When Did Being “Content” Become the Norm?

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America as a whole, and so many of us, got to where we are because of nothing but HARD work.  Not because of being exceptional at anything in particular, but simply because we wanted something and we went and got it. Whether it was a job, whether it was our “goal body”, or whether it was our high school or college degree.  We were relentless in our pursuit.   It seems that a recent trend has arose though where being content, taking the “easy” route, or avoiding discomfort or grueling work is now common.  We don’t want things to be hard.  We shy away from challenges.  We are afraid to fail.   The problem with this is that if we avoid failure, we avoid our potential.  We avoid the things we truly want.  We avoid happiness and we settle for a false happiness.   So starting today (on a Monday, a new week, a new month), try embracing failure.  We learn in the midst of failure; we learn what our true limits are.  No more of ‘that workout was hard, but I could have gone heavier’, or ‘I don’t want to try that, I don’t think I can do it’.  Stop being so content with ‘sort of hard’ and get excited to start trying new things.   Seek Failure.  Embrace Failure.  Surpass Failure. It’s what makes us human.   -Coach Becca

Meet Your Newest OCF Coach – Zack Jankiewicz

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Dear OCF members,   It’s everyone’s new favorite coach, Zack, also known as New Zack or Zack with a k (just kidding, I can’t compete with all of our incredible coaches yet).  Now felt like the right time to share with everyone a little bit about myself.  I’m just your ordinary middle child, future-puppy-owner, football-fanatic, and fitness-enthusiast.  I grew up here in Chicago right around Harlem and Foster so not to far away from OCF.  Growing up, I played all types of sports from basketball to football to volleyball.  As time went on and as I grew taller to displace my chubbiness, football became my sport.  I started playing at 10 years old and continued to play all the way through my years at St. Patrick High School.  I could have played in college but I ultimately decided not to, which is a choice I still regret at times.  I love football.  Obviously I am a little biased, but in my opinion it’s the best sport.  It builds character inside of you as well as toughness outside.  Your team turns into a brotherhood that goes to battle every Friday or Saturday night.  It’s violent but beautiful.  I’ll stop myself now because I could go on for hours.   Deciding against playing football, led me to attend the University of Iowa.  Go Hawkeyes!  I spent four years there graduating in May of 2016 with a degree in Human Physiology.  It’s a degree that requires you to take all of the science classes and helps prepare students for medical school or another professional program like physical therapy.  I had the time of my life at Iowa, which made me feel better about giving up football.  I made a bunch of friends, learned a lot and grew up a bit, or at least tried to.  The summer between my freshman and sophomore year I found Crossfit with my buddy here in Chicago.  We were doing typical bodybuilding stuff until one day he saw a video about CrossFit and shared it with me.  The next day at the gym, we tried the workout of the day and both died.  From that day, I was hooked.   As my years in college went on I kept doing CrossFit while trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  I went to school thinking I wanted to be an athletic trainer.  That didn’t work out.  I then thought about physical therapy, which led to chiropractic and then I wasn’t sure about either of those.  At this point in college my senior year was approaching. I began to freak out.  I needed a plan.  I did not want to graduate with no idea what to do.  That’s when it hit me.  Something I was passionate about was there all along and I never really noticed.  All the careers I was interested in had to do with helping people get healthy and be active and out of pain.  CrossFit had helped me tremendously so I thought to myself, why not become a coach.  This way I could help people be active and healthy doing something I love.  It was the perfect solution.  So that summer, I graduated, I got my level 1 certification and started applying for jobs.  I got a job shortly there after in North Liberty, Iowa, which is right outside of Iowa City where the University of Iowa is.  So I moved back to Iowa after moving home last summer to coach at my new gym, CrossFit Philia.  I coached there since September of last year until this past July.  I moved back home to Chicago in July because life in Iowa on my own was tough.  I really enjoyed coaching but living on my own became expensive and working two jobs was not enough.  Plus, all my family is here in Chicago or the suburbs so its good to be back close to them.  Luckily enough, I applied for a coaching job here at OCF and Angelo liked me enough to offer me a position.  This brings me to where I am at today.   As a coach, the body intrigues me.  The way it moves, the way it functions, and the way each body differs from somebody else.  What intrigues me even more than all of that is pain or injuries.  What is pain?  Why is this movement painful but this one isn’t?  There are so many questions, but sometimes it feels like there is never an answer.  It’s as if pain is a puzzle.  I have been there myself in terms of pain and it’s frustrating.  It makes you think and get creative with some stuff that may help fight the pain. With that said, attending physical therapy school could be extremely beneficial to me as a coach.  So in a year or two, I may be off to physical therapy school, while hopefully still coaching simultaneously because I am not quite ready to give it up.  Being a football player, I was always strong with my legs so I really enjoy Olympic lifting and moving heavy weight, especially, squatting.  Since those movements are my strengths I learned a lot about them and feel very confident in coaching those movements.  So if any of you are hurting or need advice when it comes to the Olympic lifts or squatting, I would be glad to help!   Coaching is something I am truly passionate about.  The feeling inside when someone you’re coaching hits the weight they have been struggling with for so long, or when someone gets their first strict pull-up or rope climb is indescribable.  The look of joy on their face makes me know I made the right choice of becoming a coach.  I am constantly inspired by so many of you who come in day after day and put the work in to move better and be active.  I hope one day when I’m older (I’m 23 for those that don’t know), I can do what each of you do in the gym and in life.  It truly amazes me.  I have met so many great people here already and I look forward to getting to know everyone here at OCF more!   Whether I am in the gym struggling with gymnastics, or big man-nastics as Rocio calls it, or just hanging out waiting to coach, feel free to say hi and have a chat!   Thanks for reading this unnecessarily long post, Zack

