Registration Now Open! EAD Barbell Club In-House Competition.

Register today for the Winter 2015 In-House Olympic Weightlifting Competition.

Register today for the Winter 2015 In-House Olympic Weightlifting Competition.

Test your progress at the Elite Athletic Development Barbell Club Olympic Lifting Competition Sunday, Feb. 22, 10:30 a.m. The competition is open to current EAD | CFAH athletes, and no previous competitive experience is necessary.

Each registered athlete will have three attempts to max on the Snatch and Clean & Jerk. The combined total of the highest two successful lifts will determine the overall result within a body weight category. Weight categories will be determined after registration closes Wednesday, Feb. 18. Additional information will be provided to competitors the week of February 16. EAD | CFAH athlete spectators welcomed (no charge). Register today!

Questions? See an EAD | CFAH Performance Coach.

The Elite Athletic Development Barbell Club is a USA Weightlifting Club.

Eating By Macro. The Best of All Worlds.

Contributed by Coach Jason

This is the first in a series of posts in support of the Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights Performance Fueling PrescriptionRegister for the program today!

The athletes who train at Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights are committed to achieve their maximum potential. The adult and student athletes who train here are working hard to improve their “Fran” time; increase a 1RM Deadlift; cut time from a 5k, half-marathon, or marathon; change body composition; reduce or eliminate prescription drugs for blood pressure, cholesterol or Type 2 diabetes; or any number of other physical and performance goals. Regardless of the goal, one thing remains true: proper fueling is key to attaining success. But what is “proper” performance fueling?

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There are no “bad” or “good” foods in the EAD | CFAH Performance Fueling Prescription … just the “right” foods for your nutritional needs.

The Good. The Bad. The Ugly. The Numbers.
The desire to achieve athletic success and the confusion behind the role nutrition plays leads many to eat only so-called clean, good foods and avoid bad foods at all costs. The premise seems simple enough … except there is no objective set of scientific criteria used to define clean foods. And there is zero data or evidence that a certain food or group of foods — clean or otherwise — will help you lose fat or perform better in the gym, or cause more fat gain or delay fat loss outside of the excess calories it has provided. Also problematic in the good foods / bad foods approach is that it leads many people to an unhealthy relationship with food and a lifelong battle to sustain athletic performance or body composition success. The most important factor in any nutrition plan is THE NUMBERS.

Eating By The Numbers.
The EAD | CFAH Performance Fueling Prescription was created exclusively by certified nutrition educators for our athletes to help them build a fueling strategy unique to their body composition and training goals. The PFP is the antithesis of traditional New Year’s Resolution plans based on scarcity and deprivation, and “good” or “bad” foods. Instead, the PFP is designed to ensure athletes abundantly consume foods they enjoy in and that will help them look good and feel better. The PFP is a by the numbers fueling strategy, and inspried by the practice of flexible eating.

Flexible Eating.
Flexible eating is a scientific approach to nutrition and plate composition that relies on nutritional values, not food types. There is strong empirical evidence that supports the ideology that NUMBERS MATTER when it comes to athletic performance, body composition, and optimal health for athletes. In this approach to nutrition planning, energy intake in the form of calories is closely regulated as energy input and output is the basis behind body weight and performance. Monitoring macronutrients (Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), and fiber levels are also vital when using a flexible eating approach and are accounted for in terms of a certain number of these each day. While using this approach, no foods are off limits or restricted. If a food fits within your personal set of goal numbers, enjoy it! The practice of inclusive versus exclusive meal planning fosters a healthier and more sustainable approach to nutrition. The EAD | CFAH Performance Fueling Calculator is a simple tool to help our athletes determine the optimum mix of macronutrients to support their training, performance and body composition goals.

