CrossFit Exemplify in Morris, IL


  • Cinnamon Pancakes

    Sometimes pancakes are just needed.  If that's the case, try out this healthier alternative to your everyday pancakes.  

    Ingredients List

    • 1 tbsp coconut oil
    • 2 eggs
    • 6 tbsp water
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • 4 tbsp almond flour
    • 2 scoops Maximized Living Grass-fed Whey Protein Vanilla
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • Stevia or xylitol to taste
    • 2 tsp butter(raw or grass-fed)


    • 1 ½ tbsp butter(raw or grass-fed)
    • 2 tsp cinnamon and stevia or xylitol to taste

    Cooking Directions

    Melt coconut oil in a small bowl for 20 seconds on the stove top. Add eggs and whisk together. Add water, almond flour, and whey protein powder, beating well after each addition. Melt butter in medium-sized skillet over low heat. Pour half of natter into pan. Once edge have set and begun to turn light golden brown flip over with a spatula. Cook on the other side for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to plate. Repeat with remaining batter. Mix cinnamon and sweetener in small bowl. Top each pancake with butter and cinnamon mixture.

    (Recipe from

  • We are thankful...

    Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for the blessings in our lives.  Our CFX coaches wanted to take the opportunity to give thanks for you...the athletes of CrossFit Exemplify and the community that we have built inside our walls.

    I am thankful to be a part of CrossFit Exemplify and its athletes and coaches who create a positive environment to wod and become better versions of ourselves.

    - Coach Chris 

    I am thankful for the members to allow us to teach them to do things they probably never thought possible before and seeing how far they have come!!

    - Coach Greg

    I am thankful to be a part of our CFX family. Nearly a year ago I was in a pretty dark spot in my life and I came into the gym not sure of CrossFit. Now there's no place that I would rather be, it completely turned my life around. I'm also thankful for all of the friendships with incredible athletes and coaches that I've made and wouldn't give it up for the world.

    - Coach Ricky

    I'm thankful for the opportunity to have a positive impact on so many lives. It's a blessing to sincerely love what you do everyday and to love the people I work with. I'm thankful for our community and our bright future.  I am also thankful for caffeine, sarcasm, movie quotes, hashtags and lifting heavy weights. #cfxstrong

    -Coach Mel

    Saying that I am thankful for the opportunity of being a coach at CrossFit Exemplify is an understatement. Through this, I have developed so many new friendships with amazing people that I never would have met had I not been a coach at Exemplify. I have learned not only how to be a good coach, but also how to be a good friend. I get excited to coach and see other people improve their fitness. I can truly say that I love my job! I’m thankful for each and every one of our members because of that.

    - Coach Joe

    I am thankful for the honor of participating in the lives of so many wonderful people. The opportunity that they allow me to help them reach their goals and better themselves as not only athletes, but more importantly people. I am thankful to have made so many life-long friends and connections, that they have impacted me more than they will ever know.

    - Coach Michael

    I’m thankful for each and every one of our CFX athletes and coaches! I’m so thankful for this community, to be allowed to be a part of their lives and fitness journey. Starting coaching at age 18 and being in my 40s now, I have literally trained well into the thousands! This is not something I ever take for granted! It is something I feel blessed to do! Each person along this path his a part of my journey as well! I grow, I change and I learn from them each day as well! I’m so fortunate to have met such amazing people at CFX and made some wonderful friends! I look forward to seeing them each day! Their drive and dedication motivates me to be the best Coach I can be day in and day out! Much love to you all!

    -Coach Trish

    I am thankful for being surrounded by people who continuously support me. The time I spend at cfx is one of the best parts of my day. I’ve made amazing, lasting friendships at CFX that I will be forever grateful for.

    -Coach Cecily

    I am thankful for CrossFit Exemplify in so many ways. This community has shown me what strength, determination, inspiration, loyalty, dedication, perseverance and what a CrossFit family looks like who sticks together no matter what. I’m thankful for our wonderful coaches who run the show each day. I’m thankful for our incredible athletes who create an amazing environment each day at the box. I’m thankful for our beautiful facility that we are blessed to have. I’m thankful for a place to call “home away from home”. A place we all can go to escape the stresses of everyday life and work on ourselves for an hour…or just blow off some steam. I’m thankful for CrossFit, for keeping us focused on our health and showing us just how strong we are physically and mentally. Thank you CrossFit Exemplify community for being you!

    -Coach Barb

    I'm thankful for the opportunity to be a part of each athlete's fitness.  You work hard each day in your pursuit of becoming the best version of yourself and it's a joy to share in your transformation.
    Oh, and I'm thankful for Perfect Bars.

    -Coach Nate

  • Delicious Holiday Pumpkin Pie with Almond Crust

    For Those of you that want a healthy and lactose free version of the traditional Pumpkin Pie that tastes delicious this is the recipe for you! The almond pie crust is the perfect substitution for all of your holiday treats.

    Pie Ingredients:

    1 (15 oz.) can (preferably organic) pumpkin puree (no sugar or other additives, check the label)

    ¾ cup “Spoonable” brand stevia or equivalent OR 2/3 cup xylitol (OR LESS – TASTE IT! Let the spices do the talking!)

