Deloading: Improving the Longevity of the Athlete

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O’Hare CrossFit and CrossFit Harwood Heights programs both have deloading weeks in them. This time period is essential in a successful training regiment. In my experiences working with athletes of all skill levels, this week has proven to be a reprieve necessary for sustainability, recovery, and prolonged focus. A deload is a short, planned time period of recovery that steps back from the intensity and volume one may have grown accustomed to in the course of the programming. Just as our strength cycles involve us pushing limits of capacity to make gains, this deload period provides a time of systemic recovery. We stress the central nervous system (CNS) for a period of time to allow for adaptation (growth). Without allowing a deload component in your training you risk running yourself down, adrenal fatigue, injury, regression, and no gains How do you Deload? There are many schools of thought on this. I am a believer that every athlete responds a bit different so using all the approaches over a period of time and seeing which results the best is the answer. Yes there is no magic program, trial and error and making adjustments are essential.  Here are a few ways to Deload -
  1. Pull back on Intensity (Percentages)
  2. Pull back on volume (Amount of reps you are doing)
  3. Completely change up all the movements you are doing. This is less common but I have seen this help with the mental side of things as well as physical. Sometimes people just need a change of movement to get back in the groove.
Who has to Deload? Anyone that doesn’t want to burn out, train for a long period of time, or get injured.  What is the athlete’s responsibility during this week? You need to respect and understand it and not over do it, to enjoy feeling like you have more in the tank. Sweating a lot, being sore, or going to failure does not always mean that the session was beneficial. Play the long game when approaching your training. Realize that our programs have a purpose. Trust it, and you will see everything come to together exactly as it is supposed to. #CreateExcellence Angelo Sisco

This Week at OCF 4/11 – 4/17

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Thank you for friends and family week!

On behalf of all of us at OCF we wanted to say thank you to everyone that participated in friends and family week. It means so much to us that you would share OCF with those close to you. It is the highest compliment you could give us. We appreciate you all very much!


Don't miss the first episode of Behind the Whiteboard!

Tonight Show meets OCF! - Starting this month we will doing a show called at the White Board that involves 3 members, telling their stories, and having some laughs!

Tune in Live April 14th at 9pm.

O’Hare CrossFit Facebook live


O’Hare CrossFit Athletes YouTube

O’Hare CrossFit has been putting updating our Youtube Channel !

What you will find on here -

  1. Nutrition Videos

  2. Workout Tips

  3. Videos of Classes

  4. Other Fun Ideas we are working on :)


Hoodie Order Goes out 4.22.16

This is your last chance to pre order our latest hoodie design! This will be available to only those who pre order!

Price for Hoodies - $40 Email_Rocio

Upcoming Coach's Blog

Coach Zach’s Blog- Put your Best Foot Forward Coming Friday!

Here is a taste of what’s to come -

If you’re from the Midwest, with little to no options of running out doors in the winter, some running cues and corrections may have been forgotten over the winter months. This can cause cramps, aches, and pains that are unnecessary and unwanted.

Supplements – What do you really need?

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So many supplements are out there. We see them all the time, everywhere you look. A picture of the perfect bodied spokesperson with a bottle of product X in his or her hand implies that the product is beneficial to your fitness and physique in some fashion. The average consumer purchases supplements blindly without considering his or her goal and overall benefits of the dietary additives. Supplementation for someone who regularly exercises (3-6 times a week): If you are looking for supplements, make sure you realize what the word means. To supplement means to use ancillary sources of fulfilling nutritional gaps. The goal of the supplement is to improve training and overall bodily function. Pre workout -
    • These supplements help energize, delay fatigue, and improve an athletes performance
    • Use these directed and try not to go overboard on them. If you are sensitive to caffeine or other elements of the compound, do not use these.
    • You do not want to become dependent on anything to perform; therefore you do not want to take this before every workout. Another issue is that they are addicting; they are stimulants. If you take it all the time you will eventually need more to get the desired effect.
    • Here are some things to consider when picking out one – How do my receptors control caffeine? If caffeine gives you the jitters, you may need to look into a stimulant free one. If you train later in the evening and the caffeine will keep you up late, that may also be a reason why. A pre-workout with more BCAA’s will help you with fatigue. Also, depending on your dietary needs and intensity of the workouts, you may want to consider one with carbohydrates added to it.
Post Workout -
    • I think for most athletes this supplementation needs to be a staple. The 30 minute window from when you train is essential for recovery.  I would suggest a mixture of Protein and Carbs. The amount of each depends on your goals, sex, bodyweight, and type of session. Here are some rough guidelines to help you with this. Please see graphic below for baselines
Clearly identified Goals -
    • I go back to this all the time. Please take some time and find out exactly what you want. That can change in the future of course, but without identifying your goals clearly there is no way for progress to be measured.
Supplements are great to enhance performance, once the basic measures have been taken. Don’t skip the un-sexy steps. They are necessary for a good foundation; however, you must have a strong control over the other aspects of your life as supplements will not account for sleep, stress, diet, and lifestyle choices. Supplements add on to the improvements you are making they do not create them. #CreateExcellence Angelo Sisco

