CrossFit Barrington Workout - Courtesy of Julie Linnekin

If a renewed focus on fitness will make your list of new years resolutions for 2013, there’s one guy in Barrington who you should meet.  His name is Brian Niven, he’s one of the owners and a head coach at CrossFit Barrington and he’s the kind of guy you go to when you’re ready to commit to shaping up.

CrossFit Owner Brian Niven with His Dog, Bodie – Courtesy of Julie Linnekin

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program used by many professional athletes, police academies, tactical and military operations teams.  Brian is a Barrington High School graduate who returned to Barrington to start a family after college, grad school and serving as an active duty infantry officer with the U.S Army’s 10th Mountain Division. He was deployed to Iraq for 6 months in 2004 and also served in Afghanistan in 2006 & 2007 before retiring from active duty later that year.

Brian Niven in Afghanistan

“The military gives you a structured way of life.  You’re developing soldiers to survive, to work as a team, to focus on a specific mission, accomplish tasks and get things done.  From a CrossFit standpoint, I’m developing my clients to live a better life through fitness and healthy eating and thinking about their general fitness throughout life.”

Brian Niven Coaching at CrossFit Barrington – Courtesy of Julie Linnekin

We’ll share a few thoughts from members who rave about CrossFit in just a minute, but first, we’re happy to welcome CrossFit Barrington as the newest member to join the Barrington Online Marketplace here at  If you’re new to this website, here’s how the Marketplace works.


At the beginning of each workweek, we introduce you to the latest local businesses, professionals & organizations to join our Barrington Online Marketplace by featuring them here at and via our weekly email newsletter. If you’d like to receive those emails, which will also include information about upcoming events in Barrington, just enter your email here and click “Submit”.

Fill out my online form.

You’ll find the new community resource at To have your business, organization, home or event featured, visit for more information or call Liz at 847-691-3150.


Now back to CrossFit and the gym’s beginnings here in Barrington.  Brian Niven first started training people with CrossFit methods in a gym he built in his home garage.  The business grew and he and his friend, Chris Bluse, opened the area’s only CrossFit training facility at 28066 Commercial Avenue in Lake Barrington in September of 2011.

CrossFit Barrington – 28066 W. Commercial Avenue in Lake Barrington, IL

Brian says their brand of CrossFit is designed for people of all ages and fitness levels…

“Our goal is to create workouts that consist of constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity and that intensity is all relative to the individual.”

Working Out at CrossFit Barrington – Courtesy of Julie Linnekin

“We incorporate movements that you’ll see in everyday life like squats, push ups, sit ups, dips and pull ups.  We also use barbells and anything we can pick up, lift or climb, we’ll do that as well.”

Group Workout at CrossFit Barrington – Courtesy of Julie Linnekin

Members say the group setting helps keep them motivated, even as they exercise next to others at differing skill levels.

Post Workout Stretch at CrossFit Barrington – Courtesy of Julie Linnekin

To track their progress, trainers chart exercises on a whiteboard, another means to motivate members during workouts.

Brian Niven Charts Workouts on a Whiteboard – Courtesy of Julie Linnekin

Brian says some members come three days a week, but they recommend four or five workouts weekly for the best results.  “You come in the door and the CrossFit workout is very structured.  The trainer will take you through the entire hour-long process and it’s different every single day.”    There are 8 trainers at CrossFit and their clients range in age from 3 to 70.

Teen Session at CrossFit Barrington – Courtesy of Julie Linnekin

They even offer classes specifically designed for teens and kids.

Kids’ Session at CrossFit Barrington – Courtesy of CrossFit

Here’s why some of CrossFit’s biggest fans say they’re hooked on the workout and the way of life:

“I wanted something more dynamic, something that would give me more of a workout and I’ve been coming here for a year and a half.  I’ve done other things in the past where you see personal trainers and you kind of get bored.  At Crossfit, it’s always something fresh and new.”
– Dr. Jim Baird, Barrington Podiatrist

“I haven’t done the same workout twice in six months.  You never know what to expect and it is always intense.  You always cover a wide variety of things. It always keeps your interest.”
– Dave Dowling

CrossFit Barrington Workout – Courtesy of Julie Linnekin

Brenda Overby, 61, who says fitness had never really been part of her life tells us that the trainers scale the program for everyone in the class.

“They work with you where you’re at.  If I can’t do something, I lower the weights or if it’s a movement I physically cannot do they’ll give me something different.  When I first came I couldn’t do a sit-up and now I can do sit-ups with no problem.  I like that I gain flexibility and mobility.”
– Brenda Overby

CrossFit Tailors Workouts for All Ages and Abilities – Courtesy of Julie Linnekin

Stay-at-home mom, Kelly Trapp, who has worked out on-and-off during her life, has been at CrossFit for just over a year.

“I like it because it’s a short duration, high intensity workout.  I feel like I get a lot of bang for my buck.”
– Kelly Trapp

Fitness Equipment at CrossFit Barrington – Courtesy of Julie Linnekin

Whether you are an on-again off-again gym-goer or a top level athlete like Rich Wachsman, CrossFit allows everyone to participate.  “I like it and it’s even made my triathlon times a little bit better.”

Rich Wachsman at CrossFit Barrington – Courtesy of Julie Linnekin

“I think the good part about CrossFit is you go at your own pace so they scale things for people who are newer and then they push people who have been here a little bit longer.  Every day is a little bit different.  So you never get stuck in the same patterns or the same ruts.” 

Group Workout at CrossFit – Courtesy of Julie Linnekin

“And the group of folks that are here as well makes it worth coming back.  It definitely helps when you have the same people kind of pushing you everyday whereas going to the gym you might not get that camaraderie that you have here.”
-Rich Wachsman

Trainers at CrossFit Barrington – Courtesy of Julie Linnekin

CrossFit Barrington tries to keep its class schedule flexible.  They offer classes Monday through Friday during the early morning, evening and mid-day.  Saturday they hold morning classes and Sunday they reserve for seminars or special events.

To read more about CrossFit Barrington and see more of our photos, CLICK HERE to check out the special feature page we just created for the business in the Barrington Online Marketplace here at 

For more information on class schedules, costs and upcoming fitness events, CLICK HERE to find CrossFit on Facebook, visit or call 847-650-5589.

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