Michele P. 

My motto going into 2017 was to step out of my comfort zone. After seeing it on Instagram I signed up for the Crossfit Chicago New You Challenge. I had no prior experience with Crossfit. I'm not even sure I knew exactly what it was. I had these visions in my head about it being something that big, beefy guys did. That they pushed huge tractor tires around all day. It was something that was definitely outside of my comfort zone. But I knew that I needed something to motivate me to get active again. 

I stopped being active about 4 years ago. Prior to that I was a long distance runner. I trained with a group of endurance athletes and ran year round. I did Bikram yoga religiously. I ran any distance up to and including a marathon. Physical activity was a huge part of my identity and my life. Then some things happened and I just stopped running and being active. I kept telling myself that I would start again. That I would go to the gym. I never seemed to make it there. Then I needed shoulder surgery. That was another setback. And also another excuse that I could use to postpone resuming an active lifestyle. It took me another year to fully recover from my surgery. 

I guess I finally got tired of not feeling good physically and mentally. I still remembered the feeling that I would get when I was exercising regularly. I was fit. I had a positive outlook on life. During the four years of not being active I became depressed and I just could not motivate myself to take that step to get back to where I used to be. When I was running I considered myself an athlete. I could no longer call myself that. When I found out about the New You Challenge it just resonated with me. I needed a "new me". I decided to sign up. 

I was definitely scared and intimidated. It was hard just walking in the door for my initial interview with Ben. He was extremely nice. He talked about the community of Crossfit and the physical benefits of doing that type of exercise. He assured me that regardless of my level of fitness (or lack of), there would be a place for me in the challenge. After all, everyone has to start somewhere. He also talked about adopting a Paleo diet for the 6 weeks. That was something that I was a little bit familiar with. I knew that the diet aspect would not be a difficult thing for me. I had already decided, before walking in the door , that I was going to sign up regardless. I was stepping outside of my comfort zone in 2017 and this was my first opportunity to do that. 

The first day of the challenge was nerve wracking. Our coaches Dana and Silvia were awesome. Every time I had a doubt about something they reassured me that it wouldn't be a problem. It's an extremely humbling experience when you are faced with your own shortcomings. And then you have to state them out loud amongst this group of people that you don't know. I can't do pull-ups. I can't do push-ups. I don't have enough stamina to go all out for 30 seconds without resting. They had an answer for everything - there are modifications. It's ok to rest. Do what is comfortable for you. There were so many times after that first day that I felt I didn't belong there, that I couldn't perform the way the others were performing. But the coaches were always encouraging and let me know that I did belong there. I wasn't competing against anyone but myself.

A couple of weeks into the challenge I tweaked my knee a bit. I thought for sure that I wouldn't be able to continue. I was disappointed because I had actually taken the steps to get to this point. I still had a long way to go and a lot to learn but I was feeling more comfortable just walking in the door. I knew that I didn't want to quit but I was having difficulty with certain movements that were integral to what we were doing in every class. Once again, nothing but positivity from the coaches. Coach Dana talked about her experiences with an injury and how she was determined to continue to work out. She assured me that they could work around my temporary physical limitations. Coach Rudy talked about my situation and reiterated that continuing with Crossfit would not be a problem. Although I felt at that time and still feel at times that it's a burden for them to have to tailor my workout a bit differently than the rest of the group...they let me know that it's not a problem. I'm not the first person who's needed to have adjustments made to their workout and I won't be the last. 

I have to say I was really impressed by their willingness to help me and how they showed that they really wanted to help me. You feel that you aren't just taking a class with an instructor. You have coaches that are experienced and their job is to give you the tools you need to succeed. You are part of a group but at the same time you are getting individualized attention and support. It's like having your own personal trainer. From day one they made it clear to all of us that Crossfit was something we could do. And just like any personal trainer would do, they deal with each of us on an individual basis within the group setting. That is a valuable benefit that you really don't get in other group workout settings.

Six weeks have now passed. The challenge is officially over but I have decided to continue to be a part of the Crossfit Chicago community. This has been a wonderful experience. They called it the New You Challenge and I definitely feel like a new person. And what's excreting is that I feel that I have only just scratched the surface of this transformation that I see happening with me. 

Taking part in the challenge was hugely beneficial because for someone like me, I need the type of coaching and instruction that we had every session. I'm a bit older than most everyone in my class. I'm not the most graceful or coordinated. Every session began with an introduction to a new activity followed by demonstration and practice.
We would then do our workout of the day which may or may not include the new activity. And as I mentioned before it's like you are getting your own personal trainer included with the package.

 As far as the Paleo diet, we were held accountable. For the first few weeks we had to email Coach Rudy our food consumption every night. That was beneficial because since you had to report to him daily it kept you honest and on track. If he felt you needed guidance or suggestions to fine tune your eating he would provide it. One of the things that I had trouble with was eating regularly enough. He pointed that out to me so I was able to adjust the times during the day that I ate to make sure I had enough fuel to get through the day and the workouts. And I am reminded again how much better I feel when I eat clean. It's amazing how you become aware of how certain foods affect you when you cut them out of your diet. For me, I love anything to do with cake, cookies, pastry. But I realize now how cruddy sugar makes me feel. And while there are always going to be temptations and cravings, I can make an informed choice as to whether or not I want to eat something that's going to affect me a certain way. It's not about depriving yourself but you learn that maybe you want to indulge on a special occasion or on a night out with friends..rather than making it an everyday thing. I'm definitely sticking with the Paleo eating. I know that part of my transformation with this challenge has to do with the way that I am eating. 

I feel noticeably stronger. I remember during my initial meeting with Ben that he mentioned that you would notice changes and how they would help you during your day to day life. I am aware now of when I have to carry my groceries from the car up the stairs to my apartment. It sounds kind of silly but it's not a problem for me now. I can carry more which means less trips back to the car, and the steps aren't an issue. I'm not as fatigued. It's motivating when you notice these little changes taking place. 

I've never been one to weigh myself consistently but I did buy a scale when I started the challenge. I still don't weigh myself consistently but I estimate that I have lost about 10lbs within the 6 weeks. I know that I am down one size in my clothing. That's definitely a motivator. If you feel good about your body it's a confidence builder. Feeling good about yourself also increases your mental well being. It all goes hand in hand. It's like this big upward spiral in all aspects of your life. I've already experienced the downward spiral going from active to inactive and all the negative results that go along with it. But this is definitely an upswing. I am happier, I feel stronger, I'm more motivated. And it's all from doing Crossfit. Also, I would say that I am becoming more well rounded physically compared to when I was a runner. I had endurance at that time but not strength. 

I have to say that taking this challenge was the best thing I have done for myself and for my health. I'm proud that I overcame my fear of walking in the door. I still feel intimidated and fearful at times but the benefits I have experienced so far are enough to keep me coming back. I will swallow my pride as much as I have to because I know that I am making progress. My goals right now are small. I want to get to the point where I can do a pull-up totally unassisted and I want to be able to do a "real" push-up. For now those are the goals I have set for myself. 

During our first meeting coach Silvia talked about her experiences and challenges with taking up Crossfit. Ultimately she said that Crossfit was life changing for her. I have to admit, I believe she was right!

Pete Z.

First, let me say that CFC is a community of exceptional coaches, great people and a supportive, engaging environment that allows every member to achieve whatever goals they have set forth when it comes to fitness. Rudy and his team are constantly trying to improve upon something that is already outstanding. The dedication of the coaches to make every members’ goals obtainable in a fun, encouraging environment is simply unmatched. 

I travel for work and have dropped into many other crossfit establishments. I am always thankful to call CFC home. I came to CFC as a lifelong athlete having played soccer for 15+ years, then rugby throughout college, but my fitness had fallen off from it’s peak in my late teens to early 20’s. My workouts consisted of running and half-assed efforts at the gym, throw in an occasional yoga class. I baulked at the crossfit craze that had consumed several of my good friends and former teammates for several years prior to me walking into CFC in July of 2013. I had a sneaking suspicion I’d enjoy it, but what I couldn’t have realized is just how much. My level of fitness and more importantly, my commitment to it, is probably on par with that of my 16-18 year old self (I’m now 33). I’m energized throughout the day and have an overall improved feeling of well being. 

