Endurance Athletes Warm Up to Off-Season Training Options

Join Us For A Free Class.Experience a Fresh Approach to Your Off-Season Training.  

Don’t let the seasonal drop in temps put a chill on your endurance training. Warm up to one of the challenging and results-based classes offered by the nationally-certified health and fitness professionals at Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights.

IndoorRowingGraphibIndoor Rowing Boot Camp. This class is for you if you like a low-impact, high-intensity, ever-changing and fun hour that will work every major muscle group in your body. Indoor Rowing Boot Camp will help you increase endurance, gain strength, improve flexibility, and cross-train for other sports.

CompuTrainer Rides. Billed as “the most interesting indoor bike experience yet created”, CompuTrainer rides offer an unparalleled indoor cycling experience for the serious racer or recreational cyclists. Once the dorides will increase your cycling power by 20 percent to 30 percent, and your speed by two to four mph. USA Triathlon and USA Cycling test and train their team athletes with CompuTrainer.

Fit4T5LogoFit4T5. Fit Interval Training 4×5 — Fit4T5 — is a 45-minute, high-intensity interval training session that targets multiple muscle groups through a series of functionally-based movements. Fit4T5 is the perfect training experience for athletes of all levels looking to improve cardiovascular and muscular endurance, drive body composition change, and enhance performance. Fit4T5 class size is limited to five athletes to ensure a personal training experience.

Fitness Boot Camp. Reap the benefits of training with the most experienced and credentialed performance coaches in the area during this one-hour mix of exercises and movements – body weight, dumb bell, kettle bell, plyometric, indoor rowing, and more.

Endurance Coaching, Strength & Conditioning, CrossFit, and More. Join the area’s leading sports conditioning and performance specialists for one-on-one, tandem or small group training sessions, and nutrition education / performance fueling coaching. With more than 100,000 athlete training hours, no facility in the area can match the experience of the Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights Performance Coaching Team.

Train with the best. You deserve it. Arlington Heights-based Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights helps competitive and “every day athletes” from across the greater Chicagoland area achieve a staggering array of results thanks to innovative strength and conditioning programs, a top-caliber coaching staff, and a unique ability to understand the needs and motivate each athlete.

Learn more about Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights health and fitness programs for endurance athletes. Better yet, register today for a FREE class Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. or Saturday at 9 a.m.

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!

Elite Athletic Development Student Strength & Conditioning Program Returns June 9.

Registration Now Open for the Popular Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights Youth Athletic Development Strength & Conditioning Program.

It is hard to believe that even with all the snow days, the final weeks of the school year are within sight. And that means it is time to start thinking about how to keep the kids busy and active over the long summer months.

YouthADDecember2012EAD | CFAH will once again host our popular Summer Youth Athletic Development program for 8-12 year-olds and 13-15 year-olds. This program is ideal for motivated student athletes eager to learn new skills, train hard, and head back to school stronger, faster and more powerful. Sessions run for four weeks on Monday, Wednesday & Friday, and each class is one hour. In addition, we’re offering a special Training Essentials session to prepare high school students for CrossFit and Strength & Power classes. The Summer Youth Athletic Development schedule is:

  • June 9 – July 2 (11 classes), 10:30 a.m., $148.50
  • July 7 – August 1 (12 classes), 3:30 p.m., $162
  • August 4 – August 22 (9 classes) 10:30 a.m., $121.50
  • NEW! High School Student Training Essentials Session. Please contact karen@eadperformancecenter.com  for more info.

Register today for Summer Youth Athletic Development Sessions. All sessions run Monday-Wednesday-Friday and each class is one hour. There is 10 percent discount for sibling and buddy sign-ups.

We are happy to consider additional sessions / time slots based on demand. Team training sessions are also available. If you’d like to book a Team Training Session or add a Youth Athletic Development session, please contact karen@eadperformancecenter.com.

* Summer Youth Athletic Development classes must be used within the registered session; there are no carry-over or make-up classes. Classes are not convertible to a class card purchase.
* Participants will participate in rigorous training sessions — proper rest, hydration and nutrition are important.
* High school students are eligible for regular classes with completion of Training Essentials. Email Coach Karen for more information.

Congrats, Coach Kate!

CFAH_headshot1Congrats to EAD | CFAH Performance Coach Kate who was notified today by the National Strength and Conditioning Association that she passed the rigorous Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist exam!

