Ann Marie Rewrites the Script on Her Fitness Story.

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. When Ann Marie N dropped in to check out the new fitness studio near her home in August 2011, she never imagined that Coach Jim would put her to the test that very moment … a workout that would start Ann Marie on a journey to redefine her body composition, reduce her cholesterol by 30 points, and well-deservedly exclaim that “my arms look freakin’ amazing!” Ann Marie is a doting aunt, loving wife, giving friend, active community volunteer, culinary whiz,  avid gardener, proud member of the EAD | CFAH Buttercup Brigade, and accomplished actress. Once defined by others, she has rewritten the script on her fitness, and now boldly sets an example of strength and beauty for her fellow athletes. This is Ann Marie’s story.


Those are just a few of the adjectives people used to describe me from childhood through most of my adult life. At one time, each evoked a different and negative emotion for me. What a difference a year (or two or three) makes!

Accomplished EAD | CFAH athlete Ann Marie N once feared the Barbell.

Accomplished EAD | CFAH athlete Ann Marie N once feared the Barbell.

When I first stumbled across Elite Athletic Development, I was really just looking for a routine change. A workout that I could stick with and that wouldn’t bore me. I didn’t have any weight loss goals. I didn’t really have any specific goals whatsoever. I just had a vague idea that I was not as healthy as I could be and that I needed to do something sooner rather than later (I wasn’t getting any younger!).

I walked the two blocks from my house to the storefront on Dunton Avenue. I told Coach Jim I wanted to hang out and watch a class; instead, he threw me into the Dynamic Warm Up & Workout of the Day. By the end of the class, I was exhausted and exhilarated. Still, I had no idea just how important this place would become. I had no idea what inner and outer strength was in my future.

AMNDropQuoteLooking back, my early training schedule was somewhat bumpy thanks to a crazy schedule, tweaked hamstring, adjusting to the College Drive move, and a very real fear of the barbell. But every time I got discouraged, lazy, or distracted, there was someone there to encourage me, motivate me, push me harder, and help me re-focus. The 9:30 a.m. ladies embraced my loud & quirky ways and made me feel like I could conquer anything. Coaches Jim & Josh convinced me I could lift heavy S&it, and could increase my overall fitness with strength training. Instead of feeling intimidated when lifting with “the boys,” the men of EAD | CFAH were my biggest cheerleaders.

It has been more than three years since I dropped in to Coach Jim’s class. I’ve had knee surgery. Outside demands on my time and health have been rough. Life is always chaotic. But every time I walk through the doors of Elite Athletic Development, I am home. It is my therapy. My entertainment. My “all-about-me” time. My realities (46 years-old, 5’3”, 110 lbs.) are now just side notes. No excuses. No boundaries.

It’s hard to believe I once feared a 35-pound Back Squat, let alone hoisting a weighted barbell in to an Overhead Squat. I didn’t think it possible to dig deeper or be prouder than when I posted PRs for a Strict Press (55#) or Deadlift (155# Deadlift). I was thrilled with one strict Dead Hang Pull Up. Little did I know those accomplishments were just the beginning.

Since committing to a mix of CrossFit classes and Strength & Power (and now Strength & Conditioning) classes, I boast a 187.5# Deadlift … and I am quite certain I will one day pull double my body weight. I consistently see technique gains & weight increases on all of my lifts. I can knock out 5-6 Strict Pull Ups, with a goal of reaching 10. My Box Jump is 28.5” with a goal of 31.5″, or half my height.

I have also seen improvement in my overall fitness capabilities. More endurance. Mostly Rx. I am always surprised when I realize I can do something new, like a Handstand Push Up, simply because I am stronger. I still have things to learn — a Muscle Up, Rope Climb, Kipping — but nothing seems impossible.

Bad Ass.

Those are the adjectives people now use to describe me … and more importantly, that I use to describe myself.  Add in sheer gratitude, and you have my story.

Have a success story you’d like to share with the EAD | CFAH Community? Let Coach Karen know … we’d love to hear from you!

2014 Tandem Throwdown | Saturday, Aug. 9

SoldOut(1)The sold out 2014 Tandem Throwdown is less than one week away. A full day of competition begins at 8 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 9, with the top eight teams slated to contend for top honors at roughly 4 p.m. Come out and cheer on fellow EAD | CFAH athletes Mike O’ & Kelly B, Amber R & Jake R, and Jessica R & Josh R, and 92 other athletes representing 28 CrossFit affiliates from Illinois, Wisconsin & Minnesota. Admission is free.

2014 Tandem Throwdown Participating CrossFit Affiliates

  • CrossFit Amplify
  • CrossFit Kenosha
  • CrossFit Beloit
  • CrossFit Farmland
  • CrossFit Fort Atkinson
  • CrossFit Northpoint
  • CrossFit Homer Glen
  • H.O.T.Side CrossFit
  • CrossFit Crystal Lake
  • Division St. CrossFit
  • CrossFit Sanctify
  • Yorkville Crossfit
  • CrossFit Roselle
  • CrossFit CU
  • Bare Bones CrossFit
  • CrossFit Enclave
  • CrossFit 1013
  • CrossFit Rise
  • Crossfit Warrior Risen
  • CrossFit New Lenox
  • CrossFit Construct
  • Crossfit Wilmette & Deerfield
  • RowFit Chicago / Chi-Town CrossFit
  • CrossFit Lake Forest
  • Crossfit Muse
  • Titletown CrossFit
  • Crossfit SAA,
  • and event host Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights


“This Place Has Changed My Life.”

