Join us Thursday, April 14 as we celebrate and honor EAD | CFAH athlete Malaika Corsentino with a special workout to commemorate her life and contribution to our training community.
Malaika was diagnosed with Stage 4 Glioblastoma, a very aggressive form of brain cancer, shortly after she competed in the 2013 Athena Classic. Malaika, Mom to three young children and Wife to fellow EAD | CFAH athlete John, returned to CrossFit after brain surgey and while still undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. She vowed to relearn her favorite CrossFit movements, including Double Unders and the Olympic Lifts … which she did in amazingly short order. She continued training throughout radiation treatment and several courses of chemo, hitting PRs arlong the way. She had hoped to once again compete in the Athena Classic.
Malaika died April 14, 2015, and we introduced her tribute workout at the 2015 Athena Classic on Saturday, April 18.
Complete as many rounds as possible in 7 minutes:
7 Snatch (85# / 25# DB Single Arm Alternating Snatch)
14 Pull Ups / Hanging Knee Raises
28 Double Unders / 56 Singles
Malaika’s strength and grace continues to inspire all who knew her, and we hope it will inspire you, as well.
Donations in Malaika’s honor can be made to Harley Helping Hands.
Congratulations to Tracy K, the March 2016 100% Award honoree. Fellow Sunrise Crew member Renee D nominated Tracy.
Tracy started her EAD training experience in June 2014 at CrossFit Axis, an EAD satellite location in Mt. Prospect. She soon moved to CrossFit Arlington Heights where she’s become a regular in the early morning CrossFit and Strength & Conditioning classes, and the Saturday CrossFit Women class.
“I so was glad to see Tracy make the switch from the 5:30 a.m. class to the 5 a.m. She is an amazing addition to our class. She works hard and busts her butt to nail a workout Rx,” said Renee. “Yet along the way, she takes time out to encourage and motivate others.”
Renee especially appreciates that Tracy takes time to help carry her through a tough workout. “One day were were doing Frog Hop Burpees and she kept moving ahead of me and giving me a line to jump to and it really motivated me. Whether it’s yelling ‘good job’ or ‘keep going’ or ‘you’re almost done’, she is constantly helping me finish up a WOD.”
The EAD | CFAH Performance Coaches agree, and describe Tracy’s work ethic as “intense,” “consistent,” “inspiring,” and note that she “constantly puts in the effort to reach her goals.” They see Tracy as a “great example for all our athletes” as she “is always pushing herself to be better and encourages those around her to do the same.”
We will honor one EAD | CFAH athlete each month with the 100% Award. The award honors EAD | CFAH Athlete Malaika Corsentino who gave 100 percent to her training, even while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation for Glioblastoma. The monthly honoree will be selected from nominations submitted by EAD | CFAH athletes and evaluated by the performance coaches.
The nomination deadline is for the April 100% Award is Monday the 25th. Email Coach Karen with the athlete name and a quick sentence or two describing how the nominee demonstrated commitment, consistency, camaraderie, community building, and / or the willingness to accept challenge.
This is another in a series of personal reflections contributed by Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights athletes about the mental, physical and emotional changes experienced since joining our health & fitness community. Mike joined EAD | CFAH in August, 2011; his wife, Sheila, followed in October, 2013. Mike credits the EAD | CFAH Training Community with dramatically improving his health and performance. He finished the 2016 CrossFit Games Open in 24th place in the North Central Region and 219th in the World for Masters Men 60+. This is Mike’s story.
I started training at Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights five years ago this coming August. I was a runner for years until a chronic tight calf muscle ended my running career. I vacillated between doing the elliptical at Lifetime Fitness and doing nothing at all. Consequentially my weight, energy, and health also were up and down. It was affecting my stamina at work, and I just was not happy with myself. I needed to do something. Even though I knew it wasn’t an option, I longed for the challenges of running long distances and the feeling of being fit.
