August Athlete Spotlight - Sam Swofford


August Athlete Spotlight - Sam Swofford


If you're not up well before the crack of dawn or don't ever get to Saturday workouts, you still have probably met this CrossFit "OG" (Old Guy in CrossFit). He's at all our competitions judging and cheering on athletes from our gym as well as other gyms. We're here to tell you his dedication to CF and our gym is stellar and we're so glad he's one of our own!
Please put your hands together for


I am absolutely an attention whore. So being told there would be a SPOTLIGHT on me was extremely exciting.

Sam- Aug..jpg

The Beginning:
     I began “dabbling” in CrossFit in January of 2012 (6 years ago!!??). I and a few of the regular “boot-campers” at my office got together and paid to have a CrossFit instructor come to our gym and put us through workouts. The workouts were different from the boot camps, but it wasn’t real CrossFit. We didn’t have rowers, had only 1 oly bar, no wall balls, and our heaviest kettlebell was 30 pounds. I learned some of the lingo and most of the acronyms and did a whole bunch of burpees. I joined a CrossFit gym in April of 2012. I can remember my first class vividly. The skill was double-unders and we had to see how many we could do in 60 seconds (I got 47).  And the WOD was 5 rounds of 3 handstand push-ups, 6 CTB pull-ups, and 9 OHS at 115 lbs. I don’t remember my time, but I know I did strict press instead of the HSPUs, I did kipping pull-ups that were nowhere near chest-to-bar, and my OHS was at 75# and my form was awful. But I was hooked.  I loved the fact that there was a coach encouraging me to go at a lower weight because I had never done OHS before. I loved that the coach was providing instruction and correcting form throughout the WOD. I loved that I was not only in competition with myself, but with a bunch of names on a whiteboard. It was AWESOME!

Sam Jerk Aug.jpg

The Middle:
5 AM became my preferred workout time. People think I’m crazy to set the alarm for four o’clock in the morning to work out. But it has always worked for me. Lynette and I knew each other from our previous gym, and I became a member of Uncharted CrossFit 2 months after it opened. I love the CrossFit methodology and I love my early morning crew. Getting up early to crack inappropriate jokes with friends and compete with both the guys and the girls is completely worth it to me. We have cultivated a strong little morning crew family where we have fun with each other and we hold each other accountable for fitness. We even allow the lazy people who sleep in until 6 AM class to be a part of it.

Sam BJ Aug.jpg

Looking Forward:
Uncharted is a great gym that has premier equipment, a strong community, and excellent coaches. I am proud to be a part of it. I will leave you with a few important things you should know:

  1. Dorothy Scroggins is the HEART and SOUL of the UCCF community, so act accordingly when the queen arrives.
  2. The 2 most memorable sounds at UCCF are the glee of someone PR’ing a lift or skill and “TEN SECONDS!!!!!!!!!!!” (Peterson style)
  3. We all have one major thing in common: we all pay money to do calisthenics in a warehouse.
  4. “You can’t out-fitness a bad diet.” – Lynette Kotraba
  5. We are all competitive and want to win, but in the end no one really cares what place you got. But, EVERYONE cares if you cheat. Don’t cheat.
  6. Stretch. CrossFit can be intense. It is very difficult to do CrossFit while injured. So take care of your body and listen to it. Avoiding injury will allow you to CrossFit for a long time. 
  7. Peeing while jumping rope or farting in the bottom of a squat are perfectly acceptable. 
  8. Focus on the tiny victories. If you want a pull-up, break the process down into smaller steps so you can achieve little bits of success on your way to the big success. It will build momentum.
  9. Always be friendly. If there is a new member or a drop-in, you should pride yourself on being the first person to introduce yourself to them. Tell an inappropriate joke within the first five minutes because they need to know what they signed up for.
  10. Always cheer. If you finish the workout before others, you have permission to roll on the floor and catch your breath for no more than 60 seconds. You have a cash out consisting of getting up off the floor, finding the nearest athlete still working and encouraging them to keep fighting. When the last athlete is done, then you can be done.

- Sam 

Sam & Stell Aug.jpg




The Back Lot Bout 2018 is Back!

The Back Lot Bout 2018 is Back!

The Back Lot Bout is back! UnCharted CrossFit will be hosting a four person co-ed team competition on August 18th.

