Meet the Team

At OPEX our goal is to inspire coaches and clients to live larger lives through fitness. Our coaches and athletes are people who take fitness seriously and want to make tangible progress in their gym’s, their client’s, and their own fitness training. We strive to constantly upgrade the coaching profession by integrating and transcending the latest information available in all areas of health and wellness, including physical assessment, program design, nutrition and human behavior.

We view fitness as an evolving journey and exploration of the connection between mind, body, and spirit while attempting to discover physical potential. That journey leads to the discovery of purpose and longevity of yourself. At OPEX, our commitment to continual learning and our passion for sharing that knowledge ensures our clients have the finest experience possible in their pursuit of fitness: the OPEX Experience.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

James Fitzgerald

Founder/Director

About James


The guy that paints the picture, James is the founder of OPEX (Formerly OPT) and The International Center for Fitness. When not coaching, he’s a full time husband, father and fitness athlete. His 20+ years of experience and service as a strength coach/technician, tireless practice on refining energy system work, nutritional and lifestyle balancing techniques and training of other coaches has made OPEX a sought after method of bringing fitness to a Higher Order.

James has found a desire and passion to understanding fitness through assessment, testing, research, programming and more. He has had many years experience as an athlete from early childhood into adulthood, from playing top level soccer, short and long distance running to CrossFit where he was crowned “The Fittest on Earth”, Winner of the 2007 CrossFit Games.

Leighanne Fitzgerald

Co-Owner & Chairmen of the Board

About Leighanne


Growing up, Leighanne has always had a passion for sport; she played soccer, hockey and ringette in Canada. Upon completing her Bachelor of Physical Education in 1999, she knew she had more than just an interest in fitness but an interest in business and management.

She supported the creation of OPEX (formerly OPT) in 1999. In the early days of OPEX , she was the lead administrator and manager for the business’s back end. As time went on, she handed over the operations to staff members and became committed to having a family. Being mother of two girls, living an active and healthy life and supporting her husband James in his passion to train, educate and mentor Coaches has become her top priorities.

Leadership Team

Jim Crowell

CEO

About Jim


Jim Crowell loves doing 2 things over all else….Building businesses and mentoring coaches and business owners to enjoy long, inspiring, fulfilling, and profitable careers.
His love of fitness and his desire for his own growth goes all of the way back to his childhood. Either he was playing sports or he was trying to figure out his next business move (likely it was cutting the neighbor’s grass haha). As a 5 sport athlete in high school and then as a member of the Big Ten Men’s Tennis Team at Penn State time was a challenge. He not only had to learn how to compete and earn his victories, he had to learn how to prioritize his time and energy into those projects that yielded real growth.

While at Penn State he found his next love which was mentoring people. He built a reputation as a mentor to numerous students, athletes, and even special education students. He found a great kinship with those whom he mentored because he saw that his work played a tangible role in their own growth.

Even though athletics were a huge part of his college life, Jim’s business interest lead him to a double major in Finance and Economics led to enter the hedge fund world where he would become an energy commodities trader in Austin, TX. It was in that fast paced environment where Jim learned how crucial continuous education is. Learning is such a high value for Jim that he completed Business Courses through Harvard Business School (HBX) and he is currently pursuing his MBA through the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina (UNC).

After his 5 years in the financial arena, Jim couldn’t ignore his heart anymore. For the next 4 years he opened and successfully managed multiple fitness facilities in Pittsburgh. It was in Pittsburgh where Jim spent countless hours learning and testing coaching and business principles that he still implements today. He built his reputation around three main points: hard work, progress, and fulfillment. That reputation of positively impacting his client’s lives provided him the opportunity to work with thousands of wonderful people ranging from professional athletes, to business owners, to adults hungry for better fitness and wellness, and to kids of all ages.

After his tenure in Pittsburgh he was honored to join OPEX. He now has the privilege of working with business owners and coaches from all over the world. His unique background has helped him understand that every coach and every business situation is unique and needs to be treated with thought out strategy and consistent execution. Jim is very much looking forward to helping OPEX change the face of fitness across the globe!

Mike Lee

Coaching Manager and Remote Coach

About Mike


Mike graduated with a degree from California State University at Chico, where he earned his Bachelors of Science in Construction Management. After over 5 years of success as an engineer and Project Manager for Rudolph and Sletten, Inc, a few Life Coaching calls with James, founder of OPEX (Formerly OPT), highlighted his true values. Then his vision became clear. It was helping others fulfill their lives through fitness. He found his true passion in health and fitness becoming an OPEX certified coach.