A true testament to the fitness level I have been able to achieve is evident in my most recent Chicago Marathon time. I had run Chicago in 2011 and 2012. After starting at CFC I decided to skip 2013’s race so that I could focus on improving at many of the aspects of crossfit, which certainly takes bit of time and dedication. Come 2014, I was ready to see what gains I had made in running as a result. My marathon training was very similar to that of previous years, but with the addition of crossfit I was able run a 3:04, qualify for Boston and broke my PR by over 15 minutes. My goal for the race was 3:15. The mental toughness I developed, along with much improved lower body and core strength through crossfitting made a huge difference- all the difference really. I could go on, but it’d be easier for you to get into CFC and find out for yourself.

Tim R.

I started Crossfit at age 41, 40 pounds overweight and not having seriously exercised for 7 years. In less than 8 months, I have lost nearly 40 pounds, 4 ½ inches in my waist and my aerobic conditioning is at a level not seen since high school. Incidentally, half of those gains were achieved within three months.

Crossfit Chicago is truly a unique atmosphere which provides distinct and diverse workouts tailored and supervised by an extremely talented core of trainers. The trainers at Crossfit Chicago are second to none. The environment is nothing like you have experienced at your usual globo gym. It is a supportive and bonding environment where everyone who commits overcomes the same physical and mental challenges together. There is competition with contemporaneous respect and camaraderie. Not only has my physical appearance metamorphosed, but I have strengthened mentally. If you are reading this with any doubts, know that it is never too late to just “jump”.

Kelsey G.

My experience with the new you challenge has been a very positive one. In the past weeks I have adjusted my eating habits and have committed myself to going to the cross fit workouts. I have been able to tone up and slim down with their program, and I am feeling stronger than ever. I have lost a total of 5 pounds and my clothes are all looser.
The first day of cross fit was very intimidating for me. However after the first day I knew this was going to be something I wanted to stick with. Coaches Nicole and Mat have been extremely supportive in pushing us to our limits in workouts and explaining how to do every move. The other members have also pushed me to try harder each day. CrossFit is unlike any other work I have done in the past. I can say that I absolutely love how team oriented it is and how even when you think you can't take anymore, the coaches and members give you the motivation to keep going.I have typically been someone who likes working out but gets bored easily. However their program is constantly changing and keeps me motivated to continue to go.
One struggle in the beginning was adjusting to the paleo diet. The first week was pretty hard due to feeling tired, and having cravings for things like bread. It taught me to be more mindful of what I was grabbing for a snack and taught me meal prepping is key. Now that I have been sticking to the paleo diet I feel that I have more energy, I am less hungry, and I don't experience the mid day crashes after eating.
This has been a really great experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I can't say enough good things about CrossFit Chicago and their staff.

Silvia C.

I joined CrossFit Chicago a little under a year ago. I first started CrossFit because my roommate found a Groupon and forced me to try it with her. I was really intimidated by the whole idea and had no idea what to expect. We had the Groupon for 32 classes and I think I came to about 4. Turns out my roommate hated it and I decided to just sign a membership and give it a try. I began by doing the women’s only classes, which was the best decision of my life. It was a less intimidating scene and great introductory coaching.

I have struggled with fitness and body image my whole life and wanted to give something new a try. I remember when I first started there were a lot of times where I would read the blog and think “there is no way I can do that” and I would not go in. There were also instances in which I would drive all the way to CFC, park my car, freak out and then go home. As I began to meet more of the members, the community is what made me feel more comfortable to come in and workout, knowing that no one there was judging me for my experience or the amount of weight I was lifting. I remember feeling more sore than I ever had in my life. People would just tell me that working through it would help; I couldn’t even fathom lifting anything or even doing a squat at my own body weight with that soreness. I began to listen and started coming in more consistently and really started seeing results. I never understood when people said that they LOVED working out and HATED missing a day….until now. I look forward to coming in everyday and trying to hit a new PR.

I was able to drop 25lbs and counting. I have not been at this fitness level since high school. I attribute my newfound love for CrossFit and Nutrition to ALL the coaches at CFC and the community. The coaches genuinely care for your success and progress. They give great pointers and look to better you every day. I also would not be where I am today without the community, especially my Women’s Only girls. The amazing community is what keeps me coming in every day. They are there to support you and there to celebrate every PR. I am so grateful for CFC and encourage everyone to not just give CrossFit a shot, but to check it out with CFC. Best coaches ever!

Xiomara MA

I was officially introduced to CrossFit in May‐2011 and it has completely changed my view towards exercise, health and life. Prior to CrossFit I had been working out for hours at globo gyms with only one goal in mind, to lose weight. I was tired of not seeing results and willing to try anything that would help with my goal. A friend suggested to look into CrossFit and I was trying to understand it, when coincidentally, got an offer and purchased the ‘Women’s only class groupon’ for CrossFit Chicago. My first day through the door I was really scared I didn’t know what to expect but everybody was so friendly and welcoming that I felt comfortable. After the workout I felt like puking and I realized that I was completely out of shape. Since I began I loved the fact that every time I showed up for a workout I was not only sweating, but having a good time, learning moves, meeting new people and challenging my body. I was getting addicted to the challenges that every workout presented and at the same time I was so excited to learn that my body was capable of doing movements never performed before, or simple forgotten movements, like box jumps and jumping rope. I grew up playing sports, particularly basketball, and I was in disbelief when I found myself afraid of jumping on top of a 12 inch tall box. I decided that I was going to take on the challenge. In the past, I had used weight machines and dumbbells but never a barbell. When I was introduced to the 22 lbs. bar I thought it was super heavy and trying to perform movements with it I felt awkward, unbalanced and truthfully a little foolish. But I went with the flow, soon the bar was too light and I started adding weight on it, I felt strong and my confidence started to improve. At CrossFit Chicago the coaches are very knowledgeable and are willing to be there every step of the way. Initially I was blessed to be working with coaches Kelly, Gina and Eileen and every time I showed up at the box they were always pushing me to go further, heavier and faster. I was introduced to better nutrition and have adapted a paleo lifestyle, decided to participate in the paleo challenge and learn more from other athletes and coaches. Later, I realized that weight loss was not my main focus anymore because I had other priorities. Now, I focus on my health, nutrition, family and career. Every time I come to CrossFit Chicago I look forward to the workout, challenges, and the community. I am inspired by all the women in the community and admire their strength, confidence and determination. After almost a year of CrossFit I have completed my first half marathon, ran the Shamrock Shuffle 8K 10 minutes faster than my previous run, and fit into smaller size clothing. I’ve learned that I no longer need to eat everything that’s in front of me, that I am in control of what I feed my body and its consequences. I no longer look for excuses to not work out and most importantly I feel stronger physically, mentally and emotionally. I always look forward to the next workout, improving my technique and learning all the skills that I haven’t yet conquered.

Kevin J

I started my first crossfit class on my 50th Birthday. It was a Saturday morning. The class welcomed me and began the warm-up. I could not do one pull up. For the handstand hold I remember just staring at the wall. I stared at the wall for quite a few months and the pull ups, well lets just say that the green band and I became good friends.

From the very beginning I was in awe of Crossfit Chicago’s coaching talent and the power of the community to be vested in everyone’s success. This combination of factors kept me coming back and instilled in me a desire to succeed and to attempt to master all the skills I could.

I can now do a handstand hold. I no longer require a band for a pull up. I am physically stronger then I’ve ever been in my life. I continue to gain strength and my fitness level is increasing. I now possess physical capabilities that I never dreamed of.

The coaches and community have all made me realize that we are always a work in progress and no matter our age or fitness level that we can excel.

Cristina M.

