Carl opened Sycamore CrossFit in November of 2011. He runs free intros, manages the operations at the gym, facilitates coach development, and does personal training and nutrition.
When/how did your health and fitness journey begin?
My health and fitness journey started in 2006 when I met Sinan Gocmen who had just won Greek Physique at NIU. We worked together and he invited me to go to the gym with him. I previously played all kinds of sports, mostly soccer at the time so I had not really ventured into the gym much outside of working out in gym class. He took the time to teach me how to lift and support me to go to the gym daily. This inspired me to add muscle to my body and start researching ideal nutrition to add muscle size and I followed the basic principles we speak about with everyone who goes to the gym today. I was about 145 at the time and now I’m about 195.
When did you start doing CrossFit?
I started working out at Sycamore CrossFit before we had a physical location. Workouts happened at the park, high school, and anywhere that made sense. Prior to starting the gym, we made the space at Cardinal Fitness (now Charter Fitness) work. There were about 3-4 of us daily following CrossFit.com’s programming. Some of those workouts were so incredibly brutal. If you don’t believe me, try doing 400 meters of lunges for time. So simple and elegant but also incredibly powerful.
Why did you want to open SCF?
My why has changed several times over the past 10 years of helping people find CrossFit. Originally it was to give access to a gym that you could do CrossFit and as a coach, I could help each member learn more about the CrossFit methodology, get better at movements and find the joys of doing CrossFit workouts. Now, my why is to empower each individual to self-actualization and get a better understanding of what they are capable of while simultaneously helping them achieve their goals through personal training, group classes, nutrition, and healthy lifestyle habits. The joy it brings me now to hear someone say they are able to do something they never thought was possible or they are able to achieve their goals through their own hard work is amazing!
What education/certifications do you have?
Too many to list. I have my CrossFit Level 1 and 2 and currently studying to pass the Level 3 exam. I’m also working through the Power Athlete program to start working more with youth Athletes. I have 5 Olympic Certifications, 4 Nutrition Certifications, 2 Endurance/Running Certifications, Several Movement Specialty Certifications and a Gymnastics Certification. I try to do at least 2-3 personal development opportunities a year so I can take the knowledge and pass it on to our amazing coaches.
What is your favorite thing about coaching at Sycamore CrossFit?
I’ve had many favorite reasons to coach over the past 9 years and more recently it has been to help all of our wonderful coaches get better at helping all of our members. Being able to help one person is powerful and fulfilling but being able to help and 100 people at a time has given me actualization towards a goal of leaving a legacy and feeling like we at Sycamore CrossFit are making real change and affecting more than just who we see.
As a coach one-on-one, I still love to watch others move and getting a better understanding of the mechanics of the human body, helping others move better or see someone get a movement they were struggling with is always a joy for me.
Why should people want to come take a class or do personal training with you?
I don’t run many classes anymore and focus on running the business side of Sycamore CrossFit. However, when I get a chance I usually pop into a class to help with someone’s movement I really enjoy the personalized attention I can give. Over the past few years, I have worked with more people 1-on-1 than in a group. I really enjoy this process as it really allows me and who I’m working with to focus on a goal and achieve results much quicker than in a class setting. Nothing can replace personalized coaching attention and if you are looking for results it has the best potential to give it to you the fastest.
What is your favorite memory at Sycamore CrossFit?
How do you pick one favorite memory from the past 9 years? Getting to watch my family workout with me, especially our two little girls, is pretty special. Seeing friends accomplish goals they set for themselves is amazing. Watching a community support others in their time of need is incredible. Friday Night Lights during the CrossFit Open are some of the most fun nights we have had over the years. My favorite memories typically come from these times at the gym and I don’t have a memory that just jumps out to me.