I have a lot more work to do, but I am certain I am on the right track now with Ivan’s help!
My name is Robert and I walked into Ivan’s CrossFit program about 3 months ago, as a 42 year old diabetic. After my first class I knew this was for me. It was brutal. It was hard. It was Intense and I loved it. I’d been to big box gyms before but they lacked in motivating and driving you. I got bored with them very easily. Ivan has this innate ability to move you and motivate you without being a drill instructor. When I first started I would go 2-3 times a week. I’ll be honest – there was some puking involved first, lol. I am now up to 5 times a week and push myself hard in every class.
What I’ve learned over the past 3 month is that CrossFit will push you. Undoubtedly. It’s designed to push your body and your mind.
Every completed rep is a success,
Every completed WOD is a bigger success,
Every finished lap is a success,
Every callous becomes a trophy when you’re driving yourself and Ivan shows you how to accomplish this.
Working with Ivan and my amazing morning crew has been the best thing I could have done for myself. The amount of support I’ve gotten, not only from the amazing morning bird class, but from every member of the gym is not something you see at any other gym. When you’re struggling to get that last impossible rep in and you hear all the encouragement and support from your crew pushing you on. That last impossible rep is not so impossible. I challenge anyone to find that at a big box gym. That is comradery at its finest.
At this point I may not be the strongest or fastest. I might not have the endurance level of some of the other members here – but every day I work on it. I’m looking forward to the competitions, the new WOD’s, and getting in better shape than ever. I’m going to be on that challenge winner podium soon. Hopefully without puking, lol.
December 2014 – Athlete of the Month: Daniel
My name is Daniel Sikorski. I started training with PBI in July 2014. After seventeen (17) years of intense weightlifting at the gym, I felt I needed to try something different. I was tired of the same workout routine. Training with PBI exceeded my expectations; it improved my strength, endurance, conditioning and motivation. PBI workouts had opened my eyes, it gave me more confidence with training, and the reason I became physically stronger and competitive. I recommend PBI to anyone looking to join!
I am 28 years old, happily married and have 2 wonderful kids. I started my journey about 2 months ago and I have accomplished things that I would have never imagined. For example, I have deadlifted 230 pounds! I have become stronger thanks to an amazing instructor who has taught and pushed me to do my best. I love the bird club because we are there for each other. We suffer and push through the pain and make sure we always finish strong. I have a long way to go and a lot to learn but I am confident that I will reach all of my goals!
April 2015 – Athlete of the Month: Karla
My job demands me to sit down too long at my desk.
I have been working out at PBI for the last 2 years and I would say the workouts have not only made me get stronger but also helped me improve my focus.
Before joining PBI I used to attend the group excercise classes at YMCA.
The classes at YMCA were good but I hardly noticed a change in the way I looked.
I found PBI through Groupon and I tried Ivan’s classes for the first few weeks using groupon. I can say that this is a great place for pushing your fitness to the next level. I noticed that I was burning more calories in the same 1 hour time span and also that I was getting stronger everyday. Working out people in a group was fun and I never felt bored. You get to know the people in your class and motivate each other. It is a GREAT place to push your limits beyond what you thought possible. The members in the gym are amazing. They are supportive and they push each other to new limits. Now that winter is coming to an end, I’m eagerly awaiting Ivan’s outdoor WODs. Ivan has something new to offer for people at various levels
February 2015 – Athlete of the Month: Dave M.
January 2015 – Athlete of the Month: Amber
My name is Amber , I am 33 years old and a busy mother of a 2 year old daughter. Growing up I was always tall, thin and lanky. I never had to work at my figure. I have also always been athletic and enjoyed being fit. During my teens and twenties, my body remained thin and slim. However, all that changed after I had my daughter. Keeping weight off and staying lean and fit wasn’t as easy and workouts at home were not enough. I decided it was time for a serious change and needed to be committed to something more serious. I had inquired with several gyms, yet working next door to Ivan seemed an obvious answer to my problems! Finding time to get to the gym with a two year old was challenging enough, but Ivan offered a variety of classes at different times so I tried it out for a week and haven’t looked back. I have not only lost the struggling weight, but have gained 2-3% body mass in the past eight weeks I’ve been with Ivan and love the results so far. I look forward to watching my body change and become more firm, toned and fit. At this point, I’m not 100% sure of my specific fitness goals, except that I want to feel and look good. I want to see definition and I want to become stronger, both mentally and physically. Working out has always given me that boost and missing a day makes me feel so, blah. Time will tell where else working out takes me but I’m ready for the journey. This has become an easy part of my routine. I wake up every morning eager to get into the gym and see what challenge is given to me. Leaving PBI sore is the absolute best to me as I know I am making gains each and every day. Ivan is a great support! He is very informative and helpful. He has also helped me get my diet back in order, diet meaning, making smart and healthy food choices. Between eating right and working out 5 times a week, I have quickly seen results and know more are to come. His gym is always fun and challenging and I enjoy being around everyone that I work out with and I look forward to new friendships. We keep each other on our toes, push each other to the next level, and don’t let each other give up. Thank you for welcoming me and helping me get my groove back in the gym!
