A little blast from the past, in the form of a 2011 CrossFit post.  We’ve reiterated many topics on the Corps Fitness blog over the years, all of which are worth repeating.  As much as CrossFit has changed over the years, this attitude is what got Chris interested in 2008, and what has kept Corps Fitness on the affiliation roster since that time.  Though we’re one of the “originals” we are very different than the typical CrossFit “Box” in many positive ways.  Let’s keep it that way!!

For a few more blasts from the past, check out the 2011 and 2012 Open workouts… WOW!  How far we’ve come…  I wish those weights were used in 2017!

Self Improvement Courtesy of CrossFit RVA

The secret to success in CrossFit is not dependent on conditions and objects found external to the body, nor is it dependent on heaven sent DNA. The barbell doesn’t care how bad your lungs hurt and the pull-up bar certainly doesn’t care how fried your forearms are. Likewise, most of us don’t hit the genetic jackpot for athletic ability and are instead left to toil with our mediocre abilities. However, accepting mediocrity without ever having the desire to improve is an admission of laziness and shows apathy for our well-being and health. The rest of this article will be used to delve into the deeper nature of CrossFit and self improvement.

There is only one requirement for being a better CrossFitter and living a healthier life and anyone can meet it: work hard at the things that are important to you. That’s it. There are no tricks and gimmicks and there’s no elixir that’s going to make you breathe fire. Accept that there is no short cut to strength and power, accept that your inflexibility will remain inflexible unless you mobilize, and accept that you won’t ever run 26.22 miles unless you train intelligently.

Once you recognize your weaknesses and deficiencies and the path laid before you, realize you have the power to change if you want it bad enough for yourself. There’s no amount of urging and cheerleading that someone else can do to make you deadlift 500 pounds. Only you can prevent forest fires can put the work in on the front end to prepare your body properly (i.e. your muscles and central nervous system). And I know that there’s no amount of pleading that I can do that will make you want to come to the gym (maybe offering high fives to people with good attendance will help?). You have to want to be at the gym. Once you realize that you can be a better human and decide that you want to change for yourself and no one else, we can help you. We have the technology tools to make you better.

Here are some keys to improving your performance (and your life):

1. Work as hard as you can in the gym and you will never be a failure. Your health is an individual pursuit and therefore, success is subjective. You don’t have to do a sub-3 minute Fran to gain respect from anyone. Our favorite (and most successful) athletes and trainees are the ones who push themselves harder and further every day they step foot in the gym. They work just as hard at the movements they suck at as they do at the movements they are naturally inclined to perform perfectly. You don’t need a PhD in rocket science to understand the necessity of commitment.

2. Practice technical movements that require coordination outside of workout time. Do you really think you’re going to magically acquire the ability to do double unders at the end of a Filthy 50 if you haven’t practiced for weeks beforehand? Practice is practice and performance is performance. Workout time is the time for you to perform; the time for you to showcase your skills. If you haven’t developed the skills (double unders, pistols, Olympic lifts, bo staff skills, computer hacking skills, etc.) with practice, expect to be mediocre. How many takes did it take to make this awesome version of “Chopsticks”? More than one and lots of practice beforehand.

3. Nutrition. Input = output. Your body is a machine. If you think of yourself as a high octane vehicle such as this one and you think about what type fuel would be optimal for maximum performance, I’m guessing you wouldn’t choose peanut oil. Sure the car might run, but why would you want to put crap (if you use google chat, type in “~@~” minus the quotation marks to your friends for funzies) into a fine tuned system? Likewise, you can’t expect to put garbage into your system and expect it to operate at maximum efficiency. Your output (performance) is directly related to what you put in (food). Food is fuel, yo.

4. Your flexibility is murdering your performance. Unless you are a yogi, which I know you’re not, you can improve your flexibility. Better positions equate to better biomechanics, which equate to better expression of power and movement. If I told you that you could add 25 pounds to your deadlift by mobilizing and stretching your posterior chain for 10 minutes a day, would you do it? Take responsibility for your nasty, crunchy, tight bits.

5. Consistent attendance. If you come in once a week to work out, sorry, you’re never going to get better at anything. Your lifts will always be sub par and your conditioning will be awful until you decide you want to take advantage of the program for which you are paying. Any program worth its weight in salt is dependent on adherence. In other words, the program doesn’t work and can’t work unless it is executed as written. The program is in place, we just need you to do it.

6. Recovery. Rest and recovery is so much more than getting your measly six hours of sleep a night. We see you for approximately one hour a day, maybe five days a week (unless we like you and you like us enough to hang out extra). For all you math whizzes out there, that’s five hours a week out of a total one hundred sixty-eight hours. You’ve got one hundred sixty-three hours to do with as you please. Your muscles don’t get stronger when you’re ripping them to shreds moving heavy things around at the gym, they get stronger when you are at home relaxing, recovering, and eating paleo treats. If you’re feeling worn out, ask yourself if you are giving your body adequate time to recover.

