Meet the Competitive Edge Uptown team

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Neil Curran coach at Competitive Edge Uptown

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

Cole Simon coach at Competitive Edge Uptown

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

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

Tom Pellaris coach at Competitive Edge Uptown

Tom Pelarinos


Part-time CrossFit coach, full-time civil engineer. Tom is a lifelong lover of sports and movement. He played just about every sport growing up, and went on to play club lacrosse at Bradley University. After suffering a herniated disc in his lower back while improperly weight training in college, he had a long journey to recovering. He wanted find something sustainable that could challenge and keep him fit as I grow older.

He began CrossFit in May 2018 before moving back to Chicagoland. When he returned to Chicago he found a gym near my childhood home in Schaumburg where I fell in love with CrossFit. He learned invaluable lessons from the support of a fitness community, at CrossFit Rise. Post CoVid, Tom continued his pursuit of CrossFit but now as a Level 1 coach. After moving to Uptown, my search for a nearby gym was a quick one. The coaches and members at CFCE welcomed me warmly and made me feel at home. As part of the coaching staff here, he has continued to grow and level up his own fitness. Tom believes strongly in the community as a beautiful reflection of our Uptown – hardworking, challenging and supporting each other.

Tom is passionate about his own fitness and sharing his knowledge with others. For him, helping people towards their goals is a rewarding experience that makes coaching worthwhile. Making new friends along the way is an added benefit!

CrossFit Level 1

Charlie Blumenthal coach at Competitive Edge Uptown

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

Jaclyn Cabral coach at Competitive Edge Uptown

Jaclyn Cabral


Originally from Massachusetts, Jackie grew up playing competitive soccer, playing on club teams in college and after college tried nearly every type of gym class imaginable (zumba to boxing to swimming to running) to stay active. When she was complaining about struggling to see tangible results, a friend spotted a future CrossFitter. After taking one class back in 2012 she couldn’t get enough of the new movements, the community and of course the barbell.

In 2015, after being an avid CrossFitter for 4 years, Jackie started her coaching journey. Her goal was to share the sport, lifestyle and confidence she gained with everyone else who enters the gym. Since then she has participated in numerous CrossFit competitions including the Granite Games. When not at the gym you can find Jackie traveling, trying out a new restaurant or brewery or doing her other favorite activity – cooking.

CrossFit Level 1

Erik Castro coach at Competitive Edge Uptown

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

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