CrossFit Games Open Workout Schedule

The 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games Open starts Wednesday, March 6 and continues through Sunday, April 7. The Open gives CrossFit athletes an opportunity to put their training to the test through a series of six workouts held at participating CrossFit affiliates around the world. Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights will host the workouts, which will be judged and scored.

Put your training to the test ... register today for the CrossFit Games Open.

Put your training to the test … register today for the CrossFit Games Open.

If you haven’t already, Register today to be part of the EAD / CFAH Games Open team. Participating in the Games Open is an opportunity to challenge yourself in an entirely different way, and gain new insight to your training strengths and areas of development. Plus, when else will you be able to compete against athletes from across the world?

EAD / CFAH will run Games Open workouts Thursday at 9:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m., and Saturday at 7 a.m. & 9 a.m. during the regularly scheduled MetCon classes. If you aren’t interested in registering for the Games Open, you’ll still have an opportunity to be part of the experience if you register for one of these classes; workouts will be scaled if you aren’t competing.  Please register for class so we can schedule coaches to support class sizes.

2013 Winter Olympic Lifting Meet

If you’re been working the January / February Strength & Power cycle, or if you’d like a chance to put your Olympic Lifting skills to the test in a friendly, fun, non-sanctioned event, register today for the Saturday, March 2 Winter Olympic Lifting Meet. The meet starts at 10 a.m. and is open to all current EAD / CFAH athletes.

OlyLiftMeetGraphicRegistered athletes will perform two lifts during the competition: the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk. Each athlete will set the weight for his / her starting and successive lifts, and have three attempts at each weight. Athletes will compete within one of three weight classes.

Athletes should take time between now and Saturday to outline a lift strategy, including an event goal, warm up sets and lift progression. Not sure how to put together the strategy? See Coach Alida, Josh, Becky or Karen. Not sure if this event is for you? The answer is simple: This event is for everyone who is game for a challenge in a safe, supportive environment. Questions? Ask away!

Don't let the fear of the unknown hold you back. Register today.

Don’t let the fear of the unknown hold you back. Register today for the 2013 Winter Olympic Lifting Meet.

The (Yellow Brick) Road to Results.

Contributed by Coach Karen

It is amazing how an environment once so familiar becomes foreign. Sounds no longer resonate. Sights blur. Skin crawls. The feel defies translation, other than the sense that something is horribly, terribly, incredibly not right.

Owning and operating a small business is truly an all-consuming labor of love. Jim and I don’t get to spend near as much time exploring the world outside the confines of Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights as we’d like. That’s why we always pepper our athletes with questions after they visit another CrossFit during a business or pleasure trip, and check in with folks who drop in for a training session or transfer to EAD / CFAH from another CrossFit affiliate. We appreciate seeing what’s right – and maybe not-so-right – at other training facilities through the eyes of our athletes.

Just one of the many examples of people paying good money to achieve nothing at the Globo Gym Thursday morning. Seriously, they were everywhere.

Just one of the many examples of people paying good money to achieve nothing at the Globo Gym Thursday morning. Seriously, they were everywhere.

Jim and I ventured out Thursday morning for a Valentine’s Day adventure, but ended up in a place neither of us had seen in quite some time:  the Globo Gym. The facility was filled wall-to-wall with the latest fitness gizmos, gadgets and wizardry. Equipment whirred. Flat screen TVs flashed. Music pumped. Trainers and staff scurried about. And even though there were hundreds of people working out, the facility felt empty. Lonely. Isolated. And eerily void of any human interaction. It made me sad. I stood in the middle of the very large space and wanted to click my heels three times and magically transport back to the Oz at 12 West College Drive where classes with far fewer people using much less equipment have an abundance of success thanks to four attributes: Courage, Conviction, Brain and Heart. Here’s what EAD / CFAH athletes demonstrate daily, and the people working out at the Globo Gym yesterday seemed to lack:

