Resources, Nutrition and Mobility

The 2017 CrossFit Games Open at CF 312

The 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games Open is just around the corner, so we wanted to take a moment to share all the information you will need for participating.

This blog post is long, but useful, so keep reading! And, as always, don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions.

The 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games Open begins Thursday, Feb. 23. Anyone can sign up to compete in five workouts over five weeks and post their scores online. You can learn more about the Games here.

There’s still time to register for the 2017 CrossFit Open. You must register before you submit your first score before February 27.


Once you register, make sure to join the CrossFit 312 Affiliate AND Team.

Each week the CF 312 Open will follow a similar format:

CrossFit Headquarters will announce each week’s workout via a live video feed at 7 p.m CT. Athletes are welcome to complete the workout during open gym on Thursdays.

We will hold one evening heat at 6:30 p.m. Coach John will run athletes through a warm up and explain the workout and movement standards. Athletes should be prepared to help score for other athletes. Make sure to sign up in Zen Planner!

The 8 a.m., 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. classes will be divided into heats for attempts at the open workouts. Athletes should arrive with enough time before their heat time to warm up. There will be a recommend warm-up posted and coaches on hand to answer any questions. Heats will start promptly at their posted times after a briefing on movement standards and time to set up work area before you begin your workout. Athletes should be prepared to help score for other athletes.

Athletes must pre-register for a heat in Zen Planner to participate in Saturday classes. Athletes who do not register for class will be filtered into heats based on availability. Athletes who chose not to sign up for the Open but want to do the workout must also pre-register for a heat to participate.

In order to accommodate the Open schedule, Saturday Strength Class will be cancelled from February 25 through March 25.

Saturday Strength Class will resume its normal schedule in April when the Open concludes.

If you are unable to attend on Saturday, athletes (who are registered for the Open) will be allowed to complete the workout on their own during open gym on Thursdays and Sundays or during normal class time on Friday or Monday. If you want to make up a workout on Friday or Monday, athletes must warm up with the regularly scheduled class before attempting workout. They must also secure a judge to score them. If you plan to do this, please notify the coach on duty at the beginning of class.

Athletes who do not have a judge and do not make it to regular class times will not be allowed to complete workout.

Alumni and athletes from other CrossFit gyms are more than welcome to complete open workouts at CF 312. This will be a community event and no drop in fee will be charged. We also encourage you to bring friends and family to cheer you on!

Please contact if you plan on dropping in for an open workout to register a drop-in participant for a heat.

The Spirit of the Open Award
Each week one athlete will be recognized by the CF 312 team with the Spirit of the CrossFit Open Award. This award will be given to a member who embodies the passion, drive, community, and spirit of CrossFit 312.

Top Athletes
Each week the top scoring Male and Female athletes in each division (Scaled, RX and Masters) will be recognized for their accomplishment.

The 2017 CrossFit Open will conclude with a CF 312 Party at West End Bar on Saturday, March 25 starting at 2 p.m. This party is open to friends and family of athletes.

Feel free to reach out with any additional questions. Looking forward to a great open!

We’ve got some big news to share!

Since CrossFit 312 first opened our doors in the West Loop over six years ago, the neighborhood has seen tremendous growth. With this growth comes change. We’ve been searching for a location in the neighborhood to fit our needs and are excited to share that CrossFit 312 will be moving to a new space in May!

Our new home will be 1356 West Lake Street, just 1.5 blocks west of our current location.

The new home to CrossFit 312 will feature all the same great things you love about our current space, along with a few upgrades:

  • New rigs and lifting platforms
  • Brand new bathrooms and showers
  • A new reception desk and retail area
  • A full kitchen and new member area
  • Dedicated parking spaces

As we get closer to the move date, we will update you with additional information, including plans for our grand opening!

As you may know, our current building was sold and is being redeveloped into office and retail space. We want to assure you that our class schedule and operations will remain the same through this transition. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

We feel honored and lucky to have shared many great workouts and memories with all of you at our current location and we look forward to more great memories, brutal WODs, and PRs at our new location!

