Aspire Blog


authentic you

By holly yeck 

I've been staring at my computer for three-days, trying to figure out where to begin with my first personal blog post. Ironically it's all about vulnerability, which is likely why I'm stalling. My purpose is to share what's been on my heart.

I'll start with sharing how ASPIRE was born, because it's an important part of my story. Four-years ago I was working in sales, my husband and I were both traveling, and we were growing our family. With two kids under the age of four, I wasn't fulfilled in my career, I didn't want to travel anymore, and I wanted to do something that gave me purpose and more joy. I was going to Barre3 weekly, and was interested in opening one in Happy Valley, but at the time, they were not franchising in the Portland area. I had a strong background in teaching group fitness, and reached out to friends within the industry about creating a group fitness boutique within our community. From there, the idea of ASPIRE was born! 

Building a business from the ground up is not an easy feat, but at that time, I had the tenacity and grit to learn as much as possible, and make my dream become a reality. I was still working in my sales job during the day, but at night, I was working on policies, procedures, class format ideas, number crunching, researching, and so much more. I was so EXCITED about what was developing, that I didn't want to sleep; I couldn't wait for the next chapter of my life! Fast forward to opening in March, 2014. I taught 12+ classes each week, often with just 1-2 people, we were building an amazing team, and I was the happiest that I had been professionally. I knew in my heart that ASPIRE would be a place that friendships would build, lives would change, and with that, I found my purpose and so much joy. 

The shift. The tenacity and grit that drove me to chase my dream served me for several years, but when you land on your dream, you're not taught how to deal with uncertainty or how to manage emotional risk. Vulnerability as well as fear became a constant within me over the past year in particular. While I tried my best to outrun it, vulnerability and fear was like a gray cloud that hung over me. I feared of being judged based on decisions that had to be made for the studio. I feared of sharing too much on social media; I feared of sharing too little. I feared of getting too close to people, and being my authentic self. I feared isolation that can come with business ownership. I feared that I wasn't having fun anymore. I was in a funk, I lost my joy. I questioned my purpose. I lost trust. 

The Growth. Understanding that vulnerability is not a bad thing was like a street fight for me. There were times that I would post on Instagram or in my story feed, and then delete it. I would let judgement from others get in my way. I love this excerpt from Brene Brown from her book, The Gifts of Imperfection. "Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” This resonates with me so deeply. Allowing our true self to be seen, without shame or fear, and leaning in to the discomfort of vulnerabilty can feel unnatural. It's hard, because we're human, and we care about being loved and liked.

Authentic YOU. I had wine with a dear friend a few weeks ago, and we talked for a couple of hours about ALL of this. She asked me some really tough questions, and helped me to remember why I chose this path four-years ago. It was a breakthrough for me, and a reminder that I can't put the pressure on myself to be all things to all people. I can't. I won't. And I hope that you won't either. 

I ask that you'll join us in our Authentic August campaign. We have a poster board at the studio, and I would love for you to write down one thing on the board that you'll let go of, stop worrying about, or stop fearing. If social media is bringing you down, reduce the time that you spend on it. If you want to share something on social media, don't be afraid to be vulnerable. Whatever makes you authentically YOU, we ask that you join us in celebrating in it. "Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change." - Brene Brown

Book Recommendation: "The Power of Vulnerability" by Brene Brown

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olga Emerson

client highlight

Olga's first day at ASPIRE was September 9th, 2016. She has attended 257 classes, 209.50 hours of group fitness, and numerous more hours in the personal training room! Please read more below about this wonderful and inspiring woman, in her own words. 

Olga says . . .  

I grew up in a household with little to no focus on nutrition or fitness. My mom, a chef by trade, focused on preparing the meals she knew we would love; unfortunately, she never worried about nutritional factors or portion control. Moving into adulthood, I tried different “fad” diets. These “diets” allowed me to lose weight at times, but ultimately led me back to regain everything and add a few more pounds. My fitness level was non-existent much of the time. I would try video workouts or self-motivated gyms, but would quickly lose interest or think it was too hard for me. 