I’ve been pretty athletic my whole life, playing basketball in grammar and high school and soccer in high school. In college, I alternated running with lifting dumbbells and took the occasional spinning class at the gym. I always desired to be physically stronger and get a more toned look, but never found the right exercise or class that could accomplish that. I am pretty petite at 5’2” and a little shy of 115 lbs. and I wasn’t sure that I would ever be able to get a more muscular or toned physique unless I spent hours in the gym, which I didn’t have time for. I was starting to get bored with my workout routine so I started dabbling in Groupon to see if any of the exercise classes sparked my interest. I tried out a couple classes, but nothing interested me, that is, until I was blessed to find the groupon to CrossFit Chicago.

My first class back in July 2011 was pretty nerve-wracking, especially going into the gym hearing weights crashing on the floor and seeing big muscular sweaty guys doing muscle-ups and hand stand pushups on the wall. Having the Women’s Only Class was comforting because it was a bunch of girls who had never done CrossFit before so we were all starting out at about the same place. I never in my life pictured myself lifting heavy weights or doing snatches or over-head squats, but the awkwardness of the movements got easier with practice. Looking back at where I started, I have come a long way. I feel stronger both physically, mentally and I have more confidence when I walk into a gym. I may not have the big muscles I wanted, but I feel stronger and have been happy with the progress I have made increasing my weights on movements.

Another benefit I found is that CrossFit has helped decrease my stress level. There are days when I come home so frustrated and stressed from work and I saw to myself, “I need to lift some heavy $hit” and there I go off to kill a workout. I have never experienced the adrenaline or “high” that I get after doing CrossFit workouts compared to anything else I have done in the past. I tried to mirror the movements and workouts at other globo gyms in order to save some money, but nothing compares to having the coaches guide you through the lifts or having your friends cheer you on during the workouts. Crossfire is definitely worth every penny and the sense of community here is priceless

The main thing that compelled me to write this testimonial was my experience with my son last weekend. Crossfit preaches about how it helps with “functional movements for everyday life”, which sounded like a bunch of crap to me in the beginning. How is lifting a barbell over my head going to help me with my day-to-day routine? My 6 year old son unfortunately got really sick last weekend so I ended up in the emergency room on several occasions lugging him around on one shoulder with my heavy bag on the other. The walk from the car to the emergency room at 2 a.m. was not a short one and granted, he doesn’t weigh that much, but walking that distance with him and my bag was a workout. On our second trip to the emergency room, one woman was so concerned she offered to help me and reached to grab my bag. I almost blurted out, “it’s okay I do Crossfit” but then quickly realized she would have no idea what I was talking about. In instances like this (which I hope nobody has to go through) or even carrying groceries upstairs, I finally realize how Crossfit helps with functional movements for everyday life. If I hadn’t been doing Crossfit I know I wouldn’t have been able to carry him that distance or ended up really struggling.

I look forward to growing with this awesome community and pushing myself a little further every day. Everyone is so welcoming at the gym and I have made some life-long friendships. CrossFit Chicago is definitely like a second family for me and I have finally found something that I will definitely never get bored of..

Cory J.

Growing up I had responsibilities. I had to get my sister and I home after school; do our chores, homework and so on. I missed the opportunity to participate in athletics as a child. High school was my chance to be apart of the football team and track team, but my commitment to other leadership positions forced me to step away from sports. Physically I was overweight and was proud of it at one point. When I went to college I continued to make unhealthy choices. My sophomore year I moved off campus into an apartment and worked at Rally's for two years. During that time my physical health suffered; I was overweight and out of shape. My mental health suffered; destructive and undisciplined behaviors clouded my mind. My emotional health suffered; I lacked confidence and self love. Summer 2013 I was at my heaviest at 294. I started to change and improve my overall health. I meal prepped, hit the gym every day, and became conscious of my choices. By the end of the summer I had shed some weight getting down 260s . 
 For four years I had an up and down pattern with my fitness. I had that join a gym, work hard for three weeks, after losing some weight slack off and working out becomes I'm going to start working out again, again problem. Luckily my skills in the kitchen and love for food helped me maintain my weight between 255-265. After college I moved to Chicago and had to quickly get adjusted to the Chicago way of life. Cta and walking became apart of the norm. I live on the South side and commuted to Skokie for work 5 days a week. This shocked my body, the walking and quick weather change in the fall helped me slim down. By the end of the year I was 242. One night I was thinking about how moving to Chicago, alone with no family had a purpose. I reevaluated everything that was going on and desperately wanted a change. J. Cole had just dropped his album Eyez and one song stood out the most. On Change he said, “Life is all about the evolution, you can dream but don't forget the execution.” Up until this point of life that's what life was for me. A dream. A dream world I was living hoping and wishing things would happen for me, wasting time envisioning in my head different scenarios that I wanted to happen. It was like a light bulb went off. I made a decision to improve my overall spiritual, mental, emotional, physical health one step, one day at a time. After I made this decision it was like Facebook read my mind and placed a “New You” add from Cross fit Chicago. I clicked the add, checked out the page and I knew this would be life changing. So I applied and a few days later interviewed with Ben. 
 As soon as I walked to the back into the open gym I knew this was the place for me. There was a class going on which gave me an idea of what I was about to get into. By the time the tour was over I was already all in. I had about two weeks until the class started so I started to change my focus. I waited patiently and sometimes anxiously for the class to start. My second chance off seeing a class was at the nutrition meeting. This class had way more people than the first and it was more intense. Everyone was so focused and kept moving. This was a long workout or at least I thought 9 minutes was. They kept working until the clock hit 15 and I was exhausted after watching them. From that night I learned about Paleo and honestly I love it now. I still continue to eat Paleo with a few moderation. When class started I was ready and by the end of the first class I asked myself what did I just join? I thought about it and say this is it. Over the course of 6 weeks I was pushed to many limits. But by week 4 I realized that I didn't have any limits. Committing myself to this process coached by Matt was everything I needed. My New You class was only 3 people, myself, Lizzy and Jess. Matt walked us through every move, coached us through every work and even pushed us when he saw we could go a little harder. You can tell Matt is really passionate about cross fit and wants to see us succeed. That made all the difference. The love, confidence, energy, endurance, patience, I could go on but these things I learned from Cross fit Chicago has forever changed me. Cross fit Chicago is more than a “Cross fit Gym” we're a family. Everyone encourage and challenge each other. I started the program at 236 and over the course of the challenge got down to 218. It's deeper than pounds, the energy I have throughout the whole day, improvements in my mobility and endurance, and who I know I'm becoming through Cross fit. Thank You everyone at Cross fit Chicago, to the next 6 weeks and beyond.


P.S. If you're deep down ready for an improvement of your well being to be prepared for whatever life throws your way, Cross Fit Chicago is where you need to be!

Sommer M.

I have always loved working out, but I was so bored with going to the regular gym and doing the same old thing day in and day out. I wasn’t getting any benefit out of it anymore and very often would skip going and just say I’ll eat less today instead….Now, I look forward to the days that I go to CrossFit. The workouts, the people and the happiness that I feel from being at the box are all things that I never expected on the day I walked into CrossFit Chicago for the first time. Olympic movements were all new to me and I was so impressed with how the coaches went through every movement step by step and made sure that I was doing everything properly. I love being in an environment where people feel so strongly about the importance of fitness in their lives. It creates such a positive attitude and CFC fosters that attitude. Everyday is better when I make it to the box. I don’t feel the stress of my job when I’m there and I always leave in a better mood then when I came. I feel like I am a stronger person physically, mentally and emotionally because of CFC.

Jason W.

I joined CrossFit Chicago in March of 2011 after having been interested in it for about a year or so. I would occasionally watch videos and read the CFHQ site with intrigue, not a little confusion and much intimidation. Whatwere these people doing? Lots of grunting, insane looking pull-ups, dropping heavy weights and then collapsing in a broken heap. Looked like fun!

