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Living Social Promotion!

Posted on by Alycia

To All Members:

We ran a ‘deal’ on LivingSocial ( an email-based daily coupon company) on Thursday, June 9th. We promoted a 6-class package at a discounted rate and we got a great response! The quantity purchased exceeded our expectations – as of 11pm on Thursday, we sold 145 coupons and there are still 6 hours left in the promotion.

Over the next few weeks, there will be an influx of new people into the gym. Your classes might be larger, and there will be a lot of new faces in the gym. To accommodate, we’ve purchased more bumper plates and bars, and we’ll continue to outfit the gym as necessary.

Justin and I will do everything in our power to make sure that classes run as normal, with minimal interruptions or changes to the pace of class. We want to show our new guests a great time and we also want to preserve the quality, intensity and flow of your workout.

What you can do to help:

1. If you are already familiar with the movements that we will be doing as skill work or strength, please feel free to start on those at your own pace after the warm up. No need to listen to us teach the basics while you can be working out!

2. If you notice a new person is confused, make an effort to show them what to do. It only takes 2 seconds, and it’ll help the whole class run smoothly.

3. During the met-con, work out as you normally would. Do not compromise your own workout. It is our (Justin and Alycia’s) job to make sure that things run smoothly, that the new people experience CrossFit properly, and that our existing members get a good workout in.

4. Show off! Show the new people what CrossFit is all about, tell them about your own experience with CrossFit, and show them how strong and fast you’ve become as a result. Tell them how you eat, why you eat that way, and what it’s done for you. Tell them why CrossFit is so cool.

5. If you need a spotter, someone to look at your form, or if you have a question that you need answered, feel free to ask some of our more senior members and/or Jay Holonia or Tom Lexa – they are both CrossFit Level 1 certified and they know their stuff. Also, after June 19th, Dave Hampton and Beth Walker will also be Level 1 certified (yay!).

Thank you for being respectful and patient over the next few weeks.
More people who join the gym from this promotion = More equipment and fun stuff for you.
Let’s have a great JUNE!

Posted in News & Events | 1 Comment

Healthy Habit Post #1: Know what’s possible

Posted on by Alycia

When you took your first CrossFit class, you probably thought to yourself (after the blurry vision and dry heaves subsided), “Hey, that was a great workout. Sign me up”.

And since you’ve been here, you’ve gotten to participate in a bunch more great workouts. From farmers carries to waiters walks, and everything in between, you’ve been exposed to things that people in ‘regular gyms’ don’t ever get a chance to do.

Since you’ve been here, you’ve also gotten something that’s a lot more meaningful than just a ‘great workout’ … something that has the ability to affect other parts of your life outside of the gym.

You’ve gotten a glimpse into what’s possible for YOU.

You didn’t think that lifting hundreds of pounds up off the ground was possible. Until you did it. You didn’t think getting a muscle up was possible, until you tried it. You didn’t think you’d ever get your first pull up. And then you got it.

Sure, you’ve gotten a little stronger and fitter since you started, but the truth of the matter is, it was always a possibility for you. You just never gave it an honest try.

So when you are filling out your Healthy Habit forms, and as you embark on a month of daily improvements, remember that it IS possible for you to do this without skipping a day. You may have halfheartedly tried and failed in the past, but you never put the time and effort into it that you will this month. You never had 40 other people on your side to help you out. You never were held accountable. And you never really tried very hard at all.

As you begin your 30 days of healthy habits, remember that just like your lifts in the gym, you always had the capacity to do this habit. You just never knew it was possible. Until now.

Good luck!

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The GOOD HEALTH HABIT Challenge

Posted on by Alycia

Let’s talk about Habits.

Most people have a few (or many) bad habits that they’d like to break. A lot of time and energy is spent trying to break these bad habits, and the stress of failing to do so, causes people to have even more anxiety about their current habits.

What we don’t put nearly enough focus into, however, is creating new habits. Good habits.

Good habits are neat because they are small additions to our regular life that help make us better people. As we get used to one good habit, another one usually follows, as we head on the path toward a healthier and happier life in general.

Getting exercise, meeting new people, trying new things….those are all good habits that you started the day your joined CrossFit Aspire.

Everything you do during the 1 hour a day that you spend in the gym is helping to create or maintain good habits (Learning the Olympic lifts, working on your endurance, perfecting your form on all movements, increasing your mobility, etc). But there are 23 other hours in every day. What are you doing during THOSE hours to complement your good habit of getting exercise?

