3 Larwin Road, Cherry Hill, NJ

News & Events

  • Rookie Rumble Spring 2016

    Click Here to sign up for the April 2 Rookie Rumble @ CrossFit Aspire

  • Self Defense Clinic!


    What’s the point of muscles if you can’t use them functionally?
    If someone attacked you tonight, could you defend yourself?
    What if that person weighs 100lbs more than you?

    If you aren’t sure, you need to come to this VERY IMPORTANT clinic at the gym.

    This is our most important clinic all year. It could literally save your life. Plus, you can show off your new skills on your family/friends when they annoy you. ;)

    WHEN: Saturday, Feb 20th  11-3pm
    WHERE: Aspire
    WHO: Steve Wakefoose (former police, current gym owner, trained in S.P.E.A.R system and will be employing the elements of the Personal Defense Readiness program.)
    RSVP: Go here to RSVP
    PAY: $50 in cash at the door

    Men & Women are both encouraged to show up.
    NON-MEMBERS are also invited, so pass it along.

    Sign up early to make sure you get in!


  • Aspire Closed this Weekend

    Aspire is CLOSED this weekend!

    Please go to DT1 for your classes:

    Aspire is CLOSED this weekend for a USAW Certification Course. All classes and Open Gym will be at DT1 this weekend!
    Here is our weekend schedule:

    8am @ DT1 (w/ Coach Alycia)
    9am @ DT1 (w/ Coach Alycia)
    10am Competition Class @ DT1 ( w/ Coach Alycia)

    10-12pm Open Gym (w/ Joe Mendarte)
    12-2 Olympic Lifting (w/ Coach Victor) <– This is a class, NOT Open Gym style. Please show up at 12 to warm up!

    Thanks guys!
    We apologize for any inconvenience.
    It’s fun to change things up every once in a while, and check out the other gym. Have fun.

  • Member of the Month: Susie Boucher

    Name  — Susie Boucher

    Years doing CrossFit — 2 years

    Athletic Background — Soccer, Lacrosse, Distance Running

    You were at the top of the PR and Attendance leaderboard in Wodify for 2015. To what do you attribute your success??!  — If I skip a WOD or miss a WOD I like, I beat myself up about it all day.  It’s easier for me to get up and hit the gym than to listen to my inner critic.  As for the PR’s, I attribute that to the 5:30 regulars and coaches.  It’s easier to push yourself when everyone around you is working so hard and when the coaches stare you down until you put the proper weight on the bar for WODs.

    What is your biggest weakness  — My Snatch and OHS need some major work and although I have run for years, I am pretty much a snail these days.

    What are you favorite types of workouts? — Anything where I am comfortable with all the movements especially when I get to click Rx!

    You attend the 5:30am class. What time do you normally go to bed during the week to make sure you get enough sleep? — I usually go to bed around 10, but I am known to fall asleep on the couch around 8 or 9 at least once a week.

    Have you competed in CrossFit? What was it like? Do you recommend others compete? — I haven’t competed.  I am a big scaredy pants! (Owner’s Edit: Someone PLEASE get Susie to compete!!!)

    How many days/week do you normally come to the gym? — 5 days a week.

    What do you like to do on your rest days? (non CrossFit hobbies) — I like to spend time with my kiddos and husband, read, and watch ridiculous amounts of reality TV and cooking shows.

    What are your 2016 Goals?  — I want to be more consistent with linking my double unders together.  I hover around 20-25 in a row out of the gate and then it’s pretty much downhill.  I would also like to become more fluid in my pull-ups.  I know I need to push back off the bar to keep my momentum, but knowing it and actually doing it are two different things.

    Are you doing the Nutrition Challenge right now? Why or why not? What is your typical diet like?  — I am not doing the Nutrition Challenge.  I have never tried any type of structured eating plan.  I am a decent eater — salads, greek yogurt — and I try to do organic fruits, veggies, and meat when possible.  My biggest weakness is my sweet tooth and nighttime snacking, but it’s a work in progress.

    What is your favorite “Cheat meal”? — Anything that has wine served along side it and ends with dessert.

    What is your favorite music to work out to? — I like all types of music from Nirvana and Pearl Jam to DMX and Old School Rap.  As long as there is music on in the gym, I am good.

    Who do you “chase” in WODs? — Have you seen the 5:30 class?  They are all amazing!  I will say I strive to be more like Anne and Meredith — they are both super versatile and put up consistently sick performances.