  • Courage to step outside their comfort zone and accept new challenges, even when hard or scary; openly share their “been-there-doubted-that-then-defeated-it (and more)” stories with new athletes; hit each session with renewed intensity; welcome failure, and then kick it in the a$$; admit that they don’t have all the answers, and readily accept and apply coaching from seasoned professionals.
  • Conviction to train their weaknesses with vigor; set performance goals, establish a training schedule to achieve them, and stick with it even when they get impatient; connect what they eat, how they sleep and why the choices made outside the gym impact their performance inside the gym; share their “hits” and “misses” to contribute to the success of fellow athletes.
  • Brain to recognize that it is impossible to lift Heavy S*** or kill a MetCon on a 1,200 or 1,800 calorie per-day deprivation diet; decipher the nutrition “information” on packaged goods for the marketing spin it is;  break up with the scale and instead track performance (… which will lead to body composition change);  see through the BS shoveled by the fitness industry about the hot new trend that will change your life; know that training multiple energy systems yields dramatic results; recognize that the body is the best training machine around; and choose intensity over duration.
  • Heart to never give up; get back up after a stumble; celebrate success; honor failure; embrace current ability, yet work toward athletic potential; cheer fellow athletes; say thanks to the performance coaches; realize that undoing years of less-desirable lifestyle choices happens over months, not days; and warmly welcome athletes new to EAD / CFAH.

Jim and I always envisioned that EAD / CFAH would be a place where people could become a better version of themselves. We know that means different things for different people. That’s why we’ve surrounded ourselves with the most qualified and experienced performance coaches in the area in Josh, Becky, Kristen, Alida and Ashley, and why we support their continued professional development. It’s why we track the techniques and methodologies used by the top collegiate and professional programs in the country, and innovate and adapt our programming and class offerings. It’s why we ask for your input and feedback, and then take action where there is consensus. It’s why we push, cajole, nudge and sometimes annoy you – because we see something in you that you may not yet see in yourself. It’s why we encourage you to eat clean & green (but not necessarily Paleo), and schedule recovery days so you can achieve your short- and long-term goals. It’s why we coach, coach, and coach technique, and enforce movement standards. It’s why we host free nutrition, running, swimming and other informational workshops / seminars. It’s why we form football, dodge ball, soccer and rowing teams, and travel to area races en masse. It’s why the performance coaches know the name of every athlete who trains with us, and why we encourage you to get to know them, too.

You see, there is no man behind the curtain. It is just a gathering of strangers-turned-adventurers who care, and want to be in the center of something bigger, better, familiar and incredibly right.

EAD / CFAH Honored with Hearts of Gold Award.

Coaches Ashley, Kristen, Karen, Jim, Josh, Becky & Alida at the 2013 Hearts of Gold Awards Dinner where Jim accepted the Business Leader Heart of Gold on behalf of EAD / CFAH.

Coaches Ashley, Kristen, Karen, Jim, Josh, Becky & Alida at the 2013 Hearts of Gold Awards Dinner where Jim accepted the Business Leader Heart of Gold on behalf of EAD / CFAH.

Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights was honored by the Village of Arlington Heights February 9 during the 15th Annual Hearts of Gold Awards. The ceremony, attended by local and state dignitaries, recognized EAD / CFAH with the Business Leader Heart of Gold for going “beyond its responsibilities to make our village a better place to work and live through participation and / or philanthropic support of community organizations and programs.”

The Hearts of Gold selection committee called EAD / CFAH founder and head performance coach Jim Inman “an active civic volunteer,” and applauded his aim to amend the Village tagline from the “City of Good Neighbors” to the “City of Fit Neighbors.” The committee also noted his involvement in local athletic and academic events, and that EAD / CFAH “creates a supportive environment where individuals of all ages and skill can develop and reach personal fitness levels.”

Coach Jim accepted the award on behalf of EAD / CFAH athletes, and his superb performance coaching team. “I’m very honored and humbled as the front man for Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights to be able to accept this award on behalf of this organization,” said Coach Jim, prior to acknowledging “my amazing team — Karen, Josh, Becky, Kristen, Alida and Ashley” — who joined him at the event.

Jim told the standing room only crowd that he believed the people of Arlington Heights — whether they are a student or 021113iPhoneDump 017senior, experienced athlete or someone just getting off the couch — deserve access to the training systems used by elite-level athletes to help them achieve their health and fitness goals.

Elite Athletic Development joined the Arlington Heights business community in 2006 and expanded to include CrossFit Arlington Heights in 2009. The business helps “every day athletes” from across the greater Chicagoland area achieve a staggering array of results thanks to innovative strength and conditioning programs, a top-caliber coaching staff, and a unique ability to understand the needs and motivate each athlete.

