Preach. John O’ Talks Mental Toughness.

Thanks to EAD | CFAH athlete John O’ for taking time to share his thoughts with his fellow athletes; this is John’s fourth blog post. An EAD | CFAH athlete since November 2011, you can usually find John O’ training with the early morning crew weekdays and on Saturday mornings. Have a thought or two you’d like to share with your fellow athletes? Let us know … we’d love to hear from you!

One of the most important elements of CrossFit is rarely addressed by most athletes — mental toughness.  It’s that little something extra you need to push yourself to heavier weights, faster times, or to tackle that certain something that scares the hell out of you.  I love being a member of the EAD | CFAH family primarily because of the people, but also for the support given by fellow athletes and all of the coaches as I grind through the focused exercises and the workouts.  We are all members of EAD | CFAH because we want to get better.  We want to look better, be stronger, be fitter, be able to get off the toilet when we are 70, etc.  A big part of this process of getting better is pushing ourselves and our limits.  By doing so we are also strengthening our mental fortuity.

We have all had that feeling when we look at a workout and think to ourselves, “Holy crap, I can’t do any one of the movements in today’s workout.”  Or, “I don’t think I can do another rep or run any further.”  Those are the exact times we need to act to become better and get mentally tougher.  When you get that feeling that you don’t think you can go any further, do one more rep.  When you push through that initial feeling of defeat and fatigue you will surprise yourself.  There is one mantra in the special operations field that states that people are capable of doing 20X more than they think they can.  I personally don’t know if this is true but it is an interesting concept to think about.  What limits are you putting on yourself?  What are you scared of trying in the gym?  Ask the coaches for help and they will get you started on the right path.

When I first went through the Training Essentials, Coach Rory (Editor’s Note: The flag that hangs in EAD | CFAH was given to us by Coach Rory, a former marine and current member of the Chicago Police Department. The flag flew over Coach Rory’s base in the Middle East.) gave me three simple rules that I have continued to follow for the past five and a half years:

  • Show Up. By showing up when it’s cold, rainy, or you feel tired, you are strengthening your resolve and your will. You are making a commitment to get better and becoming mentally tough.
  • Keep Showing Up. Again, you are committing to yourself that you are not going to be defeated. You are going to continue to work and push and get a little bit better in each EAD | CFAH session.
  • Finish. No matter what the workout or how you have to do it, grind it out and finish. All of the EAD | CFAH coaches support everyone’s goals no matter how small.  Do what you can do, and ask for scalable options.  Focus on the work at hand — no matter how terrible — and finish.  You will immediately see a benefit in your mental state the next time something seems too hard or too scary.

I have talked many times to Coach Jim, Coach Karen and Coach Web about mental toughness.  I am constantly amazed at the athletes in our gym and feel very envious at times because I want to be really good at everything.  However, my reality is that I am bald, fat, and 51.  I sit on my butt for eight hours a day and go home to four crazy kids every night.  But what I can control is my mental approach to coming to the gym.  I work on doing more reps without stopping. WIN.  I go heavy or RX during the workouts. WIN. I finish the workouts in a vertical position. WIN.  All of these little wins in the gym follow me home and to work.  I am able to adapt better to unforeseen circumstances and approach problems with a better mindset and mental toughness.  Instead of thinking “Why did this happen to me?”  Or, “Why do I have to do this?”  it’s now, “How am I going to get this done?”

My challenge to my fellow athletes is to work on our mental approach to each workout and to encourage all of us who are struggling to learn new movements or to finish the workouts.  Each one of us can “Embrace the Suck,” do what scares us, push ourselves, HTFU, and get a little bit better each gym session.  By doing so, I guarantee you will quickly become more mentally tough.




2017 CrossFit Games Tickets Pre-Sale Lottery.

Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights is eligible for early access to Ticketmaster to purchase up to eight Festival + Coliseum Packages and an unlimited number of Festival packages for the 2017 CrossFit Games at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison,  Aug. 3 – 6.

The Affiliate Ticket Pre-Sale opens Friday, April 21, 2017. If you are interested in purchasing tickets, email no later than Tuesday, April 18. Please specify if you are interested in the Festival + Coliseum Package or Festival package. Festival + Coliseum Package will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Please specify your seat preference / budget. You must have a credit card on file with your Front Desk account to take part in the pre-sale.

  • Festival Ticket, $99.  Four-day pass; access to all events and activities except the nightly Coliseum show; access to Masters and Teenage competitions, plus all outside events for the teams and individuals.
  • Festival + Coliseum, $225 – $500 (seat dependent).  Four-day pass; access to all events throughout the day and a reserved seat for the nightly Coliseum show; access to Individual, Team, Masters and Teenage competitions. $500 ticket includes option to order upgraded food and beverages delivered to seat.
  • Kids 12 & Under. Kids receive free Festival admission, but require tickets or passes to enter the Coliseum or one of the Madison Club locations. Children under age 2 who do not need a physical seat will be considered lap babies and do not need a ticket for the Coliseum or Madison Club locations.

