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Athlete of the Week Blog

Athlete Spotlight – Melissa Y-R.

Why did you choose Sycamore CrossFit? Why do you keep coming back?

I was new to the area after moving in with Chris and followed him to the SCF after leaving CrossFit Oswego. He had started shadowing Carl/Jeremy and was working toward his CrossFit level 1 certification. Obviously, Chris is now a coach and Sycamore CrossFit has grown, but the “small gym feel” never changed. Everyone is always so encouraging and the gym is literally like a second family.

What's your best story about the gym?

In May 2019, Chris was involved in an accident during which he suffered a traumatic brain injury. The way that the gym came together to support Brantley and me was nothing short of amazing. The fact that the gym came together outside of those four walls is my favorite story. Everything from meals, to gift cards, to packages, to help watching Brantley, to texts/calls, visitors, or giving us rides proved once again that Sycamore CrossFit is more than a gym, it’s a family.

What advice would you give to the person you were a year ago?

I would say that persistence is key. Be real and honest with your coaches because CrossFit can be adapted for anyone. It’s not always all the craziness that people see in the Games. It’s you versus you and nothing more. Everyone at the gym will support you where you are at and celebrate wins together.

What accomplishment at the gym or in your nutrition are you the most proud of?

The fact that I am starting to do some workouts without a lot of modification is the accomplishment that I’m most proud of. I have chronic pain and nerve issues that needed surgical intervention. The doctor said that even post-surgery that my pain would never go away and it was something that I would have to live with and work around. With the help of Coach Eric I was able to slowly increase my work capacity to the point I’m able to complete some workouts without modification and even hang from a pull up bar/rings, which I was unable to do previously without pain. I still have a long way to go but am proud of the progress I have made.

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Athlete of the Week Blog

Athlete Spotlight – Jake N.

Why did you choose Sycamore CrossFit? Why do you keep coming back?

I chose Sycamore CrossFit because I wanted to start having a more decisive workout regiment that wasn’t just maxing out on bench press every other day. I keep coming back, now more regularly than ever, because of the amazing vibes at SCF and how helpful the coaches are at helping me reach my goals.

What's your best story about the gym?
A memory that sticks out in my head is when I was doing the “Helen” and I was on my very last set of 12 pull-ups. I jumped down from the bar with 8 more to go and Coach Nate started yelling at me very angrily to get back on the bar and finish it. Immediately I jumped up and did the rest, even though I was completely gassed and didn’t think it was possible. Turns out he was just super pumped for me to break the gym’s record for that workout! Haha!
Also, pretty much every time Coach Eric or Chris see me they tell me what the best time/reps was for the workout and just wait for me to try to beat it, knowing that I probably have no chance getting even close 😂
What advice would you give to the person you were a year ago?

If I could give myself a year ago advice, it would be to  start coming more consistently sooner! Since I’ve been coming to SCF more frequently, it’s become even more enjoyable once you get to know everyone, and I’ve been getting better at almost every movement.

What accomplishment at the gym or in your nutrition are you the most proud of?

I’m most proud of how disciplined I’ve been on actually making it to the gym every day and following SCF’s WOD programming. Like I said before, I used to always do the same workouts every time I went to the gym, and I’m happy that I finally don’t just skip a day just because I don’t want to work out a certain muscle group (leg day) 😂

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Athlete of the Week

Athlete Spotlight – Anastacia W.

Why did you choose Sycamore CrossFit? Why do you keep coming back?

I joined Sycamore CrossFit to gain muscle for my tennis season and also to be healthier overall. I keep coming back to CrossFit because even though it is really hard, the feeling you get after completing a hard workout is unmatchable. I love the environment at SCF; it is so positive, encouraging, and fun.

What's your best story about the gym?

My favorite story at the gym was when me and my mother brought my brother to a class for his first time ever. My mom and I both thought my brother would do so well but we both ended up doing better than him. At that moment I had realized how much I have improved in strength from doing CrossFit and it felt so good.

What advice would you give to the person you were a year ago?

Advice to give myself to the person I was a year ago, would be that it never gets easier you just get stronger.

What accomplishment at the gym or in your nutrition are you the most proud of?

The accomplishments at the gym I am most proud of would be that I moved from doing ring rows to banded pull ups, and CrossFit has showed me that eating healthier can be easy and taste just as good as junk food.

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Athlete of the Week Blog

Athlete Spotlight – Agnes S.

Why did you choose Sycamore CrossFit? Why do you keep coming back?

Yvette had just joined and asked me to come with her to check it out … the rest is history, ha!

What's your best story about the gym?

I have never liked group work out, hence my love of solitary  running, and this is the first place that I actually enjoy coming to regularly, and have stuck with. 😊 I love the concept of CrossFit, which was new to me when I joined, and I absolutely love the coaches. Eric, Hannah, and occasionally Chris (my 7 am class), are amazing, and I look forward to the class every day. 

What advice would you give to the person you were a year ago?

Ain’t a workout till your eyeballs sweat, and the soreness hits the muscles you didn’t even know you had! Hurry, and join CrossFit! 