“We’re honored to give back to a community which has given us so much,” said Jim when referencing the many athletic events EAD / CFAH has created and run to raise money for area charities, work with school districts 25 and 214, and area residents. “We’re very proud to be part of Arlington Heights.”

 

 

 

30 Days Paleo Down. Now What?

Contributed by Coach Karen

What will you eat for breakfast when the EAD / CFAH Winter 2013 30 Day Paleo Challenge concludes in less than 175 hours?

Will you join more than one-third of Americans who drop anchor with the Cap’N and pour a bowl of cold cereal? Are you more likely to grab a bagel, toast, muffin or pastry? Maybe you’ll go back to skipping breakfast. Or – dare I suggest? – your first post-Challenge forkful February 6 is no different than the thoroughly planned and carefully considered choices you’ve made since January 7?

Research suggests grass-fed beef -- a mainstay on the Paleo Plate -- has up to 10 times more beta-carotene, three times more Vitamin E and three times more omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef.. Grass fed beef has lower levels of unhealthy fats, a lower level of dietary cholesterol, and no hormones or antibiotics. Image courtesy of Q7 Ranch / Mother Hen Poultry.

Research suggests grass-fed beef — a mainstay on the Paleo Plate — has up to 10 times more beta-carotene, three times more Vitamin E and three times more omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef. Grass fed beef has lower levels of unhealthy fats, a lower level of dietary cholesterol, and no hormones or antibiotics. Image courtesy of Q7 Ranch / Mother Hen Poultry.

Thirty days of eating clean and green is a great start, but it’s not really enough. Consider how long you’ve unconsciously consumed calories, with little regard to how the food was chemically treated, processed and handled before it hit your plate. For most of us, we’ve lived far longer with mindless versus mindful eating, which is why I encourage you to continue to build meals and snacks brimming with nutrient-dense and energy-enriching foods to fuel your performance-based lifestyle.

Wednesday, Feb. 6 – the first post-challenge day – will be no different than the previous 30 for many EAD / CFAH athletes; they will remain steadfast Paleo eaters. The very thought of adding grains & legumes, dairy, starchy veg, sugars and processed foods invokes an involuntary shudder, and perhaps a bit of bile for these folks. Some participants will jump off the Paleo wagon with abandon and chalk up the past 30 days to another life experience. Some will opt to eat Paleo 80 percent of the time, and reserve 20 percent for planned, mindful variety. And yet others will devise some variation of all of the above. There is no right answer for everyone, but you owe it to yourself to take time to make a conscious choice about how you will eat going forward. I strongly encourage you to maintain the key elements you learned, practiced, and (perhaps) perfected over the past 30 days, including:

  • Avoid diet sodas; non-nutritive / artificial sweeteners; high-fructose corn syrup; foods with added sugars; partially or fully hydrogenated fats & oils; refined grains; processed foods; drive through / fast foods; ground & composite meats (like sausage) made from unknown / factory sources; packaged foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce or have no idea of their purpose; artificial preservatives & colors; glutamates
  • Eat a hearty and well-rounded breakfast
  • Fuel training with appropriately timed pre- and post-WOD food choices
  • Select grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, wild caught seafood
  • Shop the perimeter or the grocery store
  • Choose nutrient-dense, dark leafy greens, and nutritional multi-taskers
  • Judiciously read labels
  • Research nutritional information when you eat out, and boldly call off less-desireable ingredients at restaurants
  • Plan meals with vigor & intent
  • Ban “clutch & crutch” foods – the ones that may fill a temporary emotional need or satisfy a habit but make you feel icky – from your pantry
  • Consider what you eat, eats –pay attention to what you put in your body, and how your body responds.

Next Steps, Part 1.
Over the next few days, take stock of what feels different after eating clean and green since January 7. Grab a piece of paper and a pen, take five minutes and write down everything that comes to mind:

  • How you feel overall
  • Changes you’ve noticed in your relationship with food — how you sleep, how you shop, how your body responds to food, and more
  • The absence of symptoms that you previously accepted as “normal”
  • Comments people have made about the changes they’ve seen in you
  • What was easy, what was challenging, what surprised you
  • Compliments you’ve received, and more.

Then take another five minutes and really read the list. Aloud. Let it wash over you. Celebrate what you’ve accomplished. And then plan your next steps.

