Since opening in November of 2013, Aspire Health and Performance has been taking a different approach than most other gyms.
All of the trainers at Aspire are strength and conditioning coaches with a degree in either human kinetics or kinesiology, and trainer Andrew LoCurto explained they take a one-one-one approach with everyone.
“We really take advantage of every single client that comes through our doors, they meet with a coach and hang out with a coach for at least two hours, they get their assessment and they get a program designed specifically for them. Then they get their session so they really understand what’s going on. Everybody in our facility is here for a purpose, and everyone has a goal set out right from the bat.”
The trainers at Aspire believe the one-on-one work makes a huge difference as it allows clients to come in and see what they need to work on. Another way Aspire differs from most gyms is that there is no bulk membership available; everything is done on a month-to-month basis. Only offering memberships one month at a time eliminates the ‘come as you please’ mentality from members at the gym, but also makes it much more fun for everyone training and removes any intimidation.
“I’m not a gym person at all, I hate gyms,” said marathon runner Jennifer Wrede. “This is not a regular gym. Most people come here and have a goal that they set out to do. Everyone is ridiculously friendly, you come in and even if you’re not in the mood to work out they’re really supportive and it makes you want to come back. When you talk to anyone in the gym they want to know what your goals are, and they want to see you get to your goals.”
LoCurto explained they focus on providing a social, group setting where everyone can have a lot of fun, which leads to a closeness and sense of family amongst everyone who trains there. He noted everybody knows everybody, and they even do things together outside of the facility. That intimacy not only removes any intimidation anyone may feel, but the closeness allows everyone to keep pushing and motivating each other and reminding them why they’re there.
During the summer, Aspire is the home to a number of NHL players working on their summer conditioning. Nashville Predators defenceman and captain Shea Weber, Buffalo Sabres defenceman Josh Gorges, Dallas Stars forward Vernon Fiddler, Ottawa Senators forward Curtis Lazar and Colorado Avalanche forward Blake Comeau all train with Aspire owner and Director of Sports Science Shane Pizzey.
“We hit it off right away,” said Gorges, who has been training with Pizzey since 2006. “The group of us with Blake Comeau, Vern Fiddler, Shea Weber and (New Jersey Devils forward) Jordin Tootoo have been with Shane for a long time. I think he really understands what it’s like to train athletes, but also NHL players. He can tell the days that maybe we don’t have it and pull back, and he can make us push harder and compete with each other which is huge for our development. But he’s a good, loyal guy and when I look at who I want to be around, he’s a guy that’s going to push you to be better, he’s very professional and very knowledgable, and he’s never satisfied and neither am I.”
Gorges credits Pizzey with enabling him to take another step in his summer training, and noted Aspire isn’t just for professional athletes.
“This is a great place for not only athletes, but anyone who wants to come get in shape and learn from people who know what they’re talking about. It’s not just Shane, it’s the people he’s hired in here as well that do an excellent job of training their clients. It’s a friendly atmosphere, you don’t have to show off, you don’t have to be something special you can just come in here and do your job.”
Aspire is open to everyone regardless of their athletic background, as LoCurto explained they take clients ages eight to 85 who are there training for a sport or just for their own personal lifestyle. Whenever someone enters Aspire, the first thing that catches the eye is the slogan along the back wall, ‘Good is the enemy of great.’ The slogan has a very simple meaning as LoCurto described.
“We don’t want to settle for just average, we want to be the best of the best at everything we do. It’s as simple as that.”