Mike O’N Named February 100% Award Honoree.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We will honor one EAD | CFAH athlete each month with the 100% Award. The award honors EAD | CFAH Athlete Malaika Corsentino who gave 100 percent to her training, even while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation for Glioblastoma. The monthly honoree will be selected from nominations submitted by EAD | CFAH athletes and evaluated by the performance coaches. The nomination deadline is for the March 100% Award is Monday the 28th. Email Coach Karen with the athlete name and a quick sentence or two describing how the nominee demonstrated commitment, consistency, camaraderie, community building, and / or the willingness to accept challenge.

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

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

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

John O’ Says It’s Time to Give Yourself a Break.

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

CrossFit by its nature is competitive. It’s easy to get caught up in the WOD and look at your results and sometimes feel defeated. I think it’s time you gave yourself a break.


John O’ encourages us to redefine what it means to win.

When you start CrossFit, I wish the coaches would give each athlete a yardstick with that athlete’s name on it, because the true nature of CrossFit is to get a little bit better each and every day. The only person you have to measure up against is yourself. Give yourself a break.

I recently came back from a month off due to injury, and the first workout I showed up for was Partner Murph. While I felt sorry for my partner Laurie R, and was sucking wind by the sixth round, I did not hyperventilate and nearly pass out on the second run like I did last time. For me, that was an improvement. While I was not as strong as Laurie in the WOD, I gave myself a break and felt good about finishing better than I had before.

Set your goals, ask your coaches how to go about achieving them, and get to work. That’s all you need to worry about. Over my three and a half years coming to EAD | CFAH I have said, or heard, things like this after bumping fists with fellow athletes after a workout or PR attempt:
“Yeah, but I scaled it.”
“I couldn’t do the pull-ups (fill in double-unders, toes to bar, etc. here).”
“I only increased my PR by 3%.”

Give yourself a break.

Commit to your goals.

Commit to your goals.

The only measure anyone cares about at EAD | CFAH is whether you are committed to getting better. Did you finish? Great. Try to finish faster next time. You did one round of the WOD Rx? Awesome. Do one more next time. You did three Pull Ups without a band? Work on getting four next time. It’s all about the measure of yourself and your effort. If you are willing to give it all, and put yourself out there, I promise that the coaches and your fellow athletes will rise up to support you and celebrate with you at every accomplishment.

If you ask any coach or athlete at EAD | CFAH, I would bet that the greatest joy that each gets out of coming to CrossFit and being part of this community, is seeing people do things that they didn’t think they could do. When you see the look of pure elation on the athlete who just did their first Double Under, first Pull Up, first Muscle-Up or first Rope Climb, it is an awesome thing. Give yourself a break when it comes to comparing yourself against others. Set your goals, go about the work of achieving them, and we will all celebrate you.

2015 Tandem Throwdown Crowns Champs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is another in a series of personal reflections contributed by Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights athletes about the mental, physical and emotional changes experienced since joining our health & fitness community. We turn the blog over to Coach Kate, who reflects on the one-year anniversary of Coach Becky’s devastating knee injury, her gutsy return to competition, and how her journey can serve as a lesson to us all. Thanks to Coach Kate and Coach Becky for sharing this story. 

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chef-Crafted, Healthy & Tasty Meals Now Delivered Weekly to EAD | CFAH.

KitchFixFridgeEAD | CFAH is now a delivery “hub” for Kitchfix. Kitchfix will deliver to EAD | CFAH every Monday, starting June 29. The weekly order deadline is 5 p.m., Friday.

The Kitchfix menu changes weekly, but several items — like the amazing Kitchfix Granola — are always available. Place Your Order Now. Be sure to select EAD | CFAH as your delivery “hub.”

Personal Chef Josh Katz got his start in 2012 by preparing healthful meals for cancer patients. His unique take on using nutrient-dense foods quickly earned him a loyal following. His creations are nutritious, Paleo-friendly (or not), gluten-free (or not) and down-right tasty. He uses organic, locally-grown ingredients, pastured-raised poultry, eggs & pork; 100 percent grass-fed beef; and simmers rich bone broth.

Be one of the first 25 people to email karen@eadperformancecenter.com for a FREE Kitchfix meal!


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?


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.