Do not let the open being done slow you down

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Over the course of the last 5 weeks, I have seen an incredible amount of passion, motivation, and work being put in by OCF & CFHH athletes. It is incredible how powerful the open truly is. Some may look at it as a stepping stone for getting to the CrossFit  regionals or even the games; contrarily, others look at it as a five week period wherein you pushed yourself beyond your limits. Now the open is done and we have another year until it will be here again. There is one thought I want to leave you with from now until next year: Give the same amount of effort you gave on Friday nights towards your daily fitness and priorities. Do not lose this motivation and passion. It is truly what life is all about. Find a way to keep it going inside of you. We are all capable of things beyond our comprehension, the open proved that to many of you. Focus on your personal growth during the next year; take each pitfall of the open as a sign of things to work on. Let the 2016 CrossFit Open start a fire inside of you that does not burn out. Do not go back to bad habits, lose motivation and focus just because it is over. Use this experience to carry you through the doubts and stresses of everyday life to know you have the capabilities and toughness to endure anything. I love you all. #Create Excellence Angelo Sisco

The obvious, secret ingredient to getting good at CrossFit revealed!

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If I had a nickel for every time I was asked how to get better at something pertaining to CrossFit, I would no longer own OCF, because I would be on an island somewhere. Once given the answer to really what it takes to get your first pull-up, muscle-up, handstand pushup, or how to improve your barbell cycling, many athletes get blindsided by the harsh fact that progress takes work. It takes countless hours of perfect, deliberate, well organized practice. This seemingly obvious information throws many athletes into a quandary. One must make a conscious decision to make changes in his or her life and allow for variety and nurturing pain within it. Here is the true secret to getting better at CrossFit, and it has nothing to do with your body. Fall in love with the process; learn to love the hardness of a situation. Do not let pain or impatience derail you. Making small decisions regarding your health and wellness will matriculate to all aspects of your life.  Your process is going to be unique to you, so do not fall victim to determining your self-worth by comparison to others. Your adversity is your own; take pride in your small conquests. Further, find a mindset that allows you to enjoy the grind, see benefits in the bad days, and humbly embrace the good ones. Take time to assess how exercise fills a void in aspects of your life. The interesting part about this game is that you are truly competing against yourself and it never ends. Tomorrow brings a new challenge that you will need to acclimate to; be determined! While this secret is probably no secret at all, I contend it is one of the most overlooked components of training. This is a thoughtful, methodic process that demands functionality out of the body and the mind. #CreateExcellence Angelo Sisco

This Week at OCF 4/4 – 4/10

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Friends & Family Week Starts today!

Want to show your friends and/ or family what the OCF experience is all about? Bring them to class with you! All classes all Week April 4th to April 9th. Click on the link below to tag someone who needs to be at OCF this week! Call-to-Action-Button-Share-FB
Running Club is back!

Spring is here and it’s time to get your running endurance and form on point! Coach Mike Olsen is back again to lead this group!

Cost - $100.00

Start Week - April 6th End Week - June 12th

Days & Times

  • Wednesday - 7:30pm
  • Sunday - 9:30am

Where - Grant Park 44 W. Golfview Dr, Northlake, IL 60164

We are limited to this to 10 people. Please reserve your spot today. Call-to-Action-Button-Reserve

O’Hare CrossFit Athletes YouTube

O’Hare CrossFit has been putting updating our Youtube Channel !