My fitness background involved some cross-country in high school, drinking and smoking competitively throughout my twenties and then quitting smoking at thirty to run my first marathon. I went on to run a total of six marathons (3:17 PR), 13 or so half-marathons and numerous 10ks throughout my thirties and was feeling pretty good about my fitness level until the injuries started sidelining me for longer and longer periods. During these times I would “lift” weights at the gym or attempt some swimming. By lift, I mean sitting at an awful weight machine in a room full of mirrors, blaring TVs and miserable looking people wearing earbuds while wishing the entire time I was outside running, or anywhere else for that matter. After recovering from plantar fasciitis (4 months of non-activity) I decided I needed something new and it was time to get head to toe strong. Time to give CrossFit a go.

I did research on different CrossFit boxes in Chicago and all good reviews pointed to CrossFit Chicago. I had my baseline intro of 500m row, 40 squats, 30 sit-ups, 20 push-ups and 10 pull-ups with Coach Kelly on that fateful day in March. Before we began I thought, “How hard could this be?” Well, easy if you do leisurely, junk-style squats, sit-ups, etc., which is what I was used to. I was about to get schooled in the CF way of doing it, which meant getting the most out of each rep with no rest in between for daydreaming or trying to remember where I parked. Afterwards, it was all I could do to make it up the stairs when I got home. How could 5 minutes (probably more, I honestly have no recollection) of work hurt so much and why did I look forward to doing it again as soon as possible?

Jump ahead a year plus and I am still at it and still anxious to do it again as soon as possible. Why? Good question, reader. First off is the coaching. I had never done Olympic style lifting before CF and my first attempts must have been masterpieces of physical comedy. The coaches at CFC have taken my first chicken-legged, noodle-armed attempts and, instead of laughing like they should have, led me to a 170 pound overhead squat, 125 pound strict press and 135 pound snatch. I didn’t know those were even things that existed a year ago and now I not only can’t wait to work on them, but I know what I reed to improve in that 1.5 seconds it takes to move the bar overhead. I also know I can go heavier with more more work. Also, as injuries go I have a current knee issue, but the coaches are always able to modify a WOD so that I can still come into the box and work my ass off.

Which leads me to the members of CFC. Everyone who comes through CrossFit Chicago’s doors on a regular basis is there to get stronger, faster and better than they were the day before. No shirkers in this group. CFC attracts and breeds some pretty terrific people and no matter what the WOD is you know there is going to be some friendly competition and encouragement from fellow members. I have also, under penalty of burpees, gotten pretty good at remembering names.

Joel R.

I was always searching for ways to better myself physically for my career and constantly felt like I was not doing enough or the workouts were not intense enough to truly mimic what it is like fighting a fire. I was fortunate enough to meet a few firemen along the way who found Crossfit, and spoke volumes about its intensity and how it correlated with our jobs. Running 5 miles at a fast pace is completely different from running into a burning building already fatigued from leading out the hose line or breaking a door down and then having to go to work.

In the short time I have been at CrossFit Chicago, I can say with all honesty that I have found what I have been searching for and so much more. I have been welcomed into a community of athletes that push a workout pace that is second to none and coaches that will except nothing but your best effort. You will find friendships forged by battling a grueling workout and find a completely different understanding of what you thought giving 100% really is. Every day I am learning something new and gaining a better understanding of how to push myself when I feel like I have nothing left in the tank.

CrossFit Chicago has given me confidence in myself as an athlete and as a fireman. It has given me the tools to do my job to best of my ability and for that I will be forever grateful. Any chance I get to push someone interested in Crossfit to go to CrossFit Chicago, especially firemen, I let them know how greatly CrossFit Chicago has improved my health and outlook on life.

Rachel F.

Since before I could form full sentences, I have been an athlete—an endurance athlete in particular. My grandmother, who raised me, still complains about those days when I was just 3 or 4 and she would open up the car door and there I’d go—running full force down the street.

I was a runner and swimmer all throughout high school, then a marathon runner and collegiate triathlete. I found that the longer the distance, the better my performance, and I had concluded that I just wasn’t built for sprints—or anything that involved speed or agility for that matter. In fact I had built quite a horrible reputation for coordination in general—so I just stuck to sports where you just, well, “go.”

When I started CrossFit in June 2011, I had to rethink all my preconceptions of ‘ability.’ As I started eliminating long, slow distance workouts from my routine, and implementing a lot more speed, strength, balance, skill, and agility training, I found an entirely different athlete in myself. I started beating my high school times at shorter distance races. I reached a whole new gear in my speed and felt stronger than ever. I found myself able to shoot free-throws into my workplace recycling bin. It’s not that I wasn’t “built for speed,” it’s just that I hadn’t trained for it.

That is perhaps the most fundamental lesson that CrossFit has taught me: That I am always more capable than I think I am, and that I can never fully tap into that potential unless I jump in without fear or reservations. CrossFit’s training approach, along with the countless tools it offers (e.g., dieting, community, competition, confidence, teamwork) has made me approach health, fitness, and life in an entirely different way.

Dougie G.

Though I have only been at CFC for 3 weeks which I am sure gives me the revered title of Newest Newbie I have already settled in with a great bunch of guys and ladies, always friendly, always encouraging you no matter if your destroying the WOD or it is destroying you. I joined Crossfit as for the last 6 years I thought big is good, strong is good(strong being benching over 255 with my cardio in bad form) but in the last 3 months I realized big equals carrying some pounds when your 30 and I am not 23 anymore partying till 5am and then running a 10 miler at 6 am and coming top 3(I miss those days) damn you metabolism lol, I am sure we can all agree on that. So I joined CFC, I have some friends who are Ninjas at this on the Euro circuit and so I begin my journey after they said it is life, in a nut shell it gives me a euphoric feeling and makes me feel at ease, For example my head is down I’m dizzy sweat pouring, I look around my time was better getting faster, I finished the WOD form getting better, weight getting heavier. Every day I arrive I meet new people and I have a good time the coaches know their business and give you excellent tips. I pride myself on my in-depth analysis when committing to a project I checked out 3 different box’s in the Chi town area CFC furthest away but first choice. I travel an hour to CFC and a hour back on the L and foot for a reason, CFC is more than a cross fit box, CFC ninjas are more than great people, CFC encompasses what being a CrossFitter is about.

PS For those that don’t understand me I am SCOTTISH not Australian or English (Roll the Braveheart theme tune )


Elizabeth P.

I had been Crossfitting about 6 months before I moved to back to Chicago from northwest Arkansas. In that time, CrossFit had become an incredibly important part of my life and I knew I wasn’t about to give that up just because I was moving. I learned to love the intensity, the sense of accomplishment of being able to do something new or better almost every day, and the awesome community CrossFit creates. I visited many different boxes when I was searching for a new CrossFit home in Chicago (six gyms in two weeks!) and I found that CrossFit Chicago exemplified all of the values of CrossFit and more.

In my two months at Crossfit Chicago, I have seen and felt improvements in almost every area. The knowledge and coaching abilities of the trainers has helped me adjust and develop hard to perfect skills. The facility itself is one of the nicest I have seen and I really appreciate having so many class times to chose from. And most importantly, the community is just awesome! I felt welcomed and encouraged from the moment I set foot in the door. To quote the theme song of Cheers, “sometimes you wanna go, where everybody knows your naaaaame!” Cheesy, but so true.

Overall, CrossFit has completely changed my perception on fitness, health and nutrition. I am healthier, stronger, fitter, even happier than I ever have before because of CrossFit and being part of this community has truly shifted my approach to life.

Dane S.

I began working out at CrossFit Chicago a little over a year ago and it has changed my life for so many reasons. There are many people in this community that feel the same way. From the first moment I walked into the gym, the energy and encouragement hooked me. I couldn’t believe it; everyone wanted me to get better. As a high school athlete, this teamwork is something I never found anywhere else.

Walking into the gym for the first time was admittedly intimidating. Watching the intensity of the workouts, seeing weights fly overhead and hit the ground with the bounce was a bit overwhelming. My first day at CrossFit Chicago I did about three pull-ups and fifteen pushups. Within months I was able to complete WODs that have over seventy-five pull-ups and over one hundred pushups!