The prestigious NSCA CSCS is the credential required to work with collegiate and professional sports teams, and is one of only 13 health and fitness programs from thousands offered across the country that is accredited by the National Commission on Certifying Agencies. Kate’s accomplishment adds another highly-ranked certification to the most credentialed athletic development team in the area.

Check out the Coaches tab on the web site to see why EAD | CFAH is the most credentialed and experienced athletic development team in the area.

Check out the Coaches tab on the web site to see why EAD | CFAH is the most credentialed and experienced athletic development team in the area.

Endurance Sports Boot Camp Powers Pre-Season Training For Racers.

Elite Athletic Development – CrossFit Arlington Heights Endurance Sports Boot Camp
Sundays, 9 a.m. | Now through May 25

The Elite Athletic Development Endurance Sports Boot Camp is the ideal class to kick-start your pre-season training.

The Elite Athletic Development Endurance Sports Boot Camp is the ideal class to kick-start your pre-season training.

Endurance athletes looking to improve strength, power, stability, and overall fitness during the off-season need to look no further than the new Elite Athletic Development Endurance Sports Boot Camp.

This weekly, one-hour class now through May 25 is focused on the needs of endurance sports athletes ready to accept a new fitness challenge, work hard and gain a competitive edge for the upcoming race season.

There is no additional charge for The Endurance Sports Boot Camp for current EAD / CFAH athletes, and athletes new to EAD / CFAH can purchase 12 classes for $159 or 20 classes for $249. Questions? Email karen@eadperformancecenter.com.

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.

Shattering the Strength Ceiling.

Contributed by Coach Scott. Train with Scott in the Wednesday 5:30 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. Strength & Power classes at Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights.

Strength is a lifelong endeavor that benefits everyone, regardless of fitness goals. But many athletes bypass strength training because it lacks the excitement and fast pace of metabolic conditioning (the MetCon), or because they question how getting stronger will help them perform better in the Workout of the Day (WOD). Here’s the bottom line: A stronger athlete will always perform better if equally as fit and mobile as their opponent.

Increasing strength is a unique adaptation that requires a progressive stress to be applied to the body over time. This stress is most effective in doses of compound movement that utilize as much musculature as possible. Movements like Squats, Deadlifts, and Presses get this job done in a very efficient way. These movements must be trained on a regular basis with enough resistance to disrupt homeostasis — or the body’s need to maintain balance — while providing enough recovery to complete each training session.

After an athlete — whether experienced or new — has utilized key compound movements for a length of time they will exponentially increase overall strength and have a hypothetical strength level we will refer to as their “strength ceiling.”  This ceiling represents an individual’s maximal strength that can be applied to all movements.  The higher this ceiling is built, the easier all sub-maximal movement will become.

ScottGraphicRevisedAn example that illustrates this point is a male athlete who begins training and works up to an initial max Deadlift of 315 lbs. Now, after several months of training, this athlete is able to increase his Deadlift up to 495 lbs.  With this new found strength, this athlete will be able to better handle a Power Clean of 135 lbs for multiple repetitions during a WOD. Even with imperfect form, this athlete can approach the Power Clean with more ease due to his ability to generate enough force to overcome a Deadlift of 495 lbs.

The movements that allow an individual to lift the most weight will have the greatest impact on the height of this ceiling. This concept applies universally with all activities, but the direct impact when looking at biomechanically similar movements is very apparent. If we can train the movements that allow for the most weight to be moved using a certain movement pattern we will see the most carry over.  Training the Front Squat and Overhead Press until significant progress is made will most certainly make a great impact on an athlete’s ability to complete 95 lb Thrusters.

An athlete that is able to improve multiple lifts such as the Deadlift, Squat, and Press will be much more well rounded and have an overall strength level that can be applied to everything he or she may encounter in sport or during a WOD.  The idea of the ceiling is not new or ground breaking. Strength is a necessary component of all training and activities. A stronger athlete will always perform better if equally as fit and mobile as their opponent. Metabolic conditioning can always be added into training to increase endurance. Most athletes should focus on getting stronger initially since this process takes longer and a stronger foundation will make it easier to acquire better overall fitness.

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.

 

 

Five Answers You Want to Hear: The Microgym.