  • Member of the Month: Ryan DeBonis

    Years doing CrossFit: 2 years

    Athletic Background and Experience: Played baseball through high school then just the normal gym thing everyone does

    What’s one thing that not many people at the gym know about you? I’m a huge country music fan even though the only music I play at the gym is usually rap.

    Why did you start doing CrossFit? I wanted to try something different than just going to the gym and lifting by myself with headphones on.

    What keeps you motivated? Why do you work out? Just working out with others especially the guys in the morning.

    What goes through your head when you are doing a max lift? Pretty much nothing but right before hitting the lift I’m thinking I can do it, I’ve put the work in already and this shouldn’t be a problem.

    What is your absolute favorite movement? Anything heavy, I’m a guy. But I love the olympic lifts and of course squats are always fun.

    What’s your least favorite lift and why? Do double unders count?

    What would your dream WOD be? Something involving heavy dumbbell snatches and high box jumps.

    If you could WOD with any famous CrossFit athlete, who would it be, and why? Ben Smith or Mat Fraser would be fun. Their engines don’t stop and I know they’d be up for doing anything.

    Which famous athletes (not CrossFit) do you look up to, and why? JJ Watt (football player, Houston Texans), just for his work ethic and how he’s the best at his job but still keeps working and killing it.

    What is your favorite song to work out to right now? Jay-Z “Public Service Announcement.” I figure if Tom Brady can come out to it so can I.

    Tell us about your sleeping/eating/supplement regimen. Usually get 8 hours of sleep which means I’m in bed early to make it to 5:30am class. I’m pretty much strictly Paleo. I take a few supplements like an Omega, a joint supplement and something to minimize lactic acid. And then your typical pre and post drinks. I’ve also started incorporating a ten minute ice bath in my weekly recovery.

    What CrossFit toy would you want for Christmas? (ie: whats on the top of your equipment wish list): I’m dying to get a D-Ball, which is similar to a medicine ball but it’s rubber and weighs at least 100-150lbs. Hint hint if anyone’s reading this.

    What are your fitness goals for 2016? Just to keep improving and getting stronger and faster.

  • Ditch the Bands in December!

    December is NO BANDS month!

    If you are working on pull ups, we are going to switch things up to help you reach your goals faster. By incorporating variety, we will be working on ALL of the muscles and movements needed to get you your first pull up!

    Here’s the deal, if you currently use ANY bands at all to do your pull ups in metcons, you will be switching to the options below for the next month, and keeping them in the mix after that.

    If you use a GREY band or thicker, you will be switching to Ring Rows.


    This video shows EASIER rings rows, HARDER rings rows, and SLOPPY ring rows (don’t do these kind).
    As the ring rows get easier, move your feet forward, and/or lower the rings.

    - Keep your body as tight as possible
    - Tip your toes up toward the ceiling
    - Pull all the way to your shoulders, and lower to straight arms

    If you use ORANGE or RED bands (NOT grey), please use the following options:


    This video shows them done at WRIST height (area beneath wrists touch the bar when standing straight) without negative, WRIST height with negative, and HAND height.

    -Arms are straight to start. Look straight ahead with chin over the bar at the top
    -Position your feet directly under the pull up bar
    -If you do the negative, lower slowly under your arms are straight, without feet touching the ground for support.


    -Start with fingertips below the bar.
    -When you grab the bar, make sure you don’t start with an excessive bend in the arms (ie: dont jump to halfway up the pull up)


    This can be done by setting up a barbell at the height of your wrists as you sit on the ground with hands above your head OR with rings at that same height. This video shows some reps at the end that are SLOPPY. Don’t do those kind!

    -Keep heels on the ground as needed, and whole foot on the ground if you need more help from the legs.
    -Keep hips DOWN. Resist the urge you straighten your body out like a plank. Make the movement look more like a pull up and less like a laying down ring row.

    REMEMBER, no matter which option you choose to do on any give day, or how hard you decide to make them feel for yourself, there IS NO ONE WAY to get you pull up. Plenty of people have gotten them using the bands, but plenty have not. So we’re making sure that everyone gets a fair chance at seeing all the options and which work for them!

    Questions? Ask Alycia, Justin or Matt. And in class, any coach can help you further modify or scale up or down or remind you of what to do.

