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Choosing Your Weight

Posted on by Alycia


Do you struggle with how many reps, sets, or what weight to use in class? That’s probably because there is no one correct answer. Rather, it depends on you, your past, your goals, and how you are feeling THAT DAY.

Here are Justin’s notes on how to select the right weight for yourself, when strength training.

Most days our classes follow a simple template:

1)      Warm-up and mobility work

2)      Strength training and/or skill work

3)      Metcon

4)      Extra Credit

In the “strength training’ portion of class, the goal isn’t to lift the heaviest weight possible every day, but rather to lift with good technique a weight that is appropriate for the day. In a perfect world, the appropriate weight for the day will be a new PR, and if you are very new to lifting, this will often be the case. But once you have some experience with strength work, you quickly learn that not every day is a PR day. So considering this, I want to discuss how to properly choose your working weight for your strength work.

Technique is more important than weight lifted. Always. Go up in weight only if your technique is excellent, and don’t increase the weight if you expect technique to suffer.

Some days you’ll be stronger than others. Many factors will affect how strong you are on any given day.

-          Sleep. Nothing can affect how you perform in the gym more than a bad night of sleep. And nothing can prepare you more for consistent progress and improvement in the gym than lot of sleep.

-          Diet. After sleep, diet has the biggest effect on your training. If you’ve been eating clean and eating enough, expect your numbers to increase. If you’ve been eating junk, not enough, or you’ve recently cut out a lot of carbs, expect your numbers to drop.

-          Stress. At work, at home, kids, relationships, etc. Any and all stress can interfere with a good training day.

-          Previous workouts. Yesterday’s running will affect today’s squats.

-          Time of day. I feel much stronger after work than I do in the morning. For you, the opposite might be the case.

-          A change of routine. Have you recently started doing yoga? Training more times a week? Upped your mileage to get ready for an upcoming race?

-          No good reason. Some days you walk in to the gym feeling weak and crappy and you have a record setting day. Other times you feel good, but your just don’t perform well. It’s the reality of strength training and fitness in general. Some days are better than others.

-          Complexity. When performing the more technically challenging lifts, like Snatches and Clean&Jerks, you can expect a huge variance in your numbers from day to day. The less technical lifts, like shoulder presses and back squats, you will have more consistent numbers.

-          Explosiveness. Much like with the more complex lifts, you’ll also see more variance with the more explosive lifts. Some days you’re faster and more explosive than others. So expect more consistency with your shoulder presses and less with you push presses.

So, knowing that there are many factors that will affect your training, let’s talk about how to approach choosing your weight.

-          Don’t chase PRs just to get a new PR. I can’t stress this enough. You will not PR every day.

-          Only go up in weight if technique is good. This decreases the chance of injury and teaches the body to move better. We want to reinforce good technique until it becomes automatic. Only then do we chase maximal weights.

-          Base your weight increases on how each set feels. Go up in weight only if you perform a set that feels good and that you know you can improve upon.

-          Have a realistic goal and a plan. If you’re feeling good, aim to hit around 90% of your PR (for that rep scheme) with enough time to lift for 1-2 more sets. For example, if you have 15 minutes to do Deadlifts x3, and your 3 rep PR is 305, aim to lift 275×3 with enough time to do 1-2 more sets. An example lifting session based on a 3×305 deadlift might look like this:

  • 10 x 45
  • 5 x 135
  • 5 x 185
  • 3 x 225
  • 3 x 275
  • 3 x 295
  • 3 x 315 (10lb PR!)

-          Or, if you’re tired, sore, or haven’t deadlifted recently, you’ll want to back off a little, so your training might end with the 3×275 or 3×295 set.

-          As the weight gets heavier, rest longer between sets. Again, using the above deadlift example, you only need about 30-60 seconds of rest between each of the first four sets. Then, as the weight gets heavier, aim for 1-3 minutes of rest between sets.

-          Small improvements over time add to huge increases in strength. Adding 5lbs a month to a lift is a 60lb increase in a year. If you’re feeling good, aim to get a 5lb PR.

