Nutritional Challenge Details

By: 0

This is a 30-day challenge that will help provide members with information to determine how much food they should be eating, the types of foods they should be eating, and how to track these things.  The challenge will be 30 days of no alcohol, no sugar, and limited dairy.  The diet will consist of whole, nutritious, unprocessed foods to help members feel better and perform better in the gym.

The challenge provides a motivating environment to help keep members accountable to themselves, as well as to Coach Becca who is running the challenge.  We will have a check-in at the beginning of the challenge to measure weight, inches, and “before” pictures for members to be able to compare to and see progress from.  We will also have a “benchmark” workout to help see how performance improves due to diet changes.

Lastly, the challenge will be scored using a points system based off of exercise frequency, adherence to the diet and rules of no alcohol/sugar, and improvement of body composition and benchmark workout (on a relative scale).  There will be prizes for top 2 performances in the challenge!

Contact with any questions!

OCF Member of the Month – January 2016

By: 0

Bernardo Guillen

January 2016

Bernardo may be an unfamiliar face to the night-time OCF goers, but not to the coaches at O'Hare CrossFit. He is an early riser that makes a consistent appearance at the 5:15 am classes. Bernardo also has some very specific goals that he has been taking additional steps and putting in additional effort to work towards. He plans to compete in the open this year, and has taken part in the Open Prep Course at OCF whenever he is able to attend the classes. When he cannot attend the classes - he contacts the coaches to get the programming and works to complete it on his own time. He also is training for a marathon and works with Coach Angelo on a supplemental running program he completes on his own. We are constantly impressed with his dedication to bettering himself both in and out of the gym. It takes a lot of dedication to get into the gym multiple times a week (especially at the crack of dawn!!), but it takes an extra-special dedication to work towards goals on your own, when no one is watching, and when no one is keeping count. Keep it up Bernardo - your hard work and dedication are never unnoticed, and they will pay off in the end!
MOM_January_2016 Get to know Bernardo! 1. When did you start CrossFit and why? I started CrossFit November of 2014. Why did I start hmmmm…….. I first heard of CrossFit in 2008 when I was in Afghanistan. I did maybe a handful of workouts that manly involved Pullups, Sandbags, Burpees and a heavy ass Rucksack. I saw it as another way to work out different from the 300 workout I was doing at the time. I liked it a lot. Fast-forward to 2014, I hit a point where I was bored of Gyms, Running, Biking, Bootcamps, MMA.  I missed and needed that hard high impact workout like when I was overseas. One day a buddy of mine told me about OCF and I should try. It passed through my mind for several months and then I dropped in and found what I was missing CrossFit. 2. What time of day do you come in? 5:15AM A.K.A.  Breakfast club, dawn patrol - whatever.……… coming in at that time to work out , I think gives us the right to call the 5:15AM group  anything and change it whenever. 3. What is one type of movement you hate and one you love? It’s a tie from Snatch or OH Squat. I like cardio so I would have to give it to burpees. 4. Any big goal(s) set for 2015? Next year is a ways away.  But I can say I have already started. I want to run the 2017 Boston Marathon. So with Angelo's help and different training regimen from what I have ran marathons before, I will have to qualify for Boston this year. My goal is to  run a qualifying marathon this year,  between 2:55-3:00 for 26.2 miles. 5. Name an athlete that inspires you and why.  (Does not have to be a CrossFitter) Gosh that a tough one. To be honest I have to say Angelo. Last year I had a shoulder injury and was limited to CrossFit and in October 2015 I got back to hitting the gym hard again. I felt good and stronger week by week. I was also thinking of the Boston marathon. It crossed my mind but I was not stuck on it yet, knowing it would be a huge commitment. So one day I sat down with Angelo and talked over my goals and his.  At that moment he inspired me to go at Boston and train for it. In the last 15 or so years I have stopped looking up to TV athletes; to me a real athlete is someone who I see often not only in the OCF but in or sports which learn and better myself as a person. OCF has a lot. 6. Tell us one fun fact about you. I have passion to cook. Cooking is like a science to me, I can whip anything up from nothing if need be. Also I'm hell of griller. 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? Buffalo wings and swimming goggles. I like to swim! 8. How has CrossFit helped you in sports? Life? A lot it's almost like my Zen. I wish I could come 4-5 days a week but 2-3 will do for now. After joining CrossFit I have changed my way of eating. Thanks to Becca I am eating breakfast every day, prior to OCF I would never eat breakfast. Last year I finished my first 70.3 Ironman, Mike Olsen helped me a lot on that by adjusting my running form, and Becca on the Nutrition side.  After Boston I will take on 140.6 Ironman.  CrossFit has helped me in life by breaking barriers and building on my weakness. 9. How have workouts changed for you over the years? Better, I have learned to take time in the workout and try to make very rep count versus speed - quality over quantity. 10. Rate the following on a scale of 1 to 10: MOM_January_2016_Scores