  • THIS YEAR: A Thanksgiving Post

    Every day or every year, we are thankful. We might not always say it, but the gym is the best thing that has happened to us and we are grateful every day for the opportunity to bring CrossFit, PRs, gains, self -improvement,  and happiness to those around us.

    This year, we are thankful for those who are new to the gym and have made it through those first few tough months were everything feels awkward, every workout is hard, and every lift is heavy.

    This year, we are thankful for those special few members who have stuck with us for FIVE YEARS since our early days of running the gym out of a one car garage, on a front lawn, and in the street.

    This year, we are thankful for Brad and Meredith Stadler for presenting us with the challenge and opportunity of managing a second gym, and thus bringing CrossFit to double the amount of people.

    This year, we are thankful for our coaches who are committed to learning, improving, educating, motivating, and creating an intense atmosphere while keeping our athletes safe.

    This year, we are thankful for those members who committed to writing their end of year goals on the whiteboard for everyone to see, and who stay after class day after day, working their way toward their goals, and in some cases, exceeding them early.

    This year, we are thankful for our members who donated their food to those in need. Altogether, we raised 1,500lbs of food for area families and individuals.

    This year, we are thankful for the members who bought their friends and family members out to take a free class, and did their part to help spread the word about CrossFit.

    This year, we are thankful for those who took our nutrition advice and made changes to their diet and lifestyle. They are looking, feeling and performing better every day!

    This year, we are thankful for our core members who stay after class and cheer on the next class,or who yell the loudest and offer a shoulder to lean on when workouts don’t go as planned.

    This year, we are thankful for our monster athletes who show the others what is possible. The small and committed group who chooses to go above and beyond what is asked of them, and shows up day after day, ignoring excuses and focusing on the big picture.

    This year, we are thankful for the DT1 members from other gyms that closed. Your community is still in tact, and we are excited to see how this new, larger group will become the new core group at DT1. Your willingness to adapt has not gone unnoticed!

    This year, we are thankful for the EVERYONE who has walked through our doors, taken our classes, added to the positive atmosphere, worked hard, and left feeling better about themselves than when they walked in.

    Thank YOU,

    Alycia & Justin

  • Member of the Month: Joey Andalora

    Name Joey Andalora, 21 years old.

    Years doing crossfit: 9 Months

    How many times/week do you come? Just upgraded to Unlimited. 12:00 class

    Athletic Background: Swimming, Track, Football, Lacrosse are some of my favorites.

    Most frustrating part of CrossFit when you first started: Starting and staying at low weights when I was learning the technique of all the movements. I came into crossfit so use to being natural at everything I did involving sports.

    I had a hard time easing into the sport and taking it slow. Looking back, I am glad I did take the time to learn and I am appreciative of all the coaching and time the instructors put into me.

    One movement that you used to hate, but now you love: Clean and jerks. I have always envied Olympic lifters because of how cool all the lifts looked. I had never tried cleans or snatches before in my life until I started crossfit.

    About 4 or so months into being at Aspire, I came to a 12:00 class on a Friday that Marisa was coaching. The strength part of class was EMOM Clean and Jerk. I think I was using 95 pounds which I though was heavy at the time. In middle of the EMOM, Marisa told me to hold her dog as she proceeded to use my weight as an example to show someone something. I made it my goal from that point on, that the next time clean and jerks were the strength, that Marisa wouldn’t be able to destroy my bar (with such ease and no warm up while I was holding her dog) as an example again. Thank you for the little push of motivation!

    Favorite metcon (or type of metcon): Adderall (Minutes 0-10, 1 mile run & max rep clean and jerk 135. Rest 3 minutes. Minutes 13-21, 800 meter run & max rep snatches 115. Rest 3 minutes. Minutes 24-30, 400 meter run & max rep thruster 95)

    One movement that you still struggle with the most: Overhead squat. When I first started I couldn’t overhead squat a PVC pole. I have upgraded to a regular bar and put weight on it but there’s still room for more improvement on the mobility side.

    What are you concentrating on now? (getting stronger, squats, etc): Squats. I have track legs (long, skinny and weak). I need to come weekly to squat day for sure.

    What’s your fitness goal for this time next year? My biggest goal is really to just improve in every aspect of CrossFit. When I get serious about something, I want to dominate it and do the best I can. I guess that would ultimately be to have no weaknesses in crossfit and see what happens from there.