What Flexible Eating is NOT.
Although there are no foods that are off limits in this approach to meal planning, food quality is still critically important to proper fueling. Flexible eating is not an excuse to see how many cookies and donuts you can eat … but it doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for such foods in moderate amounts during any given day! Food quality in flexible eating is determined specifically by the numbers in any given food … not obscure and subjective beliefs about food types. Working within a set of numbers designed specifically for your individual needs, you will discover that in order to reach the right number of Protein, Fat, Carbohydrates, and Fiber, you will enjoy a variety of nutrient-dense foods that one would normally associate with healthful eating.

Jason graduated with honors from Benedictine University with a degree in Pre-Med / Nutrition and Biology, and will enter medical school in the coming months. A self-proclaimed nutrition nerd, Jason is a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and nationally licensed EMT-B. Read more about Jason.

 

 

 

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.

Performance Fueling Prescription Launches December 15.

PerformancePresecriptionGraphicSustainable.
Abundance.
Flexible.
Nutritionally sound.
Results-based.

Those are the five guiding principles of the Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights Performance Fueling Prescription set to launch Monday, Dec. 15. Registration to access Performance Fueling Prescription resources is now available.

The EAD | CFAH Performance Fueling Prescription was created exclusively by certified nutrition educators to help EAD | CFAH athletes create a fueling strategy unique to their body composition and training goals.

The Prescription starts with the EAD | CFAH Performance Fueling Energy Calculator, a tool developed exclusively for EAD | CFAH athletes to help each build the optimum plate composition for meals & snacks. The Performance Fueling Energy Calculator considers the following factors:

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Body Composition is not determined by the scale. A hard ball and beach ball each weigh roughly 4 ounces, but they are very different. Would you rather be more like the taught, firm hardball or the fluffy, squishy beach ball?

  • Training Style. Strength & Conditioning, MetCon or Endurance.
  • Eating Preference. High Fat or High Carbohydrate.
  • Activity Level. Frequency and Intensity.
  • Goals. Maintain, Lose Body Fat or Gain Muscle Mass.

In addition to program resources and tools, athletes who commit to the EAD | CFAH Performance Fueling Prescription can participate in interactive seminars & workshops, and have the option to add on one-on-one consultation with a certified nutrition educator.

The EAD | CFAH Performance Fueling Prescription is the antithesis of traditional New Year’s Resolution plans based on scarcity and deprivation, and “good” or “bad” foods. Instead, the PFP is designed to ensure athletes abundantly consume foods they enjoy in and that will help them look good and feel better.

The EAD | CFAH Performance Fueling Prescription is the "anti-resolution" resolution. More than 75 percent of the people who resolve to "lose weight" or "diet" fail after just one week, primarily because they dramatically restrict calories.

The EAD | CFAH Performance Fueling Prescription is the “anti-resolution” resolution. More than 75 percent of the people who resolve to “lose weight” or “diet” fail after just one week, primarily because they dramatically restrict calories. The PFP is based on abundance, not restriction.

Many athletes will be surprised to learn that they are hundreds of calories below their ideal energy intake after they complete the EAD | CFAH Performance Fueling Calculator. Consuming too few calories forces the body to utilize lean muscle as an energy source, and will quickly derail performance goals — in the gym and throughout the day. The PFP includes next steps / recommendations for those athletes who are consuming too few — or too many — calories to support their performance goals.

The EAD | CFAH Performance Fueling Prescription will prove to be an excellent resource for all athletes — even Paleo Peeps — looking to increase lean muscle mass, decrease body fat percentage, or improve performance.

1,111,111 And Done.

After just under 18 hours on seven Concept2 indoor rowers, Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights athletes and special guests rowed 690 miles, or the equivalent of a family road trip to Asheville, NC, during The Million Meter Marathon, an event to raise awareness and funds for the American Brain Tumor Association.

Uriel, Lisa R, Mike O' log meters Friday evening.

Uriel, Lisa R, Jeff H, Mike O’, John C and Dave D accumulated 46,899 meters during their shift Friday evening.