The Missing Ingredient to your Training and Possibly your Life

By: 0

I’ve seen it a thousand times, an athlete take on a workout that supposed to last 12 minutes and they do the first 2 minutes all out and blow themselves out, or they allow their form to break so bad watching them move is almost painful. What causes this? After the workout is done we realize it didn’t go well, but how can we help it next time? Self awareness may be the most underestimated athletic trait of all.

Self awareness is your ability to almost have an out of body experience. It allows you to self-correct and determine error in the course of the movement.  Further, self awareness, in the heat of emotion, has been one of my biggest struggles. Once I realized I was lacking in this department, I have spent countless hours being focused and honing it.

Here are some ways I have gotten better at this. Keep in mind, I am work in progress like everyone; I am by no means saying I have this down.

  1. Be Present - When you’re doing something, interacting, or training be right there in that moment. Don’t let you mind drift, and for some of you this means putting down your phone once in a while. 
  2. Take that bird’s eye view of yourself and really try to tap into it. How are you moving? How are you being perceived?
  3. Just being more aware of “self awareness” – be cognizant of the fact that you must be self-assessing, and that you will always need to correct elements of movement.

To be “self-aware” may be an emotional intelligence that you are missing in your life. Take a look at yourself, not just others and most of the time the solution or key to success starts with you.

- Coach Angelo Sisco

Six-week Pull Up Training Cycle

By: 0

Stop, drop, and get down to get your pull up: Six-week Pull Up Training cycle (by Rupert Egan)

If you have set the goal of achieving a full range pull up, or even if you just want to improve your upper body strength and positions for dynamic work in CF, this supplemental program could be very useful. The goal is to be able to progressively develop your upper body pulling strength by building strict strength and positional control for application to the various types of pull up techniques utilized in crossfit. If you are unable to complete the exercises that comprise one of the training weeks, simply repeat the previous week's program until you are able to move onto the next progression. In this way, the program also contains an autoregulation component where the feedback is built into the program. Initial Assessments: A1- 15 second tight body passive hang in a slight hollow position A2- 10 second flexed arm hang (chin up grip on bars or neutral grip on the rings) A3- 3x Active and passive hang for Scapular control and active ROM An optional day 3 can be added each week where the athlete performs pull ups in the Ring Thing and progressively adds weight, either by a weight vest or by hold a DB between their legs. Week 1- Day 1: Shoulder prehab work A. Tempo Active and passive hang - 4x 3 (3 second hold each position) B. Neutral grip (Rings) flexed arm hang - 4x 10-15sec. hold + 3 sec. eccentric C. Stable surface tempo push ups - 4x 1-5 w/ 2-5 sec. pause @ the bottom (full ROM, can perform elevated if needed to achieve full range)      D. Hip extension (GHD) - 4x 6-10 Day 2: Wrist mobility flow A. Elevated Ring Rows - 4x 5-10 (or 4x Max) B. Tight body hang - 4x 10-25 seconds C. Seated DB press - 4x 5 (note weight) D. Push up plus plank - 4x 30 seconds

U2 Can Compete Launch

By: 0

Friday February 5th U2 Can Compete, a mobile application that links affiliates in competitions to promote growth amongst general class members is doing a testing of its app at OCF at 8pm. We had volunteers reach to us to participate. We could not be more excited to participate in a testing of this application. U2 Can Compete’s mission is to bring CrossFit communities together with the spirit of competition, gym pride, and recognition for the athletes that work hard day in and day out, not just the Games athletes. Please come by to support your fellow OCF members who will be competing against CrossFit Harwood Heights, as well as see how this application works.


