dec 26th: Normal schedule *EXCEPT no 5:30am class
Monday, Dec 31st: 6:30am & 12:00pm
Tuesday, Jan 1st: CLOSED
Wednesday, Jan 2nd: Normal schedule

** The LITTLE KIDS: Tuesday classes for those two weeks will be rescheduled to Thursdays Dec 27th and Jan 3rd at 5pm.
** The BIG KIDS: Tuesday classes will be re-scheduled to Saturday Dec 29th and Jan 5th at 9am.

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Get in the Game – The Mental Game

Posted on by Alycia

Mind over matter. There are times when our mind tells us ‘nah’ and our bodies listen. Other times, our inner monologue is a bit more optimistic, and we end up doing things that we didn’t think we could do. What do experienced lifters do when consistent training, real-food eating, and sleep/stress management aren’t enough to cause PR’s in the gym? We get them anyway. Here’s how:

1. Train with someone stronger.

When we head to the racks to lift, consider jumping in with a group of people who normally lift (a little) more than you. Yes, you’ll have to do a few more weight plate changes, but you’ll soon see the magic of observing how stronger people lift. You’ll notice how hard the last few reps look for them, and you might realize that your last few reps don’t ever look as difficult. Could you go up an extra five pounds and still make your lifts?  Lifting with stronger people usually means that you are lifting with people who have been coming to the gym for longer than you have. They have probably seen the same plateaus that you are seeing, they also started out lifting less than they are now, and they will most likely be more than willing to give you some pieces of advice for how to make progress over time.

2. Strategize.

When we are lifting, make sure you check Wodify BEFORE going over to the rack. Know your goal weight for the day, know how much time you have, how many minutes one set + rest takes, and do the math from there. Use that info to determine your starting weight, your ending weight, and fill in the appropriate amount of gaps in between with numbers that make sense. If you normally find yourself lifting a moderate, but not-too-heavy weight as we move onto the metcon, consider doing fewer sets, and making bigger jumps in weight each time. If you are someone who fails a lift at almost every class, consider doing the opposite. Get stronger by getting in a higher volume of work at a lower percentage of your max.

When doing a metcon, make sure that you listen to the coaching points that are given at the beginning of the class. If the coach says” this should be a sprint” then you know that you have no business resting between burpees. Start fast and hang on for dear life. On the other hand, if the workout is 20 minutes long, and you are using 70% of your max weight for a lift that you don’t love to do, you will want to pace yourself to get more rounds done overall.  It’s also important to know your personal style. Some people like to work in short bursts and take frequent, very short breaks. Others get through long stretches of work, followed by long stretches of time spent resting. Find your personal workout style and commit to getting 5-10% more work done in every metcon.

3. Don’t count.

This is the opposite of the last tip, and it’s for those who tend to use the numbers to their detriment. These people sometimes choose too few poker chips when counting rounds. They know their max numbers, and frequently won’t let themselves lift more than that because they aren’t sure that they can. For this group, it pays to listen to your body, and stop concentrating so much on the numbers. You may have noticed the 15lb rubber bumper plates that we now have in the gym. The first few times you use them, it’ll probably take an extra few seconds to do the math to figure out how much is on your bar. Why not skip those few seconds and continue to increase your weight in manageable increments until you can’t lift any more? If you keep saying that you ‘can only lift X amount of weight’, you’ll end up lifting only that amount of weight. If you lift those constraints and recognize the sky’s the limit, you might end up making faster progress.

In metcons, try to spend less time staring at the clock “We still have a whole ten minutes left?!” and start spending more time concentrating on your movements, your speed and minimizing rest taken between movements. You might just surprise yourself.

4. Pick someone to beat.

CrossFit is your own sport. It’s you versus the clock. You versus the weights. You versus yourself. BUT you have a room full of people who are also trying to do the same thing. Use that to your advantage!  First, get used to using the Wodify whiteboard to find a person who consistently lifts a little more than you, and another person who consistently goes a little faster than you (and uses the same weight) in metcons. These are you point people. For the next few weeks, use these people as gauges for your own progress. You might notice that your point people all of the sudden make some big improvements to their game. Once the bar is raised, your own goals and aspirations may also get bigger. After all, someone just proved that it can be done. If he can do it, so can I.

