Since I have been a young adult I have always had an interest in exercising and being fit. I was that person that enjoyed the classes offered by the globo-gyms, I participated in kickboxing, step, body pump, conditioning, yoga, even Jazzercise - although I don’t like to admit it! It was the class comradery that I thrived on and made life long friends as a result of it. When I started my family, the gym became less of a focus and I found myself searching for time to exercise. Rather than hitting the gym, I started doing a lot of home exercise such as P90x. It allowed me to do it on my terms and allowed for more flexibility. Though, I missed the social aspect of working out. As Crossfit started to become more popular, my husband was anxious to give it a try. Although he was quite the athlete in high school, he was not the same ‘gym rat’ that I once was when we met. He joined a local box and immediately fell in love with the total Crossfit package. Of course, it had me intrigued and I was anxious to learn more about it! In the beginning, it had me extremely intimidated and way out of my comfort zone. My first Crossfit “class” was nothing like the typical globo-gym fitness class. There were tires, ropes, sleds, and lots of weight! I had never attempted any real weight lifting other than the body pump classes at the gym. This was a big game changer for me. But, I was beginning to like it and was even more impressed with the changes in my body after my third child. Over time, I began to feel less threatened by the lifts and weights and noticed that I was getting stronger and more confident. Plus, I enjoyed getting to share this fitness program with my husband and, even my kids! With Crossfit’s popularity, many new boxes have emerged and we learned that not all boxes are the same. This is where Embark comes in.... My husband and I had heard about Embark planning a grand opening last January (yeah, that is right, they had a grand opening in 2013 and are gearing up for another one this January 2014). We had previously met the owner, Jim Barone, at another box where we were both members. We thought it would be cool to support him and attend the grand opening of his new box! We didn’t realize that we’d be blown away by the difference in boxes. We not only participated but, also witnessed many of Jim’s members far exceed ing expectations! They were fast, they were strong, and they were killing it! I remember leaving that day and wondering, ‘why aren’t we seeing the same results’? I’ve since learned that all Crossfit gyms are NOT created equal! Coaching is a critical selling point for me. Embark has a diverse team of coaches and each one brings uniqueness to the coaching. Many with years of personal training/fitness experience, medical professionals, and military backgrounds. The workouts are well thought out and have a good mix of cardio, strength training, and stretching. Embark’s new facility (opened in Oct 2013) is beyond impressive. More space than you can imagine and top-notch equipment. We even have separate his/her bathrooms! And…have you seen the competition trailer?!? The amenities at Embark are endless. They offer yoga, a running club, a barbell club, nutritional information, on-site chiropractor, and are looking to kick off a Crossfit Kids class early next year. Regardless if you have attempted another Crossfit box in the past or have never tried it, I strongly recommend giving Embark a try. All workouts can be scaled or modified to suit your fitness level. You have absolutely nothing to lose (other than fat) and so much more to gain…I say go for it! Lisa D My Embark experience kicked off in February 2013, at Jim Barone's birthday party. My wife, Jackie, had brought me with her; she joined Embark in January after migrating through a couple other boxes within the past few years. "Okay," I thought, "I'll probably talk fitness with a bunch of weekend warrior weight jockies with no endurance." (I should have known better, since I am married to a hot little firebreather.) So we arrived. To a room full of the fittest looking group of people I had ever met. And the women all looked like models. And I was intimidated. These people would never be impressed with my marathon PR. But then they upset my expectations. Every person I met was friendly, and engaging, and they all had stories that were inspiring and interesting. I promised Jim I would come by after I finished the marathon I was training for. I joined Embark in April. I was lucky to have running ability and the ability to do strict pullups. Because everything else was a hot mess. How exhausting it was to pull a 45-pound bar out of the rack for the first time! How ego-deflating to get hit in the face with a 10-pound medicine ball, while the (model-looking) girl next to you is whipping up 14-pound wall balls. And then there was my jump roping! Double unders? I couldn't even do single unders. But again, Embark upset my expectations. In order to pretend to shrug it off, I laughed at my own inability. But I was the only one laughing. Instead of criticizing, the coaches helped break the motions down into smaller steps. Instead of laughing, the other members cheered me on as I progressed. Every time I wanted to quit, someone else's encouragement made me stay. Eventually, as I learned how to do the movements, I would get the opportunity to cheer on other members. Fast forward to now, 7 months later. I have gained nearly 20 pounds of muscle. When they see me, runners I've trained with ask, "Woah. Whatever you're doing, you're looking strong." They're equally impressed when they see that I haven't seemed to have lost any running speed or endurance. Jackie and I spend a lot of time at Embark--maybe a bit too much. Both of us are RXing 50% or more of the WODs with decent scores. The thought of 100 pullups doesn't phase me anymore. Jackie and I are both getting proficient at complex barbell movements--the snatch and the clean and jerk. I'm starting to get my double unders. It seems like at least every week one of us has broken through a barrier that used to be impassable. More importantly, we have surrounded ourselves with friends--members and coaches--who are just amazingly good people. They are each smashing their own obstacles. Outside the box, they are serving their communities and raising healthy, smart, kind families. They are succeeding in so many ways. And there's this genuine