2016 Salute, Inc. Tactical Challenge Course Overview

2016TacticalChallengePromoWelcome to the 2016 Salute, Inc. Tactical Challenge. Event host, Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights, donates 100 percent of event fees to help Salute, Inc., in its mission to meet the financial, physical and emotional needs of military service members, veterans and their families.

Please take a moment to review the following event information and watch the 2016 Salute, Inc. Tactical Challenge Movement Demos. If you have any questions, please email Karen@eadperformancecenter.com. Thanks for your support of Salute, Inc.

  • Participants run the Salute, Inc. 5k until they reach the Tac2016SaluteMovementOverviewtical Challenge Course entrance, which is located at North Hickory Avenue & East Miner Street, just short of the 5k finish line chutes. From there, participants will proceed through the nine-station Tactical Challenge Course.
  • Station #1 | 20 Burpees. Starting from a standing position, participants will place both hands on the ground, jump or step both feet back to a plank position and then drop until the chest fully touches the ground. Participants will then push up to the plank position, jump or step both feet back to the hands, jump or stand up, reaching both arms overhead to clap as they do. Video Demo.

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  • Station #2 | Low Crawl. Participants will Army Crawl under a low barrier.
  • Station #3 | 20 Sandbag Ground to Overhead. Participants will pick up a sandbag from the ground (40# Men / 20# Women), lift it overhead until both arms lock out, and then return it to the starting position on the ground. Participants may complete the overhead portion of movement in one of the following ways: Thruster, Press, Push Press, Push Jerk or Split Jerk. Please do not drop or throw the sandbag or you will incur a 10 Burpee penalty. Video Demo.
  • Station #4 | Bear Crawl. Participants will Bear Crawl from Station #3 to Station #5. Video Demo.
  • Station #5 | 20 Hands Release Push Ups. Participants will start from a plank position, lower their body until their chest touches the ground, lift up both hands, place both hands back on the ground, and push up until they return to the plank position, with arms fully extended. Video Demo.
  • Station #6 | Cone Hop. Participants will hop or step over a series of cones of varying heights. Video Demo.
  • Station #7 | 20 Pair Overhead Plate Lunges. Participants will pick up a bumper plate (25# Men / 15# Women) from the ground and lift it overhead until both arms are fully locked out. Participants will then step out until the front leg achieves roughly a 90-degree angle and the back knee touches the ground. The Participant will continue to alternate stepping out and back to complete 40 repetitions of the movement (20 right / 20 left). Video Demo.
  • Station #8 | Low Crawl. See Station #2
  • Station #9 | Burpees. See Station #1.

Tactical Challenge Course Released

2016SaluteMovementOverviewThe 2016 Salute, Inc. Tactical Challenge course is now posted … and there is still time register! Event host, Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights, donates 100 percent of event fees to help Salute, Inc., in its mission to meet the financial, physical and emotional needs of military service members, veterans and their families.

Head over to the Event Facebook Page to watch the 2016 Salute, Inc. Tactical Challenge Movement Demos or visit the Event Web Page to learn more. If you have any questions, OR if you would like to volunteer at the event, please email Karen@eadperformancecenter.com. Thanks for your support of Salute, Inc.

Mike O’N Named February 100% Award Honoree.

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Mike O’N marks the start of each workout with “Let’s go, 5 a.m.’ers” and a bit of unique choreography.

Congratulations to Mike O’N, the February 2016 100% Award honoree. Mike was nominated by Kelly B, Steve H, Juan & Jeff G, his fellow “5 a.m.’ers” from the CrossFit and Strength & Conditioning classes.

Mike started with EAD | CFAH in September 2009 as a member of one the first Fitness Boot Camp sessions offered, and now reigns as one of our longest-tenured athletes.

Fellow athletes describe Mike as selfless, supportive, determined, disciplined, willing, kind, considerate, tough, and inspiring.

“Mike is a true leader in the 5 a.m. class,” said Kelly B. “He has a way of pushing everyone in the class just a little bit further, without over doing it. He’s always willing to help out … he evens parks in the back in the morning so there are more spots close to the door for everyone else.”

Steve H concurs. “Mike inspires others around him; he never takes the easy way out and pushes himself to get better every day. It is usual for Mike, after he finishes his WOD, to stay and urge on his fellow 5 a.m.’ers to finish strong. He is a powerful motivator and is always there for others.” Steve also marvels at Mike’s attendance. “Anyone who makes the 5 a.m. class more than twice a week has an uncommon level of discipline … Mike usually makes the class five days a week. ”

Mike is the self-appointed Good Morning Ambassador to anyone new to the Sunrise Crew. “He always has a positive attitude at 5 a.m., which is hard to do,” said nominator Juan. Steve remembers Mike as “the first guy to come up and talk to me, and help me out with explaining the workout or parts I didn’t know. Over the past couple of years, I have seen him do this over and over again.”