In conclusion, before lifting you should be thinking about external factors (sleep, energy, eating), your body THAT DAY, your immediate and long term goals and the time allotted. These factors will allow you to determine the BEST possible course of action when lifting.

Remember that this is YOUR strength training session. The whiteboard is neat to look at, but remember this is a training session, not competition day. You work out to GET stronger and you compete to TEST your strength. Make smart choices, even if it means lifting less weight or taking a rest day to recovery. And keep getting stronger…everyday. 

Posted in News & Events, WOD | Leave a comment

Gym Superheroes: John Ahern and Anne Ibay

Posted on by Alycia

Members come and go, but the ones who display CONSISTENCY in their training are the ones that make the most progress and are least likely to get injured. The most recent gym superheroes are named so because they have been committed to coming to CrossFit consistently for 3 years, and have strength gains, overall fitness improvements, and a low injury rate to show for it.

Anne is a physician and John is a business owner with a family. Both are busy, yet they have had a standing appointment at CrossFit 3-4 times per week for years. They have make steady gains over the years, and continue to quietly sneak up on some of our other high level athletes. If you’re not paying attention (or coming to class regularly), John will easily out lift you and Anne will metcon circles around you.

Congratulations to the new Aspire Superheroes!

Member since September 2011
What got you into Crossfit? The frustration of trying to find the right mix of cardio and weights from a local gym without spending 1 ½- 2 hours for a full workout. The time compression at CrossFit really appealed to me, and that both can be achieved with much better results. I’ve never felt better.

Name a fitness goal you have. A fitness goal I have is to get better every day. Make each workout better then the day before and so on…Another goal is to never get out of shape. The variety of workouts CrossFit provides not only maintains a steady interest as opposed to running on a treadmill but also allows your body to recover faster because it is not focused on one muscle group day after day.

Favorite Benchmark, WOD and/or Lift. My favorite benchmark is Grace. Favorite lift when I first started was Farmer’s Walk since it was simple and heavy as opposed to more technique focused and lighter weighted lifts such as overhead squat.
What are your favorite and least favorite movements? I kind of gravitated towards the lifts like the overhead squat because I was so bad at them from the beginning and look forward to the progress being made. My least favorite lift is front squat. Least favorite metcon is Air Force workout…it’s the burpee intervals on the minute that kills me.

How has CrossFit impacted your life? For starters, it has given time back to me. Time I would have been wasting at other gyms. Second, it has given results. If your goal in mind is to actually improve your fitness and health, CrossFit is for you. Third, it has impacted my diet which is something was done wrong for years. At Aspire, there is a strong focus on eating healthier and there is a direct correlation between performance and diet.

Member since April 2011
Tell us one thing about yourself that nobody knows about you. I am a huge fan of mixed martial arts (MMA), and I have attended over 50 live UFC events. Also, I wear a lot of pink, but my favorite color is green. All shades.

What is your athletic background? Does high school Marching Band count?

Favorite Benchmark, WOD and/or Lift. Death By Power Cleans/Front Squats (20 min max)!! Least favorite – Fight Gone Bad-ish

What are your favorite and least favorite movements? Favorite movement – cleans. So much to learn and remember and improve! Least favorite movement – running.

How has CrossFit changed your outlook on life? CrossFit has made me realize that despite vastly diverse personalities, professions, beliefs, backgrounds, cultures and interests, if you have a group of people who share a similar passion, you’ve got yourself a tight-knit community. Strong connections can be made even if you only have one single thing in common.

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CrossFit Aspire is 4 years old!

Posted on by Alycia

Who almost misses their birthday??!! WE DO!

Between the holiday weekend, Memorial Day Murph craziness, and getting ready for Regionals in Boston this weekend (competitive spectating!), we almost missed a very important date! Our FIRST WORKOUT as a CrossFit Affiliate.

Published on May 26th, 2010, here was CrossFit Aspire’s first workout.