What you will find on here -

  1. Nutrition Videos

  2. Workout Tips

  3. Videos of Classes

  4. Other Fun Ideas we are working on :)

Call-to-Action-Button-Subscribe

OCF Member of the Month – March 2016

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Joe Marisco

March 2016

Joe started CrossFit at the beginning of last fall and is one of the most driven individuals we’ve had the pleasure of working with.  When he walked in for the first time, it was like a switch had gone off in his head that day and he was determined to work as hard as he needed to until he got to his goals. His determination has rarely wavered since then and he continues to stay consistent with classes, as well as push himself through new challenges.  He recently worked with Becca on nutrition and saw great results with hard work and dedication to the meal plan.  He also took it upon himself to improve his mobility by signing up for ROMWOD and doing it every day he is able.  It has paid off tremendously with his movement and range of motion; for example, when he started at OCF, getting into a full-depth squat wasn’t possible for him, and now he’s hitting parallel consistently with weight in workouts!  Lastly, he even signed up for his very first CrossFit Open; this has lit a new fire within him to work towards being able to do the Open Rx one year! We love his “no messing around” attitude when he’s in the gym and his drive to constantly better himself.  You’re going to do great things for yourself Joe, keep up the hard work!
Joe M_March_MOM
Get to know Joe! 1. When did you start CrossFit and why? I started crossfit on Sept 28th of 2015. I had the summer off after selling the restaurant I owned with my sisters in June. I mulled over going into Ocf all summer long. I had gained a lot of weight and wasn't feeling very good about life in general. Finally late September I got in my car and drove over to OCF. I sat in my car about 5 mins thinking should I go in or leave? All of a sudden my phone went off with an email. The email said "Ready for new workouts?" I took that as a sign and got my butt in the door. It's a choice I'm happy to have made. The time was 11am I just checked my email. That one will be in my inbox forever, changed my life. 2. What time of day do you come in? Usually 9 am, but more recently I’ve been doing more of the 6:30 am classes. 3. What is one type of movement you hate and one you love? Love - Bench Press and Squat.  Both lifts will always bring me back to where I started. Hate - Toes to Bar, I don’t think my toes will see the bar in the near future. 4. Any big goal(s) set for next year? My goals for the next year are to continue to eat healthy and stay on my mission to get into the best shape I can. My main goal is to be able to do the Rx version of the Open. 5. Name an athlete that inspires you and why.  (Does not have to be a CrossFitter) The athlete that inspires me the most is Charles Barkley. I really like his attitude and share most of his views. The guy should be a comedian. 6. Tell us one fun fact about you. I owned a consistently voted Top 10 hot dog place in the city of Chicago by the major news papers. "Hot Diggity Dogs". 7. You were left on a deserted island.  What one food and thing (i.e. book, music player, etc...) would you want to be left with you? The food I would have on the island would be my grandmothers Risotto. It was flame. I'd also have to have a tv because football is my favorite thing to watch. 8. How has CrossFit helped you in sports? Life? Crossfit has changed my life in a positive way. 8 years ago I had a compound tib fib fracture with an external fixator drilled into my leg. This is the first year my ankle has felt right over the winter. I think it has to do with my workouts. 9. How have workouts changed for you over the years? I think my workouts have changed just like my maturity level over the years. I'm still goofy but it's about being in shape now. In my 20s it was all about how much I could bench or curl. I can care less about all that now. 10. Rate the following on a scale of 1 to 10: MOM_March_2016

Check in for Charity – April 2016

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Member - Toni Andruzzi JOURNEYS is a collaborative effort between the HOPE Center and PADS shelter sites focusing on intervention and prevention for those in need. The clinical staff at the HOPE Center provide a wide array of psychological services, including mental health counseling, vocational rehabilitation, and housing assistance, all geared to helping our constituents achieve independence. Along the way, 18 faith-based emergency shelter sites provide dinners and a safe, warm place to sleep from October through April. The face of homelessness has changed. Financial instability now affects a wider segment of our population, extending into the middle class and even beyond. Our goal is to not only serve the needs of these people, but the community as a whole as our efforts provide services for free, and in turn, offset costs typically absorbed by hospitals, municipalities, and legal systems Their website info http://www.journeystheroadhome.org/ This is a particularly close charity to my heart.  The reason it is so important to me is that at the young age of 18 and a new mother I found myself in a particularly vulnerable situation of fleeing a dangerous situation with limited resources at my disposal. I found myself at the doorstep of  this organization which helped me with some services. After getting things stable for myself  I have made it a continued mission to give back in many ways through financial support, donating of my time and fundraising events.