About six and a half years ago, I received a flier from a trainer who conducted small group physical fitness training in a storefront on Lake Cook Road. I thought I would give it a try and joined the program. The workouts were programed (I use this term loosely; it was more like making it up as they went along) by the trainers and consisted of different combinations of Push Ups, Sit Ups, Ball Slams, Step Ups, some elliptical and treadmill work, and occasionally the punching the bag. It was different, and I liked the variety. I saw results over a period of time. I lost some weight and my stamina increased. I felt pretty good about what I was doing. After about a year, the wheels started to fall off the wagon. Trainers were turning over frequently; and the owner who conducted the 5 a.m. training sessions I attended started showing up late or not at all. Finally, towards the end of July with a two day notice, the facility shut down.
What I did like the most about this facility was the aspect of working out with a small group. There was camaraderie and support for one another within the group. At least that was the way it started out. By the time the facility closed, we were just bitching to each other about our frustration with the owner. I knew I wanted something similar but didn’t know where to find it. One person in the group had a sister who had worked out at EAD | CFAH and suggested that I look there. I went on line and saw that you could get five free classes by signing up and completing those classes within a two week period (Editor’s Note: Mike took advantage of the Two Four Free offer. Watch for information on the return of this special promotion.) I drove over one afternoon after work in early August to take a look. It was one of those 90 degree days. I walked into this warehouse with no air conditioning. I immediately began to sweat. There was a group of people running around in circles (the Dynamic Warm Up I would later figure out), and a trainer/coach. I spoke briefly with him, and he gave me information about when the workouts were scheduled and how the free trial worked. I was skeptical but decided to give it a shot anyway.
I showed up for my first trial class. We started with the Dynamic Warm Up, which I thought was the workout and was totally gassed. Then we started doing a whole other workout, and I barely made it through. It was the first lesson I learned at EAD | CFAH: I could do more than I thought I could do. It was alright to push myself and feel uncomfortable. It was a challenge that I accepted and was determined to do it. As time went on and I started to train regularly, I found that the other people who trained there had a similar mindset and supported one another. I found that the trainers were great teachers, were extremely supportive, and showed up when expected. I “stumbled” onto a really good thing.
I graduated from Boot Camp workouts to CrossFit WODs. I hadn’t touched a barbell since high school and even back then it was a rare occasion. I struggled to get parallel on Squats and exhibited that I was not very strong. The trainers told me not worry. If I stayed at and kept working, it would come. I did, and they were right. I got stronger and could handle more weight. I began attending Strength & Conditioning workouts regularly. I started Rx’ ing more WODs. My stamina increased. However, the biggest change for me was increased flexibility. Where I struggled to get parallel with my Squats when I began at EAD | CFAH, I was now getting my hips below my knees. I felt I was maintaining a good body weight; and I really enjoyed being part of the supportive community of athletes, trainers, and owners at EAD | CFAH. Life was good.
My training experience at EAD | CFAH has never gotten stagnant over the last five years. The Dynamic Warm Ups (I know they are just a prelude to the workout now) and WODs are always changing. We have been investigating different strength programs. The holiday WODs are challenging yet fun. The periodic extra clinics and programs keep things fresh and stimulating. Most recently, I again “stumbled” onto a program at EAD | CFAH that has changed my life significantly. This past October I joined the Performance Fueling Prescription. (Editor’s Note: For more information on EAD | CFAH Performance Fueling Prescription one-one-one or small group nutrition education sessions, see Coach Karen)
I saw the post on the EAD | CFAH Facebook page advertising this class. I became curious for several reasons. I am about to retire, and I thought I might be able to pick up some tips on good nutrition in case I start eating more with all the free time I’ll soon have. Secondly, I wanted to see if there were some nutritional changes that I could make to improve my performance in the strength classes and Rx more WODs. And like everyone else, I wanted to lose a few pounds. I didn’t think I was fat, but I felt my clothes could fit a little looser if you know what I mean.
