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3 Larwin Road, Cherry Hill, NJ

News & Events

  • Memorial Day Schedule

    We’re having one big “MURPH” workout at DT1 on Monday, Memorial Day at 10am, followed by a BBQ directly after. (All classes at CrossFit Aspire are canceled)

  • Member of the Month: Chris Swiers

    When did you first start Crossfit? I first started Crossfit last summer
    (Summer 2014) right when I moved to NJ.

    What is your athletic background? I have played a little bit of every
    sport under the sun. Baseball, football, and basketball were my high
    school days and golf from high school on. It wasn’t until late in
    college, however, when I discovered
    The school’s fitness center where I started basic lifting and the rare
    cardio session.
    What was your number one hesitation in starting? High intensity training
    for speed and strength did not sound like my cup of tea. I was afraid I
    would start too many workouts and not have the physical or mental
    capacity to finish. That fear I perpetuated within myself was quickly
    debunked.
    You’ve made a lot of progress in a short amount of time. Which movements
    or areas of fitness do you feel made the most improvements? Olympic
    lifting for sure. The clean & jerk and the snatch are so difficult for me
    and I have put in a lot of time and work to improve efficiency and
    technique.

    How many times per week do you come to the gym? I try and come every
    weekday for at least a class.
    Ol has your diet changed since starting Crossfit? When I started
    Crossfit, I wanted to maximize my experience both in the gym and in the
    kitchen, starting to change my diet into a more Paleo basis. Since, I
    have discovered that for me, it was more important to follow the idea of
    Paleo as opposed to living by the book. Eating more of the
    right foods on a daily basis like lean poultry, grassfed beef, greens,
    natural carbs, and the good fats were more consistent with feeling good
    and proving results than strict dieting day in and out. I have also tried
    to cut down on the craft brews, so that helps too.

    You recently got your first muscle up. Tell us about that! It was a
    surreal moment for me. I was in between squat sets and I had been close
    on a few recent muscle up attempts. I figured I would just jump on the
    rings and not think about the components that make up the movement except
    “hips”. I remember grabbing the rings then the next thing I know, I am holding myself at the top of the muscle up and not knowing how the heck I got up there. It was
    invigorating and I was proud. The scariest part of the success, however,
    was trying to figure out how to get down from up there.

    What other skills are you trying to master? More consistent muscle-ups!
    It is such a technical movement that challenges me to the brink of
    my sanity. Some days they can be strung together and somedays I can’t
    get over the rings. But more practice daily makes it more comfortable.

    How has CrossFit affected you in your everyday life? I feel more
    confident and capable. That is for certain. But most importantly,
    Crossfit has influenced me to be more committed to achieving my goals. I
    am committed to coming to the gym every day I can possibly make it in, to
    getting one more rep or being one second faster, and to pushing myself
    toward achieving my goals outside of the gym in my business life and
    personal life.

    What is your favorite music to work out to? Whatever is on the Marvin
    Tan playlist. I never knew that listening to “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit
    on repeat could be PR fuel, but it is.

    What are your favorite ( and non favorite) lifts and why? My favorite
    lifts are the Olympic lifts. The clean & jerk and the snatch just feel
    right when you hit all the positions, and the feeling reminds me of a
    well-struck golf shot. Non favorite? Thrusters. Thrusters are my
    nightmare. I have literally had nightmares about Thrusters.

    What is your #1 goal in the gym for 2015? To PR all of benchmark workouts
    we come across this summer and to prove to myself that I am stronger and
    faster than last year when I first started.

    What would you tell people who are interested, but apprehensive about
    starting Crossfit? Just do it. I was so nervous on my first ride to
    Crossfit Aspire for class that I almost turned around. But after that
    first hour, I just wanted to get back for tomorrow’s workout. Then the
    next day, I left with that same feeling. After a while, I noticed that
    the urge for tomorrow¹s workout wasn¹t going away. I got hooked on the
    lifts, the metcons, the community, and the coaches. You are going to get
    hooked, too. You just need to give it a try.

    Click here to see Chris in our community video for Aspire!