My motivation to become healthier, was that I wanted to get healthy and stronger for myself. I would struggle walking up the stairs or taking a small hike. These tasks would take everything out of me. I had no drive for anything. Now, after doing the classes and personal training, I find myself leaner - Definitely Stronger! I have also met some amazing ladies at Aspire that got me back out into hiking in our beautiful state! Through these experiences, I have finally found my biggest drive. I want to go to places I never imagined myself going, and actually being able to complete. I want to travel not because it sounds cool but because I want to explore, hike, climb and take in all of the beauty.

I've learned that consistency is so important. I love all of the classes offered at Aspire but my favorites are:

· Bodypump - I love challenging myself with heavier weights. Lifting weights is my favorite because I can almost immediately see results.

· Barre Bootcamp - It encompasses all aspects of a workout: weights, cardio, glutes and abs. My whole body feels worked!

· TRX - I never imagined I’d love this class because it's super challenging; But I have found that I look forward to seeing the progress of being able to do these things that initially I couldn't even wrap my brain around!

· Metcon/HIIT/Sweat - All of these classes are hard, but my body feels great and I have so much energy afterwards. It also helps to have a fun instructor in Erica!

· Pound - This is a new one for me but I love the energy in this class.

I never imagined I’d be comfortable in a group class due to being overweight. Initially, After completing the Beginner's Bootcamp program I honestly didn't think that I could keep going in a group setting. I started personal training, and in just less than a month, found myself comfortable enough to sign up for more group fitness classes. I dreaded coming to my first class because I “thought” I would be intimidated, but as I did the class, I was hooked. The instructors are all so encouraging, energetic, understanding and fun! The members that I've become friends with are all at different levels of fitness, shapes, and sizes and everyone is super positive to the point where I just wanted to keep going and be in that environment. For me, It’s ok to modify the workout if you can't do what others are doing as long as you are doing it and feel like you’re challenging yourself you are winning. I’m still a work in progress and a long way from my goal but I’m so much closer than where I started!

Never feel intimidated and never compare your journey with others; their fitness or weight loss journey may not even be close to your journey. I find small victories to be my best and favorite victories.

Aspire truly helped me change my outlook on fitness and nutrition. I read labels like a crazy lady! I'm still not perfect and have old habits but continue making better choices now. I love coming to workout. If you feel like you are lacking this fire, maybe try a few sessions of personal training. This helped me get into a better mind-set and gently pushed me to where I am now. Things I did not think I could do I now can. I was shown I could do much more than I let myself believe.

Some of my favorite inspirational quotes:

*Fitness is not about being better than someone else.. It’s about being better than you used to be.
*Everyday is another chance to get stronger, to eat better, to live healthier, and be the best version of you.
*Not every day is a good day; show up anyways.
*I am not trying to build a Summer body; I am trying to build a lifestyle. 


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Charity butler

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Charity joined ASPIRE on September 8, 2014. She's logged 975 classes, and 935.75 hours! Health and wellness was not always a priority in Charity's life. Learn more about what motivates her to keep driving forward in her journey! 


In her words ...

 "I grew up in the Philippines where fresh seafood and farm to table was typical, so eating clean was something that I learned at an early age. However, after college, I worked in a job that made me sit all day inside, and that's where I started to develop poor eating habits, and began gaining weight. The turning point for me was when I was tired of feeling tired and overall lousy, so I joined a local gym. 


Fitness has become so important to me because I feel the endorphins after a great workout, which trigger positive feelings, and give me more energy. I had postpartum depression in 2003, so exercise was my way of feeling good about myself!


My favorite classes are BODYSTEP, BODYATTACK and TRX. I love the variety and a great challenge. I love that winded, shaking, dripping sweat feeling! It reminds me that I've pushed myself to my maximum potential. A huge benefit to doing classes is that the people I've met have become close, lifelong friends, who have also become my accountability partners. For anyone who feels intimidated about starting their fitness journey, think of this as an investment in YOU. Think of your long-term goals and health. You're worth it! 

My five simple rules that I live by are: 

  1.  Eat Clean
  2. Never Miss a Monday
  3. Never go three-days without exercise
  4. Workout at least three-days per week
  5. Never give up!