Dynamic hip and shoulder stretches

Press: 3×5

Kettlebell Swings (53#men, 35# women)
Kettlebell Goblet Squats

*All sets must be done unbroken. If you stop in the middle of a set, take a rest until you are able to complete the set without stopping.

Plank holds and push ups
Hip and hamstring stretches
Shoulder stretches

As some of you may know, we first got introduced to CrossFit back in 2007/2008 when there were virtually no ‘boxes’ in South Jersey. We chose the closest to us, which was EvoFit which was a simple operation, run out of Cooper River Park. (The owners of EvoFit went on to start CrossFit Tribe and CrossFit Center City) Justin joined first, and I joined shortly after, having never touched a barbell in her life. About a year and a half into coaching CrossFit (Justin) and being involved in CrossFit Tribe, we looked at each other and said “Hey, we can do this on our own!” and from there, the wheels started spinning and CrossFit Aspire opened. “We can make it super hero themed! What will the name be? Let’s get a thesaurus! How will we afford equipment? Craigslist!”

Working around our own full time job schedules, we started a very modest gym in the garage with one morning class and one evening class. From there, the schedule grew based on demand, and when the winter came, the barbells and KBs were almost impossible to touch without going numb, and the garage door had to stay shut, they realized it was time to grow.


Are you “Old School Aspire”?: If you remember the lack of flooring (just cement, better not faceplant on your burpees!), or that red carpet (was it really any better than the cement?! Who puts a carpet in a gym?!), or the teeny tiny pull up bar (It said “fits 3 people”. Is this a pull up bar for ants?!),or doing walking lunges on the front lawn, hoping your foot didn’t slip into a KB/Barbell-created hole, then you are officially “Old School Aspire”. Congratulations!! ( I’m looking at you, Jay, Beth, Jamie, Steve, Dave)

The next year was a whirlwind of growth and activity in the ‘new’ CrossFit Aspire at 1950 Old Cuthbert. After ripping out the drop ceiling and making the place look as “hardcore” as a former Deli with floor to ceiling glass windows could look, we opened this location and welcomed over 100 new members, many of which are still with us at this gym!


Question: If you were with us back then, what was your favorite memory of CrossFit Aspire at 1950 Old Cuthbert?         



We grew out of that space, and moved down the street to 3 Larwin Rd where we currently reside. At this location, we were able to welcome an additional 100+ members, many of whom have gone on to become some of our most capable and caring athletes. This group, combined with our Old School group, have hosted multiple events (Festivus, In-House Comps, Boston Marathon bombing charity event, Save the Shore Sandy Relief event), competed in local and regional competitions ( Test Your

Metal, Barbells for Boobs, No Baby Leave the Socks On, Mount Laurel Comp, Beat the Streets,  ran as a team ( Turkey Trot, Tough Mudder, CMC, Broad Street), and have had countless BBQs, rock climbing, costume workouts, fun weekend trips and events.It’s our current members (that’s you!) that make us happy, and that allow us to become the best gym we can be. Our staff right now are some of the most well-educated and motivational  coaches in the area, and our members are enthusiastic, welcoming, and are on their way to being in the best shape of their lives.

Even on days when we seem stressed or tired, there is no place we’d rather be.  We are growing our ‘family’ and adding a new gym, but you will always be our first born and will hold a special place in our hearts. Seeing the crowd that turned out to show their respect and do “Murph” yesterday was a perfect example of the type of people you are, and why we love you.

Happy Birthday to the gym!!!!   It’s been a crazy ride, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds!

And many moooooooorrrrrreeeeee.









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Gym Superheroes: Jess Schulz & Ryan DeBonis

Posted on by Alycia

Our goal at CrossFit Aspire is to help you find your inner superhero. For some of you, this comes pretty easily and quickly. For others, it’s a months or years-long process that requires a lot of self-reflection, failure & recovery, practice, and a slow build up of confidence.

There are some of you at the gym who have been putting forth extra effort to let your inner superhero come out, and this segment is for YOU. Every 3 months or so, we will recognize a male and female “Gym Superhero” who has been setting a good example through their practice, their help with new members, or their attitude or progress in general.