Similarly, when you are in class, choose to set your bar up next to someone who consistently goes a little faster than you, and try to keep up with them. You might not finish as fast as that person in the end, but you probably moved a bit faster than you normally would, thus making personal improvements to your own performance. SIDE NOTE: You never know who is using you as their point person. Most of us in this gym who are naturally strong, fast or who have been training here for more than 8 months are someone else’s point person. Someone out there is stalking your numbers on the Wodify whiteboard, or peering over at you during metcons. Use that knowledge to help raise the bar for yourself, and for everyone in the gym.

5. Practice at 80%.

This tip is not just for the mental game – it’s a physical tactic for making real gains. At CrossFit Aspire, we are more concerned with creating strength than testing it. We spend more time doing sets of 5 reps than sets of 1. Because you don’t get strong doing single reps. You get strong doing 5’s, and occasionally you test your strength to see what you can do for one.  Using that thinking, you can apply this to your lifting by picking a month to train at sub maximal weights, knowing that you will have perfect form on all reps, and will never drop the weights. Forcing yourself to concentrate on form and consistency over the number of pounds on the bar, will get you stronger and will give you the confidence you need to try more in the future. If you drop the bar in almost every class, then you are telling yourself that you are someone who fails every day. That’s not a good place to be. Drop your weight down a bit, hit your lifts (all of them) for a month or so, and then try to lift more. We guarantee that you will be stronger.

The same principle applies to conditioning workouts. If you take a few days each month to ignore the clock and concentrate on efficiency of movement (doing perfect, fast, short-dip push presses, rather than back-bending, pressing-out quasi push presses), getting all reps done in one big set (which would require slowing down) or not resting at all between movements (ie: picking up your jump rope less than 2 seconds after putting down your kettlebell), you’ll be improving your chances of going faster and getting more work done in the future.

 

To reiterate, these are useful tactics for getting yourself out of a strength or conditioning slump. They are not long-term solutions, but rather short-term bright spots in your training that will help you get to your next mini-goal along the road to fitness. Consistent training, clean eating, extra sleep and stress management will do a lot more to cause actual fitness level improvements. But when all else fails, or if you’re just having a bad day, turn it around in the gym using these simple, but effective mind games.

 

 

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September is BENCHMARK month!

Posted on by Alycia

September is BENCHMARK month at CrossFit Aspire! Almost all of September’s workouts will be CrossFit Benchmark workouts.

What is a benchmark workout and how is it different than what we normally do?

On any given week, Justin will put together a series of workouts that he feels would best benefit the general population of our gym. The workouts can be modified for new people, and everyone uses a weight that is a % of the weight they lifted in the strength part of class. Essentially, you are doing your own version of the workout, in a group setting.

A benchmark workout is one that CrossFit Headquarters devised, and is done by the hundreds of thousands of CrossFit athletes around the world. Some of these are named after the original women of CrossFit, back when it was just a single gym out in California. Some are named after fallen soldiers and the workout is CrossFit’s way of honoring their service.

Just like regular workouts, some are long, some are short, some are heavy, some are light, etc. They differ in that instead of using a % of your strength weight, the weights are usually ‘prescribed’. Again, just as in any workout, you are encouraged to scale the weights down to accommodate your strength levels. If you are unsure of what weight to use, please ask your coach!

Why are we doing this?

TO MARK PROGRESS: Benchmark workouts are great for doing just what their name says – for benchmarking your progress. As fun as it is to do random workouts all of the time, it makes sense to repeat the same ones to see how much progress you’ve made.

We will be repeating these workouts in January to see your progress. Over the winter months, you’ll be making progress, getting stronger, doing a 30day nutrition challenge, sticking with CrossFit over the holidays, and we’ll use the re-test to see how far you’ve come!

TO COMPARE: You can also use these workouts to compare yourself to CrossFit athletes around the world. A simple Google search will tell you the top scores for just about all of the CrossFit benchmark workouts.

Since these workouts have been done by other CrossFit athletes before, feel free to look up videos of other people doing the workouts. You’ll be amazed at the human potential to move heavy weight quickly!

TO ASSESS: These workouts will give us an idea of where the weaknesses and strengths of the entire gym lie. This month will give us an opportunity to see if we can make bigger efforts towards working on a few specific skills or movements over the next few months.

