Meet the CrossFit CE team

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Neil Curran coach at CrossFit CE

Neil Curran


Fitness has always been a big part of Neil’s life whether through sport, well-being, or personal growth. Neil is very familiar with general population fitness as a personal trainer for over 20 years. When Neil found and started doing CrossFit in 2009 while completing his doctorate, like you, he was wanting something more in his workouts and pined for the camaraderie of being a part of a team. He began to use the applicable parts of CrossFit as the head soccer coach at The Francis Parker School.

Neil’s passion in working with anyone is the belief that there is a better athlete that can be improved mentally and physically through nutrition and exercise. He has always looked to get athletes to their best performance. This is one of the hallmarks of the clients he works with, the teams that he coaches, or the fitness classes at CFCE.

Doctorate in clinical psychology with a specialization in sport and exercise;
MS in Exercise Physiology;
MS in Neuroscience;
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA);
OPEX CCP Level 1;
Certified CrossFit Trainer (Level 3);
CrossFit Level 1 &2, Gymnastics and Barbell;
Outlaw Barbell

Jim White coach at CrossFit CE

Jim White

Olympic Lifting Coach

Jim grew up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He participated in a variety of sports growing up, but found his true passion was the strength training and conditioning needed to enhance sports performance. He is currently working as the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for The University of Chicago and will be starting his 8th year in that role this Fall. He has over 18 years of experience working with general population clients, weightlifters and athletes, from amateur all the way up to the collegiate level. He has also worked as a Lecturer at University of Wisconsin – La Crosse for five years, teaching the fundamentals of strength & conditioning. Jim has been CSCS certified for almost 20 years, as well as completing the Poliquin Group Level One coach course. Jim also holds his USA Weightlifting Level 2 certification, and has worked with a number of Olympic weightlifters over the years. He has over 8 years of experience coaching/running Barbell clubs for people interested in learning/improving their performance in Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting and strength & conditioning.

Head of Olympic Lifting CFCE
MSc – Human Performance
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA)
Poliquin PICP Level 1
USAW Level 2

Laura Savage


Savage is a musical theatre actor/singer/dancer who found CrossFit during the pandemic when a lack of work forced her to find other ways to move her body and expend energy. CrossFit’s vibe of exercising as an individual while within a supportive community was very reminiscent of her days as a competitive gymnast… needless to say, she was hooked. Savage feels that discovering delight in movement is essential. “Feeling good in my body day in and day out keeps me motivated so that I can exude my best self – physically, mentally, and emotionally. I bring this love of movement to my coaching so that getting fit is fun and challenging. I use curiosity to explore all domains of movement. This allows me to create a highly energetic, informative – yet entertaining – fitness experience. It is my goal that every athlete I work with can appreciate the unique way their body moves. This positive body awareness will create a sustainable, happy and healthy lifestyle.”

CrossFit Level 1
200 hour Yoga Certificate
15+ years Dance instructor

Cole Simon coach at CrossFit CE

Cole Simon

Coach/Uptown Manager

Cole began his professional career as a physical theater performer and educator who moonlit with local circus professionals. To compliment the physicality of the theater, Cole found himself drawn to CrossFit, eventually changing careers to coaching.

Cole has been a coach/trainer since 2018 at numerous gyms across Chicago. He is hooked by the soul of the Micro Gym, the intersection of science; the fun of exercise, and the energy of the community. Cole believes we possess the stuff of “superheroes” and can achieve anything. His belief in our community is centered in the right to push, pull, or reason to manifest our power. He is a passionate coach that will go to lengths to help you achieve your goals.

Uptown General Manager and Head Coach
CrossFit Level 1 & 2
ACE Certified Personal Trainer

Erik Castro coach at CrossFit CE

Erik Castro

Coach/West Town Manager

Erik has been a CrossFitter since 2018. The workouts themselves have allowed Erik to pull from his track and field and cheerleading background combining both sprint work and gymnastic ability. More than anything has been the sense of community. Developing and maintaining friendships from several CF Gyms, Erik is always excited to further the CE community! In 2020, Erik turned to coaching at both locations at CE. Since then, Erik has been purposeful developing his coaching acumen to include his CFL2 and USAW L1 certifications. His main coaching joy is seeing the look on athlete’s faces as they develop a new skill or PR.

CrossFit Level 1 & 2
USAW Level 1

Charlie Blumenthal coach at CrossFit CE

Charlie Blumenthal


Charlie was born and raised in Chicago. His love of fitness began while watching the training montage in the film ROCKY when he was in the 1st grade, and he’s been doing pull-ups ever since. Between sets, you might find him eating a can of sardines or practicing Jiu-Jitsu. Charlie is a firm believer that health, both mental and physical, begins with movement and food. Although he is a fan of strength and aesthetic focused training, his non-dogmatic, exploratory approach to wellness opens doors of accessibility to folks of all walks of life.

CrossFit Level 1
USAW Level 1

Edward Solis coach at CrossFit CE

Edward Solis


Edward has been a CrossFit Level 1 trainer since 2018, CrossFit Level 2 train ser since early 2023, and a CrossFitter himself since 2016. He grew up in Oakbrook Terrace and is an alum of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He works in Finance and loves the analysis that comes with CrossFit. He is a true believer that fitness is the hedge against sickness. Outside of work and CrossFit, Edward enjoys real estate development and going to good concerts. Feel free to ask him for any training advice.

Sage Keyes coach at CrossFit CE

Sage Keyes


Sage started CrossFit around Thanksgiving 2018, and began coaching summer of 2019 after earning her CF-L1. Most recently, Sage has continued to explore her love of fitness and movement by earning her USAW1 in February 2022. She continues to maintain her USAW/CF credentials, and will pursue her CF-L2 early 2024. Her favorite movement is the snatch, and her favorite WOD style is the AMRAP. Outside of the gym, Sage loves to cook, bake, and most importantly, EAT.

Christina Powers coach at CrossFit CE

Christina Powers


Christina has had a passion for fitness ever since she can remember. She participated in many sports as a child and was a high school multi-sport athlete. Christina joined the military after high school and was first introduced to CrossFit while on tour in Kuwait in 2010. She joined a very basic box where some of the workouts were performed outside in the desert sand! She was hooked ever since.

After coming home, Christina’s passion for fitness and helping others grew. She became a Physical Therapist Assist in Chicago working in an outpatient clinic for 8 years. During her time as a PTA Christina honed in on her teaching skills and knowledge of the body – especially how to recover after injury or surgery. In 2019 Christina decided to take her fitness journey to the next level and received her L1 certification in CrossFit.

Christina’s love for CrossFit started in her military career however still remains true today. You can’t beat a CrossFit community and the feeling you get after crushing a workout with your peers.

CrossFit Level 1

Ryan Nightingale coach at CrossFit CE

Ryan Nightingale


Ryan started gymnastics at an early age and completed at a collegiate level for the University of Illinois Chicago. Fitness has been a passion since his childhood, cultivating sports and training experience to find the upper limits of what is or could be humanly possible. Starting as a personal trainer in a large recreational gym before entering the CrossFit space as popularity built, eventually becoming an affiliate owner in downtown Chicago. Ryan’s coaching experience has allowed him to build skills in agility, strength training, Olympic lifting, injury prevention and recovery. He also holds multiple certifications.

CrossFit Level 1 & 2
USAW Level 1

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