October 2014 – Athlete of the Month: Katie
I was a competitive gymnast my whole life. Once I graduated college, it was tough for me to workout on my own. I was so used to coaches and strength trainers telling me what conditioning and lifting to do. I first started working out with Ivan about 3 years ago and it was exactly what I needed to keep me motivated and working out at a high intensity. I’ve even learned to enjoy Olympic style lifts this past year and look forward to strength gains and new PRs.
This past July I competed in the Ultimate Athlete Games and actually won the female division! (Thanks to Stacy for inviting me to go!) The variety in strength and endurance that we do in the workouts really prepared me for that race. Classes at PBI are always challenging and I look forward to coming for both the workouts and for the encouraging group atmosphere.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” > -C.S. Lewis
September 2014 – Athlete of the Month: Alan
August 2014 – Athlete of the Month: Tim
After spending countless weeks at the Y going through the normal routine, only 1 day a week and not seeing any self-improvement, I decided that it was time for a change. My boss would come into work barely able to walk after a workout so I asked what he was doing to get such great exercise. Enter Powered by Ivan. I started out slow with his groupon and was afraid to come back after the first day. If it wasn’t for the amazing support from everyone at the gym encouraging me to come back and to “make sure you walk” the next day I would have given up. Now 7 months later I am still with PBI and fulfilling all of my fitness goals. It is an accomplishment to walk out of Ivan’s day after day being able to say that I completed the workout. I would have never dreamed that I would be where I am today before I started with PBI. My goal is to always be better than I was yesterday and Ivan has undoubtedly guided me that way!
“Limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.” – Michael Jordan
July 2014 Athlete of The Month: Heather
I met Ivan six years ago. We both worked at Lifetime fitness when I decided to try his kickboxing class. we quickly became friends, and I found my I niche in the workout world. For the first time workouts were fun. Needless to say I have followed Ivan to a few different gyms. As the gyms evolved and got better so did the workouts and so did I. Last summer I completed my first mini triathlon (something I never would have thought would be possible). This year crossfit has brought me to another level of fitness. I now hate to miss a day and love the blood, sweat , and tears. I would never get thru each day without the support and the motivation of the class I now consider my workout family.
“Stop complaining – Go hard or go home”
June 2014 Athlete of The Month: Isabel
I came to Ivan when my friend gushed over his workout routines, she loved his classes so much I decided to check it out myself. She told me that his one hour workout will have me sweating more than I ever have and YES after one workout I was hooked! My very first class involved tire flips and I wasn’t able to flip the tire on my own at all! I realized I wasn’t challenging myself enough when I was going to the gym. Ivan’s workouts are based on individual need and change daily to challenge me to the max without overdoing it. Within a couple months I realized I was not only becoming physically strong but mentally strong as well allowing me to to build my endurance and complete my first 5K. I realized that I wasn’t just trying to lose weight, I wanted to get toned and become stronger. I want to challenge my body in every class and now realize that I am capable of a lot more than what I was giving myself credit for. Ivan has showed me proper techniques and now I can even lift weights, when in the beginning I wasn’t even able to lift the bar!! I have more and more confidence in myself and I know in time I will be able to lift even more. Not only is Ivan great but everyone at PBI is so encouraging and love watching you succeed. I love saying I do crossfit, its fun and something I never really thought I would enjoy. Needless to say, tire flips have become one of my favorite workouts as well as TRX.