This is another in a series of personal reflections contributed by Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights and CrossFit Axis athletes about the mental, physical and emotional changes experienced since joining our health & fitness community. Regina P accepted the Free Class Challenge Saturday, Dec. 28 and was part of the January 7, 2014 Training Essentials session. Since then, she’s become an effervescent part of the EAD | CFAH Training Community, drawing people in with her enthusiasm, dedication and amazing results. Regina shared her reflection of her first 157 training hours at EAD | CFAH with Coach Jim.

Spend even a few minutes with Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights athlete Regina P and she’s bound to proclaim, “This Place Has Changed My Life.”  She’ll also share — with tremendous pride (and rightfully so) — that she’s gone from a size 24 to a size 14 and lost more than 54 pounds since she started CrossFit classes the first week in February.

Regina After

Regina in an impromptu photo shoot staged by her incredibly proud daughter.

Ask the athletes who train with Regina and they’ll say their day gets kicked up a notch the minute she walks in; she inspires them to work harder. Regina approaches every workout as if it is her reward for the day’s toil. Coming through the door, she greets coaches and fellow athletes with her wonderful smile and infectious optimism.  But it wasn’t always that way.

Regina drove past EAD | CFAH to and from her way to work for more than six years, slowing her car to see what was going on in the gym, but never stopping. Intrigued, and sometimes intimidated by what she saw, Regina wondered if she could somehow become one of those “crazy people running around with big exercise balls and jumping up and down on the front lawn.”

Regina Before

Regina in her pre-EAD | CFAH days.

The should I? / shouldn’t I? impasse ended during a lunchtime stroll when Regina popped in to ask about a new high-protein energy treat, the  RxBar. Over the next few shopping trips, Regina had the chance to talk with Coach Ashley, and Coaches Alida and Karen about the people who call EAD | CFAH their training home, the training philosophy, and more. She accepted Coach Karen’s invitation to take the EAD | CFAH Free Class Challenge, and started her amazing transformation.

Regina says the results she’s gained at EAD | CFAH since early February far surpass anything she’s experienced. She’s spent hundreds of dollars working with personal trainers at big box gyms, endless loops on the treadmill and elliptical trainer, and countless hours in Pilates and Zumba classes. But in less than 160 training hours at EAD | CFAH, Regina says she moves better, has more energy, is more productive at work, and feels better than she has since college. One particularly proud moment for Regina was when her teen daughter insisted on doing an impromptu photo shoot when she saw Regina in her new CrossFit Arlington Heights tee — in a size Regina hasn’t worn since she was a very young girl.

It took a ton of courage for Regina — and for that matter, anyone — to take that first step and try something new; it takes even more courage to stick with it. Regina had her doubts in those early workouts,  yet she says kept coming back because so many people believed in her, which in turn made her believe in herself.

Regina’s training goals include mastering Front Squats and Double Unders. She also has her sights on her first competition, the 2015 Athena Classic. Look  for her as competitor #001!

High School Student Training Essentials Session Starts June 9.

Registration is now open for the June 9 session of High School Student Training Essentials at EAD | CFAH.

Registration is now open for the June 9 session of High School Student Training Essentials at EAD | CFAH.

Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights now offers the perfect program for high school students ready to learn the proper form, technique and movement mechanics to safely and effectively begin a CrossFit training program.

Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights, one of the longest-established CrossFit affiliates in Illinois, will offer a special Training Essentials class for student athletes (entering 9th grade and older) new to CrossFit Monday, June 9 – Friday, June 13, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. The class will be offered at additional times throughout the summer.

High School Student Training Essentials is a one-week / five-day session led by a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Training Essentials will introduce high school students to the fundamentals of EAD | CFAH training programs, and provide plenty of small group instruction and technique work. Training Essentials participants will learn, practice and perfect body weight, dumb bell, kettle bell, and barbell movements, including Olympic weightlifting and power movements, and more. The session will prepare student athletes for EAD | CFAH CrossFit, Strength & Power, Powerbuilding, Boot Camp and CrossFit Women classes.

Student athletes must attend all five classes to qualify for next-level classes. The $159 session price includes a CrossFit Arlington Heights shirt and Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights training log. Select the 12-class card option when registering / making your purchase. Register today!

Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights Athlete Guest Post | John O’

This post is contributed by EAD / CFAH Athlete John O’, who started training with us in November 2011. John’s second WOD after graduating Training Essentials (then known as OnRamp) was the Thanksgiving favorite “Earn Your Seconds,” which he did with his usual flair, and has every year since. You can usually find John O’ training with the early morning crew weekdays and on Saturday mornings. This week John O’ PR’d his Bench Press, and anticipates the same for his Deadlift Saturday. Have a thought or two you’d like to share with your fellow athletes? Let us know … we’d love to hear from you!


Has life intervened and disrupted your training routine? EAD / CFAH Athlete John O’ says stop thinking about it and just come back.

I have been an active member of Elite Athletic Development | Crossfit Arlington Heights for more than two years and I have met many amazing people. I love how many people I recognize and run into around town who I first met at EAD | CFAH.  When I run into someone I haven’t seen for a while, the inevitable question arises, “Are you still going to CrossFit?” I say quickly “Yes”, and then ask them the same question. If the person says “no”, it is almost always quickly followed by, “I would like to, but I’m nervous to start up again.” If you’ve said those words before, or you know someone who has, this post is for you.