In 2013, he transitioned from his engineering role and started coaching athletes all over the world with various levels of fitness. Most notably, co-coaching Valerie Voboril who won third place winner at the 2013 CrossFit Games. Here’s what Val has to say of working with Mike, “He is an amazing coach because of his dedication and investment in his athletes as a whole; not just the techniques, conditioning, and programming, but the caring, knowledge, compassion, and thoughtfulness he brings to every single one of my workout/training sessions and competitions. I have been truly blessed to have him in my life.”

Meghan Sweet

Sales Manager & Remote Coach

About Meghan


Meghan discovered early on her passion for improving the mind and body for optimal health and high performance. After quitting soccer in high school, she began working at Gold’s Gym where curiosity and desire to learn more physiology began. Although she received her Bachelors in Business Management with a concentration in Small Business and Entrepreneurship, her desire to improve health and performance remained.


She went on to work for a Fortune 14 Healthcare corporation as a Marketing Manager. In 2009 during her corporate career, she found CrossFit. This greatly impacted her physically and mentally so much, that she knew she wanted to be on the front lines of preventative health and wellness so that individuals could be high performers with what matters to them most. Through this discovery, she become a part-time CrossFit coach and found the “OPT Big Dawg blog” in her quest for a higher level training program for herself.

Eventually she left her corporate job and became the general manager at her CrossFit gym, coaching hundreds of people to achieve their personal goals. Knowing that she needed more education to deliver the best service possible she enrolled in the OPEX Coaching Certification Program (CCP) and became an exclusive client as well. CCP took her coaching to the next level with principles that gave her confidence to create programs, programs that improve all facets of peoples lives and deliver outstanding results. Shortly after, James FitzGerald invited Meghan out to train as an athlete full-time; she relocated from her home town in Atlanta, GA and began supporting OPEX CCP growth.

Meghan is committed to showing others what’s possible when you take action, not only is she a 5 time CrossFit regional competitor and 2015 Team OPEX CrossFit Games athlete, she coaches clients and works with thousands of coaches on their life changing OPEX CCP journeys. Contact Meghan to consult with her on you journey today!

Andria Kern

Operations Manager

About Andria

 

Andria (pronounced Ahn-dria) was born and raised in California and from a very early age she had a craving for anything active and outdoors. She grew up in the gym, tumbling and swinging her way to gymnastics glory. She was an aerial artist at AcroSports in San Francisco and retired to regular gymnastics and cheerleading at the age of 8. In middle school and high school she ran track, played soccer and lacrosse, was a cheerleader and competed in gymnastics.

In college, Andria became fascinated in studying International Marketing and thus traveled the world, from Spain to Egypt to Morocco learning and growing. Andria graduated from CSU Chico with honors in Communication Studies & Public Affairs as well as a minor in Marketing. Upon graduation, she ran the social media sites for the Dow Jones subsidiary, MarketWatch. Growing stagnant and needed a drastic change, she enrolled in graduate school at Boston University. That same year, she ran her first International Marketing campaign for a non profit organization which had over 3,000 students participate in the campaign from around the world. Through the initiative, she engaged and partnered with large organizations such as Whole Foods. She graduated from Boston University with her Masters in Project Management and International Marketing and decided to take a huge leap of faith and change the industry that she would market for.

In 2011, she began her journey with the CrossFit Games Media Team. She was tasked with running social media for the Southwest Region. After the 2012 CrossFit Games, she traveled to Dubai where she continued to build the CrossFit brand and then on to Bangalore, India where she worked for Infosys within their strategic development team.

There is more to Andria than meets the eye. She is a young, passionate individual who’s focused on making a difference in this world. Having visited over fourteen different countries, on four different continents, she’s developed a global perspective on business and a desire to educate individuals in fitness around the world. When the opportunity to work for OPEX came up she was excited to combine her love and acumen of making a difference, fitness, and business into a global platform to help change the fitness landscape.

Matt Mailloux

Marketing Manager

About Matt

 

Born in Ontario, Canada, and raised in Scottsdale Arizona, Matt grew up playing competitive ice hockey through high school and into college. After spending 4 years living in Sydney, Australia, Matt returned to the Valley of the Sun where he started his career in the technology and marketing space at Infusionsoft. After picking up Crossfit as a way to stay fit, Matt sought to combine his love of fitness with his marketing knowledge and skill set, which brought him to OPEX.