TO HAVE FUN & LEARN CROSSFIT: After this month, you’ll be able to carry on conversations with CrossFit athletes around the world, as you’ll all be speaking the same language. If someone comes up to you and asks you what your “Grace” time is, or what weight you do “Jeremy” with, you’ll know how to answer them! This will deepen your knowledge of traditional CrossFit workouts and you’ll have fun doing them!

We hope you enjoy Benchmark September!!

Other Upcoming Awesomeness:

Oct, Nov & December 2013: Assess and improve upon gym-wide weaknesses. Get stronger. Continue to make progress on all CrossFit skills.

January 2013: Benchmark Re-Test month. See how you’ve improved since September.

February 2013: Next SUPERHERO SUNDAY event at the gym! Exact date TBA.

Jan/Feb 2013: Post-holiday diet assessment and clean up.

February/March 2013: CrossFit Games Open. (The first round of competition that leads to the CrossFit Games in July. You’ll be competing in our gym and posting your scores online to see how you stack up against CrossFit athletes worldwide!)

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BIG news from CrossFit Aspire!

Posted on by Alycia

In addition to recently adding 5:30am classes and 12 noon classes to our weekly schedule, we have some GREAT, BIG news!!

The ink is barely dry on the lease, but we couldn’t wait any longer to OFFICIALLY announce that we will be taking over the space next door (currently rented by Daddis MMA) by the end of this year. They, like us, got a little too big for their space, so they are moving into a larger space as we expand our own gym.

Here is a sneak preview of some of the new things that we are planning for the ‘new side’:

On-Ramp classes for Beginners: Beginners will be able to take a multiple-class introduction into CrossFit. These classes will address all of the basic barbell movements, accessory movements, and common conditioning workouts. After this intro period, beginners will be integrated into regular classes. This will ensure a smoother experience in normal CrossFit classes, as our entire CrossFit member community will know the basics. Beginners (those who started within the few months of us opening the new side) will also be encouraged to take the On-Ramp classes as a refresher.

More Facilities: The new side will include two more bathrooms and another shower. That means more opportunities to change and shower directly after class.

No more sharing the space: The kids are really cute to look at, but we want both the adults and kids to be able to use all of the space they need, without worrying about their safety and without having to limit their time on the equipment.

Run club will also start meeting on the new side, to give the entire room to Open Gym athletes on Sundays.

Specialized strength-based programs:  CrossFit is an amazingly well-rounded program that creates elite level athletes. Once a person’s conditioning is up to par (which happens through 3x/week CrossFit + sprinting practice), they may choose to focus on getting stronger. Strength happens slowly over time, whereas conditioning can be re-gained in just a few weeks. Throughout the year, we will be offering 8-week strength programs to help athletes focus on their strength to ultimately make them better CrossFit athletes. This strength program is meant to be done instead of regular CrossFit classes. At the end of the program, athletes will return to CrossFit a better, stronger athlete. More info on these to follow!

More classes: As our membership grows, we want the small group training environment and the personalized coaching to remain intact. The extra room will allow us to grow without disturbing the flow or size of classes. Additionally, these other classes might be offered on the hour instead of the half hour, making it even easier to choose a class that best fits your schedule.

Thank you! It is through your dedicated support to our gym that we have been able to make such grand improvements to our gym over the past 2 1/2 years. Working out in the old garage gym seems like forever ago! We appreciate and value your commitment to our gym, and we are thankful that you continue to bring out new people to experience the benefits of CrossFit at CrossFit Aspire.

Here’s to another great school year, and an even better 2013! 

-Alycia & Justin

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Superhero Sunday Workouts Announced!

Posted on by Alycia

Superhero Sunday is almost here! Below is all of the info that you’ll need to know.

What is it?  Superhero Sunday is our first annual in-house competition. You will complete 3 workouts throughout the event. In addition to competing against the clock and against yourself, you will also be in the running to win “Best” in your gender and level category.

When is it?  Sunday, August 26th, 10am. The workout portion of the day will take 2-3 hours, depending on how many people register. More specific timeline will be explained as the event gets closer. Stick around for a post-workout BBQ!