CrossFit Class Programming

By: 0

CrossFit class programming is quite a juggling act believe or not. I sometimes have a much easier time programming for individuals than for the classes. It is a mixture of combining the athlete’s goals and safety with as much elegance as possible. Also, there comes the delivering, understanding, and obtaining the proper stimulus for each workout. Let’s first look at the topic of programming for the athlete’s goals. We have different walks of life entering OCF’s classes, and the most common would be to lose weight. The second would be to gain strength. The third most common but definitely something to consider is athletes (weekend warriors) that truly want to get better in the sport of CrossFit. I imagine programming is much like a parent trying to figure out what to make for dinner having three kids with all different taste buds. I spend many hours in consideration of everyone’s goals and work best to make all of them come through. The next issue I face as a programmer is safety. Let’s face it; most of our athletes do not have the time to put into doing the little things that allow for proper recovery. Pre and post workout rehab work includes stretching, proper nutrition, and stress, sleep and lifestyle management. It’s honestly a lot of demand and I understand why everyone can’t keep this up. That being said, it’s my job to keep everyone safe with our programming regardless of how they rehab outside of the gym. This can be done through days when you are forced to “slow” down. We live in a society where more and harder is “better.” In training there are times when this is done, but there must be times where we balance this out. Imagine walking a tight rope. Once you lean to the right, the act of counter balancing would be to lean or shift some weight to the left. It is the same with training. Those days when you leave OCF feeling like you didn’t get a “good” workout in, try to appreciate that we are your guardian angels of fitness. We watch out for you and work incredibly hard for you to achieve your goals. Longevity of fitness/wellness and safety is a paramount goal in our membership and we protect our athletes, sometimes from themselves, to achieve it. I am sure many of us have heard, read, or seen athletes get hurt in CrossFit. I am not looking to hide that this happens, but my goal is to take as many preventive measures as possible to reduce this happening at our facilities. The last hurdle we have to overcome is communication and acquiring the proper stimulus. This comes from delivering the point or focus of the workout correctly, trust between the coach and athlete, and lastly the athlete working to their full capacity to obtain the proper stimulus. Every workout is written with a purpose at OCF. I can guarantee you that we are not drawing straws when it comes to putting a workout into our programming. Once the workout is in place, the coaching staff’s job is to convey that message. Once a good relationship is developed between coach and athlete, an athlete should feel good trusting that this is what’s best for them, and if there is misunderstanding in the message they can openly communicate with the coach to ensure the proper stimulus (feeling) is obtained. It is then the athlete’s job to perform the workout accordingly with their best effort possible that day. Things to consider to help with your fitness journey: 1. Identify clear goals. These may adjust over time once one is obtained, but try not to switch so frequently or you won’t accomplish any. 2. Look to have an open line of communication with your coach to establish a good relationship. 3. Discuss individualized programming with Becca or I. If you have very specific goals, they may require a different map than the one everyone else is on. This may be done with supplemental days or an entirely different program. 4. Turn your mind off and be the best athlete you can be at each class you attend. Get in there, get your assignment and deliver to your best effort. I promise the more you do this, the more everything else will fall in place. I want everyone to know that at OCF we are on a mission to deliver a world class experience every class, every workout, every day. Our goal is to deliver an unparalleled experience and help our members achieve their goals, whatever they may be. -Coach Angelo

Progressing from the Fitness to Performance Group

By: 0

Each person that begins CrossFit at either O'Hare CrossFit or CrossFit Harwood Heights will begin their journey in what we call the "Fitness Group". The Fitness Group is meant to develop the foundation of an athlete. They will learn balance, mobility and stability, as well as the basics of movements such as the deadlift, press, and squat. Getting these movements correct is the most important part of being an athlete. If one builds bad habits with these movements, there will be deficiencies with other skilled movements. On the other hand the Performance Group is where we now build on that foundation and add layers to an athlete's fitness level. There is much more asked of an athlete in the Performance Group such as working skilled gymnastics movements and much more Olympic weightlifting is implemented into the programming. CrossFit training allows people of all levels to get a great workout and see amazing results. Over time an athlete will progress and get better with consistent training. Athletes in the Fitness Group will notice that they are improving and question whether or not they are ready to move from Fitness to Performance. At this point a coach will ensure that an athlete is ready. This must be a mutual agreement. The athlete must be ready to move up, and the coach must make sure the athlete can meet certain movement requirements. A great tool that OCF has utilized is the FMS (Functional Movement Screening). This FMS is a ranking and grading system that documents movement patterns that are key to normal function. By screening these patterns, the FMS readily identifies functional limitations and asymmetries. These are issues that can reduce the effects of functional training and physical conditioning and distort body awareness. As coaches we require an athlete to score a 14 or higher with no 1's. This ensures us that the athlete can meet the proper movement requirements and the demand of the higher skilled movements in the Performance Group. CFHH will be utilizing the FMS for all athletes within the next few months. As coaches we always want to see our athletes grow and progress over time. Each athlete's progression will differ depending on their consistency and athletic background. I have seen athletes move from Fitness to Performance in 3 months, and other athletes it has taken a year and a half. This does not make one athlete better than the other, it just means one athlete was able to progress faster than the other. I have also worked with athletes that have no desire to move from the Fitness to Performance Group. One thing that must be understood is that in the Performance Group the risk of injury increases because of the skilled movements that are involved. Many people have the misconception that it is required for an athlete to move up in to Performance Group over time. As an athlete one must prioritize their goals and what they want to achieve. If snatching and kipping pull-ups is not in line with your goals, that is something we as coaches will support. We always want our athletes to grow and progress, but more importantly we want each athlete to be safe and have fun with their training. As Pat Sherwood once said "the goal is to get fit, make it the best hour of your day, stay safe, turn up the music, high five some people, and blow off some steam. So remember that. Relax. Have fun. Workout." - Coach Nick