It seemed only fitting that three  EAD | CFAH athletes who contributed in excess of 30,000 meters each — Tim F, Donna G and Coach Jim — were part of the group rowing Saturday around 7 a.m.  when the odometer rolled past one million meters during  The Million Meter Marathon to benefit the American Brain Tumor Association. The ABTA is the first national nonprofit organization working to advance the understanding and treatment of brain tumors with the goals of improving, extending and, ultimately, saving the lives of those impacted by a brain tumor diagnosis. The Million Meter Marathon donation link on the ABTA web site is still open. If you haven’t had a chance to contribute, please consider doing so.

Members of the "Junior Crew", including Kiera, daughter of EAD | CFAH Steve S, added 9,915 meters to the tally. Other Junior Crew members included Charley S, Jack D, and Julien L.

Members of the “Junior Crew,” including Kiera, daughter of EAD | CFAH athlete Steve S, added 9,915 meters to the tally. Other Junior Crew members included Charley S, Jack D, and Julien L.

More than 100 EAD | CFAH athletes, plus special guests including Thomas Hayes, Mayor, Village of Arlington Heights; Robin LeBedz, Trustee, Village of Arlington Heights; four generations of the Stapleton Family, including 82-year-old patriarch Jim,  Dad to athletes John and Theresa; rowed for just under 18 hours to accumulate 1,111,111 meters. John & Theresa’s Mom, Winnie; our very own and very courageous Malaika; Kathleen P’s childhood friend, Marietta S; Coach Karen’s college friend, Tony P; Jeanette Z’s Dad; and Coach Jim’s marathon-loving Mom, Sarah, whose picture hangs near the front desk, are among the EAD | CFAH families impacted by a brain tumor.

The Million Meter Marathon is on track to raise an amount the ABTA deems “amazing” for a first-time event ; the fundraising tally will be released once all donations have been collected. Athletes who placed the winning bid on a silent auction items are encouraged to pay for and pick up their item this week. Winners have been notified by email. A complete list of the winners is posted at EAD | CFAH.

Thanks to everyone who helped make The Million Meter Marathon a reality. See you next year!

MillionMeterMarathonMeterClubThe ABTA notes that almost 70,000 new cases of brain cancer were diagnosed in 2013, and almost 700,000 people in the United States were living with the diagnosis of a primary brain or central nervous system tumor.

Friends of The Million Meter Marathon. Please Visit Their Website to Say Thanks.

 

 

Thanks for Your Support | The Million Meter Marathon.

MillionMeterMarathonSincere thanks to everyone who has contributed to The Million Meter Marathon now underway at Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights. Our very own Malaika, diagnosed with a brain tumor in April 2013, has already logged 10,000m towards our goal of 1 million. Rowers are open during today’s 5 a.m., 5:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. classes where each athlete will contribute 2,000m as part of the Workout of the Day. Action resumes at 6:30 p.m. when athletes, friends and VIPs will row through the night until we hit the 1 million meter mark.

Thanks to the amazing athletes and performance coaches who call EAD | CFAH their training home, the American Brain Tumor Association, including our contact extraordinaire, Jennifer Sloan, and the Friends of The Million Meter Marathon listed below. Follow our progress on our Facebook Page … and remember,   EVERY METER MATTERS!

EAD | CFAH athlete Malaika C posted her contribution to The Million Meter Marathon at 5:30 a.m. Friday.

EAD | CFAH athlete Malaika C posted her contribution to The Million Meter Marathon at 5:30 a.m. Friday.

Can’t join us on a rower? EAD | CFAH athletes can head over to  MindBodyOnline and make a $25 donation. OR, peeps can head over to the secure event donation page on the American Brain Tumor Association site to make a donation in any amount. OR, feel free to drop by EAD | CFAH during regular business hours and drop a donation (checks made payable to the American Brain Tumor Association, please) in the collection jug or engage in a bidding way for one of the great items on the Silent Auction table.