Everyone has a lot going on these days; work, kids, travel, injury, and more get in the way of our ideal training plans. When your program gets disrupted, I encourage you to come back to EAD | CFAH and start up again as soon as you can. Stop thinking about it and just come to one class. Is it going to be awesome? Probably not. You have to get your body adjusted to the new regimen. But I promise you that everything will come back quicker than before and you will be happy you started up again.

JohnODropQuoteLast summer I was unable to come to any classes due to eye surgery. Coming back was the scariest and most nerve-wracking thing I have experienced in a long time. Typical thoughts were that I was going to be embarrassed by being so slow, being last, being fat, throwing up, struggling mightily, etc. Stop thinking and just come back for one class, and follow these three rules as first told to me by Coach Rory.

1.  Show Up. 90 percent of accomplishing anything is putting yourself in a position to succeed. At EAD | CFAH, just show up. The coaches will take care of you.

2.  Do What You Can Do. CrossFit is about challenging yourself and your self-imposed limits. The EAD | CFAH coaches are not interested in having you hurt yourself or attempt things you are not ready for. What they are looking for is a desire to get better and an honest, all-out effort. Do what you can do by easing into the different exercises and weights. The EAD | CFAH Community will support you, challenge you, and congratulate you.

3.  Keep Coming Back. We did not get out of shape overnight, so why would getting back into shape be any different? It’s a process that gets you better each and every time you come back.

I’ve yet to find my name at the top of the whiteboard for finishing a workout first in the two years since I’ve done CrossFit, so I know what it feels like to struggle (and seemingly survive) some of the classes. But I always feel that the coaches have my back. They are always supportive and will modify any workout you don’t feel you can complete safely. I have also come to appreciate the amazing support of the EAD | CFAH Community. As a struggling and novice CrossFit athlete, I can always count on my classmates to cheer me on to the finish and congratulate me. It’s all about the process of improvement and getting better so why not have a crowd of positive, energetic and great people encourage you? Come back to Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights and let us cheer you on.


2017AthenaClassicLogo.STDHosted by Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights. Check back regularly for event updates. Questions or interested in sponsorship opportunities? Contact

Thanks to the following companies for their support of the 2017 Athena Classic. Show them some love by visiting their website and social media accounts to say “thanks!” … and by talking them up to your friends and fellow athletes. Of course, the best “thank you” you can give is to spend money with these good folks!

April 17, 2017 | Competitors & Spectators: Please take a moment to review the following 2017 Athena Classic Event Details. If you have any questions, please contact

April 16, 2017 | The #FierceBraveWarrior competitors return to Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights Saturday, April 22. Check out the following event details: Competitor Roster, Workouts, Movement Standards, & Heat Assignments.

May 4, 2016 | Save the Date! The Athena Classic returns to Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights Saturday, April 22, 2017. Hope to see you there!

April 16, 2016 | Thanks to Our Contributors! Thanks to the following companies for their support of the 2016 Athena Classic. Show them some love by visiting their website and social media accounts to say “thanks!”, and by talking them up to your friends and fellow athletes. Of course, the best “thank you” you can give is to spend money with these good folks!


April 7, 2016 | Special Offer From The Sox Box. Thanks, Sox Box, for your support of the 2016 Athena Calssic. Competitors, Spectators & Fans … Use the special coupon code arlingtonCF and save 10% on all purchases. Visit today. Offer valid through April 30.

April 6, 2016 | Competitor Update Released. The following Competitor Update was emailed to all Athena Classic competitors today.

April 5, 2016 | Tentative Heat Schedule Now Posted. The initial Heat Schedule is now posted. Click here for a Print & Go copy. The Heat Schedule is tentative until further notice, but this initial posting should give competitors a general idea of how to plan their day.  Athletes are not required to be present for the 7:30 a.m., Workout #1 & #2 Briefing, but will do so at their own risk. There will be no explanation of the workouts outside of the morning & afternoon briefings. And if you’ve competed in prior year Athena Classic or Tandem Throwdown events, you know that once we start the training rolling, it doesn’t slow or stop. We take great pride in running our events on schedule, and we appreciate your help in doing so by being informed, warmed up, and ready to go at your posted heat start time.

April 2, 2016 | The 2016 Athena Classic Workouts Announced. The 2016 Athena Classic Workouts are now posted. Click here for a Print & Go copy. Competitors have until Wednesday, April 6 to change divisions. There are three divisions available — Rx Open, Rx Masters and Rx Scaled. There is no Scaled Masters division. Competitors age 40 and older may select the division that is the best match for their skill set. Competitors who scale or modify any workout element(s) will be scored and featured on the event leaderboard, but are no longer eligible for the finals or podium prize package.

April 2, 2016 | Athena Classic Contributing Sponsors Announced. Help us say thanks to the folks who contribute to the coolest Competitor Registration Bag in area CrossFit competitions and a very exciting Podium Prize Package. Take a moment to visit the website, Facebook Page, Twitter Feed or Instagram account of the Friends of the 2016 Athena Classic:

2016AthenaClassicSponsors.Promo1Atlas Power Wraps

Blender Bottle

BoxStar Apparel

Buckshot Images


Caffeine and Kilos

Cal Naturale Svelte

Carlson Labs

China Gel

Cinderella Paleo

Epic Bar



Green Sheep Water

Hi Ball Energy Drink

Lifeway Foods

Mama Chia

Momentum Gear

Nature’s Bakery

Nothing Bundt Cakes

Perfect Bars




Rok Fit

Rumble Roller

Smarty Pants Vitamins

Suja Organic

The Natural Grip

Sox Box

Tiger Tail

Wallace Farms

Walnut Grove | Brass Family Farms

Winnie’s Rip Fix

Workt Knee Sleeves

2016 Athena Classic Registration Opens at 7 p.m. (cst), Tuesday, March 1 February 28.  Registration for the 2016 Athena Classic opens at 7 p.m. (cst), Tuesday, March 1. The competitor field is capped at 80 athletes; athletes have the option to register for the Rx Open (18+), Rx Masters (40+) and Scaled Division (18+).