Teams will be comprised of 2 women and 2 men featuring Rx and Scaled divisions. There will be 3 WOD's, an obstacle course and championship WOD for top 4 teams in both divisions.

Registration is $215 per team and includes a custom competition shirt. Grab your team, put it on the calendar and be ready to sign up as space is limited!

Registration is now open, link below to sign up!

July Athlete Spotlight - Marc Maxwell & Courtney Sansone


July Athlete Spotlight - Marc Maxwell & Courtney Sansone


Meet our first "Dynamic Duo" chosen by our coaches for the Athlete Spotlight. He had done CrossFit before. She was hesitant. But she is known to have said after their first introductory class with him and a friend: "What were we afraid of and why did we wait so long?" because she she saw what he saw: CrossFit is fun!

**Meet Courtney Sansone And Marc Maxwell**



   Oh wow! Where do I even begin? I will make this short, sweet, and to the point.

   I have always been a competitive person. I tried every sport when I was a little kid and played soccer all throughout college. Once I graduated college, I had no idea what I was going to do since I was so burnt out on soccer. One day I saw an Instagram post of this girl who was ripped [she was a body builder] and thought to myself, I want to look like her!!! That was the start of my fitness journey. I had no idea what bodybuilding all involved and figured it was just eating semi-healthy. Shortly after, I found a coach who was willing to train me for the hard journey of a bodybuilding figure competition. After completing my show, I thought for sure bodybuilding was what I was going to do for the rest of my life. Boy was I wrong!!


   Towards the end of my second competition prep, I met the other half of our “Dream Team” - Marc Maxwell. At the beginning of our relationship, Marc kept trying to convince me that I should try CrossFit. I kept laughing at him and saying "no" because all I would watch on the internet were the CrossFit fail videos! Fast forward to a year later, I finally said I would try it out just so he would leave me alone. I remember going to work the next day and researching every box that was close to us. Then BOOM! I found the one for us. UnCharted just stood out to me more than any other box. Once we signed up for the Intro Elements class, it was all over from there - I was hooked. I didn’t want to admit it to Marc, because I hate telling him he’s right (which doesn’t happen often!). After being a member of UnCharted for only a few weeks, I started to realize why Marc wanted me to join CrossFit so badly - I truly didn’t know it was possible to meet so many amazing people in one place! And that I would add to my fitness journey in such a fun way. 

Courtney Bar.png


   For starters, my back hurts from having to carry this team! (j/k) You can pretty much copy and paste what Courtney said above to my story, except the competing in bodybuilding part. I don’t think I could ever be that strict on diet and cardio. I’ve been lifting weights on and off for about 13 years. Most of that time was spent doing "Bro Sesh’s" at Golds, but I didn’t skip leg days! (Well, at least I didn’t skip them all the time).


    I first heard about CrossFit back in 2007 when I was stationed in Southern California. I could remember hearing my fellow Marines talking about this "CrossFit style" of training and it caught my interest. At the time, I worked nights in the Emergency Room on base and during the slow parts of the night, I would sit on the computer and read through the articles and forums on Though I never had the courage to go into a box and start training, it always stayed in the back of my mind as something I really wanted to try. I didn’t officially start CrossFit until 2015 and have been hooked ever since.


Courtney and I can’t even put into words how happy CrossFit has made us. We are all about working hard and pushing ourselves to become a better athlete/individual, but the community we have at Uncharted is the real win. It doesn’t matter what the person next to you is lifting or where they are at in the WOD, we all suffer and get through it together. With that being said, THANK YOU



JUNE Athlete Spotlight- Rosemary

JUNE Athlete Spotlight- Rosemary

This lady's dedication is just ... awesome. She attends lifting class, CrossFit class and even joined in our summer Cool runnings program. She has the drive to push herself past limits and progress each time she walks into the gym. She sets a positive example for her family to be healthier through fitness. You will see their whole clan -Casey, Gabreal and Talaena (our evening babysitter) - working out together here at UnCharted. We are proud to have her as part of our UCCF community!

    *  ROSEMARY MEZERA  *    


Hi Everyone!

A little bit about me ... I started my CrossFit journey four years ago. I was overweight, at a job I hated and extremely depressed. A friend of mine kept telling me to try CrossFit, so I got a CrossFit membership for my birthday and I haven’t looked back! I love CrossFit because I never get bored and the community is a huge perk! 