2017 Reebok CrossFit Games Ticket Information



Congrats to Alex J & Casey J, February 100% Award Honorees!


Alex J

Congratulations to Alex & Casey J, the February 100% Award honorees. Alex & Casey were nominated by EAD | CFAH Coach Kate, who has worked with the high school juniors for the past few months in the evening Strength & Conditioning classes. Her nomination was unanimously embraced by the EAD | CFAH Performance Coaches.


Casey J

“I’m impressed with how hard Alex & Casey work every time they train. Their willingness to learn and get better have been key to the progress they’ve made in a very in a short time,” said Coach Kate. “It’s a plus, too, that they say thank you every time they leave!”

Coach Jason, who started working with Alex & Casey when Coach Kate left a few weeks back for maternity leave, describe Alex & Casey as “focused, hard-working and consistent” and that they “come ready to work.” Their hard word has paid off as both athletes have recently posted several PRs.

“I appreciate that Alex & Casey are willing to listen, apply what they hear, and do all that’s necessary to better themselves,” said Coach Web. “There is a productive level of competition between Alex & Casey — something that keeps them accountable as individual athletes, and as training partners.”

The 100% 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.

Don’t miss your chance to recognize a fellow athlete. 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.

The nomination deadline is for the March 100% Award is Monday, March 27.

New Strength & Conditioning Cycle Begins January 2.

2017strengthpromoThe first Strength & Conditioning Cycle of 2017 begins Monday, Jan. 2. The new cycle features several options for athletes to customize the program to their unique goals, needs and training schedule. The 12-week cycle was programmed by Coach Jason.

“The January – March Strength & Conditioning Cycle requires that athletes approach each and every training session with consistent focus and intensity,” said Coach Jason. “It’s going to be a challenging cycle, and one that will deliver results if you fully commit and put in the work.”

If it’s been a while since your last  Strength & Conditioning Cycle, or if you’ve yet to give one a try, now is the perfect chance. Check out the EAD | CFAH Schedule for class times.

The January – March Strength & Conditioning Cycle features two components: the daily lift, which will be posted alongside the CrossFit Workout of the Day, and assistance work. Each athlete will select assistance work from a menu posted in the Strength & Conditioning area. The menu options offer athletes the opportunity to customize programming. Athletes should select the assistance work option that best suits their training goals and stick with it for the duration of the cycle. The assistance work options are:

  • PowerBuilder designed to add muscle mass and address posterior chain, upper back, core and other weaknesses
  • In & Out selected for those who need to complete their lift in 60 minutes
  • Minimalist programmed for the dedicated CrossFit athlete who wants to work in a lift before, after or in-between classes

A few things to keep in mind regarding the new cycle:

  • Take time to identify goals you’d like to achieve during the cycle. Write them down in your training log and reference them daily. See an EAD | CFAH Performance Coach if you’d like help setting goals for this cycle. Or, print out & complete the 3-2-1 Goal! Planning Worksheet.
  • Athletes may opt to lift two, three or four days per week.
  • The 12-week cycle includes a de-load week every three weeks, and variation to the assistance work every four weeks.
  • The base cycle includes Rep Maxes (RM), or a posted rep range. When a day features one or more RM lifts, work up to the heaviest load you can perform safely and with solid technique & movement mechanics on that day. RM lifts provide the opportunity to account for fluctuations in biorhythms and fatigue, so you can “strike while the iron is hot” on days that feel good and pull back on “off” days.
  •  Solid nutritional support will maximize your success, whether your goals are increased strength, body re-composition, or improved CrossFit performance. See Coach Jason or Coach  Karen about Performance Fueling options.
  • Catch at lease eight hours of sleep nightly. Failing to get adequate rest will keep you from achieving your potential on this cycle.
  • Track every training session.

Questions about the new Strength & Conditioning Cycle? See and EAD | CFAH Performance Coach.

Final Holiday WOD of 2016!

2016countdownto2017Join us Saturday, Dec. 31 at 7 a.m., 8:15 a.m. or 9:30 a.m., for the final Holiday WOD of 2016. Countdown to 2017 is a festive, all-athlete, all-levels workout … make it as tough or as accessible as you can muster. If you regularly train on Saturday morning, don’t miss out! If you’d prefer to work Strength & Conditioning, please join us for a special extended Open Gym, 7 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. CompuTrainer riders will roll as scheduled at 5:45 a.m. & 8:30 a.m. The 10:15 a.m., Youth Athletic Development class start time has been pushed back to 10:30 a.m.

Please RSVP for class!