CrossFit has changed the lives of many. From stories of drastic weight loss and incredible improvement in physical ability, to amazing turnaround stories and triumph over adversity, CrossFit touched and forever altered the path for hundreds of thousands of people just like you. Justin McGinley and Alycia Alves are the owners of CrossFit Aspire. Their CrossFit story has humble beginnings and they consistently express their gratitude to be given this opportunity to help so many local people.
At a diner in South Jersey…
That’s how most good stories start, right? While Justin was at a diner with friends, the topic of amazing feats of strength came up, and one friend mentioned that his brother had been doing some crazy workout that seemed to include a near-impossible amount of exercise in one hour. Intrigued, Justin went home and found out everything he could about this workout.It was called CrossFit, but it had not yet come onto the scene in New Jersey, so finding a place to do these workouts was tough.
Upon joining a ‘real’ CrossFit gym, Justin promptly got CrossFit Level 1 certified and became a trainer at the gym. He eased into the role, providing many of the members with a fresh perspective and helpful advice for getting the most out of every workout. In early 2010, Justin had coached a team of CrossFit athletes through the local and regional CrossFit competitions, bringing them to the point where they would go on to compete at the CrossFit Games in California!
Soon, it became time for Alycia and Justin to open their own gym. With Justin’s coaching background and Alycia’s business and marketing experience, the concept gym was born.First, they had to choose a name that most accurately described their intentions for their member. “Aspire” meant that the members would aspire to become better versions of themselves, doing things in the gym that they once thought were impossible. The “theme”, it was decided, would revolve around unleashing one’s inner superhero, since CrossFit brings out the best qualities in everyone, and often unleashes the beast within.
The Early Days
Two barbells, a few pairs of dumbbells, four kettlebells, a pull up bar big enough to fit two people, and a set of rings. That was the garage gym that Aspire first called home. By the end of the summer of 2010, Aspire had 10 members total. Yippee! Was this thing actually taking off? Were people actually crazy enough to show up to a random house and use the front lawn, street, and small garage as their ‘gym’? The answer is “Yes”, they would. And they loved it. In fact, most of the ‘original garage crew’ is still with us to this day. They are more than just members – they are a part of the business – they saw it’s growth from it’s early days, its awkward stage, and it’s continuing maturity and development.
A New Home
Justin and Alycia knew if they wanted to grow, they would have to move out of the 1 car garage and into a legitimate space Aspire moved found a new home in a 2,300 sq. foot space in Cherry Hill, not too far from the major highways, or from the original garage. The first workout in the new gym was the infamously simple, yet tough workout called “Fran”. A bunch of brand new people showed up that day to start what would become their journey to fitness. Most of those first-timers are still with us today, and can barely remember the athlete or non-athlete they were on that very first day. During the following year, membership grew from 13 to over 100! Two’s company, Thirteen’s a party, and 100 is a crowd. Just one year after moving in, it was time to pack up and look for a larger space. Again.
Warehouse is Your House
Luckily, an empty warehouse space was available just down the street. Unlike the first two places, this one had tall ceiling for climbing ropes to hang from, and a large bay garage door that people could run in and out of. It looked and felt just like a real CrossFit gym. They gave it with a fresh coat of bright red paint and painted the logo and superhero mascots painted on the wall. Again, with the help of about 30 members, they were able to move all of the equipment from one place to the other in a matter of hours.
More, More, More…
Since the doors opened out doors at the current location, the gym has added more amenities (showers and changing rooms!), more classes, and more programs. CrossFit Aspire is always looking to expand it’s offerings and to make the gym an even better place to belong. Who knows where the future growth will lead. All they know is that they absolutely love what they do and wouldn’t trade it for the world. And that’s the story!