Finally, I want to share my favorite quote! "Your body can stand almost anything. It's your mind that you have to convince." 




kerri azar

member highlight

Kerri joined ASPIRE on June 15, 2015, and has attended 1,425 classes, which is 1,355.75 hours of fitness at ASPIRE! Prior to ASPIRE, she was streaming fitness videos from home, until a friend convinced her to try group fitness. 

In her words . . . 

"Coming to ASPIRE is part of my daily routine. I don't give myself the option to skip. There are days when I don't feel like working out, but I know I will feel worse if I don't show up! Exercise is a stress reliever for me. I push myself to my limit, and forget about everything else. I also want my kids to see that fitness and being healthy is important, so I want to lead by example. I'm very motivated by the others who show up for class! BODYSTEP™ is currently my favorite class!

For anyone who struggles to find the motivation to get started,  I want you to know that you are worth it! As Jillian Michaels says, "You have to find your why. WHY do you want to be fit and healthy? You have to find what drives you beyond just your feelings. You won't always feel like showing up, or making a healthy choice on the dinner menu, but it's easier when you know your WHY. Oh, and buy yourself some cute clothing to workout in .. it helps!" 


PT Client Highlight - Amber R.

Trainer | krisha davis

ATF: What was your motivation for starting personal training?

Amber: My motivation to begin training with Krisha was to really take my fitness to the next level and Krisha's excitment and motivation for me to be the best I can be.

ATF: What was your first session like, were you nervous? 

AmberMy first training session I was so scared and excited at the same time. I remember she pushed me out of my comfort zone, she never let up snd I'm pretty sure I was dreaming about planks and her saying just one more that night... but it was never just one more! Lol! The ab roller doohickey is evil! The trx straps! There wasn't one session that I didn't dread a little. Our bodies can do amazing things. Krisha taught me my body won't change unless I push it, which means I'll be uncomfortable and it will be HARD.

ATF: Tell us how you felt after your first session. Where you sore for days?

AmberSore is a mild way of putting how I felt the first week. My whole body hurt and I remember groaning a lot. Sitting up and down gracefully was a challenge.

ATF: What is your typical weekly workout schedule?

Amber: I try to go Monday through Friday at ASPIRE. If I miss a weekday class I like to make it up on a Saturday. I love BODYPUMP™, Booty Blast, Sculpt fusion, Yoga and Barre . I also love walking and playing tennis with the family. Always trying to keep active.

ATF: How has your nutrition changed over the past year?

Amber: Nutrition is KEY! I couldn't see all my muscles unless I got the fat off. Macros, Macros, Macros! My body changes and I do so much better when I'm on the lower carb end but Krisha set me up for success with Macros. I use my fitness pal app and everything is logged. I'm not perfect so when I want a piece of cake or a trip to froyo, I can plan for it and calculate it in my plan with no guilt.

ATF: What else would you like to share? 

Amber: I just want to share that I've known Krisha long before I came to Aspire. I would listen as she told me of the classes she was teaching with such excitment and enthusiasm, and was completely inspired! I bought a Groupon for ASPIRE at 215 pounds. A year later with 4 of those months training with Krisha I'm down 45 pounds. I still have a little way to go but I can play with my kids without gasping for air and go on long walks or even jog for fun! I use to have extreme back pain and I was tired all the time. I told Krisha when I started that I wanted this to be my thing. At 41 I've never felt better!  

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(For Reference, ATF: ASPIRE Total Fitness | J: June)

ATF: What was your motivation to begin personal training with your trainer?

J: Three-years ago, I was entering into my mid 50's, and wanting to feel better and have more energy. I am a breast cancer survivor and wanted to get in shape. My daughter Ally had started working at ASPIRE with Holly, and she encouraged me to start taking classes. Ally then suggested to try some personal training with Amanda. She spoke so highly about Amanda, and since Holly had hired her, I knew she would be awesome! I purchased the "New Client Special," and was hooked before the last session was up, so I signed up for more. I've been committed ever since! My reward is having Amanda work with me one-on-one to c...

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