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Couple opens CrossFit 56

Nick, Jessica and Kiley Johnston of rural Tiskilwa are pictured inside CrossFit 56, which is located in the Princeton Chamber of Commerce’s Opportunity Knocks building (formerly Dunbar’s) in Princeton.
Nick, Jessica and Kiley Johnston of rural Tiskilwa are pictured inside CrossFit 56, which is located in the Princeton Chamber of Commerce’s Opportunity Knocks building (formerly Dunbar’s) in Princeton.

PRINCETON — Nick and Jessica Johnston have opened CrossFit 56 in Princeton.

“For the past five years, I have dragged myself to the gym at least five times a week,” said Nick Johnston. “I have researched every routine, rep suggestion, intensity and breaks between sets. I have tried the new 90-day workouts, the old school workouts and everything in between. I have tweaked my cardio, weight, sets and diets. I have tried all the newest and best supplements on the market. Every week, month, year, it was something new. The only thing that wasn’t new were my results.”

Johnston related that the first time he tried a CrossFit workout, he wasn’t able to complete it because every single muscle in his body ached.

“My muscles felt like pure jelly, and I was completed gassed,” he said. “Never had I experienced such a painful defeat. Never had every muscle group in my body been tested while leaving me gasping for air. I was hooked!”

Johnston said with other workouts at other gyms, his body would eventually plateau on what he was able to improve and then find it hard to motivate himself to keep working out. However, with CrossFit, Johnston was able to vary his workouts and apply intensity to them while producing positive results.

“I had never felt like a true athlete until I started CrossFit,” he said. “Once I joined that CrossFit family, I knew I needed to fuel that fire and share my love.”

Johnston later introduced the CrossFit methodologies to his wife, who is now as addicted to them as he is.

“We can scale the workouts to everybody’s physical needs,” she added. “I like the community feeling as you work out as a group plus being fun and the interaction with other people while still improving yourself.”

CrossFit 56 offers classes Monday through Friday at 5:30 a.m., 7 a.m., noon (express workout of day), 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. (open gym). It is closed on Sundays.

Express Workout of the Day is designed to last 45 minutes instead of the standard hour class to allow people to work out during their lunch hour.

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program designed to optimize physical competence in 10 fitness domains of cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy, according to the company’s website.

“We eventually want to do CrossFit for kids to keep them moving and stay healthy and be active,” Jessica related.

CrossFit 56 is located in the former Dunbar’s building at 21 Park Ave. East in Princeton in the Princeton Chamber of Commerce’s Opportunity Knocks building. People need to enter the building through the east side parking lot under a small canopy. There is no entrance to CrossFit 56 through the front of the building.

“We worked with the chamber of commerce to find this location,” they said. “We want to establish ourselves in the community and want to outgrow this place in several years.”

The Johnstons chose Princeton to open a CrossFit gym because it serves as the central hub for many small towns located nearby.

The Johnstons also have Matt Pistole of the Walnut area and Cherie House of the Sheffield area as coaches helping them with CrossFit 56.

Nick Johnston, who graduated from Princeton High School in 2003, was born and raised in the Tiskilwa area while Jessica Johnston, who graduated from Putnam County High School in 2005, was born and raised in Hennepin.

People wanting more information about CrossFit 56 can contact them at 815-508-4554 or People can also email them at

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