Thank you for your continued loyalty and support!

Coach’s Spotlight – Patrick Starck

Favorite CrossFit movement:
Power Cleans

Favorite Workout Song:
Bad Company by Five Finger Death Punch. However, for some reason I love to listen to country while doing Olympic lifting.

Favorite Hero/Benchmark WOD:

Favorite Food:
A burger with bacon, egg, avocado and rib meat.

What inspired you to become a CrossFit coach? 
CrossFit truly changed my life for the better and I wanted to pass that on to others. To be part of a wellness community is an awesome experience. No matter what level of fitness a person is at, they can always be coached and always find ways to improve. I love to help others achieve their goals.

What has been your best coaching experience so far? 
During the 2014 CrossFit Open, one of the workouts had toes-to- bar in it. One woman told me she wouldn’t do the workout because she had never completed a toes-to- bar before. That motivated me to help her. With some coaching and great effort on her part, she completed 18 toes-to- bar! I’ll never forget the look on her face when she finished!

If you could give someone new to CrossFit just one piece of advice, what would it be?
Mobilize! I guarantee that your shoulders and hips are way more messed up that you realize.

Would you share with us your favorite tip or cue that we might find useful to use in our training?
When doing any Olympic lift, remember that the bar should travel vertically in a straight line. If you are unsure if you are doing the lift correctly get someone to take video of you and review.

If “PATRICK” was a WOD, what would it be? 
500m Row, then
21-15- 9
Wall balls
Power Clean 135#, then
500 m Row

What movement challenges you most and what are you doing to improve?
All the gymnastic movements. That has always been my biggest challenge in CrossFit. I’m making sure I do not back away from any movement that I am struggling with. I’ve been working on strict pull-ups and ring dips to help my strength. I am also exploring more ways to assist in my shoulder mobility.

What CrossFit athlete do you aspire to be most like? 
Garrett Fisher. I met him at CrossFit Miami Beach a couple years ago. CrossFit was not set up for taller guys, so it was awesome to see a guy taller than I am who is great at CrossFit. I did one wod with him and just trying to keep up with him was extremely humbling. He was very helpful and encouraging and treated everyone the same.

Battle on the Yard 2.0!

We are excited to announce more details on our upcoming in-house team competition, the 2017 Battle on the Yard 2.0! This should be a fun day to compete and challenge yourself with, and against, your friends. It’s also a great way to prep for the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Open, starting in late February.

Here’s everything you need to know:

Saturday, February 11 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

CrossFit 312

You and a partner (teams can be same gender or mixed, your choice! You just have to be in the same division RX or scaled.)


Scaled/Choose Weight

Why compete?
It’s a great way to challenge yourself and to have fun with your fellow 312 members!

How do I sign up?
We’ll have a whiteboard at the gym for team registration, or register online here.

Please register by Wednesday, February 1.

How do I know which division to sign-up for?
All skill and experience levels are welcome! The weights and movements below may not be a part of the competition, however, they can be used as a general guide to determine what division is best for you. These are working weights, not one rep maxes. (These are guidelines, not strict rules, so use your best judgement.)

Thruster (95/65)
Clean and Jerk (135/95)
Toes to Bar
Unassisted Kipping-Pull Ups
Deadlift (185/135)

Thruster (75/45)
Clean and Jerk (95/65)
Jumping Pull-Ups / Ring Rows
Deadlift (135/95)

What if I don’t have a team but still want to participate?
We’ll have a Free Agent sign-up section on the whiteboard and online. Sign up, and the CF 312 staff will help you pull together a team.

What should I plan for on the day of the event?
Plan on arriving early on that Saturday. Athlete briefing will start promptly at 8 a.m. and events will follow immediately after. Bring plenty of snacks and fluids.

Should our team have a name and make t-shirts?
Yes! Coordinating your outfits, fun team names and other friendly gamesmanship is strongly encouraged.

What if I don’t want to compete but want to judge or volunteer?
We’d love to have you help! Please email for more information.