    ½ teaspoon salt

    1 teaspoon cinnamon

    ½ teaspoon ground ginger

    ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

    (freshly grated nutmeg if you have it on hand)

    4 oz. organic coconut cream

    8 oz. unsweetened almond milk, original or vanilla flavor

    1 slightly cooled almond pie crust (see recipe below)


    Preheat oven to 425 degrees

    1) Combine all the ingredients. I use a high speed blender.

    2) Pour into a cooled almond pie crust.

    3) Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees.

    4) Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 35 – 45 minutes.

     Almond Pie Crust

    1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour

    1 pinch of kosher or sea salt

    1/2 pinch of stevia or xylitol to very lightly sweeten (less is more)

    3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    Mix dry ingredients. Add extra virgin olive oil and thoroughly combine. Press into glass pie plate.

    Bake at 350 degrees for 7 to 8 minutes. You don’t want the crust to brown.

    Remember to turn up the oven to 425 once the crust is done. You bake the pumpkin pie at this higher temperature for just the first 15 minutes.

    By Dr. B.J. Hardick co-author of Maximized Living Nutrition Plans

  • Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

    Eating in tonight?  Here's a healthy option to a sandwich without the bread!

    Ingredients List

    1 pound grass-fed ground beef
    1 tsp sea salt
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    2 tsps liquid aminos or tamari
    4-6 organic green bell peppers, tops cut off and chopped (throw away stems), and ribs and seeds cleaned out
    1/2 large yellow onion, sliced
    1 container mushrooms, sliced
    8-12 thin slices organic, raw cheese

    Cooking Directions

    Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

    Put the hollowed peppers on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minus, just to soften a bit.

    Meanwhile, brown the ground beef with salt, pepper, chopped green pepper tops and onions.

    When the beef is browned and the peppers and onions are soft, add the liquid aminos and mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are slightly cooked.

    Put a slice of cheese into the bottom of the peppers, fill with ground beef mixture, and top with another slice of cheese.

    Cook in the 350 degree oven until cheese is melted and bubbly.

    If you have leftover cheese steak mixture, you can bake it in an oven-safe dish with cheese over top.

  • Chocolate Almond Protein Bars

    During the holiday season, it can be tough to avoid the cookies, pies and sweet treats.  This is a favorite recipe that is not only healthy, but tastes great!  A perfect alternative to the sugary desserts!  These are great with or without the chocolate topping!


    2 cups almond flour
    1 cup ground flax seed meal
    ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
    3 scoops of Dutch chocolate Perfect Protein
    ½ cup of xylitol (or ¾ tsp pure powder stevia)
    ½ cup coconut oil
    ¼ cup organic butter
    3 squares unsweetened chocolate
    ½ tsp pure vanilla

    Chocolate Topping
    4 squares unsweetened chocolate
    2 tbsp of coconut oil
    1 tbsp of organic butter
    ¼ cup of xylitol (or ¼ tsp of pure liquid stevia)

    1. Place almonds meal, flax meal, shredded coconut, Perfect Protein and xylitol (stevia) in a food processor.
    2. Pulse until ground into meal
    3. In a double boiler melt coconut oil, butter and 3 squares of unsweetened chocolate.
    4. Once melted add vanilla to melted chocolate/coconut mixture.
    5. Mix liquid chocolate with dry ingredients in a bowl until turns into a paste
    6. Press mixture into an 8 x 8 glass baking dish.
    7. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour, until mixture hardens.
    8. In a double boiler, heat butter and coconut oil until liquid.
    9. Add xylitol (stevia) and heat and stir until dissolved
    10. Add 4 squares of unsweetened chocolate.  Stir until melted.
    11. Pour melted chocolate over pressed mixture in glass dish.  Return to refrigerator for at least until chocolate hardens.
    12. Remove from refrigerator, cut into bars and serve. (If chocolate cracks when cutting, let soften for 10 minutes first)

    Keep refrigerated.  These also freeze well.

  • Foodie Friday

    Healthy Chocolate Smoothie

    This smoothie has a healthy balance of protein, carbs and healthy fats...and it tastes delicious!  If you decide to use a different protein, be sure it is grass-fed whey protein and free of hormones, pesticides and herbicides.  It should also be free of artificial sweeteners, flavors and colors.  We hope you enjoy this recipe!  Let us know what you think!


    • 1/2 can full fat coconut milk
    • 2-3 tbsp cocoa powder
    • 2 tbsp almond butter
    • 1/2 cup ice
    • 1 scoop Maximized Living Grass-Fed Whey Protein Chocolate


    • 1 scoop of Maximized Living Max Greens

    Put all ingredients in a heavy duty blender and blend to desired consistency.  Add additional water if necessary.

  • Do You Love Broccoli?

    Ask my kids what their favorite foods are and they’ll tell you that one of them is broccoli.

    Make them a plate of broccoli and put it in front of their face, and you’ll hear a different story.

