Who is CrossFit Joliet?


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I spent a good part of my life overweight and unhappy with myself….. from Junior high to high school and into my adult life.

I was the “cardio queen”. I always wanted to incorporate weights into my routine, but I never knew how or even where to start. I read countless books, articles and watched videos and ordered DVD’s. You name it and I tried it. I had finally resigned myself to being okay with how I felt. Being okay with smoking, drinking, unhealthy eating, stress due to work, and any other excuse I could come up with for it to be okay that I felt bad all the time and was just dealing with it.

Then a friend and coworker told me about Crossfit Joliet/Undisputed Strength co. I’ll be honest, when I walked through those doors, I was intimidated, but I saw and felt the passion behind the coaching. That alone was motivating enough for me. I struggled and I learned every single day. The movements, the breathing, and the science behind why we do what we do. I did one on one personal training coupled with cross fit as well as sports performance. All of the programs have taught me that it’s not about being better or lifting more than the person next to you; it’s about being better than YOU were yesterday. I still learn and still struggle, but I loving every single minute of it. This is thanks to Brandon and the coaches along with my Undisputed family that are in there with me.

I always wanted to be an athlete and an inspiration to others, but never felt like I could. Today, I can say that I feel like an athlete. I can perform with the best of them and I can hopefully inspire people to feel the way that I do. It has taken me some time to get to this point and my hope for anyone reading this is: know that you will struggle, and it will be hard but it is worth it! Walking in the door is the hardest part, but it feels so good when you leave there and it will carry over into your daily life.

I no longer need to smoke or drink or “just deal with it”. I am strong mentally and physically and so happy that I walked through those doors and kept coming back.

Thanks for listening to my story.

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Roman Ortega Jr.

I grew up in Cicero, IL to Mexican parents and went to high school in Plainfield, IL.  I attained my Bachelors at Northern Illinois University and a Masters at Lewis University.  I have been in the U.S. Army for 16+ years and currently hold the rank of Major which is a field grade officer.  I will avoid writing a manifesto, so if you have follow up questions please feel to respond to me as many times as necessary.

So what have I learned serving in war for my country?  So many things to discuss, but I will give you what I think will pertain to the other gym members.  What I will present is not a dichotomy of thought but a juxtaposition of thought within the same frame of a life picture.

I learned in combat to embrace fear, fear of death, fear of failure, fear of losing a Soldier.  If you don’t embrace, grapple it, and subdue it, the fear will punch you in the face and blur your ability to think and make decisions.  Strangely enough, I told myself that I would likely die in Iraq because I was living in the “Triangle of Death” with 120 Iraqi Army Soldiers and fighting every day.  I never gave up and worked hard each and every day to make the life of the Iraqi people better for the future.  Ultimately I needed to make life and death decisions every single and needed to divest myself of anything that would not allow me to be mentally locked in, which for me meant getting over my own fear of death. I am a Army Ranger and perhaps this stanza from the Ranger Creed will help.  “Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be, one-hundred-percent and then some”

SO HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO THE GYM?  Embrace the fear of the workout, the fear of looking weak, the fear that you will not finish.  Let yourself be enveloped by the pain of the workout, tell yourself that you will come back each and every day to be physically, mentally, and emotionally stronger.  Be your own personally champion and no one else’s!

Coming to the gym helps me be a better father of a 9 year old girl and 6 year old boy by allowing me to express my warrior spirit by hitting the workout hard.  By hitting the workout hard, it naturally releases endorphins in my body which enables me to be happy and focused the rest of my day.  Essentially, “The WOD” is my enabler, and the drug dealer is myself in which I can grab my stash of natural opiates.  Subsequently when I engage with my children I am much happier and can truly focus on the education, enrichment, and mentorship of them.

I hope this paints the 1% of who I am and appreciate your comments.  If you would like read more about my 2005-2006 Iraq deployment you can purchase Amazon best seller and memoir written by one of my Soldiers.

Rangers Lead the Way!

Crossfit Joliet

I knew it was time, for my health, for my daughter, for me.

Where do I start? Who can relate? Where can I go, where I won’t be judged?

I’ve been to all the gyms in the area, the discounts, groupons and every special known to man attracted me to them.

I found out quickly you get what you pay for.

I became more self-conscience, I wasn’t myself, my mind was playing tricks on me.

FINALLY, I was referred to Undisputed Strength Co.

WTF? That was my initial thought after seeing their website, but the awesome reviews and hype pushed me to walk through those doors.

After my first consultation , I knew this is what I needed for change.

They talked to me about posture, breathing and range of motion.  Never have I heard this before?

They were professional with their approach toward my fitness goals.

I noticed that there were other’s just like me in there, all shapes and sizes, all fitness levels.

I worked with Brandon on a personal basis for about 6 months, my goals were to run a marathon, I needed the extra attention for strengthening and injury prevention.

I then enrolled in the CrossFit Joliet program, which led me to their Sports Performance class.

Both are programs where the coaches coach “efficiency”.

The movements were un-traditional but worked 10 fold compared to my previous training.  These are actual coaches, where it’s their profession not just a job as a trainer.

If only I could’ve been referred sooner, it would have saved me time and money, but hey, everything happens for a reason.

I am confident, I am mentally strong, I now look forward to working out and challenging myself everyday.

My daughter is my World, she deserves a STRONG, PROUD father.

Thank you for listening to my story.

God bless,


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