What accomplishment at the gym or in your nutrition are you the most proud of?
I keep moving. I didn’t die. Oh, and I can pull a few double-unders a in a row (thanks to an unexpected personal training with Eric, when no one showed up to a class) 😊
Other than that… I don’t keep any numbers, scores, records (however, I’m working on a pull-up so bad 🤣)…I’m just having a great time. Working out makes me happy (and semi-sane), and I enjoy it at Sycamore CrossFit very much!
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Athlete of the Week Blog

Athlete Spotlight – Katie A.

Why did you choose Sycamore CrossFit? Why do you keep coming back?

When I moved to Hampshire in the summer of 2019, I struggled to find a good workout routine. With a background mostly in dance, yoga, and barre classes, I craved the ability to gain more muscle. My husband suggested that I try CrossFit, and then I remembered that my cousin Michelle was always talking about how much she loved Sycamore CrossFit. I hesitated since it is a 15 mile drive each way, but during the first week I was hooked. The coaches attention to form and genuine interest in our lives is something I’ve never experienced in group fitness. Also, the members are so down to earth and cheer each other on!

What's your best story about the gym?

After my first intro lesson, Coach Eric asked me if I had any questions. For some reason, I had this preconceived notion that I should be taking classes with people my age and at my ability level (probably due to intimidation), so I asked him what the crowd was like during the 8:30 am class I planned on attending. He tilted his head to the side, and then just started shouting across the room to the 8:30 class, “Hey! How old are you guys?!” I was mortified, humbled, and entertained. What I was about to find out was that each class is a complete mix of bad ass CrossFitters from all walks of life. This mix of people is the secret sauce to helping us all become the best versions of ourselves!

What advice would you give to the person you were a year ago?

Stop doing your same old exercise routine. You think you are pushing yourself, but you’re not.

What accomplishment at the gym or in your nutrition are you the most proud of?

I am so happy to feel like I won’t blow away in the wind anymore. Everyone would always compliment me on how thin I looked, but inside I felt weak. Since starting at Sycamore CrossFit in January 2020 I’ve gained a consistent 7 pounds of muscle and hope to continue that growth. I have come to enjoy the cashed out feel after a difficult WOD, and the way my mind feels cleansed for a good 24 hours post workout.

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Athlete of the Week Blog

Athlete Spotlight – Kandice C.

Why did you choose Sycamore CrossFit? Why do you keep coming back?

About a year ago I was transferred back to the DeKalb/Sycamore area for work. At which time I knew that I wanted to continue to develop my CrossFit skills, which I had started elsewhere. Joining Sycamore CrossFit made sense to me due to location, cost, convenient hours, excellent coaches, and nice people. Even on my “bad days” I continue to go to Sycamore CrossFit because it allows me to “mentally unplug” from my day. It’s nice to have a place that has a balance of joking around and having fun, while focusing on hard work. Physically it is rewarding, but it’s also very mentally rewarding as well.

What's your best story about the gym?

It’s hard to choose a “best story” about this gym. Most good stories come down to either Carl, Eric, Nate, Mike (really any coach) having friendly banter with members during class. Being able to laugh, creates more of a “laid back” atmosphere which makes the hard workouts seem easier somehow.

What advice would you give to the person you were a year ago?

The biggest piece of advice that I would give to myself from a year ago would be that you have to be patient. Bad days come and go, so it’s ok to fail. Push yourself but also listen to your body. It is OK to take a day off. It is OK to be last. Leave your pride at the door. Show up, do your best and 6, 12, 24 months from now you will see progress. Just be patient.

What accomplishment at the gym or in your nutrition are you the most proud of?

The biggest accomplishment that I’ve made in the gym is that I can now do rope climbs and double-unders. It’s so rewarding to finally be able to do a movement that I have tried for years, because it is more of a mental victory than anything.

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Athlete of the Week Blog

Athlete Spotlight – Lynne J.

Why did you choose Sycamore CrossFit? Why do you keep coming back?

I chose Sycamore CrossFit because I get a great workout every time I come to the gym. I thought I was getting good workouts at another place that I had a membership. It was full of treadmills and weight equipment, so how could I not be? Apparently I need guidance and here I get experts to guide me through workouts and work around my old body parts that sometimes don’t cooperate.

The nutrition knowledge provided by the coaches have helped me more than any doctors.

I keep coming back because I want to be healthy, get a good workout and I need a get away during the day. This is the best place to accomplish all of that.

What's your best story about the gym?

Not really a story, I am very thankful that the gym has been a safe, clean place I can go during this crazy time. It’s nice to see people’s faces and smiles.  Plus dog and puppy love. ❤️

What advice would you give to the person you were a year ago?

Buckle up. Next year is going to be like nothing you imagined. Keep working out when things get crazy, it’s good for your mental health. Don’t drink so much alcohol in March!

What accomplishment at the gym or in your nutrition are you the most proud of?

Sticking with it and being consistent. The coaches and staff make it a fun place to get a great workout everyday I come to the gym. If there is a workout that my knees will not be able to do there is always an alternative to get a great workout.

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Athlete of the Week Blog

Athlete Spotlight – Emily K.

Why did you choose Sycamore CrossFit? Why do you keep coming back?

