This is another in a series of personal reflections penned by Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights / CrossFit Axis athletes about the mental, physical and emotional changes experienced since joining our health & fitness community. The following reflection* was submitted by John O’ as he nears his one-year anniversary with our Community. John joined us for a Free Class Saturday and was immediately hooked; he officially started the following Tuesday. John is an incredibly coach-able, willing and hardworking athlete who brings a great energy to his training sessions and fellow athletes. And that energy has served John well as he’s racked up a series of firsts & PRs over the past 11 months. Keep up the great work, John …you are an inspiration to us all!
“Dear Jim & Karen,
“I just thought I would write you a short note thanking you for welcoming me in to your gym, supporting my efforts, and being generous with your time when I have had questions about various things. I’ve been part of the EAD community for 11 months now and I thought I would pass along my progress to give you some insight into how your gym, classes, performance coaches, and support have affected me.
“My second workout after completing Movement Essentials** was the pre-Thanksgiving Earn Your Second Helping WOD. I have never felt like crying during or after a workout before that one! I felt totally out of my element and overwhelmed, to say the least. But there were people encouraging me to fight out as many Burpees I could do as my last exercise that day. I didn’t finish the workout as prescribed, but I went to the end of the 35 minute time limit. And I couldn’t have done it without Coach Becky yelling in my ear and (fellow EAD / CFAH / CFAX athlete) Elizabeth L urging me on.
“It’s interesting, but at any other gym I would have just quit and said to myself ‘I can’t do this work. I just can’t get through it without killing myself.’ But I set up three rules for myself when I started training at EAD / CFAH / CFAX: 1) Do what you can do – modify the workout to be challenging but doable, 2) Finish – always fight through to the end no matter how miserable, and 3) Keep coming back – Coach Rory told me this during my first Movement Essentials class. I have to say that these rules have helped me stay the course and continue to progress and get better.
“BUT, a bigger part of the equation is the awesome community you two have built around fitness and health. When I first heard Coach Karen say we are a community, I scoffed at that notion. However, having been a part of your group and seeing the energy and support you two put into the business, I think you guys are amazing at what you do. All of the trainers are amazing, as well — very supportive and communicative.
“I think the spirit and support of you and your trainers directly rubs off on the participants. There is no way in hell I could have gotten out of bed at 4:30am during the bleak winter months without Steve G, Lisa S, Mike, O’ Colleen E, Elizabeth L, Jeff G, Ron F, Natalie B, Kim G, and the host of others that have always had my back. There is no way in hell I could set recent PR’s in the Deadlift and Front Squat without the support and encouragement of Mike O’and Brian. It is amazingly awesome to be a part of the community and I thought I would just let you know how grateful I am to be a part of EAD / CFAH / CFAX.
“Just a snapshot of my progress in 11 short months:
- 500m row – 2:09 to 1:37
- Mile run – 10:15 to 8:44
- Deadlift – 180# to 415#
- Shoulder press – 70# to 135#
- Back Squat – 50# (maybe!!) to 260#
- Front Squat – 50# to 175# (… and on my way 260#!)
- 50 Burpees – >10 min to 6:31
- Snatch – ? t0 135#
“I still have a lot of work to do but I wanted to share with you my progress and heartfelt thanks for an amazing 11 months. Looking forward to getting better and better.”
* Excerpted with permission from an email John O’ sent to EAD / CFAH / CFAX owners Jim Inman & Karen Stoychoff Inman.
** Movement Essentials has since been revamped & renamed Training Essentials.