desire--from the top of the list to the bottom--to see our teammates grow and succeed. These are people I was intimidated to talk to 7 months ago. They're people I would have been afraid to talk to when I was in high school (when I hated gym class). Embark has truly upset my expectations about what Crossfit is, and about what strength and grace are about. And I am better for it. Thank you Barones! Dan B ﷯ When I walked into CrossFit Embark in January 2013, it was not only my first time in a CrossFit gym, it was my first time in any gym. Before CrossFit my fitness was solely through running, with a goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon. But I was periodically frustrated by injuries. I finally accepted that I needed to cross train and for me CrossFit Embark has more than fulfilled that goal. By taking advantage of Embark's programming inside the box 3-5 times a week, and running outside the box another 3 times a week, I was just able to knock 14 minutes off my marathon PR (from 3:36 to 3:22). And this is on significantly less running than before (around 30 miles per week since CrossFit vs 50 mpw before CrossFit). The programming at Embark has helped me to improve my strength and flexibility. I've easily lost 15 lbs of fat and gained 5 lbs of lean body mass. My running has been injury free for the first time in years. I'm confident that CrossFit was the missing piece that will allow me to BQ soon enough. Since day one I've felt like I've been in good hands at Embark. Each Embark coach has his or her own coaching style, but they are all knowledgeable, competent, and supportive. I've never felt unsafe or unsure during a workout. Finally, a word about the owners. The Barones treat everyone like friends. Jim's enthusiam for CrossFit is unbounded and nothing seems to excite him more than seeing a member improve or learn a new skill. He and MaryJane have done an incredible job of creating a community of athletes that all support each other inside and outside the box. I'm glad to be part of the Embark family. Jay S ﷯ Before Crossfit I had always been active. I ran track in high school, worked out at various gyms, ran outside, joined boot camp classes and participated in sprint triathlons and mud runs. Despite all these activities I never really felt like I pushed my body to its limit and challenged myself. My twin sister joined a Crossfit box in the Boston area and it seemed like every time we talked she was telling me about her Crossfit workouts and accomplishments. We had both recently celebrated our 42nd birthday and she was looking leaner and stronger than ever! Still, I was hesitant to leave the gym I belonged to and somewhat intimidated to give Crossfit a try. The year leading up to my first Crossfit workout was the most difficult emotional time in my life. My father was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer. I helped care for him and watched cancer consume his body and spirit. As I watched his life slip away I made a decision to live my own life to the fullest and challenge the body God gave me. Two weeks after my dad passed away I participated in my first WOD and I haven’t looked back. I am constantly setting goals for myself because of Crossfit and the community at Crossfit Embark. I watch other athletes accomplish goals and push themselves and that inspires me. My first goal was a kipping pull up. Within 6 months of Crossfit I could do a kipping pull up AND magically a strict pull up, too! Other goals I’ve set and achieved include double unders, toes to bar, handstand push ups as well as adding just a little bit more weight to the bar each time I lift. What I love about Crossfit is that you are never done learning what your body can do. Once you learn a pull up, can you do a butterfly pull up? Now that you can do double unders, can you challenge yourself to do triple unders? Can you add just 5 more pounds to your new Thruster personal record? I love that the coaches at Embark know their members. They know our strengths and weaknesses and how to find the perfect coaching balance to help push us through what we are physically capable doing of that our mind has not yet recognized. Crossfit is now a permanent part of my life. I intend to continue setting goals for myself and pushing my body to do things I never thought possible. I’ve learned not to take strength and good health for granted because we never know when that will be taken from us. Because of Crossfit I’ve embraced being in my 40s and I look forward to many healthy years ahead! Kirsten A CrossFit Embark is my 3rd CrossFit gym since first discovering CrossFit in 2010. While I took to CrossFit immediately, my prior CrossFit boxes had a variety of issues—chronic short supplies of equipment, dirty/unclean equipment and facilities, ‘coaches’ that just showed up to run to the clock without actually coaching, programming that either catered to the MetCon-lovers with little emphasis on skill/strength development and/or workouts that seemed to be made up on the fly without much thought to long-term results or balance. In January 2013, I joined CrossFit Embark and I haven’t looked back. The coaches at Embark are phenomenal. The programming at Embark is well-rounded with clear attention to developing well-rounded athletes. In a very short amount of time at Embark, I started making huge gains left and right from big gains in my lifts, to finally getting those elusive pull ups and double unders. CrossFit Embark always goes out of its way to listen to its athletes and goes above and beyond. They have always made sure that there is plenty of equipment to go around and have multiple coaches on hand for larger classes. They regularly host various clinics and seminars including pull up and kipping clinics, jump rope clinics, mobility clinics, nutritional seminars and barbell club. Lastly, when it comes to CrossFit, it’s not just about the box, coaches and equipment, but it’s also about the community. CrossFit Embark’s community is unlike anything I experienced at the other boxes. Everyone is welcoming to new members, helps cheer on each other, supports athletes participating in competitions, and gets together to celebrate birthdays, holidays, etc. On those days when I’m not feeling as self-motivated, I have a whole community to push me and when I’m not there, they ask about me, making it easier to stick to my goals while having fun working out. Jackie B