Rosemary Running club.jpg

The first month of CrossFit was really difficult... I dealt with anxiety every day, didn’t talk to anyone except the coach and just kept plugging away... One of the things I will never forget is my coach said “hey, all I ask is that you keep moving, I’ll get you to where you want to be.” So that is what I did. After the first month I realized that my “normal” aches and pains in my knees and back, were gone.


My confidence grew and I had the courage to quit my job. CrossFitt has taught me what everyone tries to tell you...”you’re stronger then what you think!” Not just with weights, but more importantly, with everyday mental struggles and whatever crap life throws at me. 

Once my nutrition got dialed in, my nutritionist said “Rosemary, it all has to come from your workouts now.”

Rosemary Transformation.jpg

This was one of my reasons for coming to UnCharted. She told me I need to lift more frequently and heavy!! Two of the things Coach Lynette loves to give 😬. I love to compete and seeing others reach their goals! I’m extremely honored to not only been chosen as June’s athlete but throwing down with all of you on a daily basis! 



MAY 2018 Athlete Spotlight Jada Jordan

MAY 2018 Athlete Spotlight Jada Jordan


     This lady is very consistent in her workouts here at UnCharted. She's at the gym a good 6 out of 7 days per week, every time giving her max effort. She loves to hear "3-2-1-GOOOO" as that pushes her to get the optimum workout she can get. And Sunday's Open Gym finds her working on her weaknesses as well as sharpening her skills. She's community-driven: always cheering, encouraging and supporting everyone around her. We hope her work ethic rubs off on everyone! Meet:



     As with most of the other athletes that Lynette and Patti have focused on, I was truly shocked to be chosen.  There are so many awesome people at this gym, and I didn’t really think I would be focused on.  What do I mean by that?  There are stronger and more proficient folks that can do more and go faster than I can.  But as I think about it, isn’t the point that we are always striving to be better, right?

I find it really hard to talk about myself like others have said in their Spotlight articles, but here it goes….


     I was pretty much in a gym consistently until my early 20’s because of the sports that I was involved in.  I fell off because I was busy working, going to school and being a single mom.  And let’s be honest,  I could eat and drink whatever I wanted at that time and nothing about my body changed! Then when those pounds started coming on in my 30’s, (and not going away on their own), I decided that I needed to get back to it. 

     Like most, I HATED going to a gym and going on the treadmill for 30 min. then walking around the weight room trying to figure out what I should do for that day.  I found myself landing in a boxing gym and fell in love with it.  I even got into the ring to spar with a trainer a few times to see if I wanted to actually box another person (not just a heavy bag.)  I only had to get hit hard in the face once to realize that was not the path for me! 


     Fast forward to June, 2016, I had an accident where I severely broke my left wrist. I was actually told that I would likely never be able to regain full function again.  They also informed me that my bones were “very thin” and borderline Osteoparitic! I was only 42!.  I was depressed because the only thing that kept me sane was my workouts. My crazy-self went ahead and worked out with a cast on and hit the bag with one arm!  (Yes I am THAT person)

     So why change since I loved boxing so much? Simple, I needed to get stronger!  The cardio was great, but I was building no muscle and not making my body (bones) stronger.  And shortly thereafter a pretty awesome person introduced me to CrossFit.  I thought I could be a rockstar when I first started because I did work out and all…..Then two weeks in, I did 16.1 and that’s where stuff got real! I immediately thought I made a poor life choice at that moment.  But afterward, I was bitten with the desire to just.get.better.



     I can honestly say that I have fallen more in love with CrossFit since then and have no desire to go back to my old boxing gym. (AND I never thought I would say that.) The people at UnCharted are a major reason why I love CrossFit as well.  They make me want to come every day and they push me even when I am not necessarily on my "A" game.  I am excited to push myself more and achieve more goals that I have set for myself!



If You Can Breath, You Can Brace!

If you can’t breathe, you can’t brace. Many times we think about taking a deep breath in and bracing our core to prepare to hit a big lift. Do we actually know what we are bracing? Am I just holding my breath? Knowing how to properly breathe is the first step in bracing properly.

