Team EFT

President and Founder: Elias Karras

For the last 22 years, Elias Karras has had the privilege of training hundreds of athletes in all sports ranging from youth, high school, and collegiate athletes, all the way to top-level professionals and Olympians. As one of the most sought after Sports Performance Enhancement Specialists in the country, Karras has built a reputation for developing speed, strength, and muscular power through the use of break-through training concepts. His desire to make athletes’ stronger, faster, and more explosive is his foundation for his continued success.

Karras graduated from the University of Illinois-Chicago with a degree in Natural Sciences with a minor in Nutrition.  He was later honored by the United States Olympic Committee with a Special Recognition Award, received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Sports Sciences Association, and was presented with the Professional Recognition Award from the IDEA – Health and Fitness Association. Karras also served as an Operational Performance Enhancement Specialist to the Military’s Special Forces Personnel.  His hard work and dedication to EFT Sports Performance has resulted in its being named the highest rated NFL Combine Preparation Facility in the Chicago area.

In 2003, he founded the Beyond Sports Foundation, a program geared towards helping under-privileged high school athletes excel in both the classroom and the athletic field.  To date, the BSF has produced 4 NFL Players and numerous NCAA Division 1 Athletes.

General Manager/ Nutrition Specialist/ TrainerJordyn Kurgan

Jordyn graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater with a B.S. in Health, Human Performance, Recreation, and Coaching with a minor in General Business. After playing 4 years of varsity softball at UWW, Jordyn continued her passion for sport and athletics by getting into the fitness industry in 2012. With a background as a Strength Coach as well as a CrossFit coach she continues to put an emphasis on continuing education collecting certifications from: NASM-CPT, PTA Global, CrossFit Level 1,  USAW Level 1, PICP Level 1 and 2, Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST) Level 1 and 2, Precision Nutrition, and Poliquin BioSignature Level 1. In 2017, Jordyn moved from only training into the General Manager role. She can now be found splitting her time between running day to day operations and training on the floor.

Trainer/Morning Manager: Dan Timmers

My name is Dan Timmers, but nobody will know me as that at EFT. My name is Meat, Mr. Meat or anything with the word “Meat” in it. Clients that have worked with me for years will have a hard time remembering my real name.

I attended Eastern Illinois University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. Immediately following, I did an internship at EFT Sports Performance and 8 years later I am still enjoying my time here. I love the staff at EFT, but the clients that come in and out of the doors are one of a kind. I have built strong relationships and continue to during my time here. I love coaching/teaching my clients as well as challenging them on a daily basis. At the end of the day, my goal is to get people better and to have fun while doing it. EFT provides a great environment that pushes you mentally/physically to a point that you never thought was possible. Be ready to grind with Mr. Meat.

Trainer/Skill Coach/Head of Football Development: Kerry Neal

Kerry Neal is from Bunn, North Carolina-High School Football All-American, 4 Star Recruit,

4 year starter at the University of Notre Dame, undrafted free agent that signed and played for the Indianapolis Colts. While at Notre Dame he received his BS in Sociology. Kerry specialize in performance training at all athletic levels, speed development, football positional skill training, NFL Pre-Draft and Offseason Training . A certified NASE Level II Speed Coach, CPPS Level 1 coach and has 8 year of training experience. Kerry has a long and growing list of pro, collegiate, and high school clientele, hopefully you will be the next one to come through his program.

My favorite part about being a trainer is helping my clients achieve their goal. Weather, you are a starting NFL Defensive back or 9 year old soccer player, who has never step foot in a gym. You will receive the same energy and passion from me. Every session is about the client and geared toward their goals. It’s nothing more rewarding than setting a goal, drawing up a plan and then crushing it.

Trainer/Skill Coach: Landon Cox

Landon Cox was a three-year football starter at Thornton Fractional North High School in Calumet City, IL, before playing wide receiver at Northern Illinois University. Landon played in the NFL teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Landon began training at EFT Sports Performance in 2007, including his NFL Combine/Pro Day training. Landon specializes in 40 yard/60 yard Dash training, as well as high school and college performance training for strength, speed, and agility.