    You’ve competed in Test Your Metal and the Rookie Rumble. Tell us about those, and what you learned about competing, fitness and about yourself, as a result. From the age of 6- 18, I competed every season in multiple sports. Test Your Metal was the first thing I competed in, in that 2 years since I graduated high school. I didn’t realize how much I missed competition. CrossFit is such a diverse sport and each comp is a makeup of multiple movements. Every other sport is the same thing for a whole game. Or the same movement for a whole race. The way you strategize in your head before a workout is like no other sport. Its as fun as it is challenging and that’s what I love about CrossFit. Both competitions were so much fun. Hanging out with your teammates and the people you workout with is an awesome time.

    Whats your favorite type of music to listen to when you work out? Remixes. Anything that’s loud and catchy. I love when a remix to a song I like comes on because it takes my mind off the physical pain im in for a split second and that’s all I need at the time.

    What’s your favorite way to warm up or whats your favorite stretch? I love walking in and getting on the foam roller and just losing up and cracking my back. Runners stretch is my go to stretch. And obviously a solid 400 meter jog is always nice.

    How do you get pumped up for a workout or a lift? I usually look around at the people im working out with to get me pumped up because I just love to compete.

    How has CrossFit helped you in your regular life outside of the gym? CrossFit has helped me in more ways than I could have ever imagined. My confidence has skyrocketed since I started just because of my overall fitness. Im in the best overall shape of my life witch is a total confidence boost.

    It sounds cliché, but it’s the one stress free hour of my day. The one hour where I can just turn my phone off and be at peace while im there. Looking forward to a workout after class or work, definitely helps move the day along.

    What are your hobbies, besides CrossFit? My hobbies are sports. I coach two swim teams year round so swimming is for sure one of my hobbies. Im obsessed with football and the NFL and other than that, I love to watch documentaries, mostly sport documentaries but ill watch anything if it’s a true story. I like to hang out with friends and go out. If eating counts than I guess that would be a hobby too.

    What would you tell someone to get them to try CrossFit? I would tell them exactly how I got into CrossFit. Start by searching “The CrossFit Games” on YouTube and watch every video of every pro competitor from there. They’d be hooked in no time.

  • 2015 Rookie Rumble Final Results

    Click here for the 2015 Rookie Rumble Final Results

  • Member of the Month: Andrea Duncan

    Congratulations to Andrea Duncan, Aspire’s August Member of the month! Andrea came to our gym two years ago with her fiance. She was there for support and because she thought it would be a fun departure from her regular routine. She has always paid particular attention to form, and has been a great listener when it comes to taking tips from coaches.

    Within the last year, however, she has gone from the quiet girl in class to one of our fastest improving women at the gym! Not only is she super speedy and great at the endurance workouts, she has really made some impressive progress to her lifts and her focus in the gym. You can catch her doing the extra credit or working on her goals while she isn’t killing it in the metcons! Congratulations, Andrea. Well deserved! We can’t wait to see your progress over the next year!

    NAME      Andrea Duncan

    AGE      26

    YEARS doing CrossFit      Almost 2 years

    Why did you first start CrossFit?       I heard about Crossfit from a friend and wanted to buy a month for my fiancé as a birthday present.  I went with him to a free class to check it out and really liked it.  I’ve always been active…with running and dancing…and had been on a belly dance team before I moved to South Jersey two years ago, but couldn’t find a dance class or team that had what I wanted down here.  I really wanted something to keep me fit.  I think Crossfit is perfect because I love the intensity, the mix of strength and cardio, and really need the structure of attending classes to keep me motivated.

    What were your favorite movements when you first started? Have they changed over time?     When I first started, I really loved back squats because I understood the concept of them and didn’t need to think too much about what I was doing.  I hated any technical lifts that required speed and using momentum.  Now, I have learned to enjoy lifts like cleans and jerks a lot better than when I first started.  I still have a lot to learn, but enjoy the feeling when I have executed the movement correctly…it feels like a real accomplishment.

    Which types of workouts are you favorite/best?  I love any workouts that involve a lot of cardio…runs, burpees, wallballs, box jumps, etc.  I also love/hate the crazy long metcons like 12 Days of Christmas and Filthy Fifty.  They are so awful, but there’s something great about feeling completely exhausted when you’re done.

    You are a really fast runner. What do you attribute that to?  I learned how to run in high school on the track and cross country teams.  I’ve continued running since, but never on a team again…just on my own or with friends.  I think it’s just something I have to keep doing so my body never forgets how to pace itself and breathe.  The inhaler also helps.