The Gym Superhero will be recognized with a blog post and a high five from as many members as possible. We MIGHT even have some sweet red capes for them to don for a special picture. Who knows…  ;)

The first Gym Superheroes are

Jess Schulz and Ryan DeBonis!

These two have been quietly and steadily making some AMAZING progress in the gym. Here are their stories:


First, an homage to Ryan, from his 5:30am management crew:

“Ryan is the Dark Horse. One day he was the quiet guy in the back learning how to do snatches, then all of a sudden he’s the quiet guy in the back who’s using the 30-pound wallball and the 30-inch box and has Jason Keesal’s eye on him during the MetCons.  Coaches love Ryan because he asks questions, listens, and soaks it in. The rest of us at 05:30 love him because he says please and thank you and brings in muffins (Paleo) his grandmother makes. It’s impressive how much stronger and faster he gets every time he comes to class, and the gold stars show no signs of stopping!  He works hard, stays humble, and brings his A-game every day! No, seriously. Every single day. All of us at 05:30 are very proud of Ryan and are happy to call him one of our own.”


BEGAN CROSSFIT: 6/2013     AGE:33      PROFESSION: Grocery Merchandising

ATHLETIC BACKGROUND: Played baseball until I was 17 and just started running long distance about a year ago and have completed 2 half marathons since November.

WHY I STARTED DOING CROSSFIT: Because of the variety and the change it has day to day.  As well as working out and training with others and learning from them as much as I can.

FAVORITE MOVEMENT: Squats either back or front.  But especially back squats

FAVORITE WORKOUT (or type of workout): One that has box jumps and or wall balls in it but also has something for overhead lifting.
2014 GOALS (in the gym): I really don’t have set goals in mind.  But I like to see where I’ve been and previous weights or times and just keep improving on them.  As well as learning something new all the time

UPCOMING COMPETITIONS/RACES: Broad Street Run 10 miles and Spring Lake 5 miles

FAVORITE WORKOUT SONG (or type of music): Anything Kanye West, Wale and, Jay-Z.

WHAT’S ONE OF YOUR GUILTY PLEASURES?: I’m addicted to sneakers, all different types for different things.  I have roughly 30 pairs and the collection keeps growing.

MY FAVORITE DAY IN THE GYM WAS: Few weeks ago went head to head with Jason Keesal with heavy Clean and Jerks and Wall Balls and was surprised I was able to keep up with him.


First, a note from Alycia:

“I LOVE JESS SCHULZ. There, I said it. It feels good to get that out. Jess is the ultimate representation of a certain group of people within the community. A group that most coaches (at least most coaches at Aspire) LOVE to have in their class. Those with the most to gain from CrossFit. The self-proclaimed “weak and sooo out of shape”. The ones who can’t complete an entire CrossFit class….at first. And then, somewhere along the way – it might be after a PR, or after some time off the gym, or after a whisper from a fellow member – things start to turn around for them. They gradually ease off the modifications, find the energy to complete the metcon without stopping, start eating better and eventually see improvements their strength. This is Jess to a tee, and in case you haven’t noticed, that girl is ON FIRE right now. Her quest to do precisely 1.2 billion burpees before Festivus and her ever-increasing strength numbers are a perfect example of how results match the amount of work and focus are put in.
If you haven’t taken the time to notice, (and as her picture clearly shows), Jess has undergone, and continues to undergo  an impressive physical transformation. Every day she gets closer to seeing a body that reflects her hard work. HOWEVER, it’s her psychological transformation that has impressed me the most. Her most noticeable weakness in CrossFit was once lack of self-esteem and positivity surrounding her work in the gym. Now, she is a light that shines brightly and serves as a reminder for new and seasoned members alike. She always has the biggest smile (and the most frightengly aggressive hugs) in the room. Her self-motivation has inspired others to work harder and take bigger steps toward achieving their goals. So, the next time you are in the gym, about to go home instead of working on your skill work, ask yourself, “What Would Jess Do?”. 