To properly breathe you must be able to use your diaphragm. Your diaphragm is a large parachute-like muscle underneath your lungs that assists you to draw air in and help expel air out. It is our primary respiratory muscle. As your diaphragm contracts it draws air into your body and as it relaxes it pushes air out. On the left is the diaphragm contracting and on the right is the diaphragm relaxing and air being expelled.


There are many ways to find out how to breathe into your diaphragm. The easiest way is to lay down on the floor and place one hand on your belly and one on your chest. Take 5 deep breaths focusing on your breath and ensuring that your hand on your belly moves first. As your inhale your belly button should move away from your spine and as you exhale it should move toward your spine. This should be done while taking your breaths in and out of your nose. If you feel it is hard for you to breathe into your belly, work on this drill throughout the day. Another way to find your diaphragm is to sit in a lotus position and place your hands underneath your ribs. When you take a breath, your hands should be the first to move. Think of breathing into your hands or an imaginary belt wrapped around you.

Now that you know how to breathe into your diaphragm you can properly brace your core. My favorite cue for this is to act like you are going to be punched in the gut. You must first breathe into your diaphragm in order to brace your core. Think of your core like a pop can- you can stack a substantial amount of weight on an empty pop can if stacked right, however there is a much higher risk for the can to be crushed with any minor dent in the can. Now think of a pop can full of fluid that you just shook up- there is a large amount of pressure inside the can and that can hold more weight with less chance of being dented. The empty can would be your spine without you taking a breath in, where you can still hold weight if stacked properly but have a higher risk for injury like being “dented.” Now if your take a breath in and create intra abdominal pressure like when you “shake up the can”, you can hold more weight with less risk of injury. This technique is called the “Valsalva Maneuver” and should be used for maximal squat attempts. While performing more repetitions it is important to breathe in-between reps, but to ensure you are breathing through your diaphragm and maintaining core stability.

- Coach Ryan 





Kind of known as the "Silent CrossFitter" around UCCF, this gentleman is renowned for his quiet demeanor and his affection for the curl bar. You see his name leading the whiteboard on a regular basis, yet he's truly such a humble guy. But we're happy to brag on him and welcome him as our April, 2018 Spotlight Athlete. Meet:

    *  MATT WHITESIDES *     

To whom it may concern,

Matthew Brian Whitesides (born March 17, 1991) is an American office worker and former barista. He currently trains at Uncharted CrossFit. Virtually all modern scholars agree that Whitesides does in fact exist.

Now a word from Matt,

Thank you Lynette and Patti for this honor, I am proud to be chosen for this considering all the past athletes and their awesome stories. I figured if I stuck around long enough, they'd run out of good candidates and have to wrap back around to me. I was hoping to stealthily avoid ever doing this, but it seems this is what fate has brought me. Luckily I'm crushing this writeup so far.


I've always enjoyed working out. I'm pretty sure I've been working out at least five days a week since I was in middle school. For some sick reason I always liked getting up early so I always took a before-school strength training class and then another one during school hours.

Before CrossFit, I always did the classic body building type workouts: Monday biceps, Tuesday chest, Wednesday legs, etc. However in college, a buddy of mine convinced me to try a power lifting competition. We did all right in the bench press (as that was really the only thing we worked on) but squats and dead lifts - we failed miserably. These were a couple of things we couldn’t easily do in a regular gym, as they frown upon failing or dropping weights. This in combination with my realization that I never did cardio beyond a 10 min walking warm-up got me thinking. I couldn't find any power lifting type gyms in my town, but I knew that CrossFit gyms let you drop weights, do Olympic style lifting, and force me to do things I normally wouldn't.


I went to the first gym I saw and it was some workout of only wall balls and running (I clearly recall something like one thousand wall balls and a marathon.) I did very poorly. It took me a few months before I went back, but it was a much more friendly - and fun - workout so I figured I might as well do this every day. I was much cooler in college because I'd go to the 5 AM CrossFit classes, go to a regular gym and do curls for 2 hours, then go to class. But affter graduation I moved to St. Charles and needed to find a CF gym. I googled "CF gyms" and wouldn't you know, Uncharted was only half a mile away, so I figured I could easily make that trek.


Truly Uncharted is unlike any of the other gyms I've been to, even at other CrossFit gyms. I've never been pushed to work and improve as much as here. Everyone here wakes up every day stoked to work out and then blows me out of the water on the WOD. The coaches here really care, too. Despite my best efforts of trying to slack off every day, they still continue to push me. I have to thank them for that.

