The Slaughter’s roots are planted firmly in Chicago soil. Since its founding in 2006, the franchise has consistently opened roles for the city’s gridiron stars, both on the field and in the front office. This Windy City loyalty has been apparent before the team even played its first snap; Slaughter is a nod to the city’s working class and to the old Chicago stockyards.
In 2009, the Slaughter rewarded the Second City with a championship during an undefeated season as part of the Continental Indoor Football League. A year later, the team joined the Indoor Football League, where it remains today, playing all of its home games at Sears Centre Arena. There, frequent promotions help create a party-like atmosphere, and spacious concourses let fans spread out and play their own pickup games using wadded-up slices of deep-dish pizza as the ball.
Performance Factory Training doesn’t look like your average gym. Grunts and shouts echo off the rafters of the 5,000-square-foot facility, a cavernous warehouse that’s mostly empty, save for a smattering of kettlebells and cast-iron weight plates. The students here have little use for gimmicky equipment, as they focus on functional movements—pushing, pulling, squatting, and lifting, to name a few—that rely on body weight for resistance.
Though PFT’s instructors offer everything from personal training to football-specific workouts, their flagship program is CrossFit. This functional fitness phenomenon consists of a series of short, intense workouts that combine grueling strength and cardio training with basic gymnastics.
To prove that CrossFit’s for everyone, the instructors offer a two-week On Ramp program designed to get new students up to speed on the foundational movements. It’s hard not to get caught up in the daily workouts, seeing as how no two are ever the same. One day might involve shoulder presses and deadlifts, while another might require you to haul the tires of a car that was double-parked in the facility’s parking lot.