Winner categories are as follows:

Best Female and Best Male, BEGINNER

Best Female and Best Male, INTERMEDIATE

Best Female and Best Male, ADVANCED

How do I register? Write your name on the Sign Up sheets at the gym, hanging on the whiteboards.  Please be sure to put yourself in the category that best fits your abilities. You should be able to safely move the weight with good form, and you should challenge yourself.  If you are undecided about which category you fit into, please notify Alycia or Justin for suggestions.If you put yourself into a category that we do not think will challenge your abilities, or conversely, is too challenging for you, we will contact you to choose a different category.

I can’t compete, but I’d like to help out. We need judges! If you cannot compete due to an injury, but want to be present and help, please contact Alycia ASAP. We need 1 judge per athlete, and we will run heats of about 8-10 athletes, so the more help,the better!

I’m afraid to compete. I don’t think I can do it. Yes, yes you can.

The workouts:

Workout #1:

In 5 minutes…
Row 750m
AMRAP Push Press

Row 750 meters, then complete as many push presses as possible with a barbell. The barbell will be on the ground (not in the rack) to start.

Push press standard: Full lockout of arms overhead with ears visible in front of the biceps (hands over shoulder blades). The knees only bend once, to start the movement. The legs stay straight for the rest of the movement.

Score = Push Press reps

Advanced weights: 135 (male) / 95 (female)
Intermediate weights: 95 / 65
Beginner weights: 65 / 45

Workout #2:

20 KB Swings
15 Wallballs
10 Burpees

Advanced:        4 Rounds  KB weight: 55 / 35
Intermediate:  4 Rounds  KB weight: 45 / 25
Beginner:           3 Rounds  KB weight: 35 / 20

Score = Time taken to complete all work

KB swing standard: Kettlebell must swing overhead (above eye level) each time.

Wallball standards: Full depth squat a the bottom, ball hits the target every time, catch the ball at the chest.

Burpee standards: Chest hits the ground at the bottom, body is upright at the top, both feet leave the ground and the clap is overhead.

Workout #3:

In 6 minutes…
establish a 1 Rep Max Clean

Score: weight

Clean standard: Weight starts from the ground and is caught at any point of a squat. The weight can be caught high (‘power clean’) or low (‘clean’). The athlete must stand up straight with the weight at shoulder height.

 

All of these exercises are ones that we practice often at CrossFit Aspire, and that will definitely come up in class before this event.

Looking to fix your clean technique? Join us on Thursday nights at 7:30 for Olympic Lifting class. Spend over an hour each week working on drills and lifts to improve your clean, jerk and snatch.$20/month.

Want to practice the movements? Open gym is Sundays, 10am-12pm. Come in for up to 2 hours to work on any of the movements listed above.

NOTE: Because the movements are simple, your job is to choose a weight level that is challenging, and push yourself as hard as you can. You know these movements. Now is your chance to show what you can do with them.

Sign up ASAP, please!

 

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Why you should care (or at least know) about the CrossFit Games.

Posted on by Alycia

The most significant competition in the world of CrossFit is coming up in less than two weeks. On July 13th, 14th and 15th, a few hundred of the top CrossFit men, women, affiliate teams and Master’s competitors will compete to see who is the fittest man and women in CrossFit. This group was chosen from over 50,000 CrossFit athletes who registered online to compete in the Spring 2012 Open (and the 100’s of thousands of other unregistered CrossFit athletes). These are the BEST of the BEST. Only 3 men and 3 women were chosen from the Northeast (NJ up to Maine).

THIS IS YOU

On a daily or weekly basis, you come into our gym and you do the same types workouts that these athletes did to get them to the games. Just like professional athletes, they are training many more hours per week than the average CrossFit gym goer, but the concepts behind the workout (hard, fast, heavy workouts) is the same.

As a non-athlete, I never really understood why people sat at home watching sports. Until the 2011 CrossFit Games when

I holed myself up in my house for an entire weekend and sat infront of our tiny computer screen and watched the entirety of the live coverage and recap shows. I turned into a hermit. Obsessively watching exercise. That other people were doing. Why did it matter so much to me? Because I watched these people compete, recognized the movements that they were doing, saw the look on their faces, and thought “Hey, I was there once. I remember what the 50th wall ball in a row feels like, or how heavy the barbell feels after 40 thrusters, or how hard my lungs had to work to do unbroken burpees. I’ve been there and I can relate. Every time an athlete put the bar down, or tore a callus, or had the look of sheer agony on their face, I could relate. When they won a workout and a big smile spread across their face, I could relate. And when they did the very best that they could possibly do on that one day, I could relate.