Till next time,


UnCharted Barbell's Spring Lifting Meet 2018

UnCharted Barbell's Spring Lifting Meet 2018

UnCharted Barbell will be hosting our annual spring lifting meet on April 14th. This is a USAW sanctioned lifting meet that is open to youth, junior, senior and masters division. Registration cost is non-refundable $45 for USAW members and $55 for NON-USAW members. We look forward to hosting another energetic meet with lots of PRs!
Registration is now open! 

Athlete Spotlight- March 2018


Athlete Spotlight- March 2018

You've seen her at the 6:45 class religiously putting in extra time to work on her on pull ups; she comes to Sunday's Open Gym to work on - pull ups! But many of you know her for her time and talents volunteering at our competitions and events, whether judging athletes or selling t-shirts, photographing the event and cheering people on, just like she does in every class. We couldn't be happier that she rose to the challenge of CrossFit and chose UnCharted as her home box! 



I received an email today from Lynette with the subject “Happy Tuesday.” Intrigued,
I opened it as soon as I saw and was in total shock: I’ve been chosen as the athlete spotlight for March! I was smiling ear to ear and felt my face turn red from blushing. I am beyond flattered. Then the extreme dread set in; I have to write about myself. Welp, here goes nothing…

I’ll start from the very beginning. I’ve never been what you call athletic. As a young kid, I never played any sports and somehow even missed out on the obligatory playing of soccer that most everyone seems to have in their past. In high school, the closest I ever got was trying out for the cheer squad. Spoiler alert: I didn’t make the team - A squad or B squad. It wasn’t until college that I started having any interest in fitness. At first it was getting down with Billy Blanks in my basement doing some Tae Bo. Unfortunately, that wasn’t sustainable because I was just trying to lose weight and felt it was more of a chore than something I found enjoyable. Eventually I joined Gold’s Gym and I was hooked. I started going nearly every day. The only issue was that I really had no idea what I was doing. I made my way into some of the group fitness classes and I enjoyed those because they gave me some structure. I kept up this routine for many years. Then one day it was gone: the spark, the passion. I’d miss a class here and there. Then a whole week – gasp – I hadn’t done that in 5+ years. Ultimately, I let my membership lapse and the next thing I knew I had not worked out in 6 months.


I saw an ad for a 6-week challenge. It focused on lifting and some aspects of CrossFit so my interest was piqued. After the challenge ended I began looking into CrossFit gyms around where I live. A few came up in a decent radius but one especially got my attention from their really great website – UnCharted!

I actually sat with it in my back pocket for a bit. Then one day I woke up and knew things had to change. I set up my first class and it was the night before I closed on my house. The next day when I limped into my closing, I knew I found what I had been missing. The passion for working out was back! I finished Elements and opted for the 12 classes a month. My first month, even with the few elements classes, I blew through the 12 classes and had to add on. By month two I upped my package to unlimited. I now attend classes the majority of days. There’s nothing better than ending my day at UnCharted and if I cannot attend a class I feel like something is missing.

I love UnCharted and CrossFit because it really is a fantastic community. Everyone is so friendly and supportive and when we do the workouts we are in it together, enduring it next to each other. Then there are the coaches. I cannot put into words how awesome they are. They are some of the most helpful people I’ve ever met and they really do care about you hitting your goals, your concerns, your triumphs – just about you. All of that on top the tough workouts makes it really easy to keep coming back for more each day.

Best part of all, during the bingo fun I got to be the top of the pyramid so it was like I was a cheerleader for a night. Dreams do come true! Thank you all for your support,
encouragement, friendship, and being generally awesome!




February Spotlight Athlete

You've seen him at our competitions as a fierce competitor, you've seen him judging our different competitions and you've seen him at the weightlifting classes since they first started. He has also competed (first time!) in our Olympic Weightlifting Meet where he was such fun to watch. He says it all by the big grin on his face when he hits that lift  j u s t   r i g h t.
We think he's just right for UnCharted!
Meet  Chadd Salter


Doing it for the OMF’s!!! If you don’t know what that means you’re probably still in your twenties and can get through the toughest WOD’s with relative ease. As one of the coaches once said in reference to me, you can teach an old dog new tricks, and USE YOUR LEGS!!