BEGAN CROSSFIT (month/year): Well I technically signed up in Aug 2012 but I didn’t really commit to it wholeheartedly until June 2013 (meaning I probably came like twice a month between Aug 2012-May 2013).

AGE: 24.     PROFESSION: PhD student.

ATHLETIC BACKGROUND: Ha none really. Played softball as a kid. Did field hockey for two years in high school and threw shot/disc for one year.

WHY I STARTED DOING CROSSFIT: Liz Earle asked me to go for the Groupon and when I almost died during the warm up and Justin had to pull me aside so I didn’t throw up, I realized okay I should probably be doing this.

FAVORITE MOVEMENT: Only one!?! Deadlifts, power cleans, push jerk, back squat…can you tell there’s a no cardio piece to this?

FAVORITE WORKOUT (or type of workout): Uh..I sadly like Cindy. Grace. Rowing? Kb swings. A grinder. Like 20 mins. Some type of ground to overhead? Throw burpees in there too. I hate them but they’ll make me better. AMRAP? I think I have ADD.
2014 GOALS (in the gym): To RX Grace. To not be last in a metcon. To actually run during a metcon that includes running. To actually have a band-assisted pull up. To not die during burpees. 200# back squat. 300# deadlift.

UPCOMING COMPETITIONS/RACES: Festivus April 19th. Hopefully training with Melissa for a 5k soon.

FAVORITE WORKOUT SONG (or type of music): It’s weird. I fluctuate between Justin’s headbanging rock to Bonnie up in da club. But Monster by Kanye West etc.

WHAT’S ONE OF YOUR GUILTY PLEASURES: Uhhh…actually spending time with friends and not feeling guilty about it because I should be working on my research? Is that sad. Yes, that’s sad. Or spending an entire day in NYC without any plans, just doing whatever. Or lining up like 7 concerts to go to in the span of two months.


Festivus in Oct 2013. That last workout with the deadlifts and the run. I still have it go through my mind at times when I’m dying during a metcon. To hear that many people cheering me on felt so cool. Like…okay you’re obviously not the best but fuck you’re just out here trying to get better. And to not be lame, but every day in the gym is my favorite. I’ve never met a more diverse, awesome group of people who are so encouraging and helpful. Thanks for cultivating that wonderful environment. You guys keep me going.



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Why bother?

Posted on by Alycia

You wouldn’t skip the gym just because you know won’t finish first in the metcon.

You wouldn’t skip logging your scores into Wodify simply because you didn’t lift more than everyone else in the gym that day.

Many of you have signed up for the Broad Street Run, Tough Mudder, CMC, and local competitions, knowing fully that you will NOT win or even come close to winning.

SO WHY BOTHER? WHY SHOW UP AT ALL? Why even compete at all, if you know you won’t make it much further along in the competition?

I can’t answer that for you, but you can.

You know why you show up every day to the gym. You have goals and you are taking steps toward achieveing them.

So why…..please answer this…..why wouldn’t you register for the CrossFit Open, (even if you know, for sure, that you won’t make it onto the next level of competition) ?

The CrossFit Open is the ONE COMPETITION all year that YOU (and all of your friends from the gym) are all personally invited to. It’s cheap (only $20) and there’s always an open spot for you. It won’t sell out!

By registering, you will be putting your scores into a virtual whiteboard with over 100,000 other CrossFit athletes from around the world. You’ll be able to see how you stack up among local competitors, athletes in your age group, and elite level CrossFit athletes.

(PSST – That means that you and Rich Froning will be doing the same workout on the same day, and logging your scores into the same place. When will that ever happen again???!!)

CLICK HERE to Register NOW. Please do it NOW before you forget. If you forget to sign up before they release the first workout next Thursday, you will not be given a chance to register at all.

As with any CrossFit competition, there is also a need for volunteers/helpers/judges. Our top athletes will need to be judged by a Certified CrossFit Judge. The online course isn’t long, and it’s free to do.