If this is you outside of the gym, please take us up on this challenge!

THE TASK: Pick 1 good habit and do that thing every single day for 30 days.

THE DETAILS: The point of this challenge is to help get the rest of your life step with the pace of improvement you’re seeing in the gym. The point is that going to the gym for 1 hour, no matter what you do in there (even heavy deadlifts and “Fran”), won’t counteract your so-so diet, high stress lifestyle, or your lack of sleep. In order to make sustainable improvements in the gym, and to be a healthier person in general, all three things – Movement, Eating and Sleep must all be in sync.

How do you achieve this? Pick a Good Habit that fits the following criteria:

Quantifiable/Measurable: “I will get 8+ hours of sleep ever night for 30 nights” is a good challenge. “Sleep more” is not.

Positive: Starting a new habit is something to be happy about. You WILL see better results if you think of the challenge as the addition of something positive to your life, rather than  deprivation. “Eat only meat, fish, eggs and vegetables at every meal for 30 Days” is a good one. “No processed foods, grains, or sweet things that taste good” is a bad one.

Specific: Don’t leave any room for doubt or any gray areas. Try not to make this harder than it is. This is YOUR challenge, and you set the rules. So make them clear for yourself. “Work on my mobility every night for 30 Days” is not specific enough. “Foam roll my upper back and pain ball my forearms ever night for 10 minutes” is a better option.

Challenging: Because, well, this IS a challenge! This is your opportunity to push your limits, find the outer edges of your comfort zone, and perhaps cause a shift in your life’s priorities. Those of you who eat 95% only real foods might not want to make their habit to start eating 100% only real foods. You can get to 100% without much effort. That’s not where your wellness weakness is. It’s more likely to be hiding in your sleep habits, stress levels, or elsewhere. If waking up is a struggle every morning, then your good habit should likely include getting to bed earlier. If you feel run down and stressed out during those 23 hours, then maybe these 30 Days should revolve around time management, cooking in bulk (so you don’t have to rush around every night),  or re-prioritizing one part of your life.

Attainable: The flip side of choosing a habit that’s too easy to follow, or that’s not very far off from how you live right now, is choosing one that will never work in your life. Getting 8-9 straight hours of uninterrupted sleep in a pitch black room might not be a feasible goal for a shift worker, new parent, or police officer. There are certain things that we can’t change instantly (our boss, the amount of attention our kids need, the amount of hours in a day), and there are things that we can change (the amount of time spent on the internet, what we do while we watch TV, how we plan our meals) that can impact the success of our new habits. You have the knowledge to distinguish between the two.

THE RULES:

You MUST commit to doing your Good Habit EVERY SINGLE DAY for an entire 30 Days.

If you miss a day, repeat it. You won’t end up finishing with the rest of us, but you won’t be far behind, and it’ll help teach you not to forget!

If it’s a gym-related habit, like foam rolling, practicing your pull up, taking a long walk every morning, make sure that you have the equipment, availability and space that will accommodate your habit.

If it’s a nutrition-related habit, make sure you have the proper info (pick up a copy of our Nutrition Guide), an arsenal of recipes, and go food shopping for real foods on Day 1.

If it’s a sleep or time management issue, make sure you have a clear cut plan, and not just a singular goal. You must know how you are going to squeeze that extra hour out of the day, how you will spend it, and how you will deal when stress or an emergency comes up.

Over the next week, you will be writing down your habit and keeping it in your Progress Folder.

EXAMPLES OF GOOD HABITS: These are created for people of various backgrounds and lifestyles. Choose one that makes the most sense for YOU, or come up with your own.

I will eat only meats, fish, eggs, vegetables at every meal, and limit my fruit and nut intake to 1 serving of each per day.

Water will be my only beverage. Period.

I will get 8+ hours of uninterrupted sleep in a pitch black room. I will be in bed before 10pm to accomplish this. (This entails light-blocking curtains, and covering the LED light on my alarm clock)

I will spend my leisure hours working on a hobby, spending time with my family or reading a book. My TV will not be on at all during this challenge.

I will take a lacrosse ball or foam roller to the tightest spots on my body and spend at least 10 minutes per day working on increasing my mobility.

I will practice my handstand (or double under, or pull up, or knees to elbows) for 5 minutes every single day.

Questions?

Do I have to do this? No. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.  Should you? Yes, we think so!

Why are we doing this? You pay us to get into better shape. Eating well, sleeping well and living well are all a part of that. And because things like this are always easier and more fun when you do it with a group!