Welcome Back?
As tempting as it may be, don’t hit the breakfast or lunch buffet February 6. Many of you have shared with me near miraculous health improvements since eating Paleo. If you load up your plate with grains, legumes, dairy, sugars & processed foods, you’ll never know which foods — if any — trigger your body’s inflammation cycle, complete with aches & pains, belly bloat, sinus congestion, embarrassing gas attacks, constipation, diarrhea, headaches, “brain fog”, mean streaks / mood swings, and more. Instead, consider the following food re-introduction process:

  • Introduce each of the known inflammation-provoking foods – grains / gluten, eggs, diary, nightshades – one at a time, and in that order.
  • For four consecutive days, add one meal that includes the potentially-offending food; then for three days remove the food. If you have any reaction (The Inflammation Cycle), you’ll know that food group is one you should continue to avoid.
  • For the seven-day cycle, pay close attention to how your body — and those around you — react. Did you need to unbutton your pants after eating the plate of pasta? Is your nose stuffy after drinking coffee with cream? Did anyone suggest you were a bit moody? Is your sleep suddenly restless? Do you feel sluggish during training? These are signs that the food may not be your friend.
  • Do not overlap the food groups – re-introduce only one food per week. Food sensitivities or intolerance may rear up immediately, or it may take a few days for you to notice.
  • If you’re eating Paleo to combat an auto-immune issue, you may want to stick with it for an additional 30 days.

Next Steps, Part 2.
Be sure to take time to complete the Post-Paleo Challenge Questionnaire, break out the scale for the first time in 30 days (as if I needed to remind you to do that!), take your measurements, and snap the post-challege photo.If you completed the Paleo Baseline WOD, be sure to repeat the WOD Tuesday, Feb. 5.

Please submit your Pre- & Post-Paleo Challenge Questionnaire so I can complete an analysis of the changes experienced by folks who committed to the challenge. Didn’t make it the full 30 days? That’s okay … submit the paperwork anyway, along with a note as to why you opted out. Everyone who completes and turns in the pre- & post-Challenge Questionnaire will be entered in a drawing for three classes added to their account.

Keep Me Posted.
If you opt to continue eating Paleo in any form, check in regularly with me, and feel free to continue to ask questions — how you fuel has a direct impact on how you perform during training and throughout your day.

 

Winter 2013 Paleo Challenge Begins January 7.

Could there possibly be a better way to kick off 2013 than by investing 30 days to improve your health by eating “clean”? We think not.

Welcome to the Elite Athletic Development l CrossFit Arlington Heights 30 Day Paleo Challenge, Monday, Jan. 7 – Tuesday, Feb. 5. Join your fellow athletes as they commit to eat ample protein, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats. Absent from the Paleo Plate? Grains, dairy, legumes, soy, peas, corn, green beans, sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols, processed foods and alcohol.

If you’re ready to feel and look better, improve workout performance and recovery, sleep deeper, and potentially eliminate nagging issues like skin problems, “fuzzy” thinking, muscle or joint soreness, bloat, and more, commit to yourself — and the EAD / CFAH Community — by writing your name on the white board under the flag. Then, head over to the EAD / CFAH Athlete Center and review the 30 Day Paleo Challenge materials. Also, check out information posted on the EAD / CFAH Paleo Challenge page from previous challenges; we will also regularly post new info on this page.

For those of you who 80 / 20 Paleo, the 30 Paleo Challenge is a commitment; there will be no “variety” (aka, cheat) days. Participants are encouraged to stick to the “Encouraged” and “Food to Avoid” list scrupulously for the duration of the challenge to gain optimum results.

The EAD / CFAH 30 Day Paleo Challenge is inspired by the work of Dr. Loren Cordain, with generous support from Robb Wolf, Whole9, and input from EAD / CFAH athletes who have completed previous challenges.

Questions? Email karen@eadperformancecenter.com

A Farewell to (T. Rex) Arms

This is another in a series of personal reflections penned by Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights athletes about the mental, physical and emotional changes experienced since joining our health & fitness community. The following reflection was originally posted by leaving-too-soon EAD / CFAH athlete Amy H on her blog as A Farewell to (T. Rex) Arms. Amy, your PR whiteboard has only just begun, and we will watch from afar as you achieve goal after goal.

Our Honey Badger in residence, Amy H, departs for her new digs in Georgia far too soon.