If you become a certified judge, please notify Alycia via Alycia@crossfitaspire.com ASAP and we’ll add you to our list of judges. We’ll most likely need the most help at the 5:30am and 4:30pm, 5:30pm, and 6:30pm classes.


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Better Than That

Posted on by Alycia


I remember it like it was yesterday….(Well, it WAS only last week)

Day 4 of the 30 Day Paleo Challenge. As I passed by the 3rd Wawa on my way to the gym, I had a moment of misguided clarity and sheer stupidity:  I thought to myself “If I pulled into that Wawa and got a doughnut, or some cookies, and ate it in my car in the parking lot, NO ONE WOULD EVEN KNOW.” I could wipe the crumbs from my shirt and walk right into the gym, and they would be none the wiser.

SIDE NOTE:  I don’t know you about you, but being on a challenge makes me crave things I never normally eat throughout the year. What gives?!

Slowly, I started to seriously rationalize my impending decision: “I mean, it’s not like I’m that unhealthy, I don’t really need to lose weight, and if I do it in private then I can still play a role model for others at the gym. Right?”

Then, as if shaken from my craving-induced trance, I came to my senses, stayed in the middle lane, and continued on my drive to the gym. I taught a great class, and killed the workout later at night. Why? BECAUSE I’M BETTER THAN THAT.

I deserve only the best. I’m pretty great, after all.

And so are you.

The next time you feel yourself tempted to eat some crappy food, or do a few less pull ups than you’re supposed to, or slack on your skill work, remember that YOU ARE BETTER THAN THAT.

You don’t come to CrossFit so that people can think you did the workout really fast, or so that people think you eat healthy. You come to show yourself some respect by actually doing those things and making yourself the best version of you.

Do it for you.  NOT for your coach, your family, your significant other, your friends, or your ego.

When you find that pesky devil sitting on your shoulder, shrug him off and remind yourself: I’M BETTER THAN THAT.

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Holiday Hours

Posted on by Alycia

Holiday Hours!

Christmas Eve (Tuesday, December 24th)

4:30pm Kids – CANCELED
5:15pm Kids – CANCELED
6:30pm – CANCELED

Christmas Day – CLOSED

New Year’s Eve- Normal Schedule

New Year’s Day

All other classes CANCELED

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In Search of Happiness

Posted on by Alycia


“What is your aspiration in life? Oh, my aspiration in life would be to be happy.” – “Pretty Hurts”, Beyonce.

Success. Friends. Money. Love. Experiences. – we crave these things because they are a means to happiness.

Are you happy?

What would make you happier right now?

If you know the answer, go out and do what you need to do. Make happiness happen.

If you drew a blank, then consider this:

BIG bursts of happiness (professional success, new love, a newborn child) will probably only happen a few times in your entire life.

Instead of waiting for the next big thing, take a close look around you and notice the slow, steady stream of happiness that makes it into your life every day.

Every single week, you go to a place that welcomes you with open arms, regardless of how you feel, your attitude, how you look, or how your day went.

You see familiar faces from all walks of life and you expand your social circle whenever you want.

You learn new skills that other people your age have long given up on, or don’t even know about.

You can see (in Wodify, in the mirror, in your muscles) how much you’ve improved recently.

People who care about you stand next to you and cheer your name. They clap for you, pat you on the back and tell you you’re doing a great job.

You motivate others to do better, and you are thanked for it each and every time.

When stop and think about, that’s pretty amazing. Lucky you!

You belong to a group of positive people who are getting better every day. And you go to a place with these people where only good things happen. And at the end of the day, you are happier person because of it.

So when you feel like times are tough, stress is overwhelming, or you just aren’t quite as happy as you want to be, try to recognize the small doses of happiness that are all around you.

If you can’t see the bits of happiness in your work or home life, then just go to your happy place. We’re open every single day and we are here to make you happy.  :)

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30 Day Challenge Announcement!

Posted on by Alycia

We are less than 4 weeks away from our next 30 Day Challenge!!