Questions about The Million Meter Marathon? Please contact karen@eadperformancecenter.com or call 847.394.8110.

2014 Friends of The Million Meter Marathon

The Mayor of Arlington Heights and at least three Village of Arlington Heights Board of Trustees have signed on to row The Million Meter Marathon. Have you? If not … sign up today!

The Million Meter Marathon | 11.21.14 – 11.22.14

MillionMeterMarathonJoin us Friday, Nov. 21 & Saturday, Nov. 22 as we climb aboard the Concept2s and row until we log one million meters and raise funds to support the American Brain Tumor Association, the first national nonprofit organization working to advance the understanding and treatment of brain tumors with the goals of improving, extending and, ultimately, saving the lives of those impacted by a brain tumor diagnosis.

We will row through the night, with the aim to log the final meters by 9 a.m. … just in time for a potluck breakfast buffet. There will be additional surprises along the way — including CrossFit workouts, a silent auction, and more — so grab your sleeping bag and get ready for a flywheeling good time.

Reserve your spot with a minimum donation of $25 to the ABTA, or by collecting pledges from family, friends, neighbors & co-workers for every meter you row.  A sign up sheet for rowing shifts and food will be at the front desk starting Tuesday, Nov. 4.

If you’d like to row but can’t spend the night, no worries. Reserve one of the earlier spots Friday evening, drop in, log your meters and head home. Or,  snag one of the early morning spots Saturday and then stick around for the event breakfast buffet and to help us celebrate our contribution to the ABTA. Family members and friends are welcomed!

If you can’t row, you can still participate. Here’s how:

  • Donate. Visit our ABTA Event Page and make a donation, or drop cash or checks (please make checks payable to the American Brain Tumor Association) in the donation jug at EAD | CFAH.
  • Silent Auction. Either donate an item or service to the event Silent Auction or make a generous bid on one of the donated items. Every dollar raised in the Silent Auction directly benefits the ABTA.
  • Fuel. Contribute food & drink to support the athletes throughout the night, and / or to the Saturday morning breakfast buffet.
  • Sponsor. If you know an area business that would be interested in sponsoring the Million Meter Marathon, please help broker their support.  No donation is too small. Contact Coach Karen at 847.394.8110 or karen@eadperformancecenter.com.
MalaikaJerk

EAD | CFAH Athlete Malaika C.

Brain cancer has touched many in the EAD | CFAH Community, including:

  • Our very own and very courageous Malaika C
  • John S & Theresa L’s Mom, Winnie
  • Kathleen P’s childhood friend, Marietta S
  • Coach Karen’s college friend, Tony P
  • Coach Jim’s marathon-loving Mom, Sarah, whose picture hangs near the front desk.
  • If brain cancer has touched your life, please let us know so we can honor your loved one, too.

The ABTA notes that almost 70,000 new cases of brain cancer were diagnosed in 2013, and almost 700,000 people in the United States were living with the diagnosis of a primary brain or central nervous system tumor. You support will make a difference.

 

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.

Wendy

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

EAD | CFAH Athlete Nick J Transforms from “Big” to “Strong”

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. Nick was a member of the May 2013 Training Essentials session. His wife, Jennifer, now pregnant with their first child, joined EAD | CFAH a few months later. After regularly attending MetCon classes (now called CrossFit) for several months, Nick added Strength & MetCon classes to his training schedule. That experience re-ignited his love for lifting heavy, and Nick quickly became a regular in the various EAD | CFAH strength-biased classes — PowerBuilding, Strength & Power and Strength & Conditioning.  Nick credits the EAD | CFAH Training Community with dramatically improving his health. This is Nick’s story.

My whole life I have been a “big” guy. For a time while I was playing football, “big” might have actually referred to strong. Mostly though, it has just meant fat. For pretty much my entire life, my weight has fluctuated up and down, mostly up, peaking about the time I graduated college. Years of eating and drinking to excess caught up to me eventually, as it does to everyone. It was bad; I was severely overweight and very unhealthy.