CCP Instructors

Sharon Prete

CCP Life Coaching Co-conductor

About Sharon


Sharon is a human behavior specialist and CCP coach. She is the director of Integral Corporate Wellness a Calgary, Alberta based firm that specializes in assisting corporations to design and implement wellness programs in order to create a healthy and energetic workforce, which creates a culture of engaged, invested and productive employees. Sharon spent ten years coaching gymnastics and swimming athletes from beginner to competitive and loved the art of teaching movements and athlete development.


While in university, her undergraduate work in software engineering expanded her perspective of systematic and holistic thinking. After a career in Internet development, she returned to her two true loves: health and coaching both as a Demartini Method facilitator and OPEX CCP Coach. Here she was able to combine strategic systematic thinking, her studies in human behavior and her love for fitness coaching.

Sharon is a Trained Demartini Method Facilitator with the Demartini Institute in Houston, Texas– a private research, education and service institution dedicated to the development of human awareness and potential. She is an advanced student who has spent the last seven years mastering the universal principles of human behavior and development. She is also grateful to have been in the last graduating class of Bernie Novokowsky’s renowned Higher Order Thinking program. As a mentor, Bernie challenged her apply her knowledge in highly efficient and effective ways that upgraded her coaching skills, business practice and understanding of universal laws.

Sharon is the co-conductor of the CCP Life Coach module, expanding the awareness coaches have of themselves and their clients in order to increase their level of coaching mastery. Sharon’s dedication to the study and integration of human behavior, health and wellness, and universal law has created the unique and dynamic perspective she brings to the OPEX family.

Matt Lalonde

Science of Nutrition

About Matt


Matt teaches the pre-requisite to our Level 1 nutrition course: The Science of Nutrition. He also serves as an ongoing advisor to OPEX on the latest and greatest in the world of nutrition. Mathieu is a research chemist with a genuine interest in human metabolism, nutritional biochemistry, health and athletic performance.


Matt obtained his bachelor’s degree of science with a concentration in chemistry from the University of Ottawa. He then moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts to pursue graduate studies in organic chemistry at Harvard University. Upon completing his Ph. D., Matt decided to examine the primary literature on the subject of nutrition with the rigor of the scientific method in mind. This painful yet enlightening process underscored the flawed logic and experiments that lead to today’s largely erroneous nutritional advice.

Matt aims to teach individuals how to interpret published material such that they can determine for themselves what is fact and what is unsound. Ultimately, Matt’s goal is to truly help the general public attain optimum health and fitness through proper nutrition.

Bernie Novokowsky

In Honor and Memory

About Bernie

 

Bernie Novokowsky is the founder of Novokowsky Consulting Group. Bernie held a Master of Arts in Organization Development and a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems –- both from The Fielding Graduate University (USA). Bernie’s clients range from large multi-national companies to small business operations and individuals in many different industries. Bernie co-authored the successful book “Creating Paths of Change” 1993, 1997), which has been a required text for Transition/Change management seminars at the University of Calgary and at the Banff School of Management.

Bernie was also the author of a chapter in the recently published book “Transformative Phenomenology: Changing Ourselves, Lifeworlds, and Professional Practice” (2008). Bernie’s first career was in the Canadian army; he then practiced leadership in the corporate sector as a Team Leader of Organizational Effectiveness in a mid-sized oil company. In the last 18 years, he remained a leader in consulting practices, as well as in his volunteerism. Over the last 18 years, Bernie presented at numerous conferences, focusing on helping organizations survive and thrive in today’s business environment. Bernie focused on applying “Higher Order Thinking” (HOT) frameworks for designing and implementing better organizational (and personal life) work practices, systems, and outcomes. His HOT schema emerged as a result of his doctoral research and practitioner experience into personal/professional power.

After a three –year hiatus with cancer, Bernie is continued his practitioner-scholar research, development, and consulting of pragmatic “higher orders”. Bernie will always be remembered and the OPEX team will forever be grateful for what he brought to this world.

Dr. Dick Thom

Co-Conductor of Level 2 Assessment & Nutrition

About Dr. Dick Thom

 

Bernie Novokowsky is the founder of Novokowsky Consulting Group. Bernie held a Master of Arts in Organization Development and a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems –- both from The Fielding Graduate University (USA). Bernie’s clients range from large multi-national companies to small business operations and individuals in many different industries. Bernie co-authored the successful book “Creating Paths of Change” 1993, 1997), which has been a required text for Transition/Change management seminars at the University of Calgary and at the Banff School of Management.