The Performance Fueling Prescription isn’t a “weight loss” program per se; it’s about knowing what and how much you’re eating, getting the proper balance of nutrients (Protein, Carbohydrates, Fiber, Fats, etc.), and determining what your body needs to fuel your life activities. A small group of us meet once a week with our trainer (my group meets with Jason) for one hour. At each meeting we weigh in, talk about how our week went, and are assigned “numbers” to meet for our daily intake of Protein, Carbohydrates, Fiber, Fat, and total daily Calories. We track all of the food we are consuming on the My Fitness Pal app. (Editor’s Note: Current PFP small groups meet on Monday at 6 p.m., Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.)
I was surprised at the first meeting when Jason said there were no restrictions on what kind of food we could eat as long as we stayed within the numbers assigned to us for the week. For example if you wanted to have an Oberweis chocolate malt (my favorite), it was alright. However, since an Oberweis chocolate malt is 1,290 calories and has 140 Carbohydrates, you would be severely limiting what you could eat the rest of the day because you probably met or exceeded your Carbohydrate numbers with that one “meal.” I quickly learned how to spread my nutrients and calories out through the day. I learned what foods filled me up and had the best nutritional value so I wasn’t hungry between meals. I always felt that I ate pretty well, limiting sweets, breads, and other starchy foods. But now upon reflection, I didn’t really pay attention to how much I was eating or about the balance of nutrients I was consuming. I am now eating foods that I had not eaten in ages (waffles and syrup, for example) that I thought were bad for me. I am also drinking more water than I used to. We all need Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat in our diets. The key has been having the right amount and balance. It’s all about the “numbers.”
When I started in October, I weighed 176 lbs. For the first two months, my daily calories were restricted to 1,600 daily. Although that Oberweis malt is awesome, I didn’t want to make it the only “meal” of the day. I learned that having a Protein-rich breakfast gave me more stamina throughout the day. I also noticed that I had more energy during my workouts. My clothes were fitting a little looser.
Starting in January my calorie and Carbohydrate numbers were gradually increased. My clothes were still getting looser, but my energy and stamina were also increasing. I was Rx’ing more of my WODs and hit a couple of PRs during the Winter Strength Cycle.
My weight had been fluctuating between 170 and 180 for the last five years. I always wanted to break into the 160 range; but no matter what diet or combinations of foods I tried, I had not been able to get there. On December 6, I weighed in at 168 (right after Thanksgiving). I continued losing weight although I was increasing my caloric intake. For the last four weeks, I have flattened out at 161. My workouts continue to be strong, along with my stamina. I’m thinking that’s probably because I’m not lugging around those extra 15 lbs.
I didn’t intend or think I could lose 15 lbs. when I started in October. Five to ten would have been good. I’m eating three squares and two, sometimes three snacks a day which is more than I was eating when I began this program. I’m just eating more of the right things and hitting my Protein, Carbohydrate, Fat, and Fiber numbers. Pretty simple.
Looking back, at times it wasn’t easy (like passing on the second and third helping of cookies during the holidays). However, it wasn’t that hard either. The plan is solid; and as always, the support of the EAD | CFAH coaches (in this case Jason) and my fellow athletes (the 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning group — you know who you are) has been a tremendous help. I don’t look at the Performance Fueling Prescription as a fad diet or a weight loss gadget. It’s about acquiring good habits and knowing what and how much you’re putting into your body so that you can efficiently fuel your life activities.
If you’re looking for that Summer Beach body, Performance Fueling isn’t your short cut; but it is the right path if you’re looking to be healthier and to fuel your EAD | CFAH workouts to get the most out of them.
I’ve learned a lot from EAD | CFAH. I’ve learned a lot about myself at EAD | CFAH. I want to thank all the coaches for their teaching and support: Karen (thanks for watching out for my back), Jim (the WOD Father), Kate (The Force — What happened to us?), Becky (might be seeing me at a few of those 9:30 a.m. classes once I retire); Web (my 5 a.m. guy), and Jason (Mr. Performance Fueling).