“He exemplifies ‘do the most you can,’ and readily encourages others, reminding them that not everything has to be Rx,” said Juan. That’s an attributed also recognized by Jeff G. “His attention to detail, especially with lifting techniques, has helped me and other athletes. Mike encourages classmates regardless of their skill level and promotes a caring community.”

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 March 100% Award is Monday the 28th. 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.

Register Today! Battle Royale, Saturday, Sept. 26.

2015BattleRoyaleJoin us Saturday, Sept. 26 at 9 a.m. as we host our friends from EPIC Power & Conditioning | CrossFit EPC (owned by former EAD | CFAH athletes Heather R & Josh R) for a fun, all-levels cross-town competition & potluck cookout. REGISTER NOW.

The competition is FREE, and will feature three workouts. The workouts will be released the week of September 7. Can’t make the competition? Join us for the potluck cookout. Questions? See Coach Karen.

2015 Tandem Throwdown Crowns Champs.

Tandem Throwdown organizers had no idea when they named the final workout of the 2015 event “Better Together” that the moniker would set the stage for the thisclose scoring between the top duos throughout the day, including the need to invoke two separate tiebreakers.

The 2015 Tandem Throwdown Open Division title was up for grabs as 2013 champs Vanessa Stack, CrossFit Muse & Michael Bodi, CrossFit Phoenix, held just a single point lead after three workouts over Ashley Carlson, CrossFit 155 & Ryan Poole, CrossFit Kilter. Poole & Carlson bested Stack & Bodi on the final workout, a grueling 10-minute pyramid featuring Handstand Push Ups, Bar Muscle Ups and two sets of Squat Snatch (85# / 115#). With the leaderboard deadlocked at six, the final workout victory clinched the 2015 title for Poole & Carlson. The Tandem Throwdown victory was the second title earned by Carlson at Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights this year; she was crowned Athena Classic champ April 18.

2015 Tandem Throwdown Podium Finishers: Michael Bodi, CrossFit Phoenix & Vanessa Stack, CrossFit Muse (2nd); Ashley Carlson, CrossFit 155 & Ryan Poole, CrossFit Kilter (Open Division Champs); Thadine Zajac & Jason Rice, CrossFit Roselle (Masters Division Champs); Reid Specht & Maggie Kerrigan, CrossFit Dinami.

2015 Tandem Throwdown Podium Finishers: Michael Bodi, CrossFit Phoenix & Vanessa Stack, CrossFit Muse (2nd); Ryan Poole, CrossFit Kilter & Ashley Carlson, CrossFit 155 (Open Division Champs); Thadine Zajac & Jason Rice, CrossFit Roselle (Masters Division Champs); Reid Specht & Maggie Kerrigan, CrossFit Dinami. Check out the event photo album on the EAD | CFAH Facebook Page.

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Competitors gave it their all during a day filled with challenge, camaraderie and fun.

Joining Stack & Bodi and Carlson & Poole in the finals were six duos who consistently placed in the top 10 on the leaderboard throughout the day: Maggie Kerrigan & Reid Specht (3rd), CrossFit Dinami; Kalah Blue & Brian Kent (4th), CrossFit Wauconda; Kinsy Rosati & Clark Dendinger (5th), CrossFit Fire; Kate Konkel & Pat Scanlan (6th), Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights; 2014 Tandem Throwdown champs Christina Meeks & Trent Meeks (7th), Unaffiliated. The early departure by the one of duos tied for 6th place after three workouts, Skyler Bahrke & Jesse Bahrke, CrossFit Wauconda, (family function), invoked a tiebreaker ruling between 2014 Masters Division champ Thadine Zajac and her new partner, Jason Rice, CrossFit Roselle, and Jacqie Seyller & Andy Rodriguez, CrossFit Mettle and Honor & CrossFit Oswego. Zajac & Rice went on to top the Masters Division. Rounding out the Masters Division were Jody Corbit & Justin Corbit, CrossFit Sanctify; Courtney Fedacsek & Glenn Backus, CrossFit Autonomy; Nicole Herchenbach & John Allen, CrossFit Fire; Bill Miller & Amber Rich, Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights; Laura Martin & Scott Beutler, CrossFit SAA; Dara Madrid & Marco Fernandez, CrossFit SAA; Ann Marie Nordby & Todd Nordby, Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights; Lisa Lowenthal & Terry Barlin, CrossFit Autonomy; . Full leaderboard results are posted at WODLeader.