Winning the Warm up

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My friend Paul Buono and I often joke about how hard he warms up. His assertion is that if he warmed-up hard, he already won the workout. Winning the warm-up entails putting your body in position to meet the demands of the task at hand. I spent a great deal of time observing how athletes manage their gym time. Considering each individual athlete, I examine how they maximize their time with mobility as well as how they address their weak positions. The initial time in the gym must be used wisely; consequently, this means gravitating towards the uncomfortable positions and stretches that we know we are deficient in. Further, one must ignite the heart rate and central nervous system to prepare the body for the upcoming workload. Time management strategies –
  1. Look at the board and see what the workout is on your way to the warm up area. Know what you’re going to be asked to do, so you can prepare your body to be ready for it. I know the class does mobility and a warm-up; however, you will most certainly require more, as we all do. Everyone is different, moves different, and has different backgrounds. Plan accordingly
  2. 2-3 minutes of light breathing work. Airdyne, Row, Jog, Jump Rope, even some crawling will get the job done.
  3. 3-5 minutes of some general mobility. Common areas T-spine, Hips, Ankles. And here is exactly what you can do to hit those areas.
T-spine Rotation x 5-10/side Penguin Stretch x 20-30s/side Runners lunge x 20-30s/side **chest as close to the floor as possible** Ankle Taps against wall x 10/direction/leg *straight on, knee out, knee in, heel stays down the whole time**
  1. 3-5 minutes of specific mobility. Pick one major problem area of yours and look to make an improvement on it. Here are some common issues I’ve seen and what to do about it.
Forward Posture - Crab Holds or Doorway Pec Stretch Overhead Postion - Relaxed Bar Hang or Roll out Lats SI or Low back issues - Banded Leg Across body stretch Hip Flexor - Couch Stretch Hamstrings - Banded Supine Straight leg Raise or Active Straight Leg Raise
  1. 3-5 minutes of activation work. Most athletes need either shoulder or glute activation in EVERY workout in my opinion.
Glutes - Banded Monster Walk x 10 step square Shoulders - Internal & External theraband x 15/side/movement There you have it. 15 minutes to put yourself in the best position to succeed before class. Be on the look out for a post workout cool down piece as well. “Win the warm-up,” and see the improvement!   #CreateExcellence Angelo Sisco

A Closing letter to all Open Participants

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To Whom It May Concern: If you are reading this and have completed your CrossFit Open journey then you have set yourself apart from others. You have conquered many obstacles in the past five weeks and gained a greater strength than any medal or podium could instill. For most of you (including me), our CrossFit season is over; and that is just fine. We may be a little battered and sore, but there is something about the journey that is so invigorating. Congratulations if you were one of the gifted athletes that qualified for Regional competition. Regarding the general populous, I hope this Open made you more conscientious and observant of your capabilities and highlighted areas of improvement. The difficulty of the Open allows for specific feedback on your individual needs; therefore, please take some time to reflect on your performance. This meditation is vital to appreciating and learning from the experience. Consider the following concepts amidst your reflection: 1. I made it! I ventured into the unknown and took on a task that I was not sure I was prepared for and gave it my all. I entered an arena of emotional and physical torment that required unmitigated bravery. 2. I allowed myself to be vulnerable in front of my peers and the entire world. Most people do not know how to tap into these all encompassing gears, and that is what holds them back in both their fitness and daily lives. Take this small, personal victory and apply it to the seemingly arduous tasks at work or at home. 3. You know what to work on for the year; therefore, you can use the movements, rep schemes, and loads that you had trouble with to make yourself better. Attack your weaknesses because you know you have the courage to overcome anything. 4. You now know how to hold yourself accountable for movement standards. In classes, many of us (including myself at times) get away with not fulfilling every CrossFit movement standard. If this is your issue and you were “no rep’d” on a few movements, look to enhance the quality of your movement all year round. 5. I do not care what gym or “box” you are from; you have my admiration for participating. We are a part of a special group that earned honor and respect from persevering. Congratulations again, on being the person in the arena who did not sit on the sidelines. You got in the game and bled and sweated for everything you achieved. Onward, Angelo Sisco