Member Spotlight: Aaron Spang

ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE

- This post is sponsored by Rogue although all the opinions of the athlete are his own.*

*Just kidding.  We love you Spang.

 

Aaron is the guy that comes up to you and gives you a firm handshake the first time he sees you.  He's the guy that will help you hustle through round 4 right when you get to the thrusters and want to walk out the door.  He's the guy that's not afraid to do something silly or self-deprecating to make you laugh.  And he is part of the amazing Team Spang - he and Jeri are the reason the #fitrelationshipgoals hashtag even exists.  He might joke around, he might spray his water bottle all over you mid-workout, and he may show up to a WOD in jorts, but he is also one of the most genuinely caring and inspiring people we've ever met.  We are so lucky that he joined the community at CFSC and we will always toast to Aaron Spang.  Thank you for doing this for us, Aaron - we love you, man!

Hey there!  Where are you from?

Born and raised in West Mifflin (near to Kennywood). Currently live with my wife Jeri and  2 girls in Jefferson Hills. 

 

What do you do for a living?          

I'm a Region Director for a specialist group with VWR International, a distribution company that sells consumables, reagents, and equipment to medical research labs and biotech companies. 

 

How long have you been doing CrossFit?                

For about a year and a half in total. 

 

Tell us about your athletic history…                 

I played soccer my whole life up through and including college. I coached competitive soccer before my girls were born and still help coach my 8 year old daughter's soccer team. I also played lacrosse in high school and club lacrosse in college. I've always been a sports fan and grew up playing everything I could, either organized or just pick up games.

 

What brought you to CrossFit St. Clair?               

Jeri, my wife, was actually the 1st in our family to jump into CrossFit, and the only reason I started was because she bought me a GroupOn for Integrated Fitness for my birthday. Of course I couldn't waste the money, so I had to go.  I started CrossFit at IF and was there for 6 months before the Bethel location closed. I took a few months off for a recurring shoulder injury that required some therapy. I started coming on the weekends to St. Clair after watching Andy compete in the 2014 Holiday Hammer and speaking with him about it. Josh was awesome in working with me on a weekend basis as I wasn't sure if I could do the drive every day. Ultimately I was hooked, and wanted to be with the group that I started with at IF. So I signed on full time. Added bonus was that I also met some tremendous new people at St. Clair, too! You can usually find me at 5am classes, which is actually disturbing to write as that seems (and is) SO EARLY. 

What’s your favorite way to sweat?  (Activity/Movement/Sport)              

Overhead Squats? HELL NO! (I'm terrible)             

Snatches? See abov            

Actually I love Power Cleans, Squat Cleans, and shoulder work. And squatting. Love Squatting. 

Grace is my favorite benchmark.

But the best part of the workout? 6:10am sitting on the floor with the 5am crew drinking some of Phil's freshly brewed coffee.

 

Favorite food? 

Love Food!!! Love it! Jeri and I are restaurant people, and Pittsburgh has such an awesome restaurant scene right now. Cure is my favorite restaurant. Loved Morcilla as well. And anything that Big Burrito does (Eleven, Casbah, Umi, Soba, Mad Mex) is on point. I probably eat Chipotle at least once a week. I haven't met a food I didn't really like, and I've been fortunate to be able to try so many different types. I always tell my girls that they should try things once, just once, and then decide only then if they do or don't like it. It works...sometimes. I also tell them about the time that I tried cow brains while on vacation, because you never know if they taste good! (they didn't by the way). 

Favorite movie?

I have a number that I really enjoy. Grew up watching Star Wars, and seeing the 7th episode with my daughters was pretty damn cool for me. I love Inception, Shawshank, Green Mile, Gladiator, and Braveheart, Huge fan of the Halloween series of horror movies. The Dark Knight is still one of my favorite movies I've seen at the theater. But I'm also a fan of B movies. Mystery Science Theater 3000 was hilarious. Student Bodies, Flash Gordon, and comedies like Step Brothers, Three Amigos, and Joe Dirt all have a special place in my heart.