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Workout #1 | Back in Shackles put communication, coordination and grit to the test..

“Back in Shackles,” a workout inspired by the first workout of the 2013 Tandem Throwdown, was met with enthusiasm – and a bit of bemusement – by competitors. Tandems had to complete he 10-minute AMRAP bound at the wrist. The workout featured 30 Overhead Plate Lunges, 30 Unanchored Sit Ups and 30 Single Unders, kicked off by a 250m Plate Run (45# / 25#) buy-in. The workout launched what would become a fairly consistent leaderboard for the day; eight of the top 10 finishers in Workout #1 would go on to the finals.

Perhaps the loudest cheers of the day rumbled through the gym during Workout #2 | Kong. Tandems had a single barbell and 45 seconds for the female to complete a Deadlift and the male a Clean (any style). Ana Grimh & Tyler Grimh, CrossFit Sanctify, were the first to complete the 10-station ladder (135# – 305#). They were soon followed by Blue & Kent, Meeks & Meeks, Rosati & Dendinger, Stack & Bodi, Carlson & Poole, and Kerrigan & Specht.

Workout #3 | Hold On – 100 Shoulder-to-Overhead (95# / 65#), 90 Bar Hop Burpees, 80 Front Squats, and a 70 kcal Row paired either a Front Rack or Extended Arm Hang static barbell holds – showcased the athleticism of Bodi & Stack who logged an blistering finish time of 11:35.

The Tandem Throwdown returns to Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016.

Thanks to the competitors, spectators and volunteers who contributed the 2015 Tandem Throwdown.

Coach Becky & Coach Kate Offer The Inspiration Many of You Knee’d.

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. We turn the blog over to Coach Kate, who reflects on the one-year anniversary of Coach Becky’s devastating knee injury, her gutsy return to competition, and how her journey can serve as a lesson to us all. Thanks to Coach Kate and Coach Becky for sharing this story. 

Why do you come to Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights? To improve or maintain your health and fitness? To change body composition? To socialize and enjoy the community? For therapy? To get away? To blow off steam? To challenge yourself? For the competition? To be a part of something pretty awesome? All of the above … and more?

I come to EAD | CFAH because I like to feel empowered. “If I can squat 300 pounds, then what obstacle is ever going to stand in my way?” Not a single one. The grit and guts you need to face a workout should leave you feeling strong and capable. But lately, that’s not what I’ve overhead, and I’m getting frustrated.

BeckyDropQuote“I’m just not built to be strong (or fast).”
“I don’t really bend that way.”
“I don’t have the time.”
“I’m too old.”
“I’m not good with a barbell.
“I’m too big (or too small).”
“I don’t want (insert body part) to get too big (or too small).”
“I’ve just never been good at (insert just about anything.).”

Blah, blah, blah. It’s time to tell your little, self-deprecating conscience to shut the F*** up.

BubblesDon’t get me wrong; I get it. I’ve been there, and sometimes need to push through negative emotions. The fear of failure or the anxiety over trying something new can be paralyzing. But the best thing you can do for yourself is to bust out of your comfort zone. Breaking even one small element of your routine can create major change because it forces you to think about how and why you do what you do, rather than going through life like some mindless robot. I hate to break it to you, but life sucks sometimes. Forrest Gump was right: SHIT HAPPENS. Life can get really hard and uncomfortable, and when it does, what will the negative little bubbles that you allow to float around your head do for you?

To fear change equals an inability to grow. And don’t tell me you don’t need to adapt and grow; I don’t buy it. The time is now. No more excuses. No more negative attitudes. No more “I can’t.” You are fully capable of changing how you think, and how your body moves. I guarantee that if you really challenge yourself with a positive attitude, and commit and dedicate to improving yourself, you will find success far past a MetCon or the Barbell. How do I know that works? Coach Becky.

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Coach Becky is always up for a challenge, including posing for one of Coach Jim’s recent photo shoots.

One year ago, Becky — going full-force and fearless, as usual — jumped an 8-foot wall, only to land awkwardly and tear her ACL (Editor’s Note: The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the four main knee joint ligaments that connect the shinbone thighbone). Most would succumb to their perceived reality that there would be no future fun and exciting adventures, or athletic endeavors. But not Becky. After two days of denial and facing the reality of her MRI, Becky got angry and decided to change her focus. She was determined not to let this injury get the best of her.

