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Why We Decided to Affiliate with CrossFit

Jaguar Strength and Conditioning is now an affiliate with CrossFit HQ.



CrossFit Logo

What Does Affiliation Mean?


Affiliating with CrossFit HQ basically means you’re an official CrossFit gym. When we opened our doors I was against doing this. I had been a member of several CrossFit gyms and seen my body break down over the months and years of training. When I set out to open Jag I vowed not to take this approach with our members. I’ve since realized that it wasn’t CrossFit that took a toll on my body, but rather the way it was implemented in the gyms I attended.


Daily scored metcons, consecutive weeks of maxing out, and randomized programming were the culprits of my injuries. CrossFit is defined as “constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains”, which essentially encompasses what we do at Jag.


What will change at Jag?


CrossFit has changed the fitness industry forever by providing a genre of fitness for those with gritty mindsets and an outlet for community that has never existed in a space dominated by headphones and silence. However, CrossFit, as a brand, provides no true guidance on how to administer the training within the affiliated gyms, which leads to many affiliate owners/coaches lacking understanding of how to implement the training in a structured fashion that keeps athletes healthy and progressing over time.


I may be a little bias (ha!) but I believe this is something many of you have come to love about Jag. Progressively overloaded training cycles, different prescriptions based on different goals, and days focused on TRAINING not just on COMPETING are all things I believe set us apart from your typical CrossFit gym. Don’t worry, none of that is changing!


Here are the changes you will see:

1. We’re giving our name an upgrade: Jaguar Strength and Conditioning Home of Chicago Ave. CrossFit


2. You now have an obligation to tell everyone you meet, within the first 5 minutes, that you’re a CrossFitter (lol).


They best way to explain this decision to you is by sharing my response to “What does CrossFit mean to you?” when I applied to be a CrossFit affiliate


To understand what CrossFit means to me it is important to understand how I found CrossFit...


In 2015 I had just graduated college and moved in with a girlfriend outside of Chicago. For the previous five years I had lived with anywhere from 1 to 31 other men at a time and competition in my life was prevalent. Whether it be pick-up sports, drinking games, or arguing about the things college age men argue about there was always someone to go up against. Moving in with a significant other saw this intensive competition dissipate from my day-to-day life and left my longing for something to fill the void. I fired up the old Google machine in an effort to discover "competitive activities in my area" and stumbled across a coupon for a 10-Class pack to a local CrossFit gym. I'd heard of CrossFit before but always viewed the "cheating" pull-ups they did a stupid, but I was desperate to fill a void and so I thought "f*ck it it, I'll give this a go". I was nearly 200lbs at the time, could bench 315 and had some mildly visible abs. I had probably done less than a dozen total reps of back squat in my life but figured being able to bench 315 and having some abs made me a greek god. I honestly figured I'd walk into that gym and absolutely decimate everyone with my immortal level of fitness. After class started with some relatively heavy strict press, which fell within my comfort zone, it was time for this thing they called a "metcon". It was explained that this was "scored" and meant to be a competition and I figured it was time to show off how insanely fit I was...

To this day I can't recall what the actual workout was. I think my brain has intentionally blacked it out like the human mind can have a tendency to do with past traumas. What I do know is that every person in that class; young and old, male and female, large and small, proceeded to whoop my ass. It wasn’t long, it wasn't complex, but it had left me completely shattered... a puddle to be mopped up off the floor by whoever was set to clean the gym that night. As I left the gym broken and bruised (figuratively speaking, except for my ego) I thought to myself, "this is what fitness really is, and damn I'd like to be good at this”.


Since that day 7-8 years ago CrossFit has been the overarching theme and style of my training. I've been a member of 4 affiliates throughout the Chicagoland area, and visited at least a dozen more across the US. Six years after that pivotal day I left my career selling elevators to open my own gym, excited to sacrifice a steady paycheck for something that I am truly passionate about. That day has changed the trajectory of my life... I've met some of my dearest friends through CrossFit, I am engaged to the love of my life (partially) through our shared love of CrossFit, and I'm now building my future career around this passion. I'm thankful for what it's done for me and I cherish the opportunity to show others what it can do for them!


- Coach Matt




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