  • February's Member of the Month: Jarrod Holzman

    Jarrod Holzman

    Years with CrossFit (and CrossFit Aspire) 2 years total, all at Aspire

    Prior fitness experiences: Initially a cross country runner logging 50-60 miles a week circa year 2000. Post highschool was conventional globo gym lifting and “cardio”

    Hobbies (other than CrossFit, which is the only hobby that matters):  Traveling, eating, and drinking beer in every corner of the world.

    What made you get into CrossFit? I got pretty bored of conventional lifting and running, lost motivation, and the results, or lack of, came to a stand still. I was looking for that perfect combination of strength as well as endurance and CrossFit seemed to be the answer. 2 years later im still here and I feel like my overall fitness is more well rounded and continues to improve.

    What was one of your earliest memories from the gym? Not sure exactly how early it was, but most painful may have been Justins infamous programming of Venom II followed the next day with Bear Complex.

    What are your favorite and least favorite movements? Im in a love hate relationship with snatching. It involves alot of technical skill, as well as strength and mobility and i love the way it looks and feels when done properly. I think its the best overall single lift to test these skills. That being said, Im lacking a little on the technical side and have some shoulder mobility issues in the overhead position that have gotten much better but still not where i need them to be.

    Have any of your least favorites become your favorites? Yes, hated cleans but eventually it clicked and they’re getting much better. Still hate power cleans

    What is your favorite workout song right now? F*ckwithmeyouknowigotit – Jay Z and Rick Ross

    Who do you ‘chase’ in the gym? When it comes to Metcons I chase Chris L, he’s quick and keeps it moving. Recently though, its been Casey, dude has some strong lifts and even though i havent worked out with him in a while, i always like to see what Brad Stadler is up to.

    What gets your motivated in class?  Good music, attentive coaching and advice, as well as the constant drive and motivation to be better than I was last week. When i feel like a coach is fully invested in what im doing it pushes me to perform. All of these items can be found at Aspire

    What is your “goat” ( the one movement that is your biggest weakness) and what are you plans for improving it in 2015? See love-hate relationship above. I plan on working on my technical skills, paying more attention to the nuanced movements that can make or break a certain lift.

    You love to cook, and your Food Swap meals are always a favorite! Explain your experience with cooking, learning to cooking, and seeking/making new things? When i began CrossFit i was focused on getting the best results possible, and as we are all aware, eating the proper food plays perhaps the biggest role in getting the results we want. I always thought i was eating the “right” foods i.e chicken breast, whole wheat, and of course the low fat version of everything. I was getting nowhere fast with conventional exercising as well as conventional diet. With the inclusion of CrossFit I started getting results again; looking better, feeling better, and getting stronger. I  got very focused on the nutrition aspect of fitness and proper fueling for performance and health. With conventional exercise in my rear view mirror i left my conventional diet and found Paleo/ Primal. Over about 18 months of using the Paleo/Primal template i’ve learned not to be dogmatic about it and to eat what works for me. For example, white rice is my post workout savior where sweet potatoes just didnt do the trick (simple starch vs complex carb). All of these things led to my desire to control exactly what i was eating in order to get the results i desire, even if it is the occasional doughnuts and pizza, haha. What initially started as work is now routine. Im always trying to make new things in order to keep it interesting, sometimes to the point where i make more food than i need but i want to try a new recipe.

    What are the most significant changes that you’ve seen since starting to eat Paleo/Primal? Results; I can see and feel the results of proper nutrition. My athletic performance has improved and i feel healthier than ever. I dont feel hungry all the time and maintain consistent energy levels throughout the day, no more riding the blood sugar rollercoaster.

    What would you say to a person who wants to ‘get in shape’ before starting CrossFit? I would ask them if they “get in shape” for football by playing tennis. Point being, you get better at a sport by performing that specific sport and associated movements. There is nothing wrong with cross training, in fact its great, but CrossFit is scalable for every age and ability level so there is no reason to “get in shape” prior to starting because “getting in shape” is an inherent characteristic of CrossFit. Plus its nice to look back at where you started and see how far you’ve come.

  • This week...

    Dear Week,

    I’m ready for you. Whatever you have planned, and whatever you throw into the mix, I’m ready for it.

