CFL News

April 2016 Member of the Month

Meet Mike Burrell:

 Tell us about yourself:

I spent most of my work career in employee benefits administration at Hewitt Associates and Fidelity, but I am currently the Senior HRIS Analyst for Cabot Microelectronics Corporation in Aurora. I have worked for CMC since May of 2013.

I went to Illinois State University and have a B.S. in mathematics education. Also, I earned my MBA from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto in 2010.

My wife’s name is Tamara and we have two daughters: Kayla and Jenna. The kids attend Four Winds Waldorf School in Warrenville, which is a wonderful pre-K through 8th grade school if any of you are looking for an alternative to your child’s current school.  We live in Batavia and have two adopted cats (Rosie and Dusty).

When I’m not CrossFitting, things I enjoy include:

  • Coffee
  • When my daughters practice their musical instruments or make art
  • Drinking good porters and stouts
  • Skiing
  • Chicago Cubs baseball
  • Watching the cats chase each other
  • Friday night pizza and movies with the family
  • Who, Monty Python
  • Seeing funny comments, memes and photos on the CFL facebook page
  What made you try CrossFit?

History has shown that the only times I have been in good shape have been when I’m on a sports team or have some other regular reason to run or be active.  Working out on my own, while theoretically possible, just never seems to happen consistently so I am glad that all I really need to do is show up to a CFL class willing to work.

I lived in Denver, CO for a while after finishing business school and stayed in shape there primarily by running as well as biking to/from work most days.  However, after I first moved back to Illinois to work for CMC, I was no longer blessed with the nice weather that is typical for Denver and had a long commute in my car. This resulted in a lot less exercising and I gained quite a bit of weight so I knew I had to do something.

In December of 2013, I saw a Facebook post from my fraternity brother, Eric about a new CrossFit gym in West Chicago that was being opened that would be not far from work, home, and our daughters’ school. I was aware of CrossFit because of Eric and had thought about trying it for a long time, but it never happened until I came back to Illinois.  Anyway, one thing led to another and I have been a CFL member since shortly after it opened.

I was very concerned about being able to do CrossFit after having a hard time making it through stretching and warm-ups the first few times, but I’m glad I stuck with it. I was probably around 255 pounds when I started, but gained strength and mobility and got my weight down to around 215-ish before illness forced me stop working out late in 2015. Anemia and cancer got my weight down to 193 pounds by late December, but I’m around 210 at the moment.

Favorite move:

Tough call, but probably The Life of Brian.  Oh, wait, you said favorite move, not favorite movie!

In that case, it’s still a tough call because they all suck at some point, but I’ll go with kettle bell swings.

Least Favorite move:

Another tough call. I hate not being good at things, so obviously, I hate a lot of moves based on that, especially ones that I cannot even do yet (hello, muscle-ups, yes I’m looking at you!) but I think I have the hardest time with lunges, especially weighted ones.

Best experience at Leverage:

The love and support I have received in the wake of being diagnosed with stage four colon cancer on December 29, 2015.  It really means a lot to feel it so strongly from the CFL community and I am grateful every day that you are all in my life.  No better example than the whole 16.5 experience.

Second best was probably the first 2015 Open workout. I had just gotten toes to bar so I did it Rx which was exciting for a guy like me who usually scales things.  Then, for 15.1a, I somehow managed to clean and jerk 195 pounds. My form was horrid on that, but doing it felt awesome.

Future Goals:
  1. Be as cancer-free as possible

2. Be able to do pull-ups and more than one in a row for double unders

If you had to give one piece of advice to a newbie, what would it be?

While it can be motivating to look at what other people are doing or get more of an edge in what you are doing by entering a competition, please do not limit or diminish yourself by constantly being worried that you are not as strong or fast as someone else or can’t perform moves that other athletes can.

Everyone has different circumstances and you should truly compete only with yourself. When the current version of you does something the old you could have never done, you can and should celebrate that and everyone at CFL will celebrate with you regardless of where you are on the leader board.

Let’s start with a health update:

  • The treatments have been very effective so far.
  • All of the diagnostics are pointing in the right direction and I am no longer anemic.
  • The most recent CT scan shows that there is a lot less cancer in my body than at the time of the first scan.
  • Side effects overall have been quite manageable, although I do have some bad times with that stuff now and then.

I’ll leave you with some inspirational quotes:

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” –Anne Frank

“Speak with your life, not just your words” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” -Theodore Roosevelt

“With those who don’t give a damn about baseball, I can only sympathize. I do not resent them. I am even willing to concede that many of them are physically clean, good to their mothers and in favor of world peace. But while the game is on, I can’t think of anything to say to them.” – Art Hill

“Since baseball time is measured only in outs, all you have to do is succeed utterly; keep hitting, keep the rally alive, and you have defeated time. You remain forever young.” – Roger Angell

“All right… all right… but apart from better sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health … what have the Romans ever done for us?’ – Reg

“Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.” – Dennis

“There’s no point in being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes.” – Dr. Who

“Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.” – Douglas Adams

“Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck.” -Joss Whedon


March 2016 Member of the Month

Meet Christie Griffin:

Christie Tell us about yourself:

I’m an Instructional Support Coach (teacher) at Norton Creek Elementary in West Chicago in the St. Charles school district. When I’m not CrossFitting or at work I’m with my family.