Wednesday 9.27.17

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A.  Two Sets:
Support on Rings x Max Effort
Scap Pullup + Pull to 90 degrees (1+1) x 4-6 reps
Single Leg Wall Squat x Max Effort **Leg Fully extended during hold**
Rest 2 minutes btw sets
**If you cannot PR on Time or Reps, focus on PRing on Technique**
B.  Three Sets:
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 4 minutes
2/1 Wall Walk
4 Kettlebell Deadlift 70/55# per hand
60’ Kettlebell Farmers Carry
8 Air Squats
rest 2 minutes btw sets
**Pick up where you left off**

5 Reasons Why You Should Attend the “All Things CrossFit Seminar” This Month

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Over the last couple years my role in the gym has shifted.  At one time my entire life was about coaching and sharing knowledge with each of you on a day to day basis. As things have developed at OCF  and other business ventures have taken up my time, my day to day involvement in your journeys has been reduced.
Although that may be how things are now, my passion and love for movement has not ceased, and I continue to be a student of CrossFit and movement in general.
Collectively, I see areas where all of us can be better. I want to share that with you and help you improve.
Here are some of the things the September 30th  will enlighten you on-
  1. Warming up Effectively
  2. Breathing during strength and conditioning pieces for better results
  3. Shoulders - Why they may not be working well and what you can do to make that a non issue.
  4. Hips, Knees & Ankles - Finally get the squat position you have been striving for
  5. Develop Body Awareness so you can listen to your body and use that information to be better.
I look forward to digging into these topic and many more during our time together; ultimately, my goal is to make your experience at OCF a great one.
Please sign up at the front desk and let’s start making the progress you deserve.

“The Only True Coach There Is”

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I write this blog from an athlete’s point-of-view.  Everyone has his or her ups and downs in training: Days when they are motivated, times when they are distracted, and many other ups and downs of training.
I have been giving my training a lot of self-reflection lately, and I have realized something:  In order for me to enjoy this ride, the first thing I need to do is be my own coach.  Sure, I have someone that writes my programming, and people around me to push me if I am working out with someone, but it really comes down to the little coach in my head.
My consciousness affects my training more than anyone else, and this aspect is the most liberating part of my training.  I have a solo dance in my head telling; wherein, I tell myself that I can get up at 5 and train and that I’m not tired, or telling myself that I can hit the snooze a few more times.  I’m sure there are many other thoughts, but that is the fresh one in my mind from this morning.
Although coaches are here to guide you and awaken you to your blind spots, at the end of the day your training is a solo dance.
What kind of Coach are you being to yourself?
Love yourself, pump yourself up, say good things to yourself, and you will become another person.
You have the power, we just keep you in your lane.
-Coach Angelo

OCF Member of the Month – August 2017

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August 2017

Tony has been a consistent, solid member since Day 1 of being at O’Hare CrossFit. Tony is always making an effort to help other members in and out of the gym, he never complains about any of the workouts, he just comes in and puts in the work day after day.

Every class, he shows up about 45-60 minutes early to run 1-2 miles so he can improve his endurance. He’s also asked for help to improve his strength and mobility so each day he works on doing accessory work to gain ground in both of these areas and it has all paid off!