Starting January 3rd, we’ll all be eating clean and abstaining from alcohol for 30 days. Sounds like a party, right?

At this point, you are probably having some type of reaction to this news.


IF YOUR REACTION IS,                                                                                                      


Your answer is,                                                                                                                            

It will make you look better naked. That’s most likely why you joined the gym in the first place, right? Oh, and in addition to that, it’ll make you so damn healthy that you’ll feel better all day every day, recover faster from workouts, perform better in the gym and you will live longer. Those are some pretty good side effects!

It’s a cleanse of sorts, as it will help rid your system of common toxins that are found in the foods you eat now, but instead of restricting what you eat, it allows you to eat ANY FOOD or DRINK YOU WANT.*

* FOOD: All animals and fish, all vegetables (little to no white potatoes), all fruits, nuts and seeds (in moderation) *DRINK: Water/Seltzer Water, Tea or Coffee

If doesn’t fit into the above categories, it’s not a food, and you won’t be eating it for those 30 days.

WE KNOW YOU HAVE A LOT OF QUESTIONS, such as “Is this Paleo?!”as you hold up a can of beans. We’ll address all of that in another post. For now, just know that if it’s a grain (flour, rice, corn, etc), legume, sugar or sweetener, dairy product or alcohol, you won’t be eating it during those 30 days. Just about every packaged item in the food store fits into this category. On the other hand, if the ingredient list has 1-2 ingredients and doesn’t come in a package, it’s likely a food and you can eat it. If it was alive at some point, it’s likely a food.

YOUR HOMEWORK: Start collecting recipes that use only ŕeal foods’. A good place to start is by typing in the names of your favorite meats and veggies, and also the word Paleo. (ie: Chicken + spinach + garlic + Paleo)

Also, check out our Member Resources page for cookbooks, websites, local restaurants and Paleo food options. Also look at our Nutrition Page for lots of articles, recipes, and testimonials from people who have done this challenge before.

Also, talk to people at the gym about what they typically eat and how they cook it. USE YOUR RESOURCES to come up with a big group of recipes so you aren’t lost on Day 1!


IF YOUR REACTION IS,                                                                                            


The answer is,                                                                                                                          

OH HELL NO. That’s not even very challenging. You know as well as we do (or you should) that going 100% clean is the only way to reap the benefits of a 30 day challenge. Exceptions for a wedding or something that’s truly one-in-a-lifetime are possibly acceptable, but birthday parties, happy hours, Saturday nights, Sunday football,’a bad day at work, or other weekly occurrences are not.

Just (wo)man up and do this the RIGHT WAY. If you half ass the challenge, then you won’t get great results. You know this already. Its only 30 days out of your entire life. Just suck it up. Weŕe all in this together.

YOUR HOMEWORK: Write down your reasons for doing this challenge. You won’t want to stick to it if you aren’t doing it for a specific reason. Stick this reason or list of reasons to your fridge, or set it as a reminder in your phone, or your desktop background. The point is, if you know WHY you are doing this, the HOW becomes a lot easier.

IF YOUR REACTION IS,                                                                                                    


Your answer is,                                                                                                                

Everyone is different, and if your body, genetic makeup, autoimmune health, or lifestyle dictate that you need a different solution, there are plenty of ways to tweak this protocol. Before claiming that it didn’t work, though, think back to other factors in your life such as stress or sleep schedule. If those are way off, your attempts to change your body composition via food and the gym won’t help you reach your goals.

After doing the homework below, we may recommend alternative solution that will likely be a variation of the Paleo diet. It might be stricter, or might even include additional ingredients that will allow you to reach your goals and stay healthy for the 30 days.

YOUR HOMEWORK: Outline a typical 1-3 days of eating from the last 30 day challenge, as well as a 1-3 days of how you currently eat. Bring this to Alycia, Justin or Steve Kirsch before January 1st, along with a clear goal for this challenge, and we will help you!