Athena Classic registration requires three steps:

1.) Sign Up. Create an account on the Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights class registration system and complete the waiver. The Sign In or Sign Up button is in the upper right hand corner of the page. Jump Start Registration Now.

2.) Register. Once registration opens:

>  Sign in to your account

>  Click on the calendar icon

>  Select Athena Classic | Saturday, April 16

>  Select Enroll

>  Follow the prompts to complete the registration process

3.) Email with the following information:

  • Your Division. Scaled, Rx Open (18+) or Rx Masters (40+) Division. Movement Standards are posted on the Athena Classic Event Web Page (scroll down) or Athena Classic Facebook Page.
  • Your shirt size. The 2016 Athena Classic competitor shirt is a Next Level Raceback Tank. Sizing information
  • The affiliate or gym you will represent.
  • Something interesting, fun, unique or random about you. You could become one of the athletes featured in our Competitor Profiles, and receive some special SWAG from our event sponsors.

Possible Workout Components Released. | February 26. A list of possible components for 2016 Athena Classic workouts for the Rx Open, Rx Masters and Scaled Divisions is now posted. The list is not exhaustive, but should give competitors enough information on which division best suits their current performance base. Registration for the 2016 Athena classic opens the week of February 29. 2016 Possible Workout Components.

Save the Date! She’ll Be Back. | April 20. The Athena Classic will return to Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights Saturday, April 16, 2016. The 2015 event sold out in less than three hours … will it sell out faster in 2016?

2015 Athena Classic Wrap Up. | April 19. The 2015 Athena Classic lived up to its billing Saturday, April 18 pitting 80 women from 27 CrossFit affiliates and two states against three fierce workouts to land a spot in the finals, where the top 21 warriors battled for bragging rights, trophies, and cash and prizes. The Athena Classic returns to Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights Saturday, April 16, 2016.

2015AthenaFinalWODGraphicThe final workout — a spectator-friendly-but-athlete-nasty skill and strength combo featuring a Handstand Walk and Pistols  for the Rx Divisions. and Frog Hop Burpees and Goblet Squats for the Scaled Division — capped an exciting day of competition, and sealed victory for the three division champs.

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2015 Rx Masters Division Podium Finishers. Thadine Zajac, CrossFit Roselle, 2nd place; Jennifer Benson, Big City CrossFit, 2015 Champion; Jodi Corbit, CrossFit Sanctify, 3rd place.

2014 Masters Division runner-up Jennifer Benson, 41, Big City CrossFit, Chicago, set her sights on denying two-time champ Liza Michelle, CrossFit Carbon, Vernon Hills, a three-peat. Benson dominated the 2015 competition with four first place finishes. Second place finisher Thadine Zajac, 42, CrossFit Roselle, denied Benson a sweep by matching her points total in Workout #2 | “For Malaika.” The workout honored EAD | CFAH athlete Malaika Corsentino who succumbed to brain cancer April 16, just two years after competing in the inaugural Athena Classic. Rounding out the Masters Division was Jodi Corbit, 41, CrossFit Sanctify, Madison, Wis., in third, and Tammy Whaley, 42, A3 CrossFit, Grayslake, and Lesley Ravenscroft, 45, CrossFit Carbon, who tied for fourth. Michelle, fighting a nagging injury, went in to the finals in fourth place, and within striking distance of the podium, but opted not to compete in the final event of the day. Masters Division Leaderboard.

2015AthenaClassicBagSponsors 009

2015 Scaled Division Podium Finishers. Mary Jo Prusko, Bare Bones CrossFit, 2nd place; Robyn Wall, CrossFit EPC, 2015 Champion; Rachel Druschel, CrossFit Carbon, 3rd place.

The Scaled Division, new this year, saw several lead changes throughout the day. But Robyn Wall, 23, CrossFit EPC, Lincolnshire, fought back from an eighth place finish in Workout #1b | “Pick Two” to take top honors. Joining Wall on the podium was second place finisher Mary Jo Prusko, 39, Bare Bones CrossFit, Yorkville, and Rachel Druschel, 32, CrossFit Carbon. Scaled Division Leaderboard.

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2015 Rx Division Podium Finishers. Meghan Carney, CrossFit Carbon, 2nd place; 2015 Champion, Ashley Carlson, CrossFit Kilter; Ashley Sisovsky, CrossFit Kilter, 3rd place.

A pair of Ashley’s from CrossFit Kilter, Libertyville — Carlson, 32, and Sisovsky, 28 — battled throughout the day, along with Meghan Carney, 26, CrossFit Carbon. Carlson crushed the final workout, topping the field by more than a minute, to cinch the Rx Division championship. A second place finish by Sisovsky in the final workout of the day wasn’t enough to hold off Carney, who captured division runner up honors. Sisovsky finished third. Rx Division Leaderboard.

In a day filled with stellar athletic performances, a series of most memorable moments came from Master’s Division athlete Jodi Marino, 60, CrossFit Sanctify, Madison, and Regina Pinkston,35, CrossFit Arlington Heights. An accident left Marino with exceptionally limited use of her arm – but full access to her competitive spirit and drive. Pinkston has lot close to 100 pounds since starting CrossFit in January, 2013. The Athena Classic was her first competition, and she’s now registered for the August 8 Tandem Throwdown, also hosted by Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights.