I’ve been training at Elite Athletic Development for just over three months (this has been sitting as a draft for a while, so let’s make that almost 4 months). It is absolutely one of the best decisions I’ve made in my adult life. I’m relocating to Atlanta next month (eep! make that less than 2 weeks!) after the wedding and aside from missing friends and family and whatnot, one of the most difficult parts of the move will be leaving my EAD family behind. To say these people are amazing is an understatement. The support and encouragement is non-stop. And it’s contagious. I can finish a horrific WOD (workout of the day) that leaves me all floppy armed and dripping with sweat, but as I walk over to get my water bottle, I can’t help but put away a mat or jump rope for someone else. Because a ton of people have done it for me. We all know that everyone is giving everything they have every time out. I will never ever forget the time I got near the end of what was a particularly brutal workout for me and just had a few laps of crab walking to finish. I was toast. And a fellow athlete who had already completed his entire workout did those last crab walk laps a second time, with me.

Before I found EAD, I had never touched a barbell in my life. I hated running. I considered myself the furthest thing possible from an athlete. I biked because it was the least horrifying way for me to exercise, but I certainly didn’t enjoy those 40 minutes of mind-numbing cardio blasting on my little stationary bike at my traditional gym, in the row with all the other stationary bikes ridden by people putting in their time and hoping to get out without speaking to anyone else. I exercised because I knew I was out of shape, I was tired and it helped keep my stress levels in check. A little.

Just a third of a year later (training 2-3 days a week at EAD), I have completed FOUR 5K races, I love lifting heavy stuff and for the first time in my entire life, I feel sort of athletic. Because I love lifting so much, I’m even looking at some training facilities in Atlanta with a goal of possibly competing in a powerlifting meet some day. Me. Competing. Athletically. Does not compute! But that’s what these guys have done for me. They’ve given me the confidence to believe I’m capable of pretty awesome things. And the desire to become even more awesome. I’m going to be leaving EAD just before we do another round of one rep max testing, so I don’t have a lot of impressive improvement numbers to throw down, but I have little victories all the time. And I know a 200 pound deadlift pull is so close, I can taste it! I really believe EAD has been what has kept my bridezillaness mostly under control and has allowed me to pretty much plan an entire wedding by myself. I might be sweaty and out of breath and my muscles might be shaking, but while I’m at EAD, I can guarantee you I’m too focused on performing to even allow a passing thought of who will sit next to who and what sort of vegetable I should pick and where we’ll take pictures and everything else I worry about the other 23 hours of the day. That has been a gift that I’m only now truly appreciating. Plus, while I’m still built like a T Rex and shoulder presses strike terror in my heart, I do catch myself admiring my arm muscles in the mirror in the morning as I blow dry my hair.

And finally, I leave you with this. I battled with myself over whether I should leave a progress photo. Because I didn’t start on this journey to lose weight. I started on this journey because I was tired of being tired. I was tired of feeling weak. I was tired of spending hours slaving away on a stationary bike and never getting any faster or further. But there have been huge changes, and I think it’s worth acknowledging that.

Amy H February 28, 2012 and October 27, 2012.

The girl on the left is me on February 28, 2012. She didn’t sleep well. She felt like she had been hit by a truck the day after photographing a wedding. She was certain her knees would never allow her to run. Ever. And she felt like her only option was to select a piece of cardio equipment and suffer through 45-60 minutes a day.

On the right is me on October 27, 2012, after completing the Halloween Hustle 5K. My costume was “binders of women.” I know. I’m pretty awesome. She had just completed her 2nd 5K in two weeks. And cut 5 minutes off her time. And enjoyed it. She actually doesn’t weigh that much less than the girl on the left. But that’s because she has muscles. She’s getting stronger. She deadlifts 185 pounds. And that’s not enough for her. She squats looooooooow and likes it. She swings kettlebells and struggles through band assisted pull ups and does push ups at home to practice. She still hates burpees, but who doesn’t? My EAD family, especially my early morning Strength and Power peeps, I will miss you all so much! Thank you for inspiring me to always push it a little further and for welcoming me into your space. I’m still going to have a few classes left when I leave, so I guess I’ll have no choice but to stop by whenever I’m in town and visit. As long as burpees are not in the WOD. 😀

Registration Now Open for Winter Break Youth AD.