His mobility has improved tremendously, and his endurance keeps getting better and better. Tony has also lost 40 pounds and counting by working with Becca and her Lifestyle Nutrition program. He has big goals, but has done an awesome job of taking them one day at a time. His resilience and positivity are what we love to see here at OCF. Keep it up Tony!

Get to know Tony! 1. When did you start CrossFit and why? August 2016 - After being sedentary for 7 years and gaining 70lbs I became desperate to take the weight off. 2. What time of day do you come in? 9am 3. What is one type of movement you hate and one you love? More dislike - burpees and I love jumping rope. 4. Any big goal(s) set for the next year? With Becca’s help lose 40 more lbs 5. Name an athlete that inspires you and why.  (Does not have to be a CrossFitter) Rocco Marchegiano aka Rocky Marciano heavyweight champion of the world, he fought at 185 lbs in an era of no light heavyweight division, meaning each time he defended his title his opponent out-weighed him by 30 to 40 lbs. At best he had average talent, what made him one of the greatest other than his heart, chin and punch (equal to an armor piercing bullet when measured) was his conditioning.

He was by far the most conditioned fighter ever to step into a ring, when training for a fight he would run 12 - 15 miles a day and ran no less than 5 miles 365 days a year. He would train with a 300 lb heavy bag, he also had the same weighted bag in a pool where he would throw punches with water up to his neck, he deprived his body of oxygen by retrieving weights out of the deep end of the pool over and over again, he would spar every day rotating fighters daily, no fighter could keep up with his conditioning regimen.

In the afternoon he would sprint up a hill and down backwards, did endless push ups, chin ups and sit ups to the point where his trainers told him to stop, at night to wind down he would walk 8 miles. All this training made him relentless in the ring throwing 85 to 100 punches a round, more than doubling what an average heavyweight throws. Each punch with the intent to knock his opponent out. His record 49 - 0 with 43 KOs he knocked out 88% of his opponents, 2 records that have endured time and will be very hard to break. Every fight expert agrees on one thing - no fighter came to close to matching his conditioning.

6. Tell us one fun fact about you. My business often takes me to Las Vegas where most of the time I am at the dice table 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? Veal Milanese, linguine bolognese, bragioli, can’t name just one food, a boat to get me off the island so I can find an Italian restaurant! 8. How has CrossFit helped you in sports? Life? My health!! being overweight and out of shape I was absolutely headed for a problem. 9. How have workouts changed for you over the years? My endurance, flexibility and strength all have increased. 10. Rate the following on a scale of 1 to 10:

Check in for Charity – September 2017

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We started Check-In for Charity to help support the many local charitable organizations that are near and dear to our members. We want to be able to give back and get the entire community involved in the process. Our community is the backbone of O'Hare CrossFit and we are here to support you! How It Works Each month we will select a new local charity based on a member recommendation. Members then need to check-in to OCF on Facebook at every visit. We will then donate $1 for every check-in to a different local charity each month. (Donations will be limited to $500 per month) Charity for September 2017 Member - Ayesha Akhtar

Every two minutes, worldwide, 1 woman dies during childbirth, and 98% of those deaths are preventable. To raise awareness of maternal mortality, I run for Every Mother Counts, an organization founded by Christy Turlington Burns dedicated to reducing maternal mortality worldwide. With education, awareness, supplies, and even transportation, we can drastically reduce this public health epidemic. This cause is so close to my heart.

I had two pregnancies, and even though I delivered at one of the best women's hospitals in Chicago, both ended up in complication. Were it not for the access I had to midwives and a great medical team, I may not have been lucky. I will run the Chicago Marathon (again) proudly wearing the EMC jersey! You can support this cause by using the FREE Charity Miles app on your phone and donate your walking or running miles to EMC!

For more information or to recommend a charitable organization, contact Rocio at rocio@oharecrossfit.com.