CrossFit was something I’d considering trying for the past few years, but leaving a gym I was comfortable at and changing my workout routine was hard for me to do. With gyms closing due to COVID, I was left to find workouts to do at home. Luckily, my husband Nathan, who joined CrossFit in 2019, had access to the at-home workouts Sycamore CrossFit put together. We spent those couple of months of quarantine doing those workouts, and I quickly fell in love with the style – the workouts were challenging, pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I LOVED IT! I joined Sycamore CrossFit when they were able to open up again. I keep coming back because the coaches are passionate, knowledgeable, and have helped me improve my level of fitness, and the wonderful people I have the honor to workout with feel like family.

What's your best story about the gym?

Oh, man, how about the one workout I’ll never forget? It was the rainy day that turned 200m sprints into bike sprints for everyone and was accompanied by rowing. We had an extremely full 4pm class, enough that a few of us had to double up on equipment.   I was on the eighth and final round and exhausted trying to finish my last 15 calories on the bike. Coach Eric and Phoebe (my partner that day) could tell I was struggling and needed some encouragement. Eric covered my bike screen with his hands, so I wasn’t able to watch those last few calories slowly tick by. He and Phoebe stood by my bike and cheered me on. Their encouragement was exactly the push I needed that day.

What advice would you give to the person you were a year ago?

SLOW DOWN. Prioritize time to do things for you – things that ease your mind, bring you happiness, and fill your cup.

What accomplishment at the gym or in your nutrition are you the most proud of?

Before joining CrossFit, I signed up for a few personal training sessions to work on upper body strength for an upcoming Spartan race. I was hoping to work on rope climbs, but a nagging wrist pain caused me to have to put those personal sessions on hold. This was all just weeks before quarantine. Then, I spent those couple of months doing CrossFit workouts at home with Nathan, which drastically improved my upper body strength – pushups were much easier and I was finally able to string a few strict pull-ups together. The first opportunity I had to do rope climbs was in a WOD. I was able to do ten of them and able to RX that day!

Emily's Nutritional Transformation

“My husband Nathan and I have always been the athletic type. We grew up playing sports and have spent our adult lives running and lifting weights. I remember when we really started to focus on weight lifting back in 2012, Nathan had mention to me how odd it was that for as much working out as we were doing, we just weren’t getting the results we were trying so hard to achieve. We were your classic case of the saying ‘you can’t out train a bad diet.’

Fast forward to early 2018. We decided it was time to prioritize sleep and make some adjustments to our diet. We planned, prepped, and completed a Whole30. It was life changing! We’ve continued to follow a Paleo lifestyle – consuming nutrient dense, whole foods and limiting processed foods – and have more energy than ever!

Putting the time in at the gym is very important, but we cannot stress enough the importance of healthy eating and sleep as part of overall health and wellness.”

We are so proud of the incredible transformation Emily and her husband, Nathan, have experienced! And we know their awesome nutrition definitely gives them a competitive edge at the gym! We could not believe their before photos!

Before Photo (2011) v. After Photo (2020)

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Athlete of the Week Blog

Athlete Spotlight – Alexis L.

Why did you choose Sycamore CrossFit? Why do you keep coming back?

I was ready to be back in an environment where I could work out and be challenged by coaches weekly. It’s the best place I’ve been to in the Dekalb/Sycamore area. 

I keep coming back because of the coaches, so many friendly people in my classes and the continued progress I’ve made. 

What's your best story about the gym?

I was doing my modified rope climbs when Coach Nate encouraged me to try the rope climb without modifications. I was definitely nervous and hesitant as I tried before and was very unsuccessful. The encouragement I got from everyone in the gym that day really helped a lot. I truly appreciated everyone’s help and now I feel super accomplished that I can rope climb!

What advice would you give to the person you were a year ago?

If you never start you’ll never get there and I’m so glad that I made a change and started.

What accomplishment at the gym or in your nutrition are you the most proud of?

So far, that I am getting better at the different types of lifts each week. Now, I am starting to challenge myself with more weight. I felt like I was never going to have the correct lifting technique! I see improvement but I still have things to improve upon. It’s better than week one. This is a marathon not a sprint! 

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Athlete of the Week Blog

Athlete Spotlight – Craig W.

Why did you choose Sycamore CrossFit? Why do you keep coming back?

I chose Sycamore CrossFit because it was convenient and I needed a different type of workout. I stay at Sycamore CrossFit because of the excellent trainers the friendly atmosphere, and the down to earth everyday members.

What's your best story about the gym?

My best experience at the gym was my first actual class with other members. I was so relieved to learn all of the members were everyday people just like me. I was clearly the last person done with my workout and every other person that was done cheered me on. I was floored. 

What advice would you give to the person you were a year ago?

Sometimes you need to listen to the little voice in your head and take a chance! The longer you hold out the more you miss out!

What accomplishment at the gym or in your nutrition are you the most proud of?

I can now actually complete the workout in the time allotted with minor modifications. I’m still the last person done but I’m getting closer to finishing with the rest of the pack.

One last comment – the instructors are phenomenal! They know my limitations and modify accordingly!