    “My tummy hurts”

    “Actually, I’m not that hungry”

    “I’d rather just have a sweet roll”

    The truth is that saying you love broccoli and the act of eating it are much different.  Saying it means nothing, but eating it proves it!

    This isn’t about broccoli.  It’s about putting love into action.  After all, love is an action, and not a feeling.

    Think about it…Right now in Morris alone...

    • 6,500 will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime
    • 5,200 will be diagnosed with heart disease
    • 4300 will develop type II diabetes
    • 8560 are considered overweight or obese
    • 6630 are taking a prescription drug every day for a chronic condition
    • 104,000 prescriptions will be filled (an average of 8 per year for every man, woman, and child)

    People are literally drowning before us in sickness and disease, many of which are a result of their lifestyle.  It’s not enough to feel sorry for them anymore.  It’s time to put love into action and snatch them from a life that is a shadow of their God-given potential.  It’s more than about just saying you love people.

    CrossFit Exemplify is not about your air squat, your ability to do a muscle up, or how much weight you can lift over your head.  It’s about helping you become the best version of yourself, both between the ears and physically. 

    And I think everyone deserves that opportunity.

    Some challenging questions: 

    Do you LOVE people outside the community enough to share the mission and vision of CrossFit Exemplify with the community?

    Do you LOVE the people within the CrossFit Exemplify community enough to encourage each person there to become their best?

    Do you LOVE the coaches enough to be coachable and help you become the best version of yourself?

    Do you LOVE yourself enough to show up to class, give your best effort, be willing to put in extra work, and focus on your recovery and nutrition?

    At the end of the day, love inspires all we do. 

    “Unless somebody like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not”

                                                                                                                                    Dr. Seuss

    Remember, bring it and don’t sing it.  The engine, not the whistle,  is what makes the train go.  Now go eat some broccoli.

    Written by Dr. Nathan Thompson
    CrossFit Exemplify - Owner

  • Excellence over "Easiness"


    “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle

    We are a society who wants everything easy. It’s just in our nature. We want fast food, fast weight loss, easy exercise, pain relief in a convenient pill.  It’s just so easy to live that way. By nature, we look for solutions that take the least amount of time, effort, and money. I wish it worked that way. But it doesn’t.   If it did, we wouldn’t live in a country where...

    • 3 out of 4 are overweight or obese
    • 1.5 million die of cancer and heart disease
    • 1 million die as a result of relying on prescription drugs to get their health back
    • As many as 1 in 2 children will suffer from diabetes during their lifetime
    • Only 1 in 1000 people over 60 actually feel great, are fully functional, and are on no medications

    I remember doing a talk a while back to a group about nutrition and exercise.   After the talk, a woman came up to me and said, “I would like to lose weight without changing my diet and exercising.   Do you have any suggestions?”

    “Sure do,” I said. “A change in your attitude is a great place to start.”

    She wanted easiness over excellence.  There’s no cure for that except for one change: a change in mindset.

    One of the differences between CrossFit and the rest of the fitness world is that we're not looking for things to come easily.  We are not engaged by movements that require no skill or practice.  We...crave...challenge.  Challenge brings ownership, reward and pride.  Overcoming challenges builds character that carries over to other aspects of your life.  Nothing worthwhile and of value comes easy.  It takes those small action steps daily to produce excellence, even when you don’t feel like it, even when no one is watching.   What will you choose today, excellence or easiness?   We choose excellence.

    Written by Dr. Nathan Thompson

  • A Break Up Letter to My Former Self

    Hey Former Self and all your friends, I’m want you to know that I’ll no longer be friends with you.

    It’s been fun, for a little while. But now I’ve realized that all you are is just a noose around my neck. I’m ready to move on to better things, and there’s no room for you in my life.

    Hey Debbie Downer, I’m sorry but you need to leave, and don’t give that pouty face either.

    I used to love having you around helping me to wallow in my misery and make me feel good about all the mediocrity in my life. But now I realize that you were just a temporary fix. I’m moving on to better things, and there’s no room for you in my head.

    Hey Procrastinator, I’m sorry but you need to leave, not tomorrow but right now.

    I used to love being with you, waiting until the last minute to do something. We got to be such great friends that you introduced me to Fear of Failure so that I would just not even start. I’ve realized that you have created undo stress in my life so I’m kicking you to the curb.

    Hey Fear of Failure, I didn’t forget about you either. It’s time to stop sucking your thumb and ditch the blanket. You really need to go.

    I’ll leave you all with a flashlight so you can find your way, because I’m moving on to better friends. I used to love being all cozy in my life of mediocrity. I never failed with you. But then again, I didn’t win anything either. You helped me go 0 for 0. You helped me enjoy the exquisite middle. You made me the best of the worst and the worst of the best. With you, I was the cream of the crap. I’m ready for a victory.

    I’d like to say I’ll see you at the mountaintop, but I know you won’t be there. But there’s a whole new group of friends that will be there with me. I don’t think you know them. But just in case, they go by the names of Champion, Overcomer, Discipline, and Resolve.

    While it won't be easy, and I still may fail at times, but my new friends will ensure that I'm finally victorious.

    Written by Dr. Nathan Thompson 

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