Certifications: CrossFit Level I, ACE Peer Fitness Trainer (International Association of Firefighters), USAW level 1 Coach, CrossFit Gymnastics
I was born in Austin, Texas, the eldest of 3 children. Athletics (primarily football) are a way of life in Texas. In the 3rd grade (a late start in Texas), I was finally allowed to suit up and step onto the gridiron. For the next 10 years athletics, primarily football, would be the center of my world. I continued to play football throughout high school, but as I transitioned to college my interest in football turned to rugby.
Although athletics dominated my interests in college, I went to Auburn to pursue an interest in law but quickly became disenchanted with this future vocation which prompted the most important decision I was ever forced to make. Despite high marks in school, a vibrant social life, and the outlet of college rugby, I decided to leave Auburn University and return to Chicago to pursue a career in the Fire Service. Because of my background in athletics I was well suited for a career where my body was my livelihood. I thrived on the ability to serve something bigger than myself. Virtues that I learned from a life of athletics were synonymous with the virtues of the Fire Service.
Once I had settled in to my career in the Fire Service, I finally had the luxury to immerse myself in an old passion. Having a firefighter’s schedule gave me a lot of free time to re-immerse myself in rugby. It only seemed logical that I re adopt a healthy hobby which I loved so much! I thought, “My body is my livelihood- why not keep it finely tuned?” The only problem was that a strenuous paramedic program and years of physical neglect had taken their toll. My body in fact was not finely tuned. I tried boxing , jogging and the same monotonous weight room routines. Of course none of these programs yielded significant results. I heard about CrossFit from a fellow firefighter. I began by doing the mainsite WODs at work and in the weight rooms of various globo gyms. After several months, I discovered that there was a CrossFit gym less than a mile from my house.
I remember my first session like it was yesterday. Above the door at CrossFit Tri-cities the mantra “Leave your ego at the door” is written. Feeling lightheaded and completely humbled never felt so good. I was clearly out of my comfort zone and yet I had never felt so welcome by a group of total strangers! It was a familiar feeling, yet different in so many ways. I was reminded of the misery and laughter of double day football practices in the 95-degree heat. Needless to say my performance on the field rapidly improved. Several of my teammates took notice and began crossfitting as well. The following year, my team and I had unprecedented success and made a run to national Elite-8. During this time, along with several teammates, I was honored with an invitation to play on the prestigious Chicago Area Rugby Football Union Select Side. Obviously, we all had found a secret weapon and I had found a new passion. What had begun as a means to improve my athletic performance had transformed into a way to improve my life.
As a firefighter, I am no stranger to the feeling that serving others gives you. Helping people is an amazing feeling and I am one of the lucky ones who get to do it in my profession and my personal life. Watching a friend transition off of their blood pressure medication because they have been coached in how to lead a healthier lifestyle is a wonderful feeling synonymous with saving somebody’s home from a fire. As a coach this is what I hope to accomplish for everyone who walks through my door. If your goal is to make it to regionals of the CrossFit games then that is my goal too. If you are looking for an edge in your sport then that is what I want you to accomplish. If your goal is to live to see your grandchildren get married then that is what we will work towards.
CrossFit has enriched my life in countless ways. It has made me a more fierce rugby player, has enabled me to be a more effective firefighter and has prepared me for any challenge. As a coach my goal is to share what I have learned so that others can have the same rewarding experiences that I have had. As I strive to open my own affiliate, I will use my knowledge, experiences and passion so that I can help others pursue their quest for a fitter life.
Certifications: CrossFit Level I, CrossFit Gymnastics, CrossFit Mobility
When I turned 11 years old the only present I wanted on my birthday was a gym membership. I was so excited to start working out, but the gym near-by had a minimum age of 11. When the day finally came and I turned 11, I started working out almost every day and never looked back! From that first workout, health and fitness have been a major part of my life. I spent the majority of my time training with standard weight lifting, the kind you heard Arnold Schwarzenegger talk about. I had a set routine for years, training 2 to 4 hours a day, 7 days per week. I would spend my time at the gym with my head down and my headphones in and trying not to talk to someone because they might interrupt my workout. I got great results from this in many ways, and started getting requests to teach people to workout. By 19 I was fitness manager at a large gym, teaching personal trainers how to be personal trainers. After a while in that position, I moved on to the next job while keeping up with my own workouts sticking to my classic weight lifting routine. A few years later, I had some friends tell me to try CrossFit. I was VERY resistant because I felt that I was already in shape and didn’t need to change anything. On top of that, I injured both of my shoulders snowboarding a few years prior and I was worried that I would have limitations.
Eventually I was talked in to going and had an incredible awakening. I was shocked at the huge gaps that I found in my fitness! I started coming to CrossFit 5 days per week and within just a week or two, I could feel a huge improvement in my day to day life. I had more energy, I was sleeping better, and I was having more fun at my workouts! I loved the community of the gym, how easy it was to connect with everyone, and the positive competition in every WOD. I was happy that every workout could be modified for my shoulders, but was surprised that through the functional training of CrossFit, my limitations quickly dissipated. My shoulders are now the strongest and healthiest they have ever been, along with the rest of me! CrossFit has made a huge positive impact on my life and I love sharing the benefits with others. Coaching CrossFit, I get to see some of the most dramatic life changing transformations of all types of people. My favorite part about these transformations, because of the tight knit community and positive support of CrossFit, the transformations are not just another stop on a roller-coaster of their health, they become a way of life!
Certifications: CrossFit Level I
I was born and raised in Glen Ellyn, and sports were a part of my life from a very young age. I immediately gravitated towards football and baseball. I played on various travel and all star teams as a kid, and learned to love competition right from the start. I played football and baseball at Glenbard South, where in football, I was named to the All-State team as a linebacker/running back.