2017 Healthy Living Challenge

Start 2017 off right with the CrossFit 312 Healthy Living Challenge!

Sign Up Today

To kick off 2017, we’ve pulled together our annual new year’s challenge. This challenge is about more than working out and eating right. Instead, we want to encourage you to explore what being ‘healthy’ truly means.

Our Healthy Living Challenge will focus on:

  • Nutrition
  • Sleep
  • Hydration
  • Fitness
  • Well Being
  • Personal Goal
  • Rest and Play

The challenge will run for 30 days from January 2 – January 31, but is intended to give you the tools and mindset needed to manage your lifestyle and health decisions all year long.

Deadline: Register by December 31.

Sign Up Today

Questions? Contact us at

Coach’s Spotlight – Patrick Zemanski

Favorite CrossFit movement: 
ring dips, pull-ups, scorpion stretch

Favorite Workout Song:
Anything 90’s hip hop and slower paced.

Favorite Hero/Benchmark WOD:
Fran 🙂

Favorite Food:

What inspired you to become a CrossFit coach?
I’ve been lucky enough to always have great coaches who have helped me learn the movements and motivated me to search for more knowledge outside of the 1 (4) hour(s) a day I spend at the gym. I felt like I had learned a lot and taken so much positive from my Crossfit experience that I really wanted to give back.

What has been your best coaching experience so far?
My favorite coaching moments occur one-on-one when a member lets you know that you’ve helped them “get it” or that look on someone’s face when they figure out how to Kip, pull-up, clean properly.

If you could give someone new to CrossFit just one piece of advice, what would it be?
Set achievable objective short term goals, focus on the details and push yourself. A lot of people show up and immediately want to do Rx weight and pay little attention to technique. I always recommend taking some weight off the bar and focusing on good form for all our athletes.

If “PATRICK” was a WOD, what would it be?
Ring Dips
Shoulder to Overhead
Pull ups

What movement challenges you most and what are you doing to improve?
Deadlift. I’ve always had a hard time properly activating my posterior chain. I try to show up early and do some banded work to get activation started. I also focus at form at lower weights instead of blowing my back out to set PRs.

What CrossFit athlete do you aspire to be most like?
Mike Z!

Coach’s Spotlight – Brian Sebben

Brian Sebben aka ‘B-Smooth’ aka ‘Silk’ (Thanks to Big Steve for the nicknames)

Favorite CrossFit movement:
Snatch, second favorite would be Rowing!

Favorite Workout Song:
Eagles of Death Metal – Got a Woman, it’s got a fast beat, great for the end of a workout. Or anything by Soundgarden

Favorite Hero/Benchmark WOD:
Diane is fun.
DL (225/155)

Favorite Food:

What inspired you to become a CrossFit coach?
When I started, I felt like I had no business being in a gym or even touching a barbell. My coaches made me feel very welcome and inspired me to get stronger. I was amazed at their form and fitness. I hoped to one day be able to inspire and encourage others like my coaches did for me.

What has been your best coaching experience so far?
I’m enjoying coaching the strength class. I like that the athletes are very consistent, and most of them have goals. It is very gratifying when I go over the movements with them, give them a cue, and then it suddenly “clicks” for them. I can see the excitement on their faces when it works and that bar just floats up into the air. Let’s keep setting those goals up, and knocking them down!

If you could give someone new to CrossFit just one piece of advice, what would it be?
Form First! Don’t lift with your ego!

Would you share with us your favorite tip or cue that we might find useful to use in our training?
Be patient, and finish that pull! It’s easy to get excited and try to sneak under the bar before you’ve finished your pull. I always remind myself to be patient, and wait for it.

If “YOUR NAME” was a WOD, what would it be?

5 Cleans (185/135)
10 Pistols
15 Pullups
20m Handstand Walk
1000m row cash-out

What movement challenges you most and what are you doing to improve?
Upper Body Strength – I try to use the Scap Jack frequently to build upper back and shoulder stability.

I also give myself homework several times a week to do 30 strict pull ups, 60 push ups, and some bar muscle ups, and it has already made a difference. I can do a few extra unbroken strict pull ups now, and I have no shoulder pain anymore.