The point here is that these people are larger-than-life versions of you. They are doing things that you might once have saw on TV years ago and scoffed at – “I could never do that”. Except now you do. Every week. You are a CrossFit athlete, and your fellow athletes are competing in the competition of their lives. Don’t you want to cheer them on?

Newbies: THIS WILL MAKE YOU BETTER

For casual fans, watching a season of football will not make them better players. Practicing will make them better players. But after just one or two seasons of watching, they come to understand the nuance of the game, the hidden rules, and the ways that players maximize efficiency and power on the field. They become armchair referees and coaches. Their knowledge of stats, plays, rules and winning tactics increases.

By watching the Games and recap shows, you can stand to learn a LOT about the top athletes, how they train, and how they formulated a strategy and paced the workouts to maximize their chances of coming in first. They don’t just get out into the arena and ‘go as fast as they can’. They have a strategy. And by watching them compete, you can learn a lot about what makes a strong CrossFit competitor, both mentally and physically.

Now, being armed with that knowledge won’t be enough to get you to the CrossFit Games 2013, but over time, you might have the opportunity to take things to the next level by starting to care a little more about the weight that’s on your bar, your conditioning improvements, and by pushing yourself to work even harder during every workout.
After seeing these top athletes yell in pain, fall down with weakness, and get back up to finish the workout…all while tossing weights around that you can’t even deadlift yet, you might just re-think the meaning of ‘going heavy’ or ‘pushing through’ or ‘finishing strong’ in your own workouts.

After a few months of working on your skills, becoming stronger, and pushing yourself harder in class, you might enter a local CrossFit competition. You might win that competition. And it begins…

Our best athletes: THIS IS WILL PUT THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE

Big fish always have fun in little ponds. Part of the reason that some of you are here is because the movements and workouts in CrossFit came naturally to you. The concept of doing hard work is engrained in your being, and this was ‘no big deal’. Yeah, it was hard, but after a few weeks or months, you caught on and now you routinely finish in the top 20% of the athletes at our gym in any given workout.

First of all, Congratulations! You are a great athlete and you set a good example for the others. Now, for the hard truth – you are weaker and slower than every single person competing in the Games this year, and than most people who competed in the Regional competitions before the Games. Every person you will watch has better technique on their Olympic lifts. They can burpee circles around you. They can climb a rope two times in the time it takes you to put chalk on your hands.

The Games competitors are amazing, semi-superhuman athletes. And as a Type-A overachiever, you will look at their performance with a mix of envy, passion, determination, excitement, rage and motivation as you imagine yourself working out side by side with them. You will return to our gym with a growing fire inside of you that will continue to grow as you get stronger, faster, and better. You will no longer be satisfied with being on the leaderboard, or getting the fastest time in the gym. What about the fastest time in the world? After watching the Games, the impossible seems possible, and you realize that your best maybe wasn’t your best after all. It was just the best in our gym.

The Info:

The CrossFit Games Website has all athlete stats, videos, Regional recaps, and updated news regarding the workouts and the leaderboard. Start browsing now to get familiar with the faces of the CrossFit Games 2012!

CrossFit Games Recap Shows will help you stay on top of the standings all weekend!

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Twelve Ways to Make the Most of CROSSFIT FOR HOPE

Posted on by Alycia

12. Know what the heck it is. CrossFit For Hope is a workout that will be done by all CrossFit gyms around the world on June 9th, 2012. Pretty cool, right? The purpose is to raise money to help support St. Jude Children’s Hospital, which is working toward a 100% survival rate among it’s children afflicted with Leukemia.

11. Familiarize yourself with the workout and the movements involved. They are: Burpee, power snatch, box jump, thruster, and chest to bar pull up.  Never done a power snatch? Can’t do a chest to bar pull up? Use YouTube to look up the names of all movements and make sure you’ve tried them at least once before June 9th. It’s OK to scale any/all movements.

10. Raise Funds. That’s the point of this whole thing, after all. Donate money, or ask other people to donate at least $10 or so. People may also donate based on your performance. ( $1 for every rep completed, for instance).

