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Military Meets Marketing At Lodi CrossFit Gym

Jessica Murden began as a gym member and moved all the way up to co-owner of CrossFit ACT with Bill Shockley
Jessica Murden began as a gym member and moved all the way up to co-owner of CrossFit ACT with Bill Shockley Photo Credit: Anthony Locicero
CrossFit incorporates both olympic lifts (snatch; clean and jerk) with fundamental lifts (bench press; deadlift, etc.)
CrossFit incorporates both olympic lifts (snatch; clean and jerk) with fundamental lifts (bench press; deadlift, etc.) Photo Credit: Anthony Locicero
CrossFit ACT moved from Saddle Brook to Lodi three weeks ago
CrossFit ACT moved from Saddle Brook to Lodi three weeks ago Photo Credit: Anthony Locicero

LODI, N.J.– CrossFit ACT in Lodi is where military meets marketing.

Bill Shockley of Hasbrouck Heights and North Arlington's Jessica Murden opened the nearly 6,000-square-foot facility last month.

Shockley, 39, compared the classes to his time in the Marine Corps.

"It's an entire unit working together, pushing each other," he said. "It's regimented [and] people feel like they're a part of something bigger than themselves. It's a collective suffering."

Shockley opened the original location in Saddle Brook in March 2010. Murden, a Fashion Institute of Technology graduate, joined three months later.

“You get so pumped about it, you start telling everyone," she said. "It’s giving you a new community — a new purpose.”

Before long, Murden, 28, began handling the gym's social media accounts. She was hired full-time after her 2011 college graduation and is now director of marketing.

“Never in a million years did I think I was going to own a gym," she said.

Murden spent a semester at University of San Diego before a desire to get into fashion importing, exporting and buying led her to transfer to FIT.

Her focus shifted to sports marketing, but her corporate experience made her change her mind again.

"I wanted no part of it," she said. “I felt like I wasn’t helping anybody."

Shockley ran a painting business before becoming a personal trainer. While working with a client, he overheard a conversation about CrossFit.

Next thing he knew, he was traveling to California and along the East Coast for training and certification.

"I was learning the methodology as it was growing," Shockley said. "Everything is functional and empirical. It relates to how everyone moves."

CrossFit involves Olympic lifts — snatch, clean and jerk— and "fundamental" or power lifts: Shoulder press, bench press, deadlift, and back squat, Murden said.

The clientele includes men and women from teens to seniors.

On Friday nights, Murden goes to dinner with a group of women after the final class.

“CrossFit is my passion, my hobby and my career rolled into one," she said.

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