Jodi Marino, CrossFit Sanctify, inspired her fellow athletes and spectators alike.

Jodi Marino, CrossFit Sanctify, inspired her fellow athletes and spectators alike.

The sold out 2015 Athena Classic was hosted by Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights and featured the best Competitor Registration Bag in area CrossFit competitions … bar none! Thanks to the following companies for their support of the 2015 Athena Classic (listed in alphabetical order):

Athlete Update Now Posted. | April 12. An Athlete Update has been emailed to all confirmed competitors. If you have any questions after reading the update, please be sure to contact or post your question(s) on the Athena Classic Facebook Page.

Heat Schedule & Movement Standards Now Posted. | April 10. The Movement Standards and Heat Schedule, and an updated order for Workouts #1, #2 &#3 (revised order) for the 2015 Athena Classic are now posted. The top eight competitors in each division at the conclusion of workouts #1, #2 & #3 will advance to the fourth and final workout. Prizes will be awarded to the top three athletes in each division based on performance in all four workouts. The Athena Classic Leaderboard is available courtesy of our friends at WODLeader. Prize package information will be released the week of April 13.


Thanks to our Supporters! | April 7. Show your appreciation to the following supporters of the 2015 Athena Classic by visiting their website or dropping a message on one of their social media platforms. Of course, there is no better way to say “thanks!” than to spend money with the following businesses. If given the chance, be sure to tell they that you heard about their product and / or service at the 2015 Athena Classic.


2015 Athena Classic Sponsors (in alpha order)

Pre-Order KitchFix Meals & Snacks. | April 6. 2015 Athena Classic supporter KitchFix has created a Special Menu for competitors & spectators. Each item will be made fresh to order and conveniently delivered to EAD | CFAH. Please email your order to no later than Noon, Friday, April 10.

Updated Competitor Roster Released.April 3.  The competition will be fierce and the PRs a-plenty! Check out the 2015 Athena Classic Roster.

Workouts #1, #2 & #3 Now Posted.April 1.  Workouts #1, #2 & #3 for the 2015 Athena Classic are now posted. Competitors will have until 7 p.m., Thursday, April 2, to email to change their division. Competitors are welcomed to scale one or more elements of the workouts; doing so will automatically move the athlete to the Scaled Open Division. The top competitors from each division — Scaled Open, Rx Open, and Rx Masters — will vie for position on the Athena Classic Champions Podium in a fourth and final workout.  Heat Assignments will be posted Friday, April 10.

The Wait List Is Active. | March 28. Stand by if you are on the 2015 Athena Classic Wait List. We’re beginning to see movement from the Wait List to the Active Event Roster. You will receive an email inviting you to register for the event if we are able to move you to the Active Event Roster. If you are no longer able to compete, please email so we can alert one of the eager Wait List athletes. Sorry, no refunds if you are unable to compete.

Event Roster Released. |  February 25. The 2015 Athena Classic Roster (v1) is now posted. If you would like changes to how your name / affiliate / division appears, please contact We have dozens of women on the event Wait List, so if life intervenes and you are unable to compete April 18, please let us know as soon as possible. You will have 24 hours following the release of the first three workouts to change your division.

SOLD OUT! | February 16.  Registration was fast & furious Sunday evening, with a majority of the 80 roster slots claimed in the first 90 minutes; event registration went to the Wait List in less than three hours. If you weren’t able to register before the roster filled, please email and get on the Wait List. There was movement from the Wait List for the 2013 & 2014 events as people earned an individual or team spot for Regionals, or (unfortunately) suffered an injury during the Open, or (fortunately) became pregnant. We will move athletes from the Wait List in the order in which they contacted me. There is no need to pay the registration fee to Wait List.

She’s Ready. Are You Willing? | February 14. Registration for the 2015 Athena Classic opens Sunday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. cst. The registration fee is $75 — the same price as the 2014 event. Field size is limited to 80 competitors. Based on the number of emails and phone calls logged, the field may fill quickly. There is no preferential treatment on registration — 2013 & 2014 podium finishers and competitors, EAD | CFAH athletes, Friends of EAD | CFAH, etc. — will all vie for one of the spots. In the spirit of full disclosure, we did reserve one spot … more on that later. Should we fill all 80 spots, we will start a Wait List. Competitors will move from the Wait List to the Active Roster on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are on the Wait List but don’t make it to the Active Roster, we will refund your registration fee. There will be no other refunds. REGISTER NOW! 

Welcome Back, Fierce.Brave. Warriors. | February 14. The 2015 Athena Classic features three divisions: Rx Open (18+), Rx Masters (40+), and Scaled Open (18+).  Please review the Division Standards listed below before registering for the event. Event registration opens soon … keep an eye here or on the event Facebook Page for details. The following movements & loads are representative of what you could see during the competition. This list is not intended to be exhaustive and competitors should expect to see additional movements. Workouts #1, #2 & #3 will be released Wednesday, April 1.

2015AthenaClassicDivisionStandardsGraphicAll athletes are guaranteed three workouts. The top finishers in the Open Division (18+), Masters Division (40+), and Scaled Division (18+) will face off in the fourth and final event. Prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers in each division. If you plan to compete in the Scaled Open Division and the movements / movement standards are not within your skill set, you are welcomed to scale further, but you will not be eligible for the finals. Our aim is to make this a fun, well-run and competitive event — even if that competition is you versus you for multiple PRs. 2015 Athena Classic Division Standards


April 26 | Competition Overview. The competition overview is now posted. Oh, and did we mention Athena will be back? Save the date! Athena returns Saturday, April 18, 2015.