Re-posted from Fit For Arlington Heights, a health & fitness blog from the nationally-certified professionals at EAD / CFAH. Have a topic you’d like us to research? Email karen@eadperformancecenter.com

Contributed by Coach Karen

The microgym — small, independently owned places which specialize in one-on-one and small group activities  — have muscled into Arlington Heights and the surrounding area, pumping up the options for the fitness-minded consumer.  According to the Sports Industry & Fitness Association, 6 of the top 10 growing sports and fitness activities are class-based, the primary charter of most microgyms. But how do you know which microgym deserves your fitness dollars? Here are Five Answers You Want to Hear when you ask the owners of a microgym: “Why are you right for me?”

We train -- not exercise -- at EAD / CFAH.

What we do at EAD / CFAH is train — not exercise.

1. We Specialize in Training (not exercising). Anyone can lead a group of people in an activity to burn calories, reduce tension, socialize or keep active – that’s exercise, and it doesn’t even require professional certification. Exercise is better than sitting slouched on the sofa, clacking through the channels. But it isn’t, nor will it ever be, the equivalent of training. Training is the systematic, periodized, progressive process to achieve a defined set of performance goals. A good exercise session leaves you sweaty; a good training plan delivers measurable results in ten key areas — Cardiovascular/Respiratory Endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance and Accuracy. Ask the microgym owner to describe the process used to establish, track and maintain goals, and show any tools used to support the process. Ask the owner how staff supports member goal setting and recognizes goal attainment, detail his or her personal goals, and share member success stories. If the microgym isn’t structured to help you get leaner, stronger, faster, more agile, better at your chosen sport, or improve key health indicators, look elsewhere … you deserve better.

2. We’re Established. There is something to be said about longevity. According to Crain’s Chicago, microgyms are quickly “approaching the ubiquitous presence that bank branches enjoyed during the real estate boom.” But not every microgym will succeed; University of Tennessee research cites that more than one-third won’t survive two years in business. A microgym in business for five or more years has winning formula – and plenty of satisfied customers. Take time to thoroughly check out the microgym’s website and read up on the business history, philosophy and mission. Then talk with the owner and ask about business growth, how long people typically stick around, and the top three reasons members give when they leave. Signal the alarm if the owner can’t readily answer those questions.

There are fewer than 50 Certified Strength and Conditioning Coaches listed on the NSCA website. Three EAD / CFAH Senior Perofrmance Coaches -- Jim, Karen & Josh -- have earned this prestigious certification. The fourth Senior Performance Coach, Becky, is a Certified Athletic Trainer.

There are fewer than 50 Certified Strength and Conditioning Coaches listed on the NSCA website. Three EAD / CFAH Senior Perofrmance Coaches — Jim, Karen & Josh — have earned this prestigious certification. The fourth Senior Performance Coach, Becky, is a Certified Athletic Trainer.

3. We’re Qualified. The National Commission on Certifying Agencies accreditation serves as a benchmark on how organizations should conduct professional certification. The NCCA has accredited only 13 of the thousands of health and fitness programs offered across the country.  Among the most prestigious NCCA accredited certifications is the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, the credential required to work with collegiate and professional sports teams.  Ask the microgym owner to detail the credentials held by staff, then verify that staff credentials are current and in good standing. If the microgym has one or more CSCS on staff, odds are that you’ll be in good hands. Don’t settle for a place where staff carries only boutique or non-NCCA certifications.

4. We’re Experienced. Experience matters when it comes to selecting a microgym. Ask the owner how many people currently belong, roughly how many people pass through the microgym each month, and  how many hours each person on staff has working with members. Search the internet for reviews and testimonials, and social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for photos of microgym staff and members. Few or no pictures of microgym members and staff indicate lack of activity, and could be a warning sign. Ask the gym owner to describe staff experience with members of all ages and fitness levels. Ask about their programming philosophy – do they purchase programming from somewhere else, or develop it based on the needs of members? – and how they adapt programming to meet the specific needs of a variety of members.

5. We Have High Retention. People who get results stick around. Ask the owner about member retention. It’s a warning sign if a microgym turns over greater than 35 percent of members within 12 months.  Similarly, it’s not a good sign if staff members come and go. Ask about staff tenure, then talk to staff about why they stay, and why (or why not) that they refer people to the microgym. It’s a problem if staff members don’t speak about the microgym with pride and a sense of ownership. Ask the microgym owner to share member satisfaction survey results. It should tell you something if the owner hasn’t conducted a membership survey, and isn’t proud to show you the results. Drop in to a regularly scheduled class and talk with people before or after class – ask them what keeps them coming back.