 What made you try CrossFit?

Amanda O’Brien (Mike’s wife) told me that it was a perfect fit for me after I tried to convince myself that I was a distance runner and got Plantar Fasciitis. After the first “trial” session, I was hooked!

Favorite move:

Split jerk out of the rack.

Least Favorite move:

(I don’t think I’m allowed to say pull-ups anymore!) Double unders and push-ups

Best experience at Leverage:

The community experience every time I walk in the gym! (Closely followed, of course, by Eric (my husband) joining me here) and the first chest-to-bar during 16.1!

Future Goals:

To be a better me in and out of the gym and support others in doing the same.  To conquer double unders, handstand push-ups, and other skill movements.  To keep lifting heavy things and being inspired by my fellow Leveragees!

If you had to give one piece of advice to a newbie, what would it be?

Just keep moving and listen to Dave and Sarah. They know what’s up!

This place is unlike any other and I am honored to be a part of it. Words can never express what an impact these people and this place have and will continue to have on me.

February 2016 Member of the Month

Meet Chris Miller:

Chris Miller
 Tell us about yourself:

I’m a construction manager at Union Pacific.  During the week I’m usually on a plane to some exciting location in the Upper Midwest, this does allow me to collect lots of travel points and I do have a good amount of free drink tickets.

When I’m not at work I like to spend time with family and friends, travel (heading to Mexico in 2 weeks), any type of food or alcohol tasting, new restaurants, woodworking, concerts, sports, and I have an old car collecting dust in the garage that needs everything.

 What made you try CrossFit?

I got into fitness after a motorcycle wreck when I was 21, I did the standard gym routine thing, over the past few years I was getting bored with the routine.  I had seen some of the CrossFit games a couple of years back and they had peeked my interest, so last April I gave it a try and am glad I did.


Favorite move:

Deadlifts & squats have been good recently

Least Favorite move:

Overhead squats and burpee box jump overs kind of blow too

Best experience at Leverage:

I’ve liked them all, the weekend workouts are always great.  I missed the open last year so I’m looking forward to it this year.

Future Goals:

Handstand push-ups, Double Unders, Muscle ups and learn to kip!!  Those strict pull-ups get old.

If you had to give one piece of advice to a newbie, what would it be?

Take it slow, listen to your body, and ask questions.  Dave is a great coach, so listen to what he has to say.

January 2016 Member of the Month

Meet Candy Jett:

Tell us about yourself:

I am married with 4 children; I have been married for over 22 years. I have two sons ages 21 and 15 and two daughters ages 19 and 17. Aside from being a full time mom I work part time at our family business with my husband. My two oldest children attend college outside of Illinois, Mizzou and Iowa State. My two youngest keep us most busy lately as high school varsity athletes participating in Girls Volleyball and Boys Football. We love to take family vacations together, this year we are considering Aruba or Costa Rica.


What made you try CrossFit?

I wanted to try CrossFit so I could find something fun but also with a demanding commitment that I could enjoy with my hubby. Also so I could try to burn some cellulite off these legs!

Favorite move:

I have a few, Front Squats, Back Squats and any kettle bell moves!

Least Favorite move:

I have a few of those too! Snatches and overhead squats, oh and anything to do with running…

Best experience at Leverage:

The people, for sure. The true hidden bonus to Leverage is the members. I find each and every one of them motivational, inspirational, and simply incredible.

Future Goals:

For gym goals I would like to be able to do pull-ups, Crossfit style, and to be able to rope climb. My goals personally are to someday organize and manage a non-profit organization focused on giving young girls an exercise outlet. I see too many cases of young girls with low self-esteem issues afraid to walk into fitness centers that need guidance. I achieved and maintain my certification in group fitness training with this as my sole purpose and I am hopeful to fulfill this dream someday. I remember being that girl a long time ago and I would love to make a difference.

If you had to give one piece of advice to a newbie, what would it be?

Stay with it, it gets easier. Compete only with yourself, no one at leverage is judging you, they are there for you!!! Love and support flow through this box!


Dave is the best coach ever, Leverage is a game changer. We started this journey 7 months ago, uncertain, unsure and probably a bit unprepared. Now Leverage is a part of our life and family too. The blend of a grueling WOD’s with the tenderness that allows you to come even when you have no clue how you’ll do or what to expect is what I love.

2015 Holiday Hours


Thursday Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve)
| 6:00am | 7:00am | 8:00am | 9:00am |
Open Gym 10:00am – 12:00pm.

11:00am Leverage Pride Kids Class

12:00pm Noon Express Class

Friday Dec. 25 (Christmas Day)


Saturday Dec. 26th
| 8:00am | 9:30am |
Open Gym 10:30am – 12:00pm.

11:00am Leverage Pride Kids Class



Thursday Dec. 31 (New Years Eve)
| 6:00am | 7:00am | 9:00am |
Open Gym 10:00am – 12:00pm.

11:00am Leverage Pride Kids Class

12:00pm Noon Express Class
| 4:15pm | 

Friday Jan. 1 (New Years Day)
| 10:00am | 11:00am | 12:00pm | 
Saturday Jan. 2
| 8:00am | 9:30am |
Open Gym 10:30am – 12:00pm.

11:00am Leverage Pride Kids Class

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