 

Favorite book?

So hard as it is to believe, I actually do read. Not as often as Jeri, but I do. I love Stephen King stories. I've read most of them (I really liked Desperation), both novels and short stories. Jeri gives me recommendations that she thinks I'll like as she knows me best, and that's resulted in me reading some awesome books by Junot Diaz as well as The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. 

 

Favorite music to work out to?

Huge fan of harder metal/rock/thrash/electronic beats. Most people have heard my iPod playing, which includes Rammstein, Ministry, Metallica, NIN, Tool, Rage Against the Machine, and Deftones among others. Harder and faster music seems to be what I prefer. And while I love Frank Sinatra, it's not my cup of tea in the gym.

 

When you aren’t working or working out, where can we find you?

I travel a good bit for work, so there's a good chance I'm in another city. But otherwise I'm with Jeri and my girls most of the time. I love spending time with them whether we're out together or just hanging at our house. I have a tremendous group of friends from all facets of life that I appreciate hanging with. I have a great group of guys from college that I'm still in touch with regularly. And the people from the gym have become a 2nd family to me as I've spent a ton of time with them outside and inside of the gym.

I'm also blessed that I really love being with my family (sisters, parents, in-laws) and that they all live close. While we don't see each other as much as we'd like with our kids' activities and all, we do see and speak with each other often. Sunday dinners are something that I value with my family, just sitting and catching up. 

 

How has CrossFit changed you?         

First off it gave me one of the greatest lessons in humility that I could ever ask for. I'll never forget my on ramp class (it was really 1 on 1 with Kylie @ IF) and the 1st WOD she gave me, which had ring rows, push ups, and air squats. Being a former athlete I thought I'd be able to jump right in and hit it without an issue. WRONG! Also, the 1st time I came to class admittedly I remember working out next to some others thinking I was in better shape than they were. WRONG! They say that when you start CrossFit, you should check your ego at the door. I learned that one quickly, and try to remember that every time I step foot in the gym.

It's also exposed me to so many positive people, which of course leaks into my personal and professional life as well. Everyone that comes into class seems to do so to be better than they were the day before. And while we have some friendly competitive banter, we all truly do support each other in our individual journeys. Most people know that I love nothing more than to get in someone's face, yell directly at them, and get them to do 1 more rep than they thought they could. That's something special that I get out of it, whether it's during the Open or during a regular 5am class. I appreciate the people I get to interact with at St. Clair in every way. And the fact that I get to do it every day is a privilege for me that I don't take for granted. 

 

What do you love most about CrossFit St. Clair?

I love the workouts themselves as they are challenging but fun. They push me in ways that I don't push myself. As I said, I've gotten to know some tremendous people during my short time there. The coaches are not only phenomenal and motivating, they have become very good friends to me. I value their knowledge, their commitment to the community, and their friendship. 

I love the 5 am crew that I work out with. These goofy people get up at a ridiculous hour, roll into the gym, and leave making themselves just a little bit better than when they came in. I'm inspired by them, and motivated by them all the time. 

One of the greatest things though is that I get to share St. Clair with Jeri. While we don't work out nearly as much together, the fact that we go to the same place, do the same workouts, and can talk about it daily has strengthened our marriage in so many ways. She provided me with inspiration that I'll never be able to repay her with, and she motivates me daily to be a better person, a better father, and a better husband. Maybe we could have had that at another gym, but it seems to really fit in with the culture and community at St. Clair. 

 

What 3 words would people use to describe you?

Can you judge (me)?


Any mantra, favorite quote, or words to live by?            

My mother said this to me early in my life, and repeated it every time I left the house...she always looked me in the face and said to me "Use the good sense that God gave you." It's always stuck with me, and made me think of things before doing them. It's something I find myself repeating now to my girls.