Set a good example for your kids by informing them about what you are doing, why you are doing it, who these sick kids are, and how you plan on setting aside some money to do your part.

9. SIGN UP! If you are competing in the workout, you will need to sign up here on our website as well as on the hope.crossfit.com website so that you can donate and see your name on the leaderboard. We have a goal of getting 100 athletes to participate in this workout. We are currently at 25. Please sign up TODAY.

8. Make this your first CrossFit competition. Even if you are brand new to CrossFit, there is no reason not to make this your first taste of competition. We are doing this for FUN, not to actually compete to ‘win’ anything. This event will be more like an extended class with more people than usual, and a lot more cheering and motivation to do well.

7. Know that you can scale any/all movements as necessary. There is NO REASON that you will not be able to finish this workout. It is not any harder than a normal CrossFit Aspire workout and you are encouraged to modify as necessary.

6. Invite your family and friends to see what you do at this crazy gym. Surely you’ve mentioned CrossFit more than a few times to your husband/wife, parents, kids, neighbors, etc. This is the perfect day to invite them out to see you in action and to see what a cool place you belong to!

5. Get your friends involved in the workout. People who are brand new to CrossFit can certainly join in the fun. If your friend plans on working out, please have them sign up the same way that you did, on both websites.

4. Encourage other gym members to sign themselves up. The event isn’t until June 9th. That gives them a full month to cancel whatever plans they had that day, and get themselves ready for the workout!

3. Eat well. Sleep more. Stress less. These things will cause you to be a healthier person, and a stronger athlete. You have 30 days to make a change. Start a new good habit today, and stick with it for the next 30 days. You’ll be surprised at what a difference it makes.

2. Watch some CrossFit HQ videos to get you in the competition mood. Or stay on top of the CrossFit Games Regional Competitions, which are happening each weekend this month all over the world. These competitions will determine the top 3 males and females from each region that will be going to the CrossFit Games.

1. Come to class 2-4 times every week between now and June 9th. If you cannot make it out more than 2 or 3 times/week, practice body weight movements (air squats, push ups, pull ups,  burpees, mountain climbers, sprints, box/step jumps, runs, lunges) at home.

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Every Rep Counts…Or Not

Posted on by Alycia

This one is for those of you who signed up on the CrossFit Games website for the CrossFit Open.

Congratulations!

You are one of the brave ones – the ones who were willing to commit to posting your scores in workouts that are yet to be seen. You are putting yourself out there for the CrossFit community to see – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

You realize that you haven’t mastered EVERY CrossFit movement yet, but it doesn’t matter. The fact that you are signed up is enough motivation to do well and get through these workouts, RXed or not.

WOD1 went really, really well. We had over 60 people complete the workout that day, and 36 of you posted your scores on the Games website. The energy in the gym was electric, there was pressure to perform your best, and enthusiasm was at an all time high.

Yet some of you walked away from the workout saying things like “I could have done more. I should have done more. If only I had gotten ONE MORE REP”. A few of you (myself included) wanted to re-do the workout. You were confident that if your tried a little bit harder, you’d get at least a few more reps….

…and then what? If you re-did the workout and got more reps, would that prove that you are a better athlete than you were 2 days ago? Would it change the way your coach or the other members viewed you? Would it miraculously catapult you into the top tier of elite athletes? Unless you are competing for the top 3 spots in the world,  the answer is probably No.

Re-doing the workout to get a few more reps would have made you sore, put you at potential risk for injury, and might have even resulted in less burpees, given that you had just done the same workout the day before.

Yes, every rep counts, in terms of scoring your workout. But the number of reps you get in any given workout does NOT determine how good of an athlete you really are, how much you have improved over time, or how skilled you are.

What determines your ultimate success in CrossFit is this:

1. Consistency in your training. Come 3-4 times per week, every week, and you will make improvements.

2. Practicing the skills. Spend more time under a jump rope, and you’ll get your double unders. Spend more time on the rings and you’ll get strong enough for ring dips. Spend more time upside down and you’ll eventually be able to walk across the gym on your hands. Master the ‘hip pop’ and get under the bar faster, and your Olympic lift numbers will skyrocket.

