Arsenal Strength’s success is determined by the happiness of our members and community.
My first impression of CrossFit before even hearing about Arsenal Strength was honestly not a good one. I had only seen photos on social media and was sort of annoyed by how much people were talking about their workouts. I’ll admit that initially I didn’t fully know what all CrossFit entailed. However, I like to try new things, and am the type of person that wants to try everything at least once, so even though I had a bad impression of CrossFit, I figured I should give it a shot.
Since my first day at Arsenal, my impression has changed dramatically. The workouts are really difficult, but it is great to be able to push myself to limits that I wasn’t reaching while working out on my own. I really like getting down and dirty with the workouts, and doing a lot of exercises and weightlifting that I haven’t done since high school. Like I said, the workouts of the day can be brutally difficult, but the feeling of overcoming whatever task is set in front of me is really rewarding. Brooks does a great job of motivating me to overcome those daily physical obstacles.
The great thing about CrossFit is that because of the variety of exercises, everyone is good at something! I’m lanky, so anything where length is a benefit I have done well (e.g. rowing). Also, I do fairly well with core-oriented workouts. And since there is so much variety in terms of movements there is always something I can work to get better at. I want to be able to improve every time I come to CrossFit. The thing I like the most about CrossFit, and it is obviously sort of the point of CrossFit, is the ability to cross-train. I think that with time I’ll continue to get better in every aspect thanks to the well-rounded workouts.
I would be crazy to not bring up the fact that I beat an active 20-year-old in a rowing competition in one of the first weeks of doing CrossFit. But overall, I would say my favorite experience is feeling accomplished when I walk out of the door every morning at 7:00 am! —Nick Orsborn
I started CrossFit a little over a year ago, August 2014. After a few years of focusing on running, I had run a few half marathons and a marathon, I saw a few friends who had started CrossFit. They loved it, and we’re seeing fantastic results. I wanted that.
My first impression of CrossFit was that it was very intimidating. I was scared, I didn’t know how to hold a barbell, let alone how to get that bar over my head! But, I’d never learn if I didn’t start.
That feeling has absolutely changed, and I try to pass along that message to anyone else who hasn’t, at least, tried CrossFit. So many people I talk to who haven’t tried CrossFit before or say they can’t do it, I remind them it’s because they haven’t tried. The CrossFit community is so welcoming, supportive and willing to teach new members.
I came to Arsenal a little over a month ago, and I felt so welcomed. The coaches at Arsenal care not only about the athletes, but the programming is well thought out and executed. The coaches take the time to review the movements and make sure the athletes form is on point. It shows that they pay attention to us, and want us to improve and get stronger without getting hurt.
My favorite part of CrossFit is that there is always something to work on. That could be adding weight for a new PR, or beating my time in a workout. I like that there is never an end, there is always a new goal to set and work for with the help and support of the coaches and community.
Come to Arsenal! And don’t wait another day, cause you’ll love it! —Layne Silverman
For many years, I tried really hard to get into fitness. I did your average gym routine with big machines and alternate leg and arm days, I tried running, DVDs with some ripped guy yelling at me from the TV — I tried a lot of different things and the result was always the same: I lost interest in about a month or less and regressed back into a sedentary lifestyle. I heard about CrossFit from some co-workers but coming from little to no fitness background, it intimidated me. I told myself I wasn’t an elite athlete — or any kind of athlete — and so it wasn’t for me; however, I was still intrigued with CrossFit’s methodology: constantly varied, short bursts of intensity.
Naturally, when I heard about Arsenal Strength from a good friend, I decided to give it an honest try. From my first fundamentals class with Brooks, the head coach, I could see his intense focus on technique and safety. His style and focus inspired the confidence I needed to continue. In a surprisingly short time, I saw huge improvements in my strength and endurance. It’s here where I became addicted to fitness through CrossFit and Arsenal Strength.
One of the most valuable things Arsenal Strength taught me about CrossFit is that it’s not exclusive to the elite or the experienced — it’s really for anyone who aligns with or desires the values of continuous improvement and a healthy lifestyle. It’s no exaggeration to say that CrossFit and the coaches at Arsenal Strength have changed my life. Since I’ve been committed to this, I feel better than I have in a very long time. My mental and physical fitness is reaching new heights, my confidence continues to evolve. The benefits flow into my work life, where I’m much more focused and productive. For all of these reasons, I now can’t imagine my life without the physical challenge and commitment to wellness that CrossFit provides. Unlike former routines, my workouts do not feel like a laborious task I need to check off on a list. These are exercises I sincerely look forward to each and every time. I think that’s the way fitness should be: something you want to do instead of something you force yourself to do.
There’re so many things I love about CrossFit. The camaraderie, the Olympic Weightlifting, the gymnastics — I’m doing things I never thought I could do and I do it with a strong, encouraging community that cheers me on the entire time. The best part, though, is the moment when a movement clicks for the first time and you nail it — it’s extremely satisfying when you get a jump rope under your feet twice in a single jump, or feel the weightlessness of a heavy bar in an Olympic lift, or do more strict pull-ups than you ever have! The accomplishments I achieve here radiate throughout the rest of my life and fuel a high level of energy and motivation for everything else life throws at me. —Chris Kornell
One Saturday morning, I went over to Hopfarm Brewing Company to fill a growler. I was disappointed to find that they were not open early on Saturday morning. Ridiculous. Since I was in sweatpants anyway and Arsenal Strength, Pittsburgh’s newest CrossFit affiliate, was next door, I decided to go in to check out the free intro session.