IF YOUR REACTION IS,                                                                                                    


Your answer is,                                                                                                                  

Great! Do it right,and consider taking a new challenger under your wing. We will have a list of challengers on the whiteboard. We will note who is a first time challenger. Try to meet someone new and help them through their first challenge. Often, setting a good example for others is a great way to make sure you do the same for yourself. You’ve already reaped the benefits of a challenge, so use this as an opportunity to help others do the same. This is a community. Do your part to help it thrive!

YOUR HOMEWORK: Find NEW recipes. One of the reasons you aren’t eating 100% paleo right now is that you are bored with the food you have at home. Spice things up a bit, literally. Buy a new cookbook (Well Fed 2 and Nom Nom Paleo are great new options!)

Encourage new people at the gym to join the challenge. The more people that are talking, sharing recipes, etc, the easier this challenge becomes!


Posted in 30 Day Challenge, News & Events | Leave a comment


Posted on by Alycia

In life, and in the gym, opportunities are abound.

Do you take them ALL? Probably not – that would be overwhelming.

Do you ignore most of them? Maybe. I don’t blame you – being content is easy and requires no work. Perhaps the most important question is,

Do you even know they exist? Well, they might not exist until you create them. You make your own opportunities, of course. Yes, some of us were born into a privileged life, just as some of us have great genetics and are naturally strong or lean.

After that, what happens in our lives, and in the gym, is completely up to us.

Being a victim of circumstance is easy. Just sit back and state the obvious and unfortunate situation to whoever will listen. Repeat.

“I hate my job.” “I’m not happy in my relationship.” “I don’t have time/money.”

“My front squat sucks.” “I can’t climb a rope.” “My hips are too tight.” “I can’t do pull ups.”


Bam. There it is. Your opportunity.

You CAN change an unfortunate situation into an opportunity to get better.

Take your #1 complaint about your gym performance right now…

and add “so I’m going to…” to the end of it, and watch your opportunities come to life.

Here are some quick ideas for how to get better at some of the more elusive skills at the gym:

Double Unders: Buy a rope, cut it to your size, and practice single and double jumps every single day at home.

Pull Ups: Pick an assistance level (banded, unassisted, or weighted) that you can do 5 reps at. Now do 10 sets of 1 with a 60-90sec rest in between sets. Do that 2-3 times/week for a week, maybe two. Then move to 8 sets of 2 when you can, then 7×3, 6×4, 5×5, 4×6, 3×7, 2×8…or skip right to a whole set of 10 whenever you can! Repeat at a lower resistance.

Olympic Lifting: Come to Olympic Lifting class on Wednesdays at 7pm for at least one month. Work on technique with light weight every time you are in the gym (before or after your class). Do 5 sets of 5 front squats when you have the time throughout the week.

Muscle Ups: Do all of your pull ups on the rings, concentrating on those last few inches at the top. Do 5×5 ring dips often, do transition drills from your knees.

Toes to Bar: Warm up your shoulders and hop on the bar for 5 sets of 5 kipping swings. Push your chest forward and kick back slightly, then reverse your body position so that your head, chest and shoulders are behind the bar and push down hard with straight arms.

Conditioning in general: Come to Run Club on Sundays at 10am. Throughout the week, run 4-6 rounds of 400m or 800m repeats with 2-3 min rest in between. Do 3 sets of 10-20 burpees whenever you have a free 5-10 minutes at home.

Reduce body fat and keep muscle: Eat LOTS of real food. Eliminate all sugar, grains, dairy and alcohol from your diet ASAP. Your meals should all consist of meat/fish and/or some type of vegetable.

BONUS life advice:

Job: Find a new position within the company or make your own position (find things you actually WANT to do and do more of them at your job). If that won’t work, update your resume and go on interviews even if the job descriptions aren’t a perfect fit. See what’s actually out there before you leave your ‘terrible’ job.

Relationship: If the person isn’t helping you become better or happier, and/or you don’t care much about their success or happiness either, then it’s time to move on.

Time/Money: No clue. Call me when you figure that one out…

Posted in News & Events, Personal Stories | 1 Comment ← Older posts Newer posts →