Coach Rachel Gitles

Since taking on her role as the Endurance team coach and moving into the morning/evening schedule, many of you have seen a lot more of Coach Rachel.  Rachel has been an important member of the team for some time, and over the past two years, we’ve had the pleasure of seeing her grow from a summer intern to a full-time coach.

Coach Rachel is a Chicago native who grew up in the north suburbs. As a kid, she eschewed land sports in favor of swimming and water polo, reaching varsity level in water polo at New Trier Township High School. She originally planned to become a high school Biology teacher, and enrolled at Boston University as a Biology major.

After two years in Boston, Rachel decided to return to Chicago and dedicate a year to community service, enlisting in the Americorp program City Year. During this time, Rachel helped at risk youth in West Garfield Park, tutoring and mentoring ninth grade students. The experience opened her eyes to the rapid rise in health issues caused by lack of exercise and good nutrition. As a result, she decided to pursue a career in health and wellness and applied to the Kinesiology program at UIC.

Previously, Rachel had based her own fitness around running and “strength” programs featured in women’s magazines. As a Kinesiology student, she began learning the science of strength and conditioning and the fundamentals of program design. With a desire to train others, she entered the Group Fitness Instructor training program and started teaching classes at UIC’s facility.

In June 2012, Rachel stopped into The Foundry seeking more experience through a summer internship. The Foundry had just recently opened, and although she was new to CrossFit, Brad and Justin offered her the opportunity to help out around the gym and learn the foundations of coaching. She was immediately drawn to The Foundry’s mission of health, sustainability and enjoyment of life. Within a few months, Rachel was invited to join The Foundry’s coaching development program.

For many months she participated in classes, observed, and shadowed Foundations. After obtaining her CrossFit Level-1 certification in Fall 2012 she began leading Foundations classes in the mornings and assisting regular classes. She had always wanted to be a teacher, and saw coaching as an opportunity to teach others about a subject she felt passionately about. Friends and fellow college students didn’t understand her desire to wake up at 5:30am for an internship, but she knew she wanted to develop a career in coaching and was willing to prove her commitment.

In June 2013, Rachel was promoted to full-time coach and took over the daytime shift with assisting hours in the evening, the youngest person to complete the program in The Foundry’s history. She obtained additional education and certifications, pursuing in-depth knowledge of endurance training, olympic weightlifting, and nutrition. The Foundry launched a year-round endurance program, and Rachel was assigned to spearhead the program, designing the workouts and captaining the team. The endurance team prepared many athletes to compete in the Chicago Marathon and now also trains teams for the Milwaukee to Chicago RAGNAR and the Chicago Indoor Rowing Championship.

Having overcome several injuries herself, Rachel knows that anyone can use The Foundry’s program and coaching to improve themselves and become healthier. She is committed to being a role model and helping others achieve their fitness goals.

Foundry Ladies