Top 5 Pre-Workout Mobility Stretches

By: 0

When it comes to CrossFit, or working out in general, there is one thing we all need and most of us lack- mobility. In a perfect world we would ask members to get to OCF with enough time to work on the problems areas, however we understand that not everyone can do that. As a coach I often times see people running into class five minutes early and just stand there because they have no idea on what stretches they should be doing. The problem areas are all different for everyone, however there are a few things we can all work on and benefit from. I have put together the top five stretches everyone should be doing, especially those of us who have just about seven minutes before class.


01 Mobility - AnklesWhy: When we think about mobility we often think about our shoulders, t-spine or hips, but what most people ignore is one of the most important joints - the ankle. The base of any movement that involves your feet having contact with the ground. How: Start by taking your shoes off and placing your toes three to four inches away from the wall, then drive your knee into the wall. If that’s comfortable move the toes back until you feel that stretch on that ankle, drive your knee to the outside and inside of your toe as well. Repeat on the other leg. Time: 60 seconds per ankle


02 Mobility - HamstringsWhy: Having flexible hamstrings can help prevent injuries as well as pain in other areas of the body, like your lower back. Having tight hamstrings reduces the mobility of the pelvis, creating strain and pressure on your lower back. Having flexible hamstrings can also help improve your physical performance over-all. How: Start by laying down with your hip next to a pole or a door way (anything that you can eventually rest your foot on with your leg extended) Keeping the other foot on the ground with the toe pointing up, pull your other leg so that it can rest against the pole. If its uncomfortable, slide your hips back 2-3 inches then try again. Repeat with the other leg. Time: 60 seconds per leg  

T-Spine “Upper back”

03 Mobility - T-SpineWhy: T-spine, otherwise known as the thoracic spine, can be the cause of a lot of pain due to a lack of mobility. One of the benefits of mobilizing the t-spine is that It will free the lumbar spine, providing stability to the core and preventing lower back pain. Working on your t-spine will also lead to healthier shoulders and pain-free overhead movements. How: Start by laying with your arms crossed on a roller with the roller just under the shoulder blades on your back, making sure your hips are in contact with the ground. Let your upper back curve to the form of the roller by relaxing and “melting over it”. Be sure to move up and down the upper back. Time: 45 seconds of rolling


04 Mobility - HipsWhy: We as humans spend most of our day sitting, whether at work or in a car. Sitting contributes to tight muscles around the hip area. Doing stretches, like the pigeon stretch, can help release the tension that is built up from sitting. Hip mobility can lead to improved range of motion with every movement, and over-all athletic performance. How: Starting from a table top position, bring out one of your legs parallel to your hips. Think of forming an “L” with your front leg. This should create a 90-degree angle between your shin and your thigh. Reach back with your back leg as straight as possible. Keep your chest up, tall, and proud. Repeat with the other side. Time: 45 seconds per leg


05 Mobility - PecsWhy: Like stated previously, most people spend most of their day sitting down with a hunched over back. This can cause tightness of the pectorals, which can lead to internal rotation of the shoulders (hunched over look). This can cause a lot of pain and poor range of motion when doing anything overhead. How: Lay chest down on the ground with your arms in a “ T ” position. Rotate onto one of your shoulders so that it’s pushing into the ground with that same arm extended outward. Continue to roll over that side and use your other hand to press up as if you were doing a push up, in order to feel the stretch better. Time: 30 seconds per side In just about seven minutes, we can get good stretches that will help our over all performance as well as prevent injuries. These are not the only ones that can be done to help with mobility issues, but I believe these are the ones that give you the most bang your buck. I am by no means encouraging members to get here five minutes before class but on days when we get caught by that train or stuck in traffic on the way to the gym, these stretches can be done quickly and efficiently a few minutes before class. - Coach Luis