April 23 Update | Photo Galleries. Take few minutes — or more likely, a few hours — to check out the amazing images captured by the 2014 Athena Classic photographers, Ann Granato Photography (under the More tab) and Snitzer Photography (under the Sports tab). Both artists offer access to low resolution images for free, and an option to purchase high resolution images.

April 20 Update | Event Results. What an amazing day of competition, and gathering of some of the coolest people around. Thanks to the competitors, volunteers and spectators who made the 2014 Athena Classic an event to remember. Congrats to the podium finishers in the Master’s Division — 1st place, Liza Nelson, CrossFit Carbon; 2nd place, Jennifer Benson, Big City CrossFit; 3rd place, Deb Pirkel, CrossFit Sanctify — and in the Open Division — 1st place, Anna Schmidt, CrossFit Sanctify; 2nd place, Ashley Beerens, CrossFit Northpoint; 3rd place, Anne-Lisa Maag, CrossFit Sanctify.

2014 Athena Classic Leaderboard

2014 Athena Classic | Master’s Division Top Four

2014 Athena Classic | Open Division Top Eight Final

2014 Athena Classic Workout Scoring | Workout #1Workout #2 and Workout #3

April 17 p.m. UPDATE | Movement Standards FAQ + 2014 Athena Classic Exhibitors. Thanks to all the athletes who took time to email questions regarding event movement standards. Please take a moment to review the 2014 Movement Standards FAQ. Also, please remember to bring along some spending money Saturday — you’ll want to check out all the cool gear for sale by Unbroken, Fran’s Closet Rx, BPowerful Wraps, and JUNK Brands. Plus, EAD | CFAH student athlete Maeve will be on hand selling fresh fruit and other healthy snack options.

April 17 UPDATE | Athlete Update.

Please take a moment to review the Athlete Update posted at 3:15 p.m. We will post a Movement Standards FAQ later today.  Be sure to email any questions to ASAP so we can cover them in the FAQ.

April 16 p.m. UPDATE | Final Competitor Roster & Heat Assignments.The 2014 Athena Classic Roster and 2014 Athena Classic Heat Assignments are now final. Competitors are responsible for knowing their Heat Assignments, start times, and scaling options, and being on the competition floor promptly as scheduled. If you haven’t participated in a previous Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights events, know that we do our absolute best to keep the event moving and on time. We’ve even been known to be ahead of schedule, so please be prepared. If you were on the Event Wait List and you registered via MindBodyOnline, we will refund your credit card the complete registration fee. On behalf of the entire event staff, we’re sorry that you didn’t receive a call up and we encourage you to register early if you’re interested in the August 9 Tandem Throwdown. We anticipate the the Tandem Throwdown will sell out even faster than the Athena Classic!

April 16 a.m. UPDATE | Prize Package.

2014 Athena Classic competitors will vie for more than $2500 in cash and prizes at the April 19 competition hosted by Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights. In addition, spectators can save 15% or RxBars (use the promo code ATHENA) and 10% on Atlas Power Wrap merchandise (use the promo code FAN). Be sure to show your appreciate for 2014 Athena Classic event sponsors, including: Road Runner Sports – Kildeer, Carlson Labs, PANDORA Hawthorn, King Kong Apparel, Unbroken, Nowicki Chiropractic, RxBar, BPowerful Wraps, Rx Jump Ropes, Fran’s Closet Rx, JUNK Brands, Atlas Power Wraps, and Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights.

Apri1 14 p.m. UPDATE | Movement Standards. The 2014 Athena Classic Movement Standards are now posted. Please review the standards carefully. If you have any questions, please contact Questions will be compiled and answers will be posted on the Event Facebook Page.

April 13 a.m. UPDATE | Heat Assignments + Wait List Update + WOD Briefing Info. The Heat Assignments for Saturday’s event are now posted. Please check to ensure that you see your name posted for WOD #1, WOD #2 & WOD #3. Please contact if you are not listed for three WODs, or your named is spelled incorrectly /  you would prefer to go by a nickname. We will not correct names / spelling on event day … so speak now if you’d like anything changed.

There are two slots listed as “WAIT LIST” on the Heat Assignments. Invites have been issued to the next athletes on the list and they have until Noon, Monday, April 14 to accept or pass the opportunity to compete. Please note that we will freeze the Active Event Roster Wednesday, April 23 and issue no further call ups at that point. If you are on the Wait List and have already paid your entry fee but don’t get called up, we will refund the complete entry fee to the credit card used for the purchase.

Please note that we will run a mandatory Athlete Briefing Saturday, April 19 at 7:30 a.m. for WOD #1 & WOD #2, at 12:45 p.m. for WOD #3, and immediately following the reveal of WOD #4. There will not be time allocated before individual heats to review movements, movement standards or to answer questions. Once we post movement standards, please post any questions you may have to this page. In general, if you adhere to CrossFit movement standards, you will be in good shape. Thanks for your cooperation!

April 4 UPDATE | Workout #1, #2 & #3 Announced.

The first three workouts for the 2014 Athena Classic are now posted. Heat Assignments and Movement Standards will be released Friday, April 11. Any changes / updates / clarification to the first three workouts will be posted — there will be no “surprises” on event day.

March 22 UPDATE | Workout #1, #2 & #3 Movements Announced.