The radiologist who read the MRI said surgery was the best option. Several people assured Becky that surgery was the sensible decision. But Becky knew better, and instead listened to her gut. Becky believed that her athletic ability and experience creating effective rehab plans would help her get the results she wanted. Her after assessing her fitness level and leg strength, the doctor agreed; there would be no surgery for Becky.

Becky built an action plans. She wrote weekly and monthly goals pertaining to Activities of Daily Living, range of motion, and strength. She had to change her approach in the gym as well, initially focusing on upper body strength like Pull Ups and Dips. With only small episodes of frustration (obstacle, obstacle, obstacle), she stayed motivated because she decided that success was her only option. There was no giving up. There were no excuses. She gained momentum and support as she tracked her progress  via Instagram. With every milestone – bending her knee, running, box jumps, pistols, Oly lifting – she received encouragement from members of the EAD | CFAH community. Seriously, she crushed every single barrier in her way.

And, where is she now? Brand-spanking-100-percent-pain-free-good-as-new. That’s right, there isn’t a movement inside or outside the gym she hesitates to do. No fear. She knew what she needed to do to make this happen: goals, a plan, committing to it, doing to work, and being at EAD | CFAH, where the Community had her back.

So, there it is, the evidence you all seek. The recipe for success. Becky’s walking around, calling you out in the gym daily. She does it because she cares and she’s been there — through hard times and hard workouts. Just getting the chance to WOD next to her inspires me. This girl is strong and capable and it’s how she tackles LIFE. She doesn’t make excuses and she doesn’t surrender herself to that overwhelming negative chatter in her head.

So, look, maybe you are currently comfy and happy with your bubbles, and that’s fine. But you didn’t come to EAD | CFAH and you don’t stay here just to workout — you could have done that at any Globo Gym. You came to EAD | CFAH for more — just like I did, just like Becky did. So let us help you. Try something new, different, challenging. Commit. Work hard. Stay positive. Use your community. Get rid of your excuses and trust the process.

New Athlete Starter Package Now Available!

ResultsNotResolutionsNow through January 2, 2015, we’re offering athletes new to Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights a special training “kick start” package. The New Athlete Class Package includes EAD | CFAH Training Essentials PLUS two months of CrossFit, Strength & Conditioning, CrossFit Women, Indoor Rowing Boot Camp, Boot Camp, Mobility & Recovery or Open Gym. The New Athlete Class Package is $350 (a $477 value) … that’s less than $10 / class hour to train with the highest credentialed, most experienced performance coaches in the area.

EAD | CFAH Training Essentials is a two-week / six-class session featuring instruction, skill development & practice, training sessions, and more. Training Essentials is offered Monday-Wednesday-Friday at 5:30 a.m. – 6:30 a.m. OR Monday-Tuesday-Thursday at 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. The next Training Essentials session starts the week of January 5. Athletes who claim the New Athlete Starter Package are encouraged to register for one of the following Training Essentials sessions:  January 5, January 15, February 2 or February 16. Once athletes complete Training Essentials, they are eligible to join in any of the more than 60 classes offered each week at EAD | CFAH.

Encourage your friends & family members on Facebook can chase this link claim the offer OR simply email karen@eadperformancecenter.com and mention this post.

Strength Training Yields Speed, Confidence and Success for Seasoned Endurance Athlete.

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. Plagued by recurring injuries and unimpressed with the plan of action outlined by a running “expert,” endurance athlete Wendy R turned to EAD | CFAH for help. You can learn more about Wendy on her Blog | Taking the Long Way Home, Facebook, or Instagram. This is Wendy’s story.

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Plagued by recurring injuries and unimpressed with the plan of action outlined by a running “expert,” endurance athlete Wendy R turned to EAD | CFAH for help.

I have been a runner for almost 25 years. Initially, I started running to help manage anxiety and stress, but found a love for an activity that I hated as a youngster. I continued to run through the years while raising my boys and working as a nurse practitioner. About five years ago, I started running half marathons. I finally got the courage to sign up for the Chicago marathon in 2011.

I chose to train for the 2011 marathon using a traditional plan, which incorporated a lot of miles—and not much else. I did well with this plan, and my 20 mile long run went off without a hitch. I thought I was ready. But the morning of the race, the temperature was 75 degrees and sunny. Having struggled with running in the heat all summer, I was extremely nervous, and my lack of confidence did me in. I finished in 5:26, a full hour longer than I had anticipated. Several months after the race, I developed a stress fracture in my foot and battled plantar fasciitis, injuries which sidelined me from running for several months.

WendyDropQuoteAfter I recovered from my injuries, I got up the courage to run a few more half marathons. While I did well at this distance, I continued to have all kinds of nagging injuries. I did some research on running after age 50, and almost everything that I read emphasized the need to add strength training. It seems that we older folks lose muscle mass at a faster rate than younger runners and athletes.