Just Another Manic Monday

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First, let me offer a brief disclaimer:  I am not a dietician and my advice is purely narrative; however, I think my story will be applicable to many of you.   Until recently, if I was asked to rate my weekly workouts 1-6 in order of success and overall feel good factor, my Monday workout would be a perennial Uno.  The further I would get in the week the better I would feel; wherein, my lifts got stronger, and I moved a bit quicker.  My Monday workout, on the other hand, felt as if I had an Albatross upon my neck that weighed me down (“Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” by Coleridge).  Often, it took me until Wednesday to start to feel like myself again.  This surmountable feeling was directly connected to my diet on Saturday and Sunday.  My reasoning was quite unsound:  I worked hard and dieted all week, so eating and drinking in abundance on the weekend shouldn’t be an issue.  Those of you who know our modus operandi on Saturday mornings are aware that we do a ton of volume.  The workouts are often long and grueling.  Unfortunately, I took this to mean I could eat and drink the equivalent of my efforts in pizza, burritos, Pinot Grigio etc.   Although I would do a light workout on Sunday, I would find myself snacking all day and eating three plus large meals.  I earned it right?  Without getting over scientific, overeating causes inflammation.  Your liver and stomach have to overwork to get your body back to neutral, and you feel it physically (http://dramyneuzil.com/the-11-factors-that-cause-inflammation/).  I would eat to the point of being overly full and go to sleep with a distended stomach from my day’s feasting.  Ultimately, I would show up to work out on Monday with a carbo-laden piano on my back, and my workouts SUCKED! The fix was simple: I stopped eating!  I am only kidding; your goal is to live your life feeling great, and you do deserve some treats here and there.  You can have your cake and eat it too.  What I started to do was plan my debauchery a little better. I didn’t change what I ate in so much as the timing and quantity. For instance, instead of have two cheat days, I scheduled two cheat meals (one savory, one sweet).  I know that I am going to get a good workout on Saturday, so I use my dinner on Friday as my cheat meal.  The rest of my meals on Friday are clean and portioned out.  I try to keep my cheat meal the equivalent to one plate full of whatever I am indulging in (not an exact science).  Further, my next meal isn’t until after my workout on Saturday morning; I am use the extra cheat calories for fuel.  My sweet meal is on Saturday and limited to an acceptable portion, I am look to be satisfied not full.   Again, all the rest of my meals on this day should be controlled.     As for Sunday, try to start your day immediately with a long walk, jog, or some movement.  Diet with your Monday morning workout in mind.  Go nuts on vegetables and keep your portion of mom’s pasta and meatballs to a single bowl in the afternoon.  Do not go to bed feeling like you just took your last bite of food.  My methods may not work for you, but I have ballooned enough to know what doesn’t work, and being a gluttonous, sedentary excuse for a human being is not an appropriate day of rest.  Take back your Mondays!         -Coach Dave


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Each week when I write workouts for classes, I look to create a stimulus appropriate to challenge each of you. I am looking for you to reach each time you exercise.
What mean by reach is the following: What is the just right amount of challenge for ability in a workout prescription? 
I hope to guide you to that exact point where ability and challenge can meet is the optimal place for growth. If you reach too far, you can be defeated resulting in over-training; howver, if you do not reach enough, there no progress. 
Some of the coaches have brought to my attention that the workouts could be a bit too tough, or “What are you thinking?” “Is that a typo?” This results in me explaining my thought process and everyone understanding it a bit more. 
However you define yourself (exerciser, athlete, etc), you are looking to improve in some form; otherwise, you would not be here.
Are you trying to reach? 
Are you accepting a challenge without fear of the result? 
Or are you just hoping that every day will be easy and you can skate by? 
I urge you to start reaching. Reaching because you’re worth it. Reach because the person next to you is reaching in their way. 
The “success” is the fact that you reached, not the result.  
Reach as much as you can, in all you do, without fear.

Time Under Tension

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Crossfit is a victim of its own success: Its existence simultaneously credits and discredits itself as an exercise methodology.  On the forefront of its success is its ability to bring variance, movement efficiency, and a broad scope of knowledge to masses of novice athletes.  Further, it fosters a community of people whose common goal is becoming better versions of themselves.   
CrossFit is absolutely golden to the promise of your health.  Unfortunately, even the most flawless of gems can render an imperfection when mishandled.
The issue with CrossFit is not in the science; rather, it is in the eye of the beholder.  I recently went to the CrossFit games which hosted the top 1% of the athletes in the sport.  It was attended by the other 99%, many of whom cannot distinguish between themselves and the participants.  There is nothing wrong with fantasizing; however, when one starts lying to him or herself, the outcomes are detrimental. 
The CrossFit Games and your CrossFit class may share similar movements, but they do not share the same principles.  Your goal each day in class is NOT to win the workout at all cost.  When the need to win becomes paramount, you will often “miscount” reps and move inefficiently. 
Make your new goal to be to spend maximum time under tension: You want to optimize the amount of time you are doing work.  It is in this time of physical strain that your body will evolve and work harder to adapt.  In this zone of work, you are burning fat and building muscle. 
So, move quickly, precisely, and efficiently in your workouts; wherein, you make each rep your very best.  The idea of shorting reps and movements is counter-intuitive:  You want to work harder and longer in order to look and feel better. 
The person finishing last in the workout and doing every rep perfectly is the real winner!