Athena competitors should be prepared to see variations of several traditional CrossFit movements in expected — and unexpected — ways April 19. 2014 Athena Classic Movements (as of 03.22.14)

March 16 UPDATE | Event Roster Announced. Athena travels with some very tough friends … check out the 2014 Athena Classic Roster. If you no longer plan to compete, please contact so we can move a very eager and hoping-upon-hope-a-spot-will-open competitor from the wait list.

March 14 UPDATE | Room Block Deadline Reminder. If you plan to book a discounted room at the Courtyard Chicago Arlington Heights / North, please do so before March 28. Check out the March 6 Update for more info.

2014AthenaSponsorsMarch 13 UPDATE | Welcome to the 2014 Athena Classic Sponsors! Thanks to the our generous sponsors: Unbroken, Fran’s Closet RX, Nowicki Chiropractic (specializing in Active Release Therapy & SpiderTech Taping), Carlson Laboratories, BPowerful Wraps, PANDORA at Hawthorn Mall,  and RXBar. Watch for info these — and additional — sponsors in the coming days!

March 6 UPDATE | Discounted Room Block. We’ve secured a discounted room block for Athena Classic competitors, spectators & sponsors at the Courtyard Chicago Arlington Heights / North, located just minutes from EAD / CFAH at 3700 North Wilke Road, Arlington Heights, 60004. Each Queen / Queen room is $59 + applicable taxes. Book your room(s) today through March 28. The special rate is for Friday, April 18 & Saturday, April 19 only, and breakfast is not included (unlikely that it would be Paleo anyway …). Each guest is responsible for all charges. Book your room by phone at 800.321.2211 or 800.228.9290 and reference Athena Classic at the Courtyard Chicago Arlington Heights/North. Or, Book Online.

2014 ATHENA CLASSIC | SOLD OUT! If you’d like to place your name on the Wait List for the 2014 Athena Classic, please email Getting on the Wait List is no guarantee to compete, but it is the only way to move from the sidelines to the competition floor.

SHE’S BACK. AND SHE’S WAITING FOR YOU. Registration for the 2014 Athena Classic is now open. The 2013 event sold out — and in a hurry — so if you’re ready to compete, register today.






Final Standings

Workout #4 / Finals Scoring

Workout #3 Scoring

Workout #2 Scoring

Workout #1 Scoring


Just in … Progenex has joined the Athena Classic team and will provide gift certificates for the top three finishers — $30 for first, $20 for second and $10 for third — in the Open & Master’s Divisions. Thanks, Progenex! Also in is Unbroken CrossFit Outfitters, providing $20 gift certificates for the first place finishers in the Open & Master’s Divisions.


Parking for athletes, volunteers & spectators is available at EAD / CFAH, 12 West College Drive; Carlson Labs, 15 West College Drive; Meilner Mechanical Sales, 19 West College Drive; and, AMCA International, 30 West University Drive. Please do not park along the fence line adjacent to the EAD / CFAH garage doors, or on University Drive.


CrossFit Arlington Heights / Elite Athletic Development today announced the Prize Package for the top three finishers in the Open and Master’s Divisions of the Athena Classic. Competitors will vie for bragging rights, a trophy and almost $1,300 in cash & prizes. Plus, spectators can enter a raffle drawing for a $50 online gift certificate for US Wellness Meats, free entry to the Salute, Inc. Tactical Challenge, or 12 free classes at CrossFit Arlington Heights / Elite Athletic Development. Raffle details available at the event.


An Update Email was issued to all registered athletes Thursday, April 18 at 1:30 p.m. CST. If you are a competitor, please take time to review the email and contact if you have questions.

WORKOUT #1, #2 & #3 DETAIL.

Additional information on the first three workouts is now available at AthenaWorkoutDetail.Revised. Athletes may also want to view the six-minute Movement Standards video. The Shuttle Run has been scratched from the 2013 competition.


We welcome and encourage spectators. There is no admission charge, but a donation to the Northwest Special Recreation Association is encouraged. Through partnerships with community park districts, local schools and organizations, the NWRSA creates fitness, arts and educational programs for children and adults of all abilities.


An important Athlete Update Email was issued Saturday, April 13. If you are a competitor, please take time to review the email and contact if you have questions.


7 a.m., Registration / Check In Opens

7:40 a.m., Workout & Standards Review

8 a.m., Competition Begins

Noon – 12:45 p.m., Lunch

1 p.m., Competition Resumes

3:45 p.m., Master’s Finals

3:55 p.m., Open Finals

4:15 p.m., Awards


An email was sent to all competitors confirming their athlete number & heat assignments. If you did not receive the email, please contact


The first three workouts for the 2013 Athena Classic are now posted. The fourth and final workout will be announced Saturday afternoon. If a movement or weight is not within your current skill set, you may scale, however, you will not be able to advance to the final workout or be eligible for the more than $600 in cash and prizes.


Effective at midnight, April 10, the 2013 Athena Classic competitor roster is closed. Thanks to everyone who registered for the event wait list. We did move a number of people from the wait list to the active event roster, but it was not possible to accommodate the dozens of people on the wait list. We encourage everyone to register early for the 2014 Athena Classic — when our prize package will exceed the more than $600 in cash and prizes we offered this year — to avoid being disappointed.


We have begun to move athletes from the wait list to the active event roster. If you are no longer interested in competing, please email If you still hope to compete, stand by … we will notify you!