“I will discover what I am truly capable of”
May 2014 Athlete of the Month: Super Dave
I used to work out in a big box gym, but realized that it had gotten so monotonous that I was only going through the motions. Although my workouts were sufficient for health benefits, I really wasn’t motivated to do them anymore. Often, it was a struggle to even go to the gym. So, when I came across a Powered by Ivan Groupon, I decided to give it a try. I had taken boot camp classes before, so I thought, how bad could it be? During the first class, I thought WTF – we have to do 7 rounds? I left after 4 rounds. During the 2nd class, I proudly told Ivan I finished in 20 minutes. He said, great – you finished the warm up in 20 minutes, now do the WOD. Seriously?? It was a humbling experience, but Ivan was always encouraging. He adjusted the workouts accordingly to work around my injuries. He corrected my form which helped me lift heavier weights. The workouts are always a different combination of exercises that build strength and endurance, so I am constantly challenged. The other members are friendly, welcoming and encouraging – they’ve help me push through the last round of the WOD many times. There are still times when I can’t finish the WOD, but I now realize that my workouts are a work in progress. As long as I push myself hard, I will continue to improve.
March 2014 Athlete of the Month: James
I started training with Ivan almost 3 years ago. At the time I was out of shape and really didn’t do anything physical other than playing softball. My wife, Kim, had recently began playing for the Lingerie Football League’s Chicago Bliss and she asked me to help her train and practice. This was when I realized how out of shape I had become. I could barely keep up with her as we worked on running routes and various football drills. Through the team, Kim had been invited to begin training with Ivan. Every week Kim would tell me that Ivan wanted me to come try out his training… but I was nervous! Finally she convinced me to give it a shot and although he kicked my butt it was exactly the motivation I needed! The group was immediately welcoming and quickly became my workout family. I love all of the different techniques Ivan uses for training and love how the workouts are never the same. Ivan and the team have pushed me to limits I had never thought possible. I now train 4-5 times a week and it has become part of my daily routine. Working out is no longer something I hate, it is a way of life. Since starting with Ivan I have maintained a 20 pound weight loss over the last two years. With the help of Ivan and my PBI Family I now compete in many distance running races as well as taking on multiple Triathlons each year. I continue to push my boundaries and my goals each season and continue crushing them thanks to Ivan. I am also now a part of the Bangtown Fightwear Sponsored Team PBI. Last year I placed 3rd in one of the 3 triathlons I did and also set new PR’s for my 5k and 8k run times. The previous Fall I had completed my first half marathon and I now have my sights set on the Chicago Marathon! 2014 Race season kicks off for me in a couple weeks and I try to better my 8K run time in my 2nd attempt at the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle!
“The greatest danger for most of us is not that we aim to high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it” Michelangelo
Lia & Adam
November Athlete of the Month: Lia & Adam
Being the queen of deals I discovered powered by Ivan last November through groupon. My husband, Adam, and I each bought one and thought it would be a good way to get us back to the gym without having a gym membership. We had both played sports through college and with two young kids and full time jobs we didn’t have a whole lot of “extra time” to try to squeeze in gym time but wanted to lose some weight and stay in shape. I started with Ivan about 6 months after my youngest was born and while each workout made me sore for the following 2 days it was something new and different each time. The 7 am Saturday session have grown since last year and some of my favorite days are those when we partner up and compete. You start to build relationships with the people you are training with and when you partner with them it’s not just about you it’s about not letting your partner down.
Adam also attended once a week during the week at 7 am for several months but he really started to enjoy the camaraderie of the 7 am classes coupled with visible weight loss (40 pounds and counting) and gaining strength. He started to attend twice and now three times during the week and is always looking to be faster and stronger with the WOD’s. He would tell you that there is a huge difference between working out at the gym and running on the treadmill versus doing “crossfit” workouts. Each workout is different and challenges your entire body and you can’t just breeze through a crossfit workout. It’s intense and uses up an hour leaving you exhausted, but looking forward to your next workout.
It’s become such a big deal in our house that our kids recognize that when we leave the house with our gym clothes and water bottles that “you are going to see Mr. Ivan to get strong”. Our 3 year old does burpees for fun and can’t wait for days that Mr. Ivan lets her do hill sprints.
The inspirational words of Ivan are always a benefit as he pushes just enough to not let you get lazy or stop believing in yourself but not like those obnoxious trainers who are barking in your ear. Ivan told me the other day (after he harassed me for not being able to come more often) that the important part is not how many days a week you come or how long you stay but the work that you do and how hard you try when you are here….it’s true !!