I then moved onto college and played football at North Central College in Naperville. I was a 4-year starter, and also team captain. I had interests in pursuing law school, but opted to enter our family business, Caldwell Plumbing.
After my college football career, I stuck with fitness and worked out daily at a typical gym, until I discovered CrossFit in January of 2012. CrossFit brought out the competitor in me once again, and I immediately made it my passion. Health, fitness, and CrossFit are now very strong passions in my life. I get more satisfaction from training our members, and seeing their progress, then my own. I absolutely love the tight knit, community feeling of CrossFit. I also love the competition style workouts and the physical diversity it offers on a daily basis. To me there’s nothing better than competitive fitness, it’s the best of both worlds.
Certifications: CrossFit Level I, CrossFit Gymnastics
Like many cross-fitters, my athletic career developed in high school. I spent the majority of my life involved in distance running and as a freshman I made it onto the Varsity Cross Country and Track team. Afterwards, I continued to pursue my passion for running while attending The College of DuPage and had the opportunity to make it to the 2001 national team. After that, I felt like I could still do more. Wanting to push myself not only physically, but also mentally, I decided to join the US Air Force.
Nothing could have prepared me for what the Air Force would have in store for me, but, in the end, it was exactly what I needed. Soon, the drill sergeants recognized my physical dedication and mental toughness. They saw that I could be pushed more than others. Not only was I ordered to go on special training runs to prepare me for a grueling sporting event held between the squadrons but I was also put in command of our female military dorm. Whenever any of the 50 residents were in trouble, I also received physical punishment. In a way- I enjoyed the punishment. I liked being challenged physically and, more importantly, I felt a true sense of accomplishment that goes along with pushing yourself outside of your limits. Performing these disciplinary tactics reminded me of the same feelings of pride I had during Cross Country nationals. There is nothing that can take away from the sense of accomplishment when you rise above a challenge and, as a CrossFit coach I want to help others feel the same way.
Following basic training, I continued to push myself. I ran full and half marathons. I took boxing and Ju Jitsu. I became a competitive power lifter. I took up trail running, mountain biking and rock climbing. I became a cycling instructor and a personal trainer. At one point, I had three gym memberships just so I wouldn’t get bored going to the same one all the time.
One of those memberships was to my first CrossFit gym in Maryland. This was where my CrossFit obsession began. What I loved most about being a member was the sense of community I felt but at the same time a spirit of competition. I am extremely competitive and I want my competitors and teammates to push themselves the same way I do and it seemed like everyone at CrossFit had the same mentality. After moving back to Illinois, I knew I had to find another CrossFit gym and that’s how I ended up at CrossFit Alpha Dog. As an athlete, I love being challenged physically and rising to the occasion and, as a trainer, I want to help others get to that same place. It doesn’t matter how someone gets there, as long as they try. When I see our members pushing themselves to the extreme, I get so excited for them. I know that when they are done with the lung-burning, physically exhausting strength and conditioning that they have chosen to put themselves through-they are going to feel the same pride that I have felt through my athletic accomplishments. My goal as a trainer is to push you to that physical place you don’t think you can go, a place I know you can go, so that every day you leave-proud.
Certifications: CrossFit Level I, USAW level 1 Coach
I grew up in Wheaton Illinois and I am the second oldest of 6 kids and because of that I’ve been very competitive from a young age. As a child I played lots of different sports and that continued through middle school and high school. I attended Wheaton North High School where I competed at the varsity level in wrestling, lacrosse, and cross country. Wrestling was the sport that I was the most focused on for the majority of high school. I competed on two different state teams and traveled a lot for tournaments year round. Once I found lacrosse, wrestling took the back seat. After playing varsity for two years I went on to play lacrosse at Taylor University.
As a grade-schooler, I was impressed by the muscular physiques in the old Hercules movies and got my first weight set as a seventh grader. To my surprise and disappointment, I did not look like Hercules six months later as I had originally anticipated. I wrestled in high school with only modest success but saw some Olympic lifters at the local YMCA and started training with them late in my senior year of high school (1969).
I got connected with the Sayre Park Weightlifting Club in Chicago in the Fall of 1969 and from the beginning learned the theory and practice of Olympic Weightlifting from the National Champions and Olympians who trained there. I competed actively from my late teens until my mid-20’s, resumed competition in my late 30’s for 18 months, beginning anew from my early 50’s to the present. I am noted for excellent lifting technique and flexibility and am currently experiencing my greatest success as a Master lifter.
Through the years, I have helped many lifters with advice on lifting technique, training methods and competition strategy. In addition to Olympic Weightlifting, my other athletic interests include Cycling, including some time trial and criterium racing and more recently Crossfit.
I have competed in approximately 40 meets in the last 12 years, mostly as a Master lifter. I am the current age group 169 pound Master National Champion as well as having won in 2012, 2011, 2008 and 2006 with a 2nd in 2010. I have also competed in 3 Master World Championships taking 4th place once and 5th place twice. In June 2013, I won my weight class and age group in the Pan American Master competition. My lifetime records are a 248 pound snatch, 308 pound Clean & Jerk, and Front Squat of 325 pounds at a bodyweight of around 178 pounds. To date in 2013, while weighing 169 pounds, my best lifts are a 170 pound snatch and 211 pound clean & jerk.
To summarize, Olympic Weightlifting (and more recently Crossfit) has kept me fit and flexible at an age when most athletes are no longer able to pursue aggressive athletic activities. By keeping in touch with other knowledgeable lifters, I keep up on new training, technique and competition ideas. I get a great deal of satisfaction from helping less experienced athletes improve their Olympic lifting technique and results.