Nick J has transformed his body composition since starting at EAD | CFAH.

Nick J has transformed his body composition since starting at EAD | CFAH.

I knew that I had to do something about my weight, and moving back to Chicago for grad school gave me the time to work on it. With a dedicated diet of strict portion control and working out daily I managed to lose the weight. But like most people, it didn’t last. The fluctuations returned, with the trend line seemingly always heading upwards. It got worse when I moved out to the suburbs and started commuting into the city for work. An hour to an hour and a half each way takes any extra time there might be for working out and saps any energy I might have had to do so. At least, that is what I told myself. The truth was that after having gone through it once before, I just didn’t know if I had it in me to do it again. That is where EAD | CFAH came in.

Nick J recently reached several milestones duirng his first Strongman competition.

Nick J recently reached several milestones during his first Strongman competition.

The first time I lost a lot of weight I mostly did it on my own. It was the thought of having to do it on my own again that I was most afraid of. EAD | CFAH helped me by giving me something that I didn’t have working out at the big name gyms or the student fitness center — a sense of community. A community that is supportive and encouraging. From the coaches to the other people in the classes, everyone was positive and kept me going, kept me showing up for class after class. Even though I felt weaker than I had in years when I first started Training Essentials, the coaches kept me wanting to come back for more. I got over how far I had to go and started focusing on what I was seeing. I was seeing results. Not just results on the scale, though I did see those as well. I felt better, I moved better. I got stronger, faster, and more agile. After a while my clothes started fitting better, too! While the numbers on the scale were what got me to EAD | CFAH, the improvement elsewhere was what kept me coming back.

Getting healthier is more than just working out; eating right is at least as important. As the saying goes, abs are made in the kitchen. My wife and I did the EAD | CFAH 30 Day Paleo Challenge (editor’s note: the EAD | CFAH 30 Day Paleo Challenge is a performance fueling program inspired by Loren Cordain, Robb Wolff, and the Whole30 crew) and got great results. We then transitioned to the Whole30 Paleo Challenge, following the strict guidelines created by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig. It was definitely a challenge! Karen’s support and the resources available on the Athlete Center made it do-able, though. I dropped a bit over 6 percent of my body weight, saw significant visual changes to my body composition, and most importantly, have kept the weight off. Since then the wife and I have stayed mostly Paleo and continued to maintain the improvements we made in our lifestyle. It wasn’t too tough to keep up when eating better makes you feel better, too!

Nick J is stronger today than he was when he played college football.

Nick J is stronger today than he was when he played college football.

After more than a year at EAD | CFAH I feel like I am in better shape than I have ever been. The Strength & Power classes have me hitting 1RM lifts beyond what I could do even when I was playing football in college. After encouragement from the coaches to give it a try, and slightly tailoring the strength program to meet my goals, I was able to try my first strongman competition this past July. even hit my goal of getting at least one rep on every apparatus, including the ones I had never seen or touched before! Probably most importantly for me though, I can look back at pictures from when I started and see how far I’ve come. I still have a long way to go, but I know EAD | CFAH will be there to help me along the way, getting me back to where “big” just means strong again.

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!

Al W Credits Strength & Conditioning with Success On, Off Bike

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. Al’s first foray at EAD | CFAH was back in 2007 when he dropped in for a CompuTrainer ride. In the years since, he’s rounded out his training schedule with CrossFit, Strength & Power, Strength & Conditioning, Mobility & Recovery, and Sport Yoga classes. Al credits training at EAD | CFAH with increasing his durability and resilience in the very demanding sport of competitive cyclocross. In just over a year, Al has increased the 1RM on several lifts key to his cyclocross performance — something he believes makes the difference on and off the bike. This is Al’s story.

