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Athlete of the Month: November 2018

Karla Flannery

Full of positive energy and kindness, Karla is an absolute treasure to coach. Always smiling, always focused, she gives 110% in each workout...and can often be seen post workout getting in some extra core work. On top of that, Karla has become an inspiration for not only other members here at Windy City...but also, her two daughters Emma and Sophia; as well, her husband Jon. All four now train at Windy City. And Jon, inspired by Karla, has lost over 40lbs in the last six months. It’s truly a family affair with the Flannery clan and Windy City SC. With Karla leading the way, all four are planning to complete “Murph” together next June. Wait, what?!...are we talking “Murph” already? Back to Karla… We couldn’t be happier and more proud to have Karla here representing Windy City. Enjoy your month deserve it!

Member since: 2015

Windy City November 2018 Athlete of the Month

“He who is not busy being born is busy dying.” –Bob Dylan

How has training at Windy City helped you?

I tried pursuing an active lifestyle but life would often get in the way. I worked out occasionally but wouldn’t commit to a consistent long-term workout. As half of a couple working full time in advertising with two little daughters, my husband and I easily found excuses to skip the gym.

But then I turned 50. Turning 50 is certainly momentous. You realize you are past the mid-point and life isn’t going to go on forever. It’s a time to evaluate what’s important and what’s not. I didn’t want to run from my age, I wanted to embrace my age, my life and my body. And as a mother, it became even more important to show my daughters how to live a healthy life and love their bodies, starting now.

That’s when I saw Windy City. I kept driving past it (only two blocks away from home) but I was intimidated. It took me almost a year to summon the courage just to call.  But I did and I made an appointment and signed up (Sheena had you hesitated just a bit I would have happily walked out the door!).

And so it began. For a while I struggled between trying to figure what a WOD, AMRAP, C2, cleans and jerks meant and not throwing up after class. I remember seeing “150 wall balls” on the board thinking it surely was a joke.

But I kept coming back because everyone was so welcoming and encouraging. Perfect strangers, people who had learned my name only a few moments before where now chanting it like we’d known one another forever. When I collapsed at the end of the WOD I was greeted with handshakes and high fives. The most amazing thing about Windy City is the community, the people and the coaches. The women I met at the 8:30 AM class are some of the most amazing kick ass moms I’ve ever met. I came to get a work out and found a sisterhood of friends that will last a lifetime. I am so grateful to the coaches, PJ, Megan, Eloise, Paul, Doc and Terry for caring so much and for believing and encouraging us every day. Jim I love the energy you bring to this place!

I got my whole family to share my passion for Windy City. My husband started working out here about a year and a half ago, got in shape, changed his diet and lost 45 pounds. Our daughters also take private lessons. One of our favorite family activities is to take the Saturday team class together.

What adventures, events, trips, races do you have planned?

Getting in shape has allowed us to do a lot more things together, get more adventurous and participate on activities we would have never dreamed off.  Last spring we went to Costa Rica and enjoyed white water rafting, rappelling and paddle boarding. In December we are going back to Telluride.  We love the energy, restorative power and the magic of that place. Can’t wait to see how much our skiing abilities have improved as a consequence of all the hard work we do at Windy City.

Next summer we are taking our first camping trip. We are visiting the canyons of Bryce and Zion in Utah. Looking forward to tons of biking, hiking and just enjoying each other.

What would you do and where would you go if time / money were not object?

I wish my husband and I could go travel the world. There are so many far away places I would love to visit. The list is endless but my bucket list includes South Africa, The Victoria Falls at the border of Zambia, The Rainbow Mountains of Zhangye National Park in China, The Pyramid of Giza, Egypt, and biking through the Italian Wine Country.


  • Fitness: I’ve learned that being healthy is a journey with its own set of milestones. Tracking my progress and constantly aiming to improve helps me keep the momentum going. All that said I would love to participate on Murph next year.

  • Personal: I want to feel good and healthy for a long time. Long enough to see our kids build their own lives, their families, become independent, happy and fulfilled.

Something that most people don’t know about me:

Most people don’t know I was a Hawaiian dancer. I took classes for about 5 years when I was growing up in Mexico City. I occasionally still do the hula, but only after many glasses of wine.

Words to Live By

Getting older only matters if you don’t feel good in yourself. For me, right now it feels great.


  1. John Orwat posted at 1:30pm on Nov. 1, 2018

    Congrats, Karla!!!  Always great working out with you…can’t wait for you to lead us in a hula WOD.

  2. Lindy Moore posted at 1:42pm on Nov. 1, 2018

    Love, love, love!! You are amazing Karla!! (and I definitely want to see some of that Hula after a few drinks!) wink xxx

  3. Hallie Hohner posted at 3:37pm on Nov. 1, 2018

    LOVE THIS KARLA!  I echo many of your sentiments, but particularly the one about our awesome group of mom friends!  Luv ya!

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