Can I do a Paleo 30 Day Challenge? Yes, use this time to challenge yourself in a way that will most benefit you at this moment.  Check the thirty posts in the  “30 Day Nutrition Challenge” category of our blog for helpful articles, hints, tips and stories to help you along.

I’m a mess. Can I choose more than 1 good habit? Yes, you can choose multiple, but limit yourself to what you think is actually feasible. If you change everything at once, you have a better chance of getting stressed out or not following through with any of the habits.

Post additional questions to the COMMENTS below. Good luck!

Posted in News & Events | 5 Comments

Head Games: The power of the whiteboard

Posted on by Alycia

You walk into the gym, you put your stuff away, and you look at the whiteboard.  You go over the movements in your head, formulating questions. How heavy should I go? Is there a rest built in after the rounds? What the difference between a Clean and a Snatch again?

After you’ve obssessed over your own impending experience with the workout, do you notice the times and numbers of those who did the workout earlier in the day?  Do you just scan the list to see who lifted the most, and who went the fastest and leave it at that? Do you look and say “Wow, Shamus lifted 3,000 pounds today”,  or “Nick got one billion rounds in that metcon”, and then just walk away? Or do you use the number of other members to push yourself harder? 

The power of the whiteboard is this - It provides instant standards by which you can measure your own performance in the gym. By now, many of you know roughly how much you can lift. My suggestion is that you choose someone in the gym who can lift about the same, or a little more than you can do. Keep an eye on that person -  take note of their scores and weights on the whiteboard, and CHASE THEM.

Better yet, take it one step further and perform BETTER than they did.

Use the whiteboard as a source of motivation to push yourself harder than you could on your own. Use the weights of those who worked out earlier in the day as a way to set, and exceed your goals for the day.

And to the athletes in the 6:30am class –  look at the blank white board as a chance to amaze the night time members. Go heavy and go hard, knowing that 20 more people will be staring at your numbers, trying to beat them. Think about the next morning when you walk into the gym. Wouldn’t it be nice to set the bar so high that no on else reaches it? Also, know that your scores help the entire gym get fitter. Your achievements help enhance the caliber of all of our athletes.

It’s no coincidence that Jay’s lifts usually come within 5 pounds of Dave’s, or that mine come within 5 pounds of Beth or Jill’son certain lifts. We use the accomplishments of others to help push ourselves harder and give ourselves tangible goals for the day.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Now that you’re all pumped up to set PRs and crush some metcons, remember to pay attention to the numbers of someone who is VERY close to your own strength or metcon numbers and DON’T BE STUPID when lifting. Don’t choose the heaviest weight on the board and try to beat it, if your previous numbers weren’t even close. We want you to be monster athletes, not broken crazy people.  

Lift Heavy. Go Hard. Be Awesome.

Posted in News & Events | 7 Comments

How to Make Your Gym More AWESOME

Posted on by Alycia

You like CrossFit. You like this  gym. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t keep coming back for more.

You can help us make your experience at CrossFit Aspire an even BETTER one by doing the following:

1. Make efforts to meet the people around you, especially those who have joined within the last few weeks. CrossFit is intimidating to everyone in the beginning, so try your best to make our newest members feel comfortable. You might make a friend along the way.

2. Check the WOD section of crossfitaspire.com to see our daily workouts, videos, pictures of yourself and other members, helpful tips and articles, recipes, and links to other cool sites.

3. If you are on Facebook, please “Like” our page. We re-post a lot of the articles and recipes from our website, as well as other videos, articles, and info from other gyms in the CrossFit community. Plus, you can chime in, talk with other members, and with us, about CrossFit, food or whatever you want.

4. Once you are a fan of our page, take a moment to “Share” the content that we post with your friends and family that you think would enjoy CrossFit. Or simply re-post them to your wall. Crossfit grows organically, through word of mouth and online sharing.

5. Take a few postcards from the front table and keep them in your car or bag. You never know when you’ll run into someone who’s looking to get back into shape, or who wants to join a CrossFit gym.

6. Email Alycia with your thoughts/suggestions for how we might improve the gym. We sometimes can’t see our own faults or inefficiencies, so your suggestions would be a BIG help!

7. If you belong to a group (a sports team, networking group, co-workers, church, PTA, book club, social club) and you think that CrossFit would be a fun group outing for your members, let Alycia know. We can put together a class just for members of your group (6 or more people), so they can all try it out together without worrying about how they’ll look in front of CrossFitters. Class would include a fun workout, light snacks and waters, and a playlist that you think would suit your audience (i can’t believe not everyone loves punk and metal music. weird.).