7. Be stronger today than you were yesterday. Mark Rippetoe sums up strength best with this quote, “strong people are harder to kill than weak people and more useful in general.” We know that there is intense love for long chippers and lung burning CrossFit style workouts, but we also know that the most difficult thing to develop in any individual is strength; it takes freaking forever and a half to get strong. Imagine for a moment that your max deadlift is 250 pounds. Now do (in your brain) “Diane” which is 21-15-9 deadlifts (225#) and handstand push-ups. Now imagine your max deadlift is 500 pounds. Now do (in your brain again) “Diane.” Which was faster? Corollary: stronger people do metcons faster (metcon stands for metabolic conditioning, basically, your cardio workouts) and are cooler and better looking. Only part of that corollary is actually true, you can decide which part is chaff. We want you to love 3×3 strength days as much as Fran and we want you to be totally enamored with max effort single days because that is your opportunity to show off your stuff. Strength and conditioning are inevitably tied together, don’t neglect either. Do your due diligence on lift days for more power.

8. Performance based fitness. Do you know why New Year’s resolutions fail and why people don’t stick to diets for more than a week or two at a time? First, because they are weak minded (suck it up, people), and secondly, and much more importantly, they don’t see change. CrossFit workouts are measured by a clock, by number of repetitions, and by weights. Conditions are repeatable and re-testable. I’m no science master (I only have my brown belt), but I’d say that’s solid experimental design. From workout to workout, our athletes can SEE that they are getting stronger and faster because they all have log books (right?). Tied in with performance, you should be setting goals for yourself. Training with no purpose is silly and it doesn’t do you any good. Want to deadlift 500 pounds? Write it down. Want to overhead squat your body weight 15 times? Write it down. Hold yourself accountable by telling other people your goals. You’d be surprised at how willing people are to help you achieve and who knows, you might inspire someone else to achieve at the same level.

Last, but certainly not least, we (the trainers) look at your health as a long term endeavor. We observe your performance on a day to day basis so that we can adjust it and make it better tomorrow. We look at the potential end product, not just the current “not as good as you could be” version. We always want more from you and while you should be proud of every accomplishment, you should ALWAYS be thirsting for more.

Work hard


What a day!!

Another fun filled weekend with festive Easter classes and the inaugural In Game Marathon/10k at the Reading Fightin Phils! 4 person teams completed 58 1/2 mile laps for the marathon and 13 laps for the 10k. Different kind of running race with traversing around the stadium with spectators cheering once the game was underway. Festive atmosphere we plan to replicate again!

Thank you to Kelly Haldeman A Running Start – West Reading Isaiah Danner and all of our volunteers for making the day run ever so smoothly! Penn State Health St. Joseph – Reading, PA

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Bunny hopping around the room today, a little of stepping into the unknown, and finishing strong with a little Fill the Basket!

Look out! Phil’s got the hammer!
Rower, bench, mannequin… Interesting selections!
The tire, a spin bike, and a couple kegs… This groups is ready!

Please remember to stop by the front desk and update your information.  And while you’re at it, please take a minute to refresh your familiarity with our website and policies – we’ve spent a lot of time on our brand, and there’s a TON of awesome information out there!  Read and be in the know!



A little food for thought from The Arnold today!  It’s so funny to see how many gyms are jumping on the “What’s your excuse?” bandwagon… Yeah, we’ve been living it since 2004 at Corps Fitness.  Back when there was no building 7, and Chris drove around in his truck and hoped 5 people would show up for class on any given day.  Back when there was no fancy equipment; just a few body bars and ammo cans, and good old body weight.

…And another one, just for fun.  And, oh, HIIT isn’t new; it’s a new name for an old format: no-frills, kick-ass circuit training.  Same as we’ve been doing since the Happy Hollow and Gring’s Mill days!  So keep it up, CFers – you have always been and still are leading the way.  Stay different!


Attendance challenge pic

Snow in March, just a few days before spring’s arrival, gotcha down? We have the perfect thing to help get your mind off of it….A CHALLENGE!
This is a challenge ANYONE can do. It’s an Attendance Challenge.
Rules are on the flyer attached, but key points to know:
1. Runs the entire month of April.
2. Must Pre-enter the challenge before the start of the month by signing up at front desk.
It’s a very simple challenge, and will result in a huge reward for a lucky challenger!
Sign up to commit! Nothing to lose here folks!


NBC News recently ran a piece on retired NFL player David Vobora, who found meaning and renewed purpose in working with amputees at his gym.  Take a minute to watch the video and soak up the stories of the members, who themselves have found renewed strength after realizing what they can do.  The physical and mental benefits of exercise are indisputable.  But I don’t have to tell CFers that.