Trainer/ Skill Coach/ Head of Baseball Development: Pete Houlihan

As an All-State high school football player, the New Lenox, IL native has been at the top of his game since youth.  Pete was a three-year starter at Eastern Illinois University, and played Defensive Back and specialized in punt return.  At Eastern, Pete studied Kinesiology and Exercise Science.  To compliment his degree in that field, Pete also became a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.  His areas of expertise range from strength training, speed, and agility, to defensive back skill coaching.

Trainer/Nutrition Specialist: Taylor Stephenson

Taylor Stephenson originally from Des Plaines, IL was a three-sport athlete in high school at Maine West and continued her athletic career at the collegiate level. Taylor attended Illinois State University running for their track team, where she specialized in the 800M race. At Illinois State University, Taylor completed her undergraduate degree in Exercise Science and continued her education at ISU to complete her Master’s in Exercise Physiology. Taylor now competes in natural bodybuilding at the professional level, which has led her to specialize in nutrition, strength training, and powerlifting.


Trainer/Skill Coach/ Head Trainer Carmel Catholic LocationKristof Ifkovits

I was recruited to play football at Western Michigan University. I played four years and received a degree in Exercise Science. My passion of working out started in high school. I knew i had the talent to play division 1 football but i was not strong enough. That’s when i looked to the weight room and it has helped me become the athlete and man i am today. After I graduated i did an internship at EFT and was hired and took over as the head strength and conditioning coach at Carmel Catholic. I have helped numerous athletes reach goals that they thought were never possible. I work with every athlete imaginable anywhere from hockey to motocross. I am Westside Barbell Personal Training And Athletic Coaching Certified.

The best part of being a trainer is when i see kids develop a huge amount of self confidence. I love helping kids achieve things that they never thought were possible. As a strength coach i play a huge role in the development of your child not only in the weight room but in life. Many life lessons can be taught in the weight room. But the biggest take away is how hard work will pay off that why i believe in testing athletes on a regular bases so they can see their progress and i can. Weak things break and the weight room will decrease injury rate.

Trainer: Lexi Leneau

I attended Illinois State University and graduated with a degree in Sports Management. Coming to EFT as an athlete in high school and some of my college career is what pushed me to start taking my own training more seriously, and I then began to realize that training was something I loved and wanted to pursue as a career. After graduation I studied to become an NSCA Certified Personal Trainer, took on an internship at EFT and I have been training athletes at EFT/Carmel Catholic since April of 2018.

My favorite thing about being a trainer is seeing athletes succeed and helping them become better versions of themselves as athletes and as people. My goal is to help people see their potential, reach it, and then push them beyond it. Any athlete that wants to get better is an athlete I want to work with, but being a female trainer I take pride in empowering female athletes, especially the younger girls I train. The stigma that girls shouldn’t be “too strong” turns a lot of them away from the weight room, lifting heavy, and taking their training seriously. I want them to be comfortable in pursuing their goals as athletes, and to be strong for that purpose, not for the approval of anyone else.

Trainer: Jackson Davenport

My name is Jackson Davenport and my favorite part about being a trainer is coaching and educating as many people as I can on how to take care of their bodies.  My goal in training is to teach people how to move correctly, live a life without pain, and help them meet their health/fitness goals. My experience as a trainer started with training at EFT Sports Performance as an athlete in high school and college.  I then obtained a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. I am a dedicated follower of the Conjugate and the Functional Range Conditioning systems to enhance strength and mobility capabilities. I currently am pursuing a Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy.

Trainer: John Baker

John grew up on the North Shore in Lake Bluff. He attended Lake Forest High School where he played football, basketball, swimming and water polo, and was a member of the USA Water Polo Olympic Development Team. John attended Chapman University in Orange County, California where he studied Kinesiology and Exercise Science, with an emphasis in sports performance and coaching, and a minor in nutrition. While in school, and for two years after graduating, John was as an Ocean Lifeguard-EMT for the San Diego Fire Rescue Department, working primarily in the Bird Rock, Windansea and La Jolla areas. He also was a member of the San Diego Surf-Lifesaving Racing Team while lifeguarding. Additionally, John worked in the Strength and Conditioning department of The Bishop’s School in La Jolla, CA before coming to work at EFT. John has his CSCS, is an EXOS Performance Specialist, Certified Functional Strength Coach, as well as an ACE Health Coach.