AlDropQuoteBack in 2007, a friend from my bike club asked if I had tried out this thing called a CompuTrainer at this new place called Elite Athletic Development. I didn’t know what it was, but he convinced me to go there one evening and give it a try. I had been getting more involved in mountain bike racing for a few years, and after meeting Jim and going for my first CompuTrainer ride, I realized that here was a training tool that could take me well beyond what endless spin classes would. Thus began four very constructive years of sweating hard, pushing watts and getting stronger on the bike.

EAD | CFAH athlete Al W puts his Strength & Conditioning training to the test.

EAD | CFAH athlete Al W puts his Strength & Conditioning training to the test.

While I was pushing myself on the CompuTrainer, on the other side of the gym were these people making a lot of noise dropping weights on the ground, grunting, climbing ropes, playing with tires and sledge hammers and jump ropes. I learned that these people were called CrossFitters. Meanwhile, I had started to race cyclocross, a sport that demanded that I not only pedal hard but jump off the bike and carry it up hills and over barriers — all as fast as possible, then repeat. Again and again. Jim had been suggesting that CrossFit might be something that would help me in cyclocross and I knew that he had coached a couple of “crossers” a few years before and so was familiar with the sport’s demands. At the same time, I was starting to be aware that as I got north of 60 years old, I needed to start paying attention to strength, not just for my sport but for general quality of life. The older people I saw taking falls were clearly not the strong ones. So I started doing some CrossFit and while I was enjoying some benefits, the WODs were working me so hard that the recovery time required was costing me time on the bike. Not a perfect balance. Then EAD | CFAH introduced the Strength & Conditioning class and I found just what I needed.

Al is a testament to the importance of shoulder mobility, whether during a lift or celebrating on the podium.

Al is a testament to the importance of shoulder mobility, whether during a lift or celebrating on the podium.

I did find out that there was a universe of stuff involving barbells that I don’t know but could learn. Who knew that Olympic lifts were so hard to do correctly? You want me to go down how far on a Squat? Shoulder mobility has something to do with a Front Squat? Why can’t I do an Overhead Squat? My core gets stronger doing Cleans and Snatches? Pull Ups make my abs stronger?

In two months, I learned that the ability to jump out of the saddle and sprint on the bike was materially enhanced by a Deadlift. I continue to find benefit from Squats, Cleans, and Snatches every time I need to jump off, shoulder the bike and power up a hill. I practice bike handling all the time and that means that I hit the deck once in a while. While I can’t prove it, I believe all the strength work has made me a little less injury prone when this happens. Bruises and abrasions one can live with, broken bones will wreck your season.

In January 2012 I had the opportunity to race Cyclocross Nationals in Madison. I got to the start line with 28 other 60-64 year-olds from all over the country and raced a course that was covered with snow; ice; frozen, rutted mud; regular mud covering the frozen ruts; and a whole lot of climbing. I finished 9th in that race in front of a lot of guys who were probably stronger pedalers than because they were hitting the ground all around me and I was staying on the bike. I don’t think it’s an accident that my strength work played a part in that success.

My cyclocross season is about to start for the  year and I’ve worked Strength & Conditioning harder and longer than previous years. Thanks to Becky’s help (Jim, Karen and Scott, too) my Snatch 1RM is up 10 percent; Clean 3 percent; Press 21 percent;, Bench Press 8 percent; Deadlift 14 percent;, Back Squat 15 percent; and Front Squat 14 percent. I can’t wait to go to Nationals in Austin this coming January with all this new-found — but hard-earned — strength and power.

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 – 2015 CompuTrainer Session Dates & Pricing. Questions? Email jim@eadperformancecenter.com
10/13 – 11/09 4 weeks
11/10 – 12/21 6 weeks
01/05 – 02/15 6 weeks
02/16 – 03/29 6 weeks
03/30 – 04/26 4 weeks

4 week sessions: 1x/wk $85, 2x/wk. $160
6 week sessions: 1x/wk. $125, 2x/wk. $240