My health has changed significantly since I joined CrossFit Chicago. When I started I was 35 pounds heavier than I am now. My bad cholesterol was high and my good cholesterol was low. I was stressed out and had trouble sleeping. The high paced cardio lifting has helped me lose weight and redirect my health. At a recent doctor’s appointment, my good cholesterol had come up and my bad cholesterol had plummeted. My doctor said “I don’t know what your doing but keep doing it!”

I know that my story is like everyone else’s, but this is how you know it’s real. Getting in shape takes time, willpower, good food and training. CrossFit Chicago is what got me there and will continue to make me better.

Carolyn T. 

I started CrossFit in July 2010 while I was living in Miami. I used to play rugby competitively and had joined a team in Miami but didn’t have the same passion for it as I once did. I heard about CrossFit but had no idea what it was about, after my on ramp I was immediately hooked. I met the most amazing individuals who are now some of my closest friends. When I moved to Chicago in Jan 2012, my first priority was finding a CrossFit gym that felt like home. Moving to a new city on your own is never easy, but when I walked into CrossFit Chicago they were so welcoming that I knew right away I found my new home and officially joined in Feb.

The coaches are extremely dedicated, knowledgeable and more importantly, fun. I have been doing this for almost 2 years and I’m still learning and growing as an athlete. While being at CFC, the coaches have really guided me on how to improve on my performance and I have seen a steady progression in my athletic abilities. They want to see you succeed in everything that you do; they focus on form and technique and are always motivating their members to accomplish movements that may seem impossible to do. You definitely never get bored, the workouts always change and are challenging. CrossFit is versatile, whether you are 9 or 90; overweight and have never done any physical active or are fit and active; anyone can do CrossFit. Not only do you get into the best shape of your life but you become more confident in yourself.

Aside from the physical aspect of CrossFit, I think the most incredible thing about it is the community. There is no other gym that I know that you are welcomed with open arms and are immediately treated like family. There is no other sport I know where competitors become comrades, cheering and supporting each other until the last athlete finishes the Workout of the Day (WOD). That is why I love this sport.

John G.

In December of 2010, I was in pretty poor shape. I had been complaining about it for some time and my wife was getting pretty tired of hearing about it. I stepped on the scale and was shocked to see 206#!!! Yes 206! I am only 5’7″ and did not need to have that weight and 37/38″ waist. I was 38 at the time and saw where I was headed. It wasn’t pretty.

I started running in the office gym and set my sights on the Chase Corporate Challenge in May 2011. By that April I had shed about 15-17lbs and felt great, but was very very bored. I am not a runner, yet this was all I was doing. I grew up an athlete playing baseball, wrestling, football etc, competing…..It took everything I had to not quit.

June 6, 2011 is my D-Day…..that was the day I walked into my first CrossFit facility. CrossFit Rise in Schaumburg (I worked out there at the time). I was humbled quickly with my lack of strength, lack of flexibility (still fighting that one) and lack of discipline. I couldn’t do 2 pull-ups….kip or no kip!!

By September I had shed 20-22 lbs and had put on muscle. I still had to scale everything, but was not bored. I set a goal to try to lose 40# by 40…40lbs by my 40th birthday in march, doing it right. I had hit a rhythm, a pace and craving for what we do every week and was hooked, completely. Pass the cool-aid.

I joined CFC in December 2011, when I started a new job in the loop. I did my homework and spoke to people who spoke highly of the community and the level of coaching there. Everyday since I walked in, I have been impressed with what you, and your coaches do with us!! Everyone is noticed, coached, trained, even ribbed from time to time regardless of how long someone has been there. Regardless of what my day had been like, that is my time! My time to work on me, have fun, compete and get my a$$ kicked!

I hit my goal in February, 7 weeks ahead of schedule and am the best I have ever been. I can do things I couldn’t do just 10 yrs ago, even in high school!! I am continuing to see gains and I know I am progressing and truly “Better Than Yesterday”! When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is hit the iPhone to see what the workout is…. even on my off days!

Just this week I hit a workout named “Helen” @ 10:13 and was pissed!!! Why, that is a good time. Because, I know I have this sub 10!!!I can rip 30+ pullups unbroken, I have doubleunders now and have even achieved a muscle up or two!!! I have lost 40 lbs and 6″ off of my waist. I have put on muscle and developed flexibility that enabled me to go play baseball for a week with some Cubs Legends!! (pics attached!). Never could have done that a couple short years ago!!!!

Writing this has made me reflect on how far I have come, and where I want to go!!

Chris W.

The Crossfit version of the cliché story beginning “It was a dark and stormy night” is “I thought I was in half way decent shape until I started CrossFit”, as much as I don’t want to sound like a cliché’ this is how my story starts. I had spent years as a gym rat doing the bodybuilding type weight lifting programs, had a history or physical fitness that included high school wrestling, 8 years in the U. S. Marine Corps (several of them in Reconnaissance teams) and a few years of semi-pro football, but Crossfit quickly proved there is “in shape” and there is “in CrossFit shape”. I played around with what I thought was CrossFit at a GLOBO gym doing the WOD from the main site but after my wife did a ramp up class at another affiliate she came home showing me how to do the Oly lifts that I still couldn’t do, even though I kept watching the YouTube videos and demos on CrossFit.com. Finally I decided to go to a CrossFit Affiliate with the plan of learning these moves and then taking what I learned back to my GLOBO.

I picked CrossFit Chicago for 2 reasons: 1) The owner is a fellow former Marine. Semper Fi, he gets my money. 2) They had a CF Kids class. I had seen the benefits of having my son in Karate and I know how much I need to work out to keep positive and stay focused, I wanted to see if CrossFit kids had the same benefits for my son at school as working out did for me at work.

My first CFC WOD was at the hands of Kelly and Randy. Randy likes to remind me that I told him pointe blank, “I am here to learn the movements and then I am going to go back to my much less expensive gym”. I also remember arrogantly answering his question “have you ever CrossFitted before?” with “Yep, this morning.” What I learned that day was no matter how well I may have learned the movements here I could not take CrossFit Chicago back to my GLOBO. When I would have stopped on my own because I needed a break Randy was there to tell me I couldn’t have one…I think it was revenge for the GLOBO comment. When I thought I was strong, little bitty Kelly was lifting almost the same weight. When I was still finishing the WOD everyone else, who were busy cleaning up their stations because they were long done, kept yelling encouragement to me. Whatever I was doing at my gym before was not CrossFit, it may have been CrossFit movements and workouts, but it was not CrossFit!

CrossFit can’t be done alone, you need coaches to get in your face and call you out when you don’t think you can do something or you start taking shortcuts because you are hurting and tired. You need your classmates to lift you up telling you that you can do it and challenging you to beat them. You need a whiteboard to look at before you start so you know who you have to beat and what you have to do to beat them. You need a blog to post your victories, talk trash and make friends.

I have made bonds with guys here that rival those of my wrestling, football and Marine Corps days. There is something about sharing the experience of the pain and exhaustion that comes at the hands of the CFC programmers and coaches. You can doing CrossFit workouts at any gym but you aren’t CrossFitting if you’re not with your CrossFit family, and there is no better CrossFit family than the one you’ll find at CFC.

Oh, and while I was making here making friends I also lost 25lbs, no longer have asthma, stopped snoring, increased my Squat by 40lbs, increased my Deadlift by 30lbs, lost only a little off my bench press, even though I’ve only done the bench 3-5 times in the last year, no longer have joint pains, can do Muscle Ups and have some halfway decent Oly lifts, both form and poundage. My son is maintaining an “A” average and teachers are no longer talking about his attention or hyper-activity (no he is not taking any ADD/ADHD meds). He is more confident, kicks and punches harder in Karate and flies around the flag football field at Safety like John Lynch.

Marissa L.