Walk to the gym? Too slow. Our members RUN to the workout. Now THAT'S enthusiasm.

Your enthusiasm is integral to our success, and to creating an amazing gym with tons of great classes, equipment and people. Thank you so much to those who have already invited friends and family to a class.

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How To NOT Get Hurt Doing CrossFit

Posted on by Alycia

There are many elements of the sport of fitness (aka CrossFit) that have a tremendous amount of appeal to beginners and seasoned athletes alike. The variety of workouts, level of coaching,  intensity of metcons, the community that forms, the PR’s, the stopwatch, the benchmark workouts…there area ton of reasons why people come back…and come back…and come back…and come back.

We think CrossFit is great; otherwise, we wouldn’t have opened the gym. But too much of a good thing, can be, well, too much. To go from couch potato to CrossFitter takes time,  consistent effort, and smart training. Here are a few tips for all of the newbies (and some of you old-bies, too) to help keep your body in top shape as you begin to get into the best shape of your life:

1. More is not always better. Four Crossfit classes per week are better than two, but that doesn’t mean that six classes is better than four.  If you roll out of bed to go to your sixth consecutive day’s workout and every muscle is sore, stay home. Shift your focus from quantity to quality.  If you are going really heavy during the lifts, and you’re pushing yourself to your limit during each and every metcon, you might be best off with an extra rest day thrown in there every once in a while. Use the rest day to practice a sport, go for a light jog or a walk, or just hop on a foam roller while watching TV. Which brings me to my next point…

2. Rest and Recover. Recovering from a workout, believe it or not, isn’t about getting your breath back or waiting until you stop sweating. Recovery is what happens to your muscles, joints, tendons and brain when you leave the gym. You can work hard for 1 hour a day, but what about the other 23?

Meals. As much as you’d like to, you can’t erase bad eating habits with an extra hard workout. Think about what you are eating and what it’s doing to your body. Before you eat anything, ask yourself  “Is this helping or hurting my body?” Just about all of your meals throughout the day should consist of Grassfed/free-range meat, fish or eggs, with a big serving of vegetables cooked in oil, butter (from Grassfed cows only) or topped with avocado.

Sleep. Get more of it! Turn out the lights 30 minutes earlier than you normally do now. Your body needs this time for cellular repair, and your brain needs some down time, too. Sleep in a pitch black room; invest in some heavyweight curtains that block out all of the light. It’ll dramatically affect your quality of sleep.

Lifestyle. Avoid unnecessary stress. The body is meant to handle a certain amount of acute stress, but long periods of chronic stress tend to throw the hormonal system all out of whack, resulting in fatigue, depression, belly fat, and other unsavory physical and mental symptoms. Exercise = good stress. A high stress job, unruly kids, late night boozing,  and relationship unrest = bad stress. If you are having stress issues, try to identify (or create) one fraction of your life that is completely stress free. It might only the length of a TV show, a chapter of a book, a new hobby or a morning cup of coffee in silence, but be sure to find it and take advantage of it as much as possible.

Muscle and Tendon Repair. You are currently engaged in a training regimen not far off from that of a high level athlete. Your body is constantly adapting to new stresses, and is being pushed around, flexed and stretched in ways it isn’t used to. Initial signs of a hard workout, which include sore and tight muscles, should not be ignored. If you have chronic soreness or tightness in any part of your body, invest in a foam roller, a lacrosse ball, and spend some time at at the Mobility WOD Website to find new ways to become mobile and pain-free.

3. Scale It! The weights in our metcons are chosen on an individual basis, so that everyone can scale the weight to a level that will guarantee they finish within a few seconds to minutes of everyone else in the room. The quantity of reps and rounds, however, can also be adjusted. This presents the opportunity to scale UP or DOWN, depending on your ability. You know your body best, and as you work out here you will get to know, and push, its limits. Pushing your limits is great ( our advice is usually to go heavier, move faster, dig deeper), but working through pain, or grinding out super-slow reps, in a stubborn effort to get the work done, is not smart. If you see something on the board that seems utterly impossible, ask one of the trainers about scaling options. For the most part, we stick to short and intense metcons, but days with close to 100 reps of one movement do sometimes appear, and if your body isn’t equipped to handle the repetitive stress, it might be wise to scale back.