October Athlete of the Month: Stacy
I started working with Ivan about six months ago and was pretty intimidated. Everyone was so fit! These girls were lifting so much weight and climbing ropes with such ease! I started seeing some small improvements, but still wasn’t where everyone else was. At some point I got hooked. I started looking forward to my alarm going off in the morning. Our morning class was no longer just a workout, but rather a group of friends I was eager to see every morning. They encouraged me, pushed me to do one more rep, one more sprint, and soon I was the one making it up that rope!
For the last year, I had a nagging pain in my left hamstring. Anyone who knows me knows how stubborn I am. I figured it would go away or I could just push through the pain. I didn’t have time to be injured. Finally, eight weeks ago, I had it checked out. I was devastated to learn that I had a stress fracture in my pelvis. I was told to stay off of it for three months, maybe more. No soccer, no running, no jumping and no squats. (No burpees either, but I was fine with that!) For me, exercise has been my saving grace, my stress relief, my coping mechanism, my me time, and now they were taking that away from me. I had come so far from just a few years ago when I was over 200 pounds and my self-esteem was in the gutter. I was terrified to end up there again.
Thankfully, Ivan wouldn’t let me give up or feel sorry for myself. He promised to keep me in shape, and he did. He modified every workout for me to keep me off the leg while still maintaining my fitness. What could have been a major set back ended up being a blessing in disguise. Between Ivan’s workouts and baselining my diet, I dropped a surprising 18 pounds and am seeing muscles I never knew I had! Instead of “weenie arms”, they’re calling me the push press queen! (I also answer to “Guns”.) I’m just gradually starting to incorporate my legs again, but I can already tell that I’m returning faster, stronger, and fitter!
I couldn’t have done any of it without my sweaty, grunting, wacky 7 a.m. group, without Brian to get me there and keep me smiling, and I have to especially thank Jill for always checking in on me, keeping me positive, and encouraging me…and of course, the man himself, Ivan!
August Athlete of the Month: Caroline
Hi! My name is Caroline and I am a 45 year old mother of 2 young men. I was always blessed in my youth, being very thin and active. I was in the pool almost every day of my life through college and played a lot of tennis and did aerobics. Even after having my 2 kids (8 years apart) I was able to return to a size 2 pretty easily. Over the past 10 years, life and stress has taken over. A busy lifestyle running kids from one sport to another mixed with a hectic work schedule has led to some really bad eating habits. Gradually I gained 60 pounds and basically let myself go because I was so wrapped up in caring for others. I just got lost in the shuffle.
For the past 3 years I have tried to reverse the spiral I was on. I did a couple of years of MMA training and tried bootcamp for a while, but the weight just was not budging and I just felt like I was blowing up like a balloon. Going to the gym 5 days a week did keep me busy and active but I wasn’t seeing results and started to get discouraged. I came back to Ivan to try the Crossfit class. After the first class, I didn’t think I could hang with these kids AT ALL. I was pretty discouraged and thought about not returning, UNTIL I received so much encouragement from everyone else that was there. Kudos for making it through the first class. I felt welcomed and not like I was holding everyone else back with their training. It made me come back the next night. I was so sore and could barely walk, but I made it through that class and kept going.
After 2 weeks I was starting to see improvement in my abilities. I was becoming addicted. Then Ivan asked me how committed I was to wanting real change and introduced me to the baseline method of eating. A 30 day step 1 to a change in eating habits. It was difficult at first to try incorporate meat at every meal as I have not always been a big fan of meat. After I got through week 1, I got more creative and mixed around different meat sources through the day to see how my body reacted to what I was eating. It was then that the pounds started to melt away. I ended up losing 15 pounds in 30 days. That is really substantial but the visual results were even more impressive in my eyes. I think numbers on a scale can be deceiving, but a picture says a thousand words.
In my before and after shots, I noticed that I had increased muscle definition, less bloated look, and a really bad tan/burn. The burn came from my reward for dropping the 15 pounds. Instead of the usual food treats I used to do for myself, I treated myself to putting a bikini on and going to the pool. I went and didn’t make myself, or anyone else, throw up. J Success. I am very determined to continue my journey on redefining myself and my body in a more positive way. So, I am onto the next phases of the baseline journey and hope for more success.
“Losing weight and redefining your body takes not only hard work in the gym, but hard work in the kitchen.” This is my quote for success.
Best of luck to all of you who are now in competition to become the next Athlete of the Month!!!!!! Thank you Ivan for getting me back on track!!!!! Debt of gratitude.