I went in prepared for the usual sales pitch. This will change your life. Blah blah blah. It didn’t happen. Instead I was greeted by the friendly owner/head coach who was so genuine that I became suspicious. What was he up to? Alas, I survived the intro and signed up on the spot. I’m a bit of an impulsive shopper.
At first I thought there was no way this place could stay in business with so few members. Even to this day I remain almost wholly unaware of the 5AM people. That is a whole other level of dedication right there. Anyway, as the weeks went by and more people stated to trickle in, I thought “wait, who are all these people?”
Class sizes grew from 2, to 5 to even 12 members per session. I like that the crowd varies. There are people who are just starting out and working hard on correct and safe technique, the class clowns and good timers (follow me.. you know who you are), and of course the serious folks who are all business (commence eye roll sequence). Somehow we all manage to coexist on the same path to our different destinations.
Overall health, competition results, strength and stamina, getting yuuuge, or maybe just camaraderie…everyone is working toward a goal. For me, a trip to Arsenal is an hour of the day that is focused on the immediate task at hand and not on new TPS report coversheets (Yeah, I got the memo). How am I feeling at this very minute? Sure, the answer is usually a slow motion, dramatic “noooooooo!” or “why?” or an expletive ridden “ouch.” At the end of a WOD I somehow feel better than when I arrived. Of course physical punishment isn’t the only thing to look forward to. See paragraph one’s reference to Hopfarm Brewing.
If someone is thinking about starting this for the first time I would tell them to have an open mind and give it a try. It isn’t necessarily what it looks like on TV or in social media and it is a great excuse to buy some sweet new sneakers. —Kerri O.
I had always been into fitness since high school. Lifting, running, yoga, or taking group classes. But I was always the person who got into a fitness routine and quickly fell out of it due to the same old workouts. Eventually, I found myself being out of the gym for years because I lost the motivation. After years of putting myself on the back burner I realized I needed to get the fitness back in my life and work with me because it always made me feel better about myself. I had kept hearing of CrossFit and decided to look into it more. I asked a friend, who had recently joined CrossFit, how he liked it and he gave me nothing but great reviews on CrossFit, specifically Arsenal Strength and Brooks. I took the chance, signed up, and have loved it ever since.
Joining Arsenal changed everything I ever thought about CrossFit. I imagined the biggest, fittest athletes just looking down on the rookies as if they were nothing. It was actually the opposite, everyone there from the slimmest to the buffest, from the ones squatting 70lbs to the ones squatting 300lbs, were supportive and welcoming. Brooks and the other coaches keep their eye on you at all times to correct you on your form so you don’t injure yourself. They promote nothing but positivity, motivation, and support. It is competitive, but you only compete with yourself to do better each day. I leave each workout feeling better about myself.
Since joining Arsenal Strength the results have been amazing! I have noticed, as well as others, the change in my body. Each week I am surprised that I can lift 5lbs more than I did last week. Those results prove I am getting stronger. I also enjoy the non-repetitive workouts, every day is different and very challenging! There is so much positivity and motivation that there is no way you can become discouraged and quit.
My favorite memory in my three months of CrossFit is doing the Gladiator Rock’n Run with everybody. That was the first time I have ever competed in a challenge like that. It was a blast working together with such a great team! I left with a huge sense of accomplishment! Joining CrossFit, especially Arsenal, has been one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made. I see myself still doing this in 10 years…even longer! Overall, I would say joining Arsenal has helped me find my motivation again. My self confidence is growing and I feel so much happier and better about myself. The only way you’re going to see a change in your life is if you go out there and make the change! —Michael Frick
I first came across an advertisement on Facebook for the New You Challenge. I had been sort of depressed for a few years and just was going through life just sitting around after losing my job. I gained a bunch of weight and was just unhappy with myself. Once I thought about it hard enough, I decided to set up a meeting with Brooks and he assured me that CrossFit was for everybody because I was a bit intimidated by it. I was a bit unsure of myself but I stuck with it.
After joining the New You Challenge, I was a bit unsure if I would be able to complete it, but the coaches assured me that I could and they would encourage me to finish every workout. They were also very understanding of my disability and would do everything they could to accommodate me. I finished the 6 week challenge and had such great progress that I decided to become a full time athlete at the gym. Since starting CrossFit in May of this year I have lost 100 pounds, and I can not thank the coaches and members at the gym enough for showing me that anything is possible if you just try and to be consistent. The community at Arsenal Strength is so pisitive and welcoming, it is truly a great place to be a part of and I have never been happier and more confident in myself since joining Arsenal Strength.
It doesn’t matter where you start from, everyone at the gym is always pushing you and encouraging you to finish the workout. There’s always some scaled version of a workout to accommodate everyone. The feeling that you get from completing a workout especially a tough one is unbelieveabke. I started CrossFit at 316 pounds and now I am down to 215. If you just put the effort in and stay consistent the results would be evident. The coaches at Arsenal Strength are very positive, friendly, and knowledgeable. Arsenal Strength is such a wonderful place to be a part of. I can’t imagine my life now without CrossFit and I can’t thank everyone from Arsenal enough. —Josh Brown
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