What CrossFit athlete do you aspire to be most like?
I like the little guys, especially Chris Spealler, the dude is humble, and inspiring. The little guys have to rely on form rather than brute strength.

“Find your weaknesses, make friends with them, and beat them to death.” – Chris Spealler

Barbells for Boobs – 2016 Workout and Fundraiser

BFB_Bar_Logos-01Please join us Saturday, October 15 for a workout and community event benefiting a worthy cause.

Sign up for a heat at 8, 9 or 10 a.m., and then stick around as our chili cook-off contestants go head-to-head in a fierce competition from 11-1 p.m.!

Schedule of Events

8 a.m. – Warm up, Grace (30 Clean & Jerks for time) and additional metcon (TBD)
9 a.m. – Warm up, Grace (30 Clean & Jerks for time) and additional metcon (TBD)
10 a.m. – Warm up, Grace (30 Clean & Jerks for time) and additional metcon (TBD)
11 a.m. – Chili Cook-off, Tailgate & Raffle

About Barbells for Boobs

Barbells for Boobs is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the early detection of breast cancer, with an emphasis on women under the age of 40 and men.  Every $80 they raise provides a mammogram for someone who was previously unable to access one.


You can donate to Barbells for Boobs through our CF 312 team link.

Limited Edition Apparel

CrossFit 312 will be donating all proceeds from the limited edition Barbells for Boobs t-shirts and tanks which will be on sale during the event.

Chili Cook-off and Raffle

If you would like to participate in our Chili Cook-off or would like to donate an item to our raffle, please contact for more information.

Coach’s Spotlight – John Ryle

John “Wild” Ryle

Favorite CrossFit movement:
Squirming on the ground like a worm after a workout.

Favorite Workout Song:
Firework by KP (That’s Katy Perry)

Favorite Hero/Benchmark WOD:
I lost a real good friend in 2011 who was killed in Afghanistan. He wasn’t a CrossFitter by a great athlete and I worked out with him and played football with him through high school. I put together my own Hero workout for him back in 2011.

Again, not an official “Here WOD”, but it is to me:
4 rounds
03 clean @ 215
full gasser
08x back squat @ 215
sled push
15x dl @ 215
bear crawl 30m

Favorite Food:
Probably an Au Cheval burger with egg.

What inspired you to become a CrossFit coach?
Besides the sweet yellow shirts, I have gotten so much from CrossFit, I felt it was my job to pay it forward. You probably can’t find a lot of the terminology I use in the CrossFit journal, but I felt (and still feel) that the experience I have from CrossFit is some of the best advice/teaching points I can share.

What has been your best coaching experience so far?
Seeing people PR is always awesome, even if I’m not coaching. I’ve been present for a few people getting their first muscle up and always think I’m happier for them than they are for themselves.

If you could give someone new to CrossFit just one piece of advice, what would it be?
Eat better. For 2 years I did CrossFit everyday and ate like garbage. This was mainly because I had no idea HOW to eat right. The CrossFIt level 1 course taught me about the Zone diet and totally changed how I feel everyday. If you always hear people talking about “eat better!” but just don’t know how, I’m more than glad to share my experience and habits. I guarantee you it’s NOT complicated and likely will also save you money.

Would you share with us your favorite tip or cue that we might find useful to use in our training?
It’s all in the hips.  One of the best lifting tips I ever received was my first day of being in a weight room in high school. You have to be aggressive with your hip pop in cleaning and snatching.

If “YOUR NAME” was a WOD, what would it be?
1 RFT:
Smash a Push Packet
10 muscle ups
5 cleans @ 225
100 double unders
25 CTB Pullups
Squirm on turf for 7 minutes

What movement challenges you most and what are you doing to improve?
I’m not much a runner. I can smash a 40 yard dash. Anything more I struggle with (and frankly, hate). I’m trying harder to push myself in my runs. In the past I just fell into a pace and stuck there.

What CrossFit athlete do you aspire to be most like?
Michael Fischer.