The Eye of the Hurricane

By: 0

By Coach Angelo As some of you may know I have been on quite a reading kick this year. This has helped tremendously in all facets of my life. I’ve focused much of learning on leadership, coaching, business, and personal development. One book that I came across and thoroughly enjoyed was The Mindful Athlete by George Mumford. George Mumford is a leader in the “mindfulness” practice and has worked with many high level athletes and coaches including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Phil Jackson. This concept of being “mindful” or being in the “zone” has appealed to me for quite sometime. I’m sure many of us have had instances when were in the “zone” but wasn’t sure what to call it. That poised state where everything is going by slow and controlled in your mind exactly how you pictured it, while the world is going a million miles an hour. It’s truly a euphoric feeling where I hope to spend many more hours of my life. But how do we get to this Zen state? Why would we want to? Let’s start with the definition Mindfulness –

A mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

Being in the present allows us to focus on exactly what’s in front of us. Not being concerned with your past, or the future. The task at hand. This is a very powerful concept if you think about it. Not just in CrossFit. How many times do you find yourself in a situation where your mind is elsewhere? Adding to that how well do you think you are performing that task if your mind isn’t in the present? Most likely not to your true potential. Why would you want to be mindful?

1. Higher Performance- In any task CrossFit and not CrossFit related 2. To be at peace with whatever life throws at you. Embracing “Good” and “Bad” with the same posture allows you to be more centered in every task 3. Enhances concentration on the task at hand 4. You learn more about yourself and how you react and not react to situations. You go deep. That is scary sometimes but necessary for growth.

Steps to Becoming More Mindful

1. Focusing on the present situation. Looking at it like its neither good or bad. Whatever is in front you, you adjust accordingly with no emotion towards it. 2. Breathing – Deep controlled breathes to help your body relax. Put you in the present and get rid of any feelings towards a matter. 3. Continuing to stay in focus of the present and not allowing things to take you off focus. 4. Trust that this takes time to develop. Embrace it and get a little better everyday.

The center space between stimulus and response is like the eye of the hurricane. The regular practice of mindfulness brings you back to this center space. The eye of the hurricane is calm, while everything around is in chaos. Look to find and live in that space. If you want to learn more about The Mindful Athlete and what Michael Jordan knew about success, check out this video:

Your Body Talks…Listen!

By: 0

By Coach Becca

In CrossFit – more is always better, right?  More weight, more reps, more days of training!  I mean, that’s what all the best CrossFitters and people with rockin’ bods out there seem to be doing: double days, long and torturous workouts, heavy weights, etc...

I will admit – this is absolutely how I used to think when I first started CrossFit – the more I did, the faster I’ll improve.  Gosh it couldn’t have been further from the truth. 

Here is the thing – you may think you’re different or that you NEED to work-out that much to help you reach the goals you have (weight loss, muscle gain, improving with a certain skill).  The truth is – your almost every day workouts or constant desire to push past what your body is telling you might be doing more harm than good.   

There are some things a lot of people don’t know about muscle development:

1. Muscles literally cannot grow/develop strength/get further definition without proper rest. 

2. It is during sleep where growth hormone (GH) levels are highest.

3. If proper recovery time (rest) is not given, the body cannot regenerate.

4. Proper rest time, nutrition, sleep, stress management, and recovery methods (stretching, body maintenance, etc.) all play a very important role with how well your training produces results.

When we train hard, which I know you all do, we are conditioning our body – which helps our bodies to:

-Improve efficiency of the heart

-Increase capillary size to help blood flow and oxygen levels

-Increase glycogen (energy) stores

BUT – if proper recovery/rest time is not given, then our body cannot produce these results, or they are produced to a lesser extent.  The body will store less glycogen, your performance will plateau and possibly even decline, and worst of all – you run a greater risk of injury.  None of these things sound very good – right?! 

So how do we start learning to listen to our bodies – how do we know what they are saying?  Some signs of over-training include:

-Easily irritated – Know whether you are generally an easily annoyed person, or if you truly see a significant difference in how quickly you have been snapping at people lately.

-Mood Swings – Again, are you usually moody – or are you just straight up crazy lately!? When was the last time you took a rest day?

-Trouble SleepingYou need sleep to recover, but if you haven’t even been able to get much sleep because you keep waking up in the middle of the night – might be time to take a rest day.

-Loss of Desire to TrainSometimes a simple day off can make all the difference in KILLING your workout the next day. 

So next time you feel run down, overly moody/irritable, or have a crappy training session – take a look at when the last time you took a day off was.  Or better yet, develop a routine if possible with days you train vs. days you rest – try to have at least 1 rest day every 3-4 days of training.  Especially if you feel like those specific training days have been especially hard. 

All in all – listen to your body and treat it well (sleep, nutrition, rest days)!  It will thank you with better endurance, strength development, and a rockin’, defined physique!