December in Review

With the holiday, December tends to be the most challenging month to remain committed to health and fitness goals. Every time we had 15 or more people roll out of bed in sub-freezing temperatures for a 5:15 a.m. class, I was even more motivated to do everything possible on my end to give my members the best service possible.

We had an influx of middle school, high school, and collegiate athletes come back from Fall sports or join us for the first time. The environment after school has been everything I hoped for. Winter sports began and now I have dates at the basketball court Tuesday and Friday nights and at the hockey rink on various nights.

This review by no means encompasses the extent of accomplishments of our entire community but rather highlights a handful of events and successes from this past month. If you know someone who deserves recognition in future editions, please reach out to me at

December 1st – Reindeer Run for Wheat Community Connections

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On Saturday, December 1st, a handful of our members participated in the Reindeer Run to raise money for Wheat Community Center, an organization providing food, clothing, and other items to support residents in Berlin, Bolton, Clinton, Lancaster, and Sterling. Wheat is very important to our community and I’m thankful that our members represented our gym at this event.

December 6th – Basketball Opening Night

Nashoba Basketball, a program that I’ve been involved with in some capacity since a couple of years before the gym opened, started their season on Thursday, December 6th against Saint Johns. One of the hardest tilts on their schedule combined with only a couple days of practice for the kids returning from football and a short bench didn’t produce a favorable result. But since, they’ve won four straight including a standout performance (highlighted below).

December 11th – Newton Running Ambassador Selection

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Towards the end of October, Newton Running, a company very popular in the running and triathlon world, posted that they were accepting applications for their Ambassador program. I submitted an application without much expectation. On December 3rd they posted that they had received so many applications that they needed another week before making decisions; lowering my expectations of favorable news even further.

However, on December 11th I received an email that they had picked Jacob and I as a duo for their 2019 Ambassador program. The company seems to be excited to support our mission of inclusive fitness and I’m very excited for what I will be able to offer with their support.

December 14th – Jack Richard’s 35 Points against Narragansett


Over the last five years I’ve watched a lot of high school basketball; more than I care to admit. My involvement at the gym has shifted my interest from professional sports entirely to the high school and collegiate programs of my members. I care far less about a Red Sox World Series than I do about a Nashoba Football Super Bowl or even a Nashoba Basketball regular season win. The latter had an extra appeal to it on December 14th.

No one has worked harder than Jack the last several years which made the game against Narragansett on the 14th even sweeter. Following up a first half that saw him hit six three pointers, Jack made another four to give him what I would expect is a school record 10 three-pointers and a career high 35 points; leading Nashoba to a narrow win over a very strong Narragansett program.

December 18th – Jimmy Fund Clinic Holiday Toy Drive

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For the second year, our members graciously donated toys for me to deliver to the Jimmy Fund Clinic at Dana Farber. If you read the blog post from earlier in the month you learned about the inspiration behind the drive. If you didn’t but would like to, revisit the post to learn a little bit about my relationship with Leah. It was extra special to get to visit the Jimmy Fund this year on Leah’s mom, Tina’s birthday. I cannot summarize the impact that the Jimmy Fund has in a paragraph, nor could I in an entire blog post; but it is the most important organization to me and I greatly appreciate everyone’s contribution to the holiday toy drive.

December 18th - Assault Fitness Order

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While I’ve managed to squeeze a lot of equipment into 2400 square feet of space, there was one more piece I wanted to add, and one more that our members were hoping wouldn’t fit. The last big purchase of 2018 consisted of an Assault Air Runner and a second Assault Bike.

December 28th through 31st – Cerebral Palsy Study Post-Tests

This Fall/Winter we piloted a research project with Fitchburg State. You can read more about it a previous blog post.

We had five participants for the study, used two models of InBody’s body composition devices and put athletes through eight weeks of strength and conditioning tailored to their abilities and what variables we were hoping to improve during the study. We retested athletes starting on December 28th and continuing into the new year. So far, our athletes have shown incredible progression in their strength numbers, measured through various tests of upper body pressing strength, lower body pressing, conditioning, core strength. I will have a more in depth write-up of the results in a future blog post.

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Brendan Aylwardspotlight