Aspire Fitness pushes gym-goers to their limits

Building strong relationships is really important when it comes to health. This means being comfortable with your body and being able to work closely with others who want to improve your health with you.

At Aspire Fitness, Jason Penner seeks to do just that. He values a good relationship between trainer and client.

With pictures lining the wall to display a few of his clients’ accomplishments – from marathon runners dramatically improving their time to a piper losing weight to fit into her costume – Penner works with people to overcome plateaus and to move forward with their goals.

His gym, located at 3501 McGillivray Blvd., is a small but well-equipped facility for pushing gym-goers to their limits. In addition to bikes and treadmills, there are stability balls, an impressive collection of free weights and a variety of strength-training machines.

The special Gerflor sports flooring allows for some “bounce,” too. This prevents dumbbells from denting the floor and it’s also easier on the joints when clients are performing plyometric movements. The building was designed especially for Aspire Fitness, so there is a ladder permanently drawn on the floor for agility training.

As owner and one of the three trainers at the gym, Penner has been working with clients for six years. He works on a one-on-one basis so that there are only about half a dozen clients in the gym at a time. This allows for a more personalized workout.

In a recent visit to the gym, I was able to give the High Intensity Tempo Training (HITT) program a shot. It involves 10 different exercises, each performed for 90 seconds at a time. The set of 10 is repeated three times with two 90-second breaks in the entire workout. A bell ringing at the end of each 90-second section cues you to move to the next exercise.

HITT consists of circuits that aim to decrease body fat while simultaneously increasing lean muscle mass. It challenges strength, endurance and cardio with exercises such as jumping lunges, medicine ball crunches and leg presses.

Being there with only a few other people pushes you to work harder than if you were at a regular gym where you’re free to do your own thing.

Penner charges $360 for eight weeks of HITT. If you sign up with a friend, your fee will be reduced to $240 each. Penner works with HITT program clients for three one-hour sessions a week to get the best results.

Other services he provides include CustomFIT for general fitness, Enhanced Personal Training (an online tool), Performance Training for athletes and a fundraising Boot Camp.

You don’t have to be an athlete to join Aspire Fitness – anyone who wants to improve their health and get in shape can join.

To learn more, visit

Sagan Morrow is a freelance writer and editor. Check out her health and wellness blog at

Published in Volume 65, Number 2 of The Uniter (September 9, 2010)

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