Initially, I consulted a running coach for advice. A fast talker, she told me to prepare to take some time off of running as she would rework my regimen. “Lots of drills,” she told me. Take time off from running? Drills? I’m in my 50s…the thought of taking time off and rebuilding was not attractive to me. When I asked the running coach about her background, she told me she had been a star collegiate runner. But she had no formal training as a coach. It just didn’t feel right to me.

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Wendy credits her sessions with Coach Becky with helping her achieve things she never imagined she could do.

So I called Coach Karen for advice. She recommended that I come in to meet with Coach Becky (Editor’s Note: Becky is an certified and licensed Athletic Trainer / Corrective Exercise Specialist / Performance Enhancement Specialist) for an evaluation. I was a little intimidated. After all, I’m a runner, not a weight lifter. But immediately after I met Becky, I felt that I was in good hands. Becky told me right away that she didn’t know much about running. But that she’d let me keep on running while she worked with me. I liked the idea that I’d still be in control of my running while she “rebuilt” me. She evaluated my strength and focused on areas of weakness—my hips, my glutes, my “posterior chain.” At my weekly sessions with Becky, she had me doing things I never imagined I could do—lifting heavy weights, doing intervals, flipping tires—you name it. Over time, not only did I get stronger, but my running pace, time, and form improved dramatically, culminating in a huge finish at a half marathon last fall—my fastest time in several years and my strongest race to date.

This summer, while Becky and I were completing a six week session of heavy lifting, I learned that I won a free entry to the Chicago Marathon. I looked at this as an opportunity to redeem myself from that disastrous marathon three years ago. I asked Becky if she would train me and she developed a personalized training plan. We increased our sessions to twice weekly. Initially, I questioned her wisdom as the plan was fairly low in mileage compared to anything I had done in the past. In fact, she had substituted long bike rides in for some of the long runs! She told me to “trust the plan.” I took this advice to heart, using it as a mantra, and adopted several other mantras along the way, such as: “I can and I will”, “Running is fun” and “Control what you can control.”

Some of the workouts were impossibly difficult. Becky had me doing intervals—rowing alternating with Burpees, Slam Balls, Sumo Deadlifts, Kettlebell swings…you name it. Weight days were heavy lifting with progressive Deadlifts, Back Squats, pulling the sled, pushing the Prowler…sometimes I felt like I was going to vomit after those workouts! I never stopped though, and felt amazing when I recovered. I saw the results of these workouts in faster, stronger running sessions. Becky also added weekly speed work sessions—something I had never done as a runner but found to be something that I loved as I got faster and more confident.

When several accomplished marathoners learned that I was training for another marathon, I shared with them what I was doing. “Really?” I heard from one. “I’ll be REAL CURIOUS to hear how this goes for you,” said another.

During the training, I voiced self-doubt about my ability to successfully complete this marathon. Becky came up with a great strategy to help me shut that down. She told me for every word of self-doubt that came out of my mouth I would have to do 10 Burpees. I hate Burpees. She never actually made me do the Burpees, but the whole idea of doing them made me push past those negative thoughts.

The day I knew I was ready for the marathon was about three weeks before the marathon when I ran my speedwork session faster than I had run since my 30s. Those mile repeats were sub-8 mins/mile. Who’s old? I couldn’t stop smiling!

The day before the marathon, Becky gave me a card all about accomplishment, and a rock, on which she had written “believe” on one side and “26.2” on the other. She told me that she never doubted that I could do this. With those words in my head and that rock in my pocket, I lined up for my second Chicago Marathon.

I finished the marathon in 4:17:55. My legs were strong and I never hit the wall. At mile 23, my hamstrings were starting really hurt, but I pictured myself getting down in the middle of Michigan Avenue doing 10 Burpees and busted out laughing. I was going to finish this thing! I was proud and excited to crush my previous finish time by 1 hour 10 minutes.

Two days after the marathon, I went for an easy four mile run. That’s how good I felt. I continue to run strong throughout my recovery. This is almost as good as my marathon performance!

Here’s what I have to say about my training. It’s one thing to be a runner, to be fast to put in the miles. But what made me stronger was all those intervals, all that weight lifting. And what made me mentally tougher was pushing through those hard workouts. Endurance is endurance. No matter how you get it. Sure, you have to put in the miles. But there’s a lot of ways to get to the finish line. This was fun. And would I do it again? Definitely yes!

Follow Wendy’s journey on her Blog | Taking the Long Way Home, Facebook, or Instagram