4. Exercise in cycles. Our life runs in cycles of intensity and down time. Intensity is necessary to survive (gotta pay the bills and keep yourself and your family healthy) and downtime is necessary to thrive. School breaks, vacation, weekends, social time, reading, etc are things that occur regularly to give your body and mind a break. Your training program  should also provide you with periods of downtime. In addition to taking a few rest days per week, try setting aside 1 week  every 4-6 weeks when you lift at sub-maximal weights, and leave a little gas in the tank during your metcon. Sure, you numbers won’t look as impressive on the whiteboard that day, but you are training for life, not for the whiteboard and a little break from the intensity is good for your body. Then, you’ll have no excuse for not crushing the workouts for the following 4-6 weeks. Some of you might benefit from this more than others, or find it suitable at different times in your training, so we’re leaving this one up to you to fit in on your own.

5. Consult a Professional. If you have joint, muscle or tendon pain that persists, book an appointment with a physical therapist, chiropractor or sports massage therapist ASAP. If your pain isn’t life-altering, avoid heading to the orthopedist right away (most are surgeons), and stick to a manual therapy for some natural relief first. A few sessions at any of these medical professionals, and some at-home rehab exercises, and you should be good as new. By routinely getting your body assessed and corrected, you will almost certainly avoid serious injuries that result in surgery or an  inability (gasp!) to continue your workout program.

As your trainers, we want you to be healthy and strong. Our CrossFit gym is a place of high energy and intensity, filled with healthy and happy athletes. Let’s keep it that way. Happy Training!

Posted in News & Events | 1 Comment

As Seen on the Internet. Jump Ropes!

Posted on by Alycia

And this guy.

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Beginner’s Guide to Eating Real Food: Coming Soon!

Posted on by Alycia

Nutrition is a HUGELY IMPORTANT part of health, longevity, internal health, metabolic processes, weight maintenance, and performance in the gym.

Without proper nutrition, you will never reach your full potential in the gym or in life.

To help our members get caught up to speed about nutrition and it’s role in your heath, longevity and performance in the gym, we’ve put together a Beginner’s Guide to Eating Real Food.

If you joined our gym back in it’s ‘garage days’, or you have previous experience with CrossFit, you may already have already read about or practiced the concepts discussed in the guide. However, it never hurts to brush up on your nutrition know-how! For the rest of you, this may be the very first time you’ve even thought about your diet, or you might read things in our guide that go against the things that you’ve been told by the media, your family, or even your doctor.

The things that will be discussed in the Guide are:

1. What to Eat (and what not to eat)

2. Three Small Steps to take to eat only real foods

3. A 30 Day plan for jump starting healthy eating habits

4.  A real life example of cooking a week’s worth of food in just one hour

5. Sample shopping lists and grocery shopping tips

6. A guide of additional resources on eating well.

The guide is just that – a simple beginner’s resource with general recommendations that are based on the scientific findings in the areas of nutrition, auto-immune disease, obesity & diabetes, and metabolic processes. The information discussed is a reflection of our viewpoints as they relate to the findings. We encourage all members to read, research and learn as much as they can, in addition to the information that we provide.

Be on the lookout for this printed Guide in early March!

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CrossFit Aspire Climbs Rocks!

Posted on by Alycia

We had an awesome time at Elite Climbing today! Over 20 members/friends came out, most of whom have never climbed before. Some conquered their fears, and others were fearless. Overall, everyone had a great time and learned a few new skills! And most probably have sore forearms to show for it.  :)

Here are some pics from the day!

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10 Tips for the CrossFit Newbie

Posted on by Alycia

CrossFit is nearly impossible to explain to someone who hasn’t tried it yet, or even to a brand new member. CrossFit is so much more than the concept of  ”moving heavy loads across distance for time”, or the notion of constantly varying the workouts to provide maximum neurological and physical response and adaptation. Those descriptions are boring, anyhow.

CrossFit means something different to everyone involved, and it’s up to us, your trainers, to make sure that all new members are enjoying their CrossFit experience and that they understand what’s going on around them.

Our friends over at CrossFit Delaware Valley wrote up a great article on “10 Tips For Success For the CrossFit Newbie”. They are spot on, and we couldn’t have said it better ourselves, so we won’t try.

CLICK HERE to read the 10 Tips, and feel free to add in any other comments/thoughts/tips for newbies in the Comments section of this post.

Our goal is to educate our members and allow everyone to experience CrossFit in their own way. Hopefully these 10 Tips will help answer some of your initial questions about what you’re doing in the gym and why you’re doing it. Learn a lot and have fun with it! See you in class.

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