 My journey to CrossFit took a while. Before I joined UnCharted I had always been into fitness, well - lifting weights. My ideal workout was several heavy sets of bench, dead lifts and squats and not having to wait for someone to finish doing curls in the squat rack. Although I lifted heavy, I also ate that way too. As I made it over the hill and into my 40’s, I knew I couldn’t continue to just lift heavy and not include any type of metabolic conditioning. Left on my own, I would’ve just done another heavy set and run to my car in the parking lot… if it was raining (that’s conditioning right?)


     I researched CrossFit and of course came across a lot of negative reviews regarding injuries and the need for a good orthopedic surgeon, and then there were the funny looking pull ups, but I still wanted to try it. I also wanted to learn the Olympic lifts which apparently you have to use your legs for??


I eventually joined UnCharted and after completing the Elements classes I was ready to go. I remember some of my first workouts having to be reeled in by the coaches. I was excited, we’re going to dead lift! I’ll just put 315 lbs on the bar, let's go! Oh wait, we’re going to do 15 rounds of 68 reps in addition to jumping on a box and those funny looking pull ups. OK - maybe not.   


Two years in now and I definitely have no regrets, (except maybe the days when burpees are programmed.) In the short time I’ve been at UnCharted I’ve done a solo competition, my first one and took 3rd place, a team competition and then took a huge step and competed in an Olympic lifting meet. In addition to competing I can definitely tell a change in my overall fitness. I’m much leaner, faster and more conditioned than I was before I came to UnCharted.

Aside from the crazy workouts, I quickly found that UnCharted is more than just a gym. It’s a community. From the beginning I was welcomed in and everyone has been and continues to be very supportive, not just during workouts but outside of the gym. I also enjoy the friendly competitiveness. In addition to being supportive, everyone has been inspiring. I can say that almost every member has inspired me in one way or another, whether it’s watching someone suffering beside you and going all out, someone’s lifting technique or your buddy going for a PR - there is inspiration in all the things that you notice that make you want to give it your all.



January Spotlight Athlete


This athlete started "from scratch" with CrossFit and has never looked back. His hard work, consistency and commitment is inspiring to all. A little story: one Sunday, Patti pulls up to the gym right at 10:00 for Open Gym. She finds him practicing his double-unders in the parking lot - no wasted time for him!
This dedication is what earned him the first Athlete Spotlight of 2018. 

**Meet  Stuart  McNeil**


 Wow!  First off, thank you Lynette and coaches for selecting me.  It is a great honer and made me smile to be selected as this month’s Spotlight Athlete. 

Myself, I've always have had a passion for sports and fitness.  As a kid I played soccer and baseball.  High school played football and swimming.  After College, as I'm sure most you know from all my running shirts, I got into running.  Also got into volleyball.   Got pretty good at Triathlons.  Placed pretty high in a few of the local triathlons, finished top 10 in the general population for the Chicago Triathlon.  I can kind of get obsessive with the activities I do.  For a couple of years it was running, another couple years it was doing triathlons. Prior to last year, I had about five years that I spent intermittently rehabbing houses,  which doing with a full time job eats up a lot of time.  So this year has been a good change of pace getting back into fitness and trying to soak up CrossFit. 


So my CrossFit journey started a year ago.  I realized that running and lifting a few weights at Golds gym I wasn't really growing much.  I was looking for a new challenge in my life, so I bucked up the extra dough and came to UnCharted. The people and the community were all very welcoming. My goals were really just self improvement and to learn all the movements. The classes and the coaches have all been very educational.  Staying before and after classes working on whatever skill, there has always been someone to help give advice.  And it was always rewarding to finally get that first muscle up, figuring out double-unders or hitting a new PR on a lift.  Every week there is something new I learn or figure out that makes things click easier.   


 I can't say enough about the coaches and the people here at UnCharted.  Classes are fun and engaging.  It's competitive but not overly so.  Everyone has a good attitude.  I've made some good friends who continue to inspire me.  CrossFit also supplements the other activities I do.  In my volleyball doubles I feel better conditioned, more mobile and more explosive in my jumps and movements.  In running I feel better conditioned to sprint out that last bit of a race. 

Anyhow it's been a satisfying year for me.  Just hope I can inspire and give back the encouragement others have given me.