Nick "Ting Ting'
June 2013 Athlete of the Month was Nick aka “Ting Ting”
They call me “Ting Ting” because I need metal legs! I am always training hard and pushing through the pain! Even with my legs in pain, I have continued to train with Ivan and continually getting better at my races. I have had a really busy race season for 2013 including and olympic triathlon, a half marathon and the Chicago Marathon coming up soon!
Quote: “Life’s not about how hard of a hit you can give… it’s about how many you can take, and still keep moving forward.” Rocky
May 2013 Athlete of the Month was given to long time PBI’er: Janell
“I have been training with Ivan for many years now and have become friends with
most people in the group. In November, I hit a personal low point and really struggled with depression. I didn’t want to get out of bed, let alone work out. I don’t think anyone knows how low I was feeling, but through the encouragement of everyone I would muster what energy I had to go work out. I was the weakest and most out of shape I have been in a long time which made things even more depressing. The most healing part wasn’t in working out itself, but it was being around the great people who go there every day. Their positive attitude, kindness and goofiness pulled me out of my slump and I have finally gotten to the point where life is looking good and I am stronger than I was before! Because I have been training with Ivan for so long, I see that fitness isn’t about being stronger or faster or thinner (although these are great goals to keep you motivated!). It’s a lifetime committment with ups and downs along the way, and having a support group to keep you going is invaluable!! I am looking forward to triathlon season this year and I want to thank everyone for being a steady rock I could count on during a time when my life was upside down.
Mr. & Mrs. B
April 2013 saw our first Couple Athlete of the Month: Mr. and Mrs. B
“We started working out at PBI after we saw the fun our son Corey and his wife Gina were having working out and the physical transformations of them and their friends. We were shortly thereafter hooked on Ivan’s workouts. We started with two days a week then went to three days a week. Right now, we’re working out four times a week with Ivan. With this type of workout you see some really quick gains on strength and abilities. We’ve been working out at PBI for eight months now. Ivan has a different workout Planned for every session so you never get bored and your body doesn’t get used to doing the same thing over and over again. We love that we won “Athlete of the Month” for April. We named our little trophy guy Mini B and dressed him in athletic apparel. So, he was our mascot for the month, attending every workout and served as a reminder of our commitment to get fit. Thank you, Ivan for honoring us with the “Athlete of the month” title!!”
Quote: “We aren’t where we want to be, We aren’t where we’re going to be, And we aren’t where we should be, But thank goodness we aren’t where we used to be” – Lou Holtz
March 2013 saw the creation of the Athlete of the Month at PBI. Kim Kostecki was our first Athlete of the Month, congrats Kimmy! Here is Kim’s story on how she came to train with PBI:
“I first heard of Ivan’s class from my friend Chelsea. She always had really nice things to say about it and was getting involved in a lot of different races. She was trying new things and it seemed she has a great support system behind her. Now, I have never really been athletic or a big gym person. Whenever I would walk into my gym all I would feel is overwhelmed and discouraged. I didn’t ever know what to do and I was never really that motivated to ever go. It wasn’t fun and I would feel very self-conscious.
When I first started going to Ivan’s class, I was just going a few days a week. Something that I really liked about it right off the bat was that you never did the same thing when you got to class. And you never had to worry about not knowing what to do because everyone would help you out and show you how. I was really surprised when people were willing to help me out with my form and how patient they were. At the start of the new year, I started going to classes 4-6 days a week. I actually wanted to go, not just because I started seeing results but because I was also excited to hang out with a great group of people. Ivan has pushed me out of my comfort zone and I’m grateful for it. When he told me that I was going to be the first “athlete of the month” honestly I was shocked. I was never good at sports, was always put on the bench and was always picked last for everything. I’m going to be cheesy for a moment and just want to say that I was really honored and excited to receive that recognition from Ivan. I know I ‘m not the strongest, fastest, or most fit person in the class, but to be acknowledged for the effort I’ve put in really means something. At Ivan’s gym I have learned what the heck a TRX is, how to properly to do a squat, box jumps, tire flipping, dead lifts, power cleans (don’t tell my mom aka my roommate about that one she might take a different meaning from it), and etc. And this summer I am going to participate in my first Triathlon. I’m a little nervous but I got a great group of friends to back me up. Athlete of the Month out. Stay Class, Chicago…”
Quote: “Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it”~Salvador Dali