3. Demonstrating perfect form in practice. If you can consistently hit depth on your squat,  show a perfect overhead position on every rep, do pull ups without craning your neck, and hit the wall ball target every time, then performing to the CrossFit standards on game day will be effortless. The only thing you’ll have to worry about is how much work you can get done in the allotted time – not how high your kettlebell is flying, or if your chest is hitting the bar for pull ups.

Yes, you could have done 1 more burpee during those 7 minutes. But that wouldn’t have made you a better athlete.

The next time you find yourself saying ” I could have done more” after a workout, take a step back and evaluate your training, consistency, comfort using good form, and the amount of time you spend in and out of the gym working on high skill movements. Find the real source of your weaknesses, and start making improvements today.

Annie Thorisdottir, winner of the CrossFit Games 2011 didn’t make it there by counting reps. She made it there by practicing consistently and improving her weaknesses.

 

Posted in News & Events | 1 Comment

Olympic Lifting at CrossFit Aspire

Posted on by Alycia

Yesterday, Justin and I lifted with Rizelyx Rivera, the National Record holder in the snatch, one of the two Olympic lifts.

She stood in front of us and watched us each perform the snatch, clean and jerk for over an hour. They were easily some of the best Olympic lifts we’ve ever performed. We were focused, tight, fast, and strong on every lift.

Why? Because the BEST person in the country at this lift was watching each lift, correcting our technique, and giving us advice.

It was mentally and physically exhausting to concentrate that hard on the details of the lifts. But wouldn’t you know it; we both picked up tips and technique corrections that helped us improve our form dramatically.

Why does this concern you?

Because she’s coming to CrossFit Aspire to teach YOU how to improve your Olympic Lifts with an intensive 2 day clinic, and a weekly Olympic lifting class.

TWO DAY CLINIC:
March 24th-25th
$95
Max attendance: 20 people.

This two day clinic will include a review and practice in the basics of the lifts, drills and skill movements, critique and practice in each lift, as well as training and skill development on the second day.

How to register: RSVP via the Online Calendar (CrossFit Aspire Members Only!). (Email me if you lost your password for our member website) You can charge the event cost to your account, or pay in cash before March 16th.

WEEKLY CLASSES:
Thursdays, 7:30pm
$30/month
Begins Thursday, March 29th

Rizelyx will also be coaching an hour and a half long Olympic lifting class each Thursday at 7:30pm. Weekly practice in the Olympic lifts is guaranteed to make you stronger, and a LOT more proficient at the lifts.

We are paying for this program as well, so that the cost stays low for our members. We recognize how fortunate we are to have this opportunity and we want to make sure that it’s not too prohibitive for those who really want the extra coaching from a world-class lifter.

Do I have to attend the clinic before starting the weekly classes? No, but it is highly recommended. That way, we’ll all be on the same page and the classes can focus more on refining technique, rather than learning the lift.

Can anyone attend the clinic? Yes. Lifters of all abilities/strengths/proficiencies can attend. The only pre-requisite is that you are interested in improving your performance in these lifts, and you are serious about making changes, even if it means going down in weight, tweaking your form, breaking old bad habits, etc.

I have more questions! Respond to this email or ask Alycia or Justin in class.

Rizelyx’s Bio:
Olympic weightlifter 2002- present.
Certified PersonalTtrainer by IFA 2005- present

Olympic weightlifting assistant coach 2005-2008 Olympic weightlifting coach 2009-present.
Assistant CrossFit coach 2009-2010

Junior National Champion and record holder in Puerto Rico. 2002-2008
Senior Sub National champion (as a Junior) in Puerto Rico 2004-2008
USA Sub National champion 2009-2010
USA National champion – best lifter 2011.
USA Snatch Record Holder 2011
One of the national team selected by the Olympic Games 2012

Team: East Coast Gold
Hometown: Salinas, PR
Current Residence: Moorestown, NJ

Weight class: 58kg
Height: 5’5″

Introduction into the sport:
My uncle Julio Martinez introduced me to the sport. He was a two time Olympian in Olympic weightlifting, and is currently the national coach at the Olympic training center in Puerto Rico.
Favorite Competition Lift: Snatch
Favorite Training Lift: Snatch blocks
Education:  Physical Education in Pontifical Catholic university of Puerto Rico 2005-2008.

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