The event is SOLD OUT! and the Wait List is now closed. You will be notified in the coming weeks if you have been moved from the Wait List to the Event Roster. If you are unable to compete, please email ASAP so we can move an eager (and impatient) athlete from the wait list to the active event roster.


It may be too late to compete in the 2013 Athena Classic, but there is still time to sponsor the event and / or volunteer. Please email if you are interested in being part of Chicagoland’s first women’s only CrossFit competition.

WORKOUTS #1, #2 & #3.

Workout #1, #2 & #3 will be posted Friday, April 12. Workout #4 will be announced on site, and be contested by the top 12 women in the Open (18-39) and Master’s (40+) divisions.


Movement standards for some movements featured in workout #1, #2 & #3 of the SOLD OUT Saturday, April 20 Athena Classic hosted by CrossFit Arlington Heights are now posted. Click the image to watch the video overview.

Athena Classic Movement Standards Video Overview.

Click the image to watch the Athena Classic Movement Standards Video Overview.

In addition to the movements featured in the video, registered athletes will be well served to train with the following in mind: lift heavy something(s) ground-to-overhead, crack off Double Unders, carry heavy objects in a variety of positions, run, row, hoist a barbell, and complete a variety of body weight movements.


> Athena Classic FAQ (posted 02.05.13; check back for regular updates)

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CrossFit Axis Opening Class Schedule.

CrossFit Axis at Heritage Park classes will be held in the Arlington Heights Park District building at 506 West Victoria.

CrossFit Axis at Heritage Park classes will be held in the Arlington Heights Park District building at 506 West Victoria.

The opening session class schedule for CrossFit Axis at Heritage Park is:
>  Monday – Wednesday – Friday, 9:30 a.m.
>  Tuesday & Thursday, 4:30 p.m. & 5:30 p.m.

Classes begin the week of January 6. Interested in other class times or special small group sessions? Let us know!


Up Your Strength Game In 2014.

Contributed by Coach Scott. Train with Scott in one of the following classes based at Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights:
Strength & Power l Wednesday, 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. or Friday, 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Skills & Strength Intensive / Advanced WOD l Sunday, 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
CrossFit Boot Camp, Sunday l 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

BodiStrongAre you ready to up your training game? Whether you are new to training or an advanced athlete, participating in the Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights Winter 2014 Strength & Power cycle at least two classes per week will positively impact your fitness and performance. Guaranteed.

The eight-week Strength & Power cycle (January 13 – March 7) is divided into goal-specific “mini-cycles” programmed to develop absolute strength output, or drive your 1RM in the Back Squat, Front Squat, Overhead Press, Bench Press, and Deadlift. Programming will also increase proficiency in several key functional movements, including Chin Ups, Pull Ups, Dips, Grip Strength, and carrying heavy loads across long distances. This is a shift from the past few Strength & Power cycles which concentrated almost exclusively on increasing power output by training the Olympic lifts. The Clean & Jerk and Snatch are still included in the January – March cycle, but will be programmed to contribute to total body strength … and ensure interested athletes are properly prepared for the CrossFit Games Open slated to start in March.

StrongThe benefits of strength training are many, and include:

  • Positive change in body composition
  • Increased muscle mass (turn into a calorie burning machine)
  • Complete more “work” during CrossFit classes (more repetitions and more weight)
  • Attempt new movements with new strength (more Rx and fewer scaled WODs)
  • Increased ability to generate force (other activities become easier)
  • Improved sports performance (sprint faster, jump higher, and hold your ground)
  • Increased confidence
  • Ability to improve all other areas of fitness

If you’ve not participated in a previous Strength & Power cycle, now is your chance. If you’ve been a regular to the Strength & Power classes, you’ll find the new programming physically and mentally challenging, and a great opportunity to accelerate your progress.

Editor’s Note: Visit the EAD / CFAH Athlete Center to access the 3-2-1 Goal Training Plan Template and Goal Planning Worksheet. Use both tools to organize your first quarter training performance goals.

Scott Mezzano is an EAD / CFAH / CFAX performance coach. He earned his BS & MS, Exercise Science, from Western Illinois University. He is a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and holds certifications from the American College of Sports Medicine and USA Weightlifting. Scott is a Fitness Education adjunct instructor at McHenry Community College.

Congrats! October Morning Training Essentials Grads.

Be sure to introduce yourself to the October 5:30 a.m. Training Essentials grads: Tricia, Will R & Shawynn.

The October 5:30 a.m. Training Essentials grads — Tricia, Will R & Shawynn — celebrate with the remnants of Coach Karen’s Halloween costume after Friday’s tough barbell complex WOD.

Congratulations to the October 2013, 5:3o a.m. Training Essentials crew on the successful completion of the EAD / CFAH skills & technique development class.

The next Training Essentials sessions start Monday, Nov. 4, 5:30 a.m. OR Tuesday, Nov. 26, 6:30 p.m.  REGISTER TODAY!

Don’t forget … we will credit your account three classes for every friend you refer to EAD / CFAH and who completes Training Essentials.

Congrats, October, 6:30 p.m. Training Essentials Crew!

Just a few of the October, 6:30 p.m. Training Essentials grads.

Just a few of the October, 6:30 p.m. Training Essentials grads.

Congratulations to the October 2013, 6:30 p.m. Training Essentials crew on the successful completion of the EAD / CFAH skills & technique development class.

The next Training Essentials sessions start Tuesday, Oct. 29, 6:30 p.m. OR Monday, Nov. 4, 5:30 a.m. REGISTER TODAY!

Don’t forget … we will credit your account three classes for every friend you refer to EAD / CFAH and who completes Training Essentials.