I am always looking for workouts that keep me motivated to exercise. I am the type of person that needs a goal to work towards otherwise I won’t exercise. I trained for a triathlon, but once I completed the race, I lost interest. I trained for a marathon and same thing, stopped training after it was done. I found myself getting bored easily, doing the same thing over and over. I couldn’t find a program that kept my interest, and it was tough to try to do it on my own.

Then I was introduced to CrossFit and have yet to be bored. I love how everyday is a different workout and I don’t have to try to make up my own… its already done for me. At 31 years old, I am in the best shape of my life! I’ve always had the endurance because of the running background, but I never had the strength. When I first started 8 months ago I could never do a pullup. I absolutely hated them and never had the strength for them. After 3 months of CrossFit, I was able to do one kipping pullup. I like how this program forces you to work on skills that you dislike or are weak at. This has made me a more rounded athlete.

The group atmosphere is also a major component to why I love CrossFit. Doing a workout in group will definitely make you work harder. I used to prefer working out by myself, but I know I wouldn’t be able to push myself the same way. If I wanted to slow down or not work as hard I only had to answer to myself. I probably would have never even thought of trying to do pull-ups. But in CrossFit, when I do the same workout with a group of people, the trainers and other CrossFitters will push you which makes me drive myself harder to can keep up with them. I always leave the gym feeling like I worked as hard as I could, something I didn’t feel too often from my usual solo workouts.

I think the major reason I’ve stuck with CrossFit is that there is always room for improvement. I think I never get bored because I’m always in competition with myself. I’m always trying to beat my time or lift heavier than I did last time. And it quickly becomes addicting because I do see that improvement. I can now run a mile under 8 minutes; I suddenly love lifting weights; and now I am up to 16 kipping pullups in a row! I still can’t believe it. Besides gaining all these athletic skills, there’s nothing that beats hearing, “hey you’ve lost weight” at my last family party… the most perfect words to any girls ears.

Eileen CR

After 3 ½ years of intense fertility treatments and trying to get pregnant, depression set in when I learned I was not able to have a biological child of my own. My self esteem was low and my body was soft and out of shape. I was in a sad physical, mental and emotional place back then, that is until I found CrossFit Chicago.

Thus, my CrossFit journey began on May 5, 2008. After taking a hiatus from exercising for two years prior to that date, I was encouraged by my brother who is a member of CrossFit 801 in Salt Lake City, Utah to give CrossFit a try. When I started cross fitting eight months ago, Rudy Tapalla had me fill out a goal sheet in order to get me thinking like a CrossFit novice should think. He told me to be realistic and set goals that would be achievable. He explained to me how important it is to check your ego at the door and give every ounce of energy you can to the workout of the day (“WOD”). At that time, I was determined not only to lose weight but to become healthier, stronger and more physically fit. But more than that, I really wanted to heal myself and help not only my body physically to become stronger but also my mental and emotional state as well. CrossFit Chicago was the answer for me. It was there that I found a physical outlet for all my stresses and frustrations. But that was not to be all because in addition to healing my body, I forged new friendships with some of the most amazing and supportive people in the process. This CrossFit Chicago community is something that cannot be explained in words. The energy, support, encouragement and education I have found there from my trainers and fellow Crossfitters is just one example of what I experience on a daily basis when I go to our “box” and perform a WOD with the other members. Rudy taught me to work through my frustrations by redirecting that negative energy toward every single workout. I took his advice.

As you can see from my before and after pictures, there is a marked difference in the way I look, stand, feel and exist. Not only do I have more energy for my everyday activities, but I have surpassed most, if not all, of those goals I set for myself back in May, 2008 when I first started. I have lost over 17 pounds in the process. I have gained strength, endurance, flexibility, muscle and a new sense of who I am. It is hard to explain the transformation one goes through when they put their mind toward improving one’s self by doing CrossFit. It is something you must decide to do for yourself and it can work. For me the whole CrossFit Chicago experience helped me to make that happen. I say this today with all honesty, that if I can make such huge strides in only eight months of training at CrossFit Chicago, then anyone can.

Don’t get me wrong, it takes discipline and courage to be a Crossfitter. But at CrossFit Chicago I had a whole lot of encouragement and support to help me in my efforts from not only Rudy and the other trainers but from the other Crossfitters as well. It is this community that makes you want to try harder, run faster, lift heavier, kip higher and push yourself farther than you ever thought you possibly could.

I had always been an athletic person in the past but this experience has taken me to a whole new level of fitness. I am not only exceeding my expectations at CrossFit Chicago, but I will be anxious to see how far I have come in other areas on the athletic front as well. I have a ski trip planned in March 2009 and I have signed up to do the Shamrock Shuffle also in March 2009. I am curious to see how my physical wellbeing, abilities, stamina and endurance from my CrossFit training experience will help me to achieve my new goals in these and other areas.

If I could say one thing to someone about my whole transformation, I would say this, CrossFit Chicago gave me the ability to take charge of my life. It gave me the courage to say yes there are things like infertility that have happened to me that I cannot change, but it also taught me that there are things in my life that I can improve upon and change for the better. I have the ability to take charge of who I am physically, mentally and emotionally and that is what I have done for myself. CrossFit Chicago helped me to achieve those goals.

Ben L.

I’m sure you can click around this site and the main site to see what CrossFit is and what it’s all about, but I’m really happy with the improvements in my active life.

I went through the usual physical changes and strength development, but one major change that I’ve noticed is in my volleyball games. I’m not in any highly competitive leagues or anything, but I like to play every chance I can get during the year including at North Ave Beach over the summer. I always knew I wasn’t a cardio guy, and I remember that I’d get extremely winded after the first game, especially after going up 4 or 5 times in a row to hit and block. I also had knee and shoulder issues that affected my jumping and hitting, but I played through the pain. I’d also be pretty sore for the next day or two.

After the 2nd and 3rd months of joining, I did notice some differences in my breathing and endurance while playing. I’d still end up gasping, but not as early and not so labored, and I’d be able to catch my second and third wind a lot faster. This was expected. What I didn’t expect was the reduction of my knee and shoulder pains. I mean, I still have them, but most of the time I’ll go through all three games without feeling it.

There’s a lot more progress that I’ve gone through, it’s just this one stuck out in my head. I’m in better shape than when I was wrestling in high school, and I’m still going for better. I’ve learned a couple of gymnastics skills and jump rope tricks; it’s like a jungle gym for adults. I’m definitely still not a cardio guy, but I’ve learned to appreciate its purpose and I even joined some runs and stair climbs. This has been the least monotonous, most effective fitness program that I’ve gone through. And nothing beats the way the gym is run. I know everyone is suffering with me and it makes me work harder and finish faster. There’s just a certain connection between everyone at Rudy’s ‘box.’ You can see it reading the daily blogs… people congratulating people, ribbing each other, sharing their soreness, offering advice, talking sports… I’ve never experienced anything like this from any other gym.

Brett R.

I started crossfitting in February on 2009. There are a lot of things that I appreciate about CrossFit Chicago. It has put me in an environment where I am surrounded by people who are not happy with complacency. It is easy to fall into an exercise rut and make excuses, but when I am surrounded by people who hold themselves to a higher standard it pushes me to do the same. This mentality easily transfers to other areas of my life.

Along the same line of thinking I have realized that a lot of things that I thought were not attainable physically due to age, genetics,experience or whatever can actually be accomplished with a solid plan, a strong desire and focus, and proper guidance. Besides the intense physical exertion, I feel that crossfitting forces me to exercise my will and mental fortitude on a daily basis that has made me a stronger person not only physically but mentally. It has also let me recapture a feeling of athletic competition and focused physical hard work that I hadn’t experienced since my teens. The health benefits and physical aesthetics are great, but it goes way beyond that. It has given my wife and I a blueprint on how to live an active and healthy life now and 40 years from now. The nutritional education and its impact on so many facets of our lives has been amazing.
There is something honest that I find in crossfitting. When I look around at the best athletes, almost without fail I am also looking at the most dedicated and hardest working of the bunch. I find it really easy to get behind people and root for them when I know that they are giving all they have and are doing it out of love and not for ulterior motives.

