Every once and a while we come across an athlete that shares their story in such a way that it would be a shame to keep it to locked up in our email inbox. This is one of those message.
Pedro, thank you so much for your kind words. To the rest of the world, take note.
A nurse, an engineer, a UK transplant, a Lithuanian transplant, and a Peruvian/American transplant walk into a Crossfit gym. What would seem like the beginning of a weird joke, or a UN simulation, turns out to be a Tuesday night at Crossfit Defined, a Crossfit gym located in Lakeview. 5 newcomers enter the for their Foundations class, a two week course that offers them instruction on foundational exercises that characterize the Crossfit style. There is a large disconnect in what they think they know about themselves and what they can actually accomplish by becoming a member of this community.
My fitness journey has been one of ups and downs. As a three-time marathoner, I found it difficult to continue keeping up with a training and conditioning regiment after my races. Self-discipline had always been muddled by fear of “not really knowing what to do” when I stepped foot in a conventional gym. I tried everything: personal training to build technique and learn new exercises, group classes at my local YMCA, exercise apps, running buddies, boot camps…you name it, odds are I’ve tried it. As a result of these short-lived efforts, my weight fluctuated. Reasonably so, I started to become frustrated with myself and my “inability” to dedicate myself to my fitness in all of the ways I thought I was supposed to.
Good thing I don’t put give up without fighting a good fight. I finally realized that what worked for other people does not necessarily work for me. I needed to find a community that would preserve this mantra.
Fast forward a few years, and I find myself, fortunately, a little more self-aware, a skill that is crucial in the crossfit world. I just moved to Chicago in November 2018 after years of misdirected care of myself. I needed to find a way out, and I began gym shopping. After a bit of research, I came across CrossFit Defined, and learned they were providing a free “Lift and Learn” class for people looking to join. The towering stack of kegs that greeted me upon entering seemed intimidating as I waked in for the first time. But shortly after passing their daunting stare, I was greeted by a litany of fist-bumps and high-fives. The fear and intimidation quickly subsided as we went right into our warmup and workout. The energy and enthusiasm practically oozes from the humble space, located on 3834 N Broadway. In that short hour, I had the most fun I have ever had working out—ever.
This is a gym that pokes fun at itself, made evident by little signs and stickers that say, “we may not have amenities, but we do have great coaches.” In what deserves the award as understatement of the year, I can confidently say that the coaches that have worked with me have been some of the most collaborative, accepting, and caring people I have encountered. Co-owners David Sutor and Noel Dubois have hand-selected an eclectic team of coaches that center their practice on their individual strengths. This encourages a culture of intentionality when coming into contact with each athlete at CFD. What was once considered a self-degrading activity to me in the past, has turned into one of the most ego boosting and uplifting. I leave that gym prouder of myself every time for putting in the work, and doing what is best for my body. The coaches deserve all the credit here for ensuring that my workout is efficient, safe, and effective.
For a transplant new to the city, the community I continue to build at Crossfit Defined is one that shows promise. When your self-improvement is anchored by positivity and enthusiasm, there is very little room for failure.
Pedro G. – March 19′