We’re fortunate to have the IM ABLE Foundation share our space, so we see firsthand what people with disabilities are capable of.  But you don’t have to be physically disabled to realize the benefits.  Here are a couple stories (keeping names and personal details anonymous) that we’ve heard from CFers over the years, where CF literally saved their lives:

  1. A successful financial trader during the economic collapse in 2008, lost a LOT of money for his clients.  Trading partner committed suicide.  But this guy found CF and dedicated himself 100% to the emotional and physical outlet it provided.  His family and personal life benefited immensely and a few years later, he narrowly escaped a major “widow maker” heart attack.  Credited CF for saving his life yet again; not only was he in tune with his body because of his physical fitness, but he had recently taken a CPR course with us and learned the warning signs / what to watch for.  Despite his physical fitness, he couldn’t escape genetics.  He had a emergency stent placed and has been doing great ever since.  I still get chills when I think about his story.
  2. A successful business owner, grew up in the area and was in and out of trouble, dealing with substance abuse issues.  By his mid 30’s, he was overweight and bogged down in the business but knew he had to make a change.  Came into CF wary of the group classes and with help from Chris, got his weight and nutrition under control.  Went on to lose a significant amount of weight and become a major beast in and out of the gym.  Credited CF with renewing his sense of self and allowing him to keep up with his children in a way he never thought possible.  He continues to be an even more successful business owner and all-around stud.

Your story is likely not on here, but I bet you have one.  Think about how finding Corps Fitness gave you an emotional, physical, and mental outlet.  How it exposed you to an amazing group of people who I bet you now hang out with outside of the gym too!  Isn’t it awesome??  And as a trainer / friend / CF family member, it’s so incredible to hear story after story just like these.  I’m sure there are more stories out there that I haven’t heard and may never hear, and that’s ok.  It’s enough to know that you found Corps Fitness, it means something to you, and it made a difference in your life.  Because THAT is why we do what we do.

Harley Davidson Team Building, December 2016
CrossFit Skills work, January 2017
Teleflex Corps Fitness class, January 2017

Reminder about our NEW CLASS!!!
Coming tomorrow, March 7th, and continuing Tuesdays from 8:30AM – 9:30AM: We will be offering a CrossFit/Corps Fitness Hybrid class. And it’s just like it sounds….a little bit of both offerings in the mix.  As always, as long as attendance warrants it, this will class will stay on the schedule! See you tomorrow!

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Happy Valentine’s Day, CFers!

6:30 PM Functional Fitness for Runners – continues TONIGHT!
Are you a runner, or do you want to become a runner!  Check out our great new partnership with A Running Start!  Don’t be scared by the “run-centric” aspect of this class.  Come on out and give it a try, learn what it’s all about, and see how it may benefit you.  This 6:30 PM time slot is something that has been requested by CFers, so we’re hoping it’s well utilized!
The CrossFit Open will take place from Feb 23 – Mar 27.  If you want to register (gives you access to website to see how you’re ranked among others nationally), visit https://games.crossfit.com/.
It’s not required to register online – you can still do the workouts at Corps Fitness during the times we’ll set up.  Corps Fitness does not get anything for you registering; it’s a personal thing if you want to.
We WILL need judges for the workouts – the judges course is available online.  I haven’t tried it yet, but it appears to be open and ready at any point (and a good way for XF to make $10 a pop…).  No doubt it’s a good way to learn the movements and what IS vs ISN’T a rep in CrossFit.  We’ll gather a list of all who take the judges course and can then score workouts when they come up.  If you take and pass the course, please email Gretchen to let her know.  We’re looking into adding times immediately after and possibly immediately before regularly scheduled classes, but we need to know how many people we have to plan it all out.

The All Out In Berks is changing over to a PURELY CrossFit competition this year.  Workouts have been announced – check the link for more info, and recruit some friends to partake!

Ongoing Open Gym Times
Open gym times are continuing thanks to our PSU student trainers!
We have added Mon-Fri 6:30am -1pm and 6:30pm-7:30pm,
Sat 10:30-11:30am
Sunday 9:30-10:30am

Personal Training
Our very own Jay V is now a certified personal trainer!  Check out the info above for a great opportunity for someone looking to get started on a fitness journey….or for someone looking to achieve specific fitness goals!

CF Market
Michelle’s kimchi is in the house!!  Sign up and purchase a quart today!

AND…we have Raw Honey!!!
Fellow CFer Emily Bundy brings to us raw honey from her family business, The Honey Bee Tree. There are delicious and beautifully packaged jars of honey for sale in the cafe (and information as well).
Why honey, and why RAW honey? Raw honey is unprocessed, pure, unpasteurized which helps to retain all its natural vitamins, enzymes and phytonutrients. Additionally, honey is a good source of anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties!

Check out the display in the Cafe. Purchases can be made at the front desk. Thanks Michelle and Emily Bundy for bringing these delicious items to CF!!

Even MORE Talented CFers
Also, did you know CFer Nancy is newly into the knitting business?  Knits by Nance is open to orders for these awesome beanies!  Let her know if you’re interested – $20, any color!