Last, but not least, it is refreshing to go somewhere where people are all trying to better themselves in an intelligent fashion and are genuinely supportive of each other. I believe that the culture of our community starts at the top and works its way down. It is a credit to all of the coaches that they have fostered such a giving and encouraging environment. Being surrounded by physical beasts is inspiring and motivating, but so is being around truly great and giving people. It forces me to evaluate my decisions and behavior in a way that I think continues to make me a better person.

Alexi M. 

Let it be known that I have never been especially athletic. I was on the swim team in high school and post that, I did the typical gym membership heavily using treadmills, ellipticals and possibly attending a group class.

Fast forward – it’s May 2011 and I was looking for an exercise regimen to help me kick into a fitness frame of mind. After two years at a local health club, I was crazy bored and frankly, hated going to group classes. Skinny girls with revealing gym clothes dancing around to step aerobics while I clod-hopped in the back was just not doing it for me anymore, so I canceled my membership and proceeded to do nothing.

When I saw the groupon for CrossFit Chicago Women’s Only Class, I read the description and thought it would be like many of the other boot camp style classes they had been advertising at the time so I bought it. I figured that the only way to kick my butt in gear was to just buy it and be done. After I purchased the groupon I decided to go on CFC’s website and the first thing I saw was a picture of a woman doing a back squat at a heavy weight, and I just about died. “What have I done?!” was my first thought followed quickly by “I’ll just eat the money and not go.” However, after reading a few of the testimonials on the blog my conscience got the best of me and I attended my first class in June 2011.

The class was packed that first day and I received a warm welcome from coaches Kelly, Gina and Eileen. With the one-two punch of coaches Kelly and Gina demonstrating proper form, but being straightforward with their expectations of us, I felt I had no choice but to do the workout as best I could. Coach Eileen proved to be the single best supporter one could ever want in the room. She coaches you through each move, always believing that you can do it even when you don’t feel the same. I can honestly say that these three ladies are the only reason I came back. After that first month, I chose to become a member because of the workouts, but also because the sense of community was empowering. Even though I was continuously (and still am) the last person to complete the WOD I had a whole room cheering for me like I was defeating a world record. THAT’S what I love about CrossFit. When you feel like you’re about to keel over, a simple shout of encouragement can amp up your energy and get you across the finish line. I have never been made to feel bad for not being strong enough/fast enough/fit enough and for that I am forever thankful.

Looking back, I remember the first time I learned what a box jump was and wanting to run away. I started out jumping up on a 10 pound plate (1 1/2″) and am now successfully doing the WODs using a 16″ box. I started with jumping pullups and can now successfully do kipping pullups using support bands. My ability to lift heavier weights has also increased over time. I am proud of the advancements I’ve made over the last year. I’ve had several guy friends asking ME for advice on CrossFit and comparing stats on WODs when I was never known before as the “athletic” girl in the group. While I still have a long way to go I can honestly say that I am more fit than I ever have been, can run farther than ever before and am more physically able now that I am in my thirties than I ever was.

Yay CFC!

Meg R. 

My relationship with health and fitness sounds very similar to other members paths. At the age of 11 I stared to gain weight with the passing of my father. The weight gain was not due to grief, but rather my mother was left with 5 kids, not a lot of money and working long hours. Fast food was the quickest and cheapest option. We went from a family that ate dinner every night at 6 o clock at the dinner table to eating burgers, pizza, Chinese, or whatever in front of the TV. My weight quickly became an issue on my very short frame.

In a nut shell I spent about 7 years yoyo dieting, taking fad pills and using weight loss programs. I spent decent time in the gym (I don’t mind working out) but soon got burned out on step (even though I’m awesome at it!), spin and kickboxing classes. Some of these combinations were successful, but my diet and weekend binge drinking quickly dissolved any progress I had made.. Yeah, I did this for a long time!!

In 2008 my husband, Brett, who was at that time really coming into his own at the gym and looking for his niche came across Crossfit Chicago. We discussed it and he told me based on the programming he would be spending half the amount of time working out that he currently was (I had to add this part, since it’s clearly hysterical if you know Brett). Within the month he was really pressing me to go in and give it a try. He knew I liked a bit of a competitive environment and thought I would do well here.. After about 3 months of this I finally gave in and came in, but just to watch!! It looked horrible, I wanted nothing to do with it, yet I found myself later that week doing a baseline with Kurt.

At that point I was the heaviest I had ever been in my life. Brett and I had been married for a couple years and by that time and were looking to start a family. In hind-site I realize my overall health and fitness had contributed to the problems we were having getting pregnant. Thanks to modern medicine, we were lucky enough to bring two beautiful and healthy baby boys into the world in September 2010. I quickly realized that I needed to be as much as a healthy influence over these kids as my husband would be. I wanted to be a fit fun mom participating in their lives, not watching from the sidelines… I decided I’m going back to CFC and giving it my all.. I rejoined (off due to high risk pregnancy) in Jan 2011 and really did the best I could. I saw gains in strength and speed and slowly the weight came off. 11 months later I was in the best shape of my life and just about 30 pounds lighter. I was in a great place physically and mentally, I really could not have been happier… Until, unexpectedly we got pregnant again, on our own!! That is what CFC has done for me! It has given us the gift of another baby boy due this September. I 100% believe that eating well and getting in shape was the answer for me/us. So I thank Rudy and Bryce and all the other coaches from the bottom of my heart for knocking me up! We all will be a part of the CFC family for a long time! So now I’m taking my WODs a bit easier, but I’m looking forward to working hard and kicking ass when I’m able!

Tina T.

I know I definitely don’t fit the epitome of the “old school” crew as I still have a lot to work on when it comes to some things (pull-ups and handstand push ups), but since the 1st time I stepped into the old box I knew that my view of working out and what I could do was going to change. I think back to starting with Rudy as my personal trainer at the Sweat Shop when I b*tched about step ups and doing 100 jump rope single-unders, to where I’ve come today (no longer intimated by the 24″ box in WOD’s and double-unders, yeah!). I look at this experience and think that I’ve personally come so far, yet I still have a long way to go, but that concept is no longer intimidating to me. I know I have a great community to support and push me. I’m a few inches and double digit pounds lighter than when I started so I know it works. I have wonderful coaches, the community, and my 6 a.m. crew to thank for that. But most importantly, through CrossFit Chicago I know that I have it inside of me to accomplish my fitness goals.

Brad S. 

I am a 42 year old male who has tried working out in various ways and with several trainers, and I have never achieved the results I was hoping for: either I did not follow the proper diet or I did not try as hard as I could during my sessions or I just quit.

I can honestly say, for the first time, I plan to continue my fitness and diet program with Cross Fit for a long time! Maybe it is the fact that we do so many different types of exercises (my brain easily jumps from one topic to another, so I am bored easily), maybe it was the really helpful coaches Dana and Sylvia (they are both teachers, and I could easily understand the moves they were teaching us), or maybe it was the fact that I had a really hopeful, dedicated class (Go, 7:00 o'clockers!), but I have never felt better in my life.

In addition to the change I see in my body (I have a favorite pair of green underwear that I could not wear anymore...after 6 weeks, they are as comfortable as can be), there were surprising benefits that I am really enjoying. First and foremost, my extreme social anxiety has become much less of a problem; I attribute this to the exercise, but I also believe I am feeling less awkward because I have almost completely cut pop and candy out of my diet. My hair is thicker, and my colleagues keep commenting on the fact that my skin looks better than they have ever seen it, especially around my eyes. I not only feel younger, I LOOK younger!

I have always been active: I play baseball and volleyball, but I always felt weird in our jerseys because I had skinny arms and a flabby stomach. I tell you one thing: I am even more excited for beach volleyball this summer, because I will feel confident in my swimsuit, and I might even play shirtless on really hot Friday nights. 

I could not be happier with the program and the results I have achieved so quickly!

Josh B.