 

Coach Jim leads the Dynamic Warm Up for a Youth AD session.

Registration is now open for our special Winter Break Youth Athletic Development session. The session runs Monday, Wednesday & Friday, 1o:30 a.m. 11:30 a.m., December 24 – January 4. The cost is $79.

This two week, six class camp is ideal for motivated middle school & high school athletes looking for a way to stay active over winter break, and head back to school stronger, faster and more powerful. The classes will be led by one of Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights Senior Performance Coaches, and feature the same training techniques used by collegiate, professional and Olympic athletes.

Questions? Email jim@eadperformancecenter.com

CrossFit Women WOD l 11.05 p.m. & 11.06 a.m.

Remember to vote Tuesday, Nov. 6!

WOD the Vote! l For Time

Select six movements — three from each party — from the following list and complete them for time. The rep count for the movements tallies 270, which is the number of Electoral College votes required to win the presidential election. The movements may be done in any order, and you must complete each movement before proceeding.

Democrat

45 kcal Row (this is a sprint … not a paddle!)

45 Box Jumps

45 Push Jerks (55#)

45 Wall Ball Shots

Republican

45 Weighted Sit Ups (10#)

15 HSPUs, Kick Ups or Wall Walks + 15 Pull Ups + 15 Hands Release Push Ups

5 Laps Farmer’s Walk (30# each side)

5 Laps Bear Crawl (1 Lap = 54′)

 

 


Maggie Finally Embraces Her “Inner Athlete”.

This is another in a series of personal reflections penned by Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights / CrossFit Axis athletes about the mental, physical and emotional changes experienced since joining our health & fitness community. The following reflection* was submitted by Maggie R who joined our Community in May 2011. After her first Fitness Boot Camp, it was clear to the performance coaches that Maggie had incredible — yet unrecognized by her — athletic potential. We knew that as soon as she acknowledged that ability, she would be unstoppable! Maggie attacks her training program, has dialed in her performance fueling to support her goals, and continually seeks new challenges. She currently holds the fastest 2k women’s row in the gym, and recently PR’d several lifts … a continuation in a series of “bests”. Keep up the great work, Maggie … you are an inspiration to us all!

Maggie R has worked hard and has the results to prove it!

“This morning I was thinking about how grateful I am for everything the EAD / CFAH Performance Coaches do, so I decided to write out some of my thoughts and share them with you.

“I was never an ‘athlete’ in the true sense of the word. I played kiddie soccer for a season until I had to quit because my allergies were too severe in the fall. I played park district basketball, but only because I felt pressured by my extremely athletic family. Being one of the tallest girls for my age helped, but my ball handling skills lacked, and I was slow … oh so slow. Ultimately, the coach placed me under the basket and told me to just put my arms up.

“Being on a sports team at my small middle school was a way to be ‘cool,’ so I  played basketball and joined the track team for a season. I ran the 800m and became pretty familiar with finishing last. I also came in last in the 200m when I had to fill in at the last minute for a teammate. The nerves that came with that race came close to creating one of those middle school memories you fear:  I almost peed my pants! I also signed on to be manager for the volleyball team so I could still hang — and sometimes practice with — the athletes.

“I moved on to cheerleading in 8th grade, which I continued for a year at high school, before joining the track team. Since the track events didn’t go so well in middle school, I thought I’d give the field events a try and I picked up the shot put. I enjoyed using the weight room and learning how to Clean, but when track interfered with my passion for the music program, I quit.

“I started running 2-3 miles a day and doing Tae-Bo quite fervently after quitting the track team; this was my training program throughout the remainder of high school and college. Since I was no longer on any team sports, describing myself as an athlete never, ever crossed my mind — even after completing three half-marathons, working as a personal trainer for a year, and competing in an amateur kickboxing fight.

“But after 1.5 years of training at Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights, I now proudly say that I represent the name of the place where I train: I am an athlete, I train like an elite athlete, and I have new friends — an entire community of people — who train with me and share my goals.

“I am so grateful for the complete transformation that’s occurred inside of me. I haven’t lost an enormous amount of weight or dropped five dress sizes. But I am faster, stronger, more powerful, and more confident — so much more confident. And I have a belief in myself that I never had before, which is something that you can’t buy with any old gym membership.”

* Excerpted with permission from an email Maggie R sent to the EAD / CFAH / CFAX Performance Coaches.