    52 times this year, I will do the following things to get me ready for you. Each week I will be a little better than the last. And this will be my healthiest, happiest year yet.

    This week, I will buy clean food and cook for the week. All of my meals will be prepared at home. Those that cannot, will be purchased with careful consideration and attention to ingredients.

    This week, my workouts will go into my calendar as non-negotiable events. I will not ‘make time’ to work out. My workouts are part of my pre-existing plan. They will not be missed.

    This week, my workouts this week will include at least one movement that I need to work on. I am committed to turning this weakness into a strength of mine.

    This week, I will help someone in the gym. If I see someone struggling, I will be there with an anecdote, a personal story, a sympathetic ear, or a helpful piece of advice.

    This week, I will not settle for anything less than perfection in my technique. I might not lift the most weight, but I will do it better than everyone else in class. I will be a good example for the others.

    This week, I will say ‘No’ to a sweet treat or unwarranted food cheat. I will continue to do this until it feels natural ad becomes my default reaction.

    This week, I will turn off the TV or computer 10 minutes earlier than usual at night.

    This week, I will write down one reason why last week was great. (Review at the end of the year for maximum happiness)

    This week, I will become a better person.

    For my family, my gym friends, my coaches, and myself.

     Sincerely,

    (your name goes here)

     

  • Choosing Your Weight

     

    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. 

  • Gym Superheroes: John Ahern and Anne Ibay

    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!

    JOHN AHERN
    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.

    ANNE IBAY
    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.

  • CrossFit Aspire is 4 years old!

    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.

    WARMUP:
    Dynamic hip and shoulder stretches

    WORKOUT:
    Press: 3×5

    10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
    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.

    CASH OUT:
    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.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Gym Superheroes: Jess Schulz & Ryan DeBonis

    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:

    RYAN DeBONIS

    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.”

    ABOUT RYAN…

    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.

    JESS SCHULZ

    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?”. 

    ABOUT JESS…

    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.

    MY FAVORITE DAY IN THE GYM WAS:

    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.

     

     

  • Why bother?

    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.

     

  • Better Than That

     

    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.

  • Holiday Hours

    Holiday Hours!

    Christmas Eve (Tuesday, December 24th)

    5:30am
    6:30am
    7:30am
    9:00am
    12noon
    4:30pm
    5:30pm
    4:30pm Kids – CANCELED
    5:15pm Kids – CANCELED
    6pm Rx- CANCELED
    6:30pm – CANCELED

    Christmas Day – CLOSED

    New Year’s Eve- Normal Schedule

    New Year’s Day

    9am
    12noon
    All other classes CANCELED

  • In Search of Happiness

     

    “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.  :)

  • 30 Day Challenge Announcement!

    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.

    FIND YOUR REACTION AND READ ON!

    IF YOUR REACTION IS,                                                                                                      

    “WHAT THE HECK IS A 30 DAY CHALLENGE AND WHY WOULD I DO IT?”

    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,                                                                                            

    “AGAIN?? OK, I’LL DO THE FOOD PART, BUT I STILL WANT TO DRINK EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE. AND I WANT TO KEEP THE CHEESE IN. AND MAYBE SOME DARK CHOCOLATE.”

    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,                                                                                                    

    “BUT IT DIDN’T WORK FOR ME LAST TIME. WHY SHOULD I TRY IT AGAIN?”

    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,                                                                                                    

    “OK. I’VE DONE THIS IN THE PAST AND I’M TOTALLY DUE FOR ANOTHER CHALLENGE. LETS DO THIS!”

    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!

    MORE INFO WILL BE POSTED SOON. STAY TUNED. FOR NOW, BE QUIET AND DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!

  • SO I’M GOING TO…

    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.”

    “SO I’M GOING TO….”

    Bam. There it is. Your opportunity.
    TAKE IT.

    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…

  • CrossFit Aspire in 2012: The Year in Review!

    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!

  • Holiday Hours 2012

    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.

  • Get in the Game – The Mental Game

    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.

     

     

  • September is BENCHMARK month!

    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!)

  • BIG news from CrossFit Aspire!

    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

  • Superhero Sunday Workouts Announced!

    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!