I started working out when I was 14 years old which was in the late 80s. Growing up watching Arnold and Stalone running around all ripped and always shirtless, no one fights bad guys in the snow I guess, put a picture in my mind what healthy looked like. So I began my goal of “getting fit”. My workout was a body builder type workout. Focusing on individual muscle groups with a concentrated effort to target only the area I was working on that day. Cardio always came natural to me so it was never a concern. This workout continued into the Marines where in Okinawa they say you find one of three things – God, alcohol or fitness. Well fitness was my thing so it was 2-3 hours in the gym 7 days a week and 15 mins of cardio a day. Becoming a civilian in 91 I kept that mentality well into my 30s. I thought I was in pretty decent shape, still lifting heavy and able to keep up playing about any sport. Then the unthinkable happened, detached my right bicep by simply moving a rabbit cage. (very wierd story I would rather not get into) I had surgery to reattach, was down about 6 months and was putting my plan together to get back in the gym and get “back in shape”. Well my routine consisted of the same focused body building lifting and my numbers were coming back. Then a year to the day i detached my right bicep, I detach my left. Finished my last set of preacher curls and was lowering the weight, felt the pop and knew I was done. Another 6 months down I realized I need to change my plan up a bit. My idea of what was healthy needed to change. I was discussing this while visiting an old high school friend named Steve Cockrell. He told me he knew of a place that could help me with a new plan, CFC.

Stepping into the box was like another world, managed kaos. I knew while I was doing my base line I was hooked. The functional aspect of CrossFit hit home. Isolating muscle groups just for the look was not healthy. I learned my mobility was limited, cardio was not as good as I thought and I have like no rythm, I know its hards to admit. All the movements in CrossFit made sense, except for double unders, in everyday life. Every workout was harder than the last but I loved it. Got a couple DNFs under my belt but that just made me push harder. The encouragement from the other memebers at CFC is amazing. Even when someone is crushing you they still push you to go faster, do one more rep. If you are the last one in ther WOD they yell at you like you are finishing first. Its an amazing community here at CFC. I have been to many different boxes and compare them all to here. Nothing else matches up to the coaching staff and the members.

Ashley N.

I joined CFC a year ago thanks to my roommate Meredith, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve worked out very regularly since high school but have always struggled with my weight/eating disorders/workout ruts etc. CrossFit Chicago has helped me overcome a lot of that. Over the past year – with the encouragement of amazing coaches and classmates – I’ve done workouts that I could never have imagined surviving before. I take things I’ve learned during class and apply them to my workouts when I’m not at the box. CrossFit makes me enjoy working out (I’ve even come to love being sore), and I recommend it to anyone that asks me about it. Even though I know I have a long way to go, my friends and family have noticed significant changes in my appearance and confidence, but more importantly, I have never felt healthier in my life.

I am so thankful for CrossFit Chicago 🙂 Keep up the amazing work!

Alfredo C.

In high school I was a 119 pound wrestler sophomore through senior year. I was never very good, but I was in great shape. I was lean, strong, and felt like I could do anything.

I was 125 pounds when I got out of Army basic training. I scored a 300 on my physical fitness test every single time. 90 push ups in 2 minutes, 100 sit-ups in 2 minutes, and a 11 something 2-mile run. I stayed in great shape all four years on active duty. I was lean, strong, and felt like I could do anything.

I got out of the Army at age 23. I went to college, paramedic school, fire academy, and eventually got a job as a firefighter/paramedic. Somehow in all that time I lost my way when it came to working out. At the beginning of last summer, before my 29th birthday, I was 190 pounds. At my annual physical my B/P was 138/84 and my resting heart rate was 88. (I had to go back and find the copy of my physical). Bad cholesterol was up, good cholesterol was down. I was soft, weak, and did not feel like I could do anything. Confidence and self esteem were at an all time low for me. On top of that I was worried about the direction my health was going. High blood pressure, and heart disease run in my family.

Lou had been bugging me to come to crossfit for about 6 months. I finally decided to try it. I was scared cause I knew I was out of shape and it was gonna suck and hurt. Needless to say I got a DNF my first time and my back was sore from KB swings for about a week. I was on the fence about coming back.

The thing that made me come back was how much it reminded me of my high school wrestling days and the Army. I did difficult things I had never done before. It sucked, it sucked a lot. It was exhausting. But, there was camaraderie. There was competition. There was a sense of community. I wasn’t good at it at all but I wanted to be. For some sick reason, I liked that it sucked.

I’ve been coming to CFC for 7 months now. I’m down to 170 pounds. I had my physical last week. B/P 110/60, resting heart rate was 56. I’m very happy with the direction that my health is going. I’m getting lean, I’m getting strong, I’m starting to feel like I can do anything again. I owe all that to CFC.

Brandi P. 

I moved to Chicago six months ago from Houston and decided I needed to join a gym and get in shape – the typical New Year’s resolution. I’d go a few days a week and run on the treadmill, maybe do a few weight machines, then not go at all for a couple weeks – my usual routine any time I joined a gym. On and off until I just stopped going. I severely lacked motivation. I have a few friends who do CrossFit, but it always seemed intimidating. I finally hit a point where I was serious about making a change and knew that I needed to try something else.

I joined CrossFit Chicago seven weeks ago, and in this short amount of time it has become a huge addiction. When I walked into my first class, I was scared to death. I didn’t know anybody, I had no idea what I was doing, not to mention being completely intimidated by other people who have been doing this for some time. But immediately other people in the class started introducing themselves and made it very welcoming. It’s awesome to get to know the people you workout with every week and constantly getting to meet new members. Everyone, the coaches especially, are extremely motivating and always pushing you to challenge yourself and to improve.

It was amazing to me to see how quickly I started noticing changes in myself. It’s been a complete lifestyle change. I feel better, I notice myself getting stronger, and every day I want to push myself further, eat healthier, lift more, run faster, use a smaller band doing pull-ups, whatever it is. When you start seeing improvements in yourself, you just want to keep going. It’s crazy how it changes every aspect of your life, and being surrounded by amazing athletes just makes you want to work that much harder. Every day is a new workout and a new challenge – there is nothing boring or easy about CrossFit. I know I have a long way to go, but it’s exciting to think about where I’ll be a month from now, six months from now, a year from now.

I take the bus to get here, and this is the only thing that can pull me out of my house and get me to wait at a bus stop in the freezing cold or in the rain to get to. I’m not kidding… Now I just need to get three dead hang pull ups, so Rudy will finally teach me how to kip!

Melissa S. 

I started crossfitting at CFC two and a half years ago and with the assistance of the great coaching and incredible community, I immediately began to notice significant strength gains and learned how to do a lot of things (after age 30) that I was never able to even do as a child (handstands, pull-ups, rope climbs), which was extremely rewarding and exciting. About a year and a half ago I joined the Better Than Yesterday program to keep me accountable for my nutrition and help prepare me for my wedding dress and I was able to lean out more (dropped an additional four sizes) and increase my strength in a healthy way. Thanks to CFC and the community, I am stronger, leaner, (a lot) healthier, and happier overall than I used to be!

Dante W. 

First off I would like to thank the coaches, and my fellow New You Challenge mates in helping me get myself back in shape. This past year I have been going through some changes in my life. First I quit smoking after 12 years of the habit, lost some weight, now I wanted to get toned like I used to be. So I signed up for Crossfit Chicago.

When I went to meet Nicole for my first meeting I saw people doing pull ups, lifting heavy weights and other things I don't do then I got "a lot" nervous. But my motto is "don't knock it till you try it." 

My very first class I was extremely nervous because it was real and I was doing some of those things I saw people doing the previous day. But thanks to Dana, Silvia and Rudy I did not feel like I was being judged. They supported me and encouraged me to continue on. 

Now that the six week challenge has ended I look back and see the difference in my body. Never thought I would be able to do 50 push press with 85lbs weights, never thought I would be able to do wall balls with 20lbs. I have done so much more and I can not wait to continue my journey with CrossFit Chicago!!

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