    Tell us about your strength gains/focus over time. When/why did you start to push yourself harder and make strength gains?     Compared to how I was when I first started Crossfit, I am lifting weights and doing things I never thought I could have done strength-wise.  I have come a long way not only with how much weight I can lift, but also with paying attention to good form.  I attribute all that to the coaches here…everyone is so awesome and dedicated to making every one of us improve, while still doing so safely.

    What type of music do you like to listen to while you are running or doing CrossFit?    I usually don’t listen to music when I run only because I get so distracted by earbuds always falling out of my ears!  I like a lot of the music that’s playing at the gym, but love Fall Out Boy’s “The Phoenix”…I think that’s my jam.

    What’s your favorite warm up to do?  There’s nothing like a little 400m run and some stretching.

    If you could do a WOD with one celebrity or character from a TV show/movie, who would it be?  Thor, for sure.

    What do you like to do in your spare time, other than CrossFit?   I like to paint and draw.  I’m kind of a granny and knit/crochet a lot.  Also, when I get the chance, I volunteer at a cat shelter.

    How has CrossFit helped you in other aspects of you life?   It’s given me a lot of confidence.  It’s really addicting and I feel like the rush you get after a workout is always motivating me to want to do other activities and improve myself in other ways, too.

    What advice would you give to a beginner who has never done any weight lifting before?     Two years ago, I was apprehensive about weight lifting…I had definitely never done it before (other than my little 5 lb. dumbbells in the comfort of my living room with my workout DVD playing).  I remember the night I went to inquire about joining and seeing lots of women lifting barbells full of weights.  I was so impressed and wanted to learn how to be strong like that!  Crossfit has been perfect for that.  The coaches will make sure that you learn at a pace that is good for you and will never put you in a position where you can get hurt.  You will find that if you put in the time and want to improve, you will.


  • On Goal Setting…

    We’ve all been there. We start a healthy habit, athletic endeavor, or skill-based hobby. At first, it’s going well. It’s all new and we love it. Then, somewhere along the way, we get frustrated and end up”taking a break”, never to return again.

    What happened?

    We didn’t plan for success.

    We planned for the start, but not for the work that’s put into the middle and the end. 

    Let’s change it up a bit.

    Let’s start from the end and work our way back.

    This week in the gym, you will be given a goal Setting Worksheet which will outline ONE main goal that you will accomplish by the end of the year.

    This worksheet will help you describe your MAIN goal, you current status at it, and how much time per week you plan on investing on reaching your goal.

    On you’ve filled it out, hand it to your coach. We will collect and review all goal sheets and get them back to you with strategies, movements, mini-goals, and a timeline to help you reach your goal by 12/31/15.

    Finally, you will be able to say that you picked something to accomplish, you broke it down into manageable chunks, you checked your progress and you accomplished your goal.

    Your coaches will be checking in on your progress, asking you what you are working on, and will be available for extra help or assistance with your skills and lifts.

    The best part of this is that you won’t have to sacrifice any other parts of your workouts to accomplish your goals. You’ll be getting PRs in all aspects of your training, in addition to working on your main goal!

    Just as you won’t get fit by watching the CF Games on ESPN, you also won’t accomplish your goal by reading your assigned work. You need to DO THE WORK!

    Let do this!!!

  • June Events at the gym

    June 6th * CrossFit Aspire * 12pm:  Free Functional Movement Clinic with Dr. Nelson. He will assess your movements and give you exercises that will improve your form and allow you to lift more weight! EVERYONE should take advantage of this free class!

    Call 856-767-8800 to reserve your spot!

    June 13th * CrossFit Aspire * 9am: IN HOUSE PARTNER COMPETITION! Rx and Scaled Divisions. This is all for fun! We’ll be doing 3 WODs, with different partners each time. We’ll pick for you. Just show up! RSVP here. 

    June 21st * CrossFit DT1 * 10am: Gymnastics Clinic with Jess Saxon! RSVP here. 

  • Shop for Aspire apparel online!

    Want to work out AND look good doing it?

    Check out our latest gym swag.


  • 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
    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

    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.


    (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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 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.

    Dynamic hip and shoulder stretches

    Press: 3×5

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

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

    Plank holds and push ups
    Hip and hamstring stretches
    Shoulder stretches

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

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


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

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


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



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

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

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

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

    And many moooooooorrrrrreeeeee.