Bernie was also the author of a chapter in the recently published book “Transformative Phenomenology: Changing Ourselves, Lifeworlds, and Professional Practice” (2008). Bernie’s first career was in the Canadian army; he then practiced leadership in the corporate sector as a Team Leader of Organizational Effectiveness in a mid-sized oil company. In the last 18 years, he remained a leader in consulting practices, as well as in his volunteerism. Over the last 18 years, Bernie presented at numerous conferences, focusing on helping organizations survive and thrive in today’s business environment. Bernie focused on applying “Higher Order Thinking” (HOT) frameworks for designing and implementing better organizational (and personal life) work practices, systems, and outcomes. His HOT schema emerged as a result of his doctoral research and practitioner experience into personal/professional power.

After a three –year hiatus with cancer, Bernie is continued his practitioner-scholar research, development, and consulting of pragmatic “higher orders”. Bernie will always be remembered and the OPEX team will forever be grateful for what he brought to this world.

Dr. Jeoff Drobot

Co-Conductor of Level 2 Assessment & Nutrition

About Dr. Jeoff Drobot

 

Dr. Drobot is the Medical Director of the prestigious Calgary Centre for Naturopathic Medicine. Dr. Drobot graduated from the University of Calgary with a Science degree in Exercise Physiology. He then pursued his doctorate degree from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon. He is regarded by his peers as a leader in Naturopathic Medicine. Dr. Drobot is a leading authority in the fields of European Biological Medicine, chronic and autoimmune disease treatments, detoxification, hormonal imbalance correction and customized sports medicine and nutrition programs.

His love of medicine has evolved into a vast clinical focus treating men, women and children from the youngest to the oldest – all of whom benefit from Dr. Drobot’s constant quest for knowledge. This passion for learning has regularly led him to travel the world attending seminars and spending time with the most talented people in medicine. Dr. Drobot has written health care articles for a variety of publications, including the Calgary Herald and Alive magazine, and he also routinely lectures for major corporations, sports teams and associations.

HEADQUARTER (HQ) COACHES

Matt Springer

OPEX Remote Coach

About Matt

 

Matt Springer has always had a drive for exploration and deeper understanding – whatever the topic may be. This naturally attracted him to OPEX’s beliefs around fitness testing and prescription. Prior to joining the team, Matt fulfilled a variety of roles at the University of Northern Iowa as a student, coach, and instructor. Throughout his undergraduate education he assisted in coaching a multitude of NCAA Division 1 teams in their strength and conditioning training. This role continued through graduate school in conjunction as an instructor for the university.

Following several semesters as a full time instructor a chance opportunity presented itself to rejoin the coaching ranks with OPEX. Such an opportunity could not be resisted. Matt most looks forward to refining theoretical models of testing theory and prescription with both online and onsite clients. He and his new wife, Kailee, are now settling into their new, warmer home in Scottsdale. Aside from a Master of Arts in Kinesiology and completion of all OPEX CCP Level 1 courses, Matt is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA-CSCS) and well-studied in the sport of Weightlifting (USA-W) through UNI head strength and conditioning coach, Jed Smith.

Michael Bann

OPEX Remote and Onsite Coach

About Michael

 

In January of 2014, James Fitzgerald personally reached out to Michael to become his head onsite coach at OPEX Fitness. Before working at OPEX, Michael held multiple positions in the strength and conditioning industry such as the head strength coach for a law enforcement academy, as well as an instructor for strength and conditioning at Northern Arizona University while studying exercise science. He eventually transferred to Arizona State University to study kinesiology in their top 10 nationally ranked program. While attending ASU, he became the only undergraduate instructor for anatomy and physiology cadaver labs. Currently, Michael is pursuing his graduate degree in kinesiology and will graduate in 2018.

Michael has an unwavering passion for continually diving deeper and deeper into the most complicated topics that pertain to fitness, ranging from functional anatomy to functional medicine. Because of this drive for higher order understanding, he has traveled extensively to increase his education beyond that of what academia teaches as the “truth”. The education he has taken on top of his academic studies range from courses like Functional Diagnostic Nutrition (FDN), Postural Restoration Institute (PRI), Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS), Select Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA), Functional Movement Screen (FMS), and Certified Functional Strength Coach (CFSC) to name a few. He has completed an apprenticeship with Altis, as well all three of EXOS’s Performance Mentorships on top of mentorships with leading experts in various fields.

Michael has personally conducted thousands of assessments and has written equally as many programs. As well, he has analyzed countless lab results for clients all over the world ranging from the professional athlete to the fitness enthusiast wanting to lose weight. He has also consulted with and trained tactical athletes at every level from local law enforcement to America’s various elite special forces. Because of his education, inside and out of academia, plus having logged more than 15,000 hours of coaching, he is the expert consultant for all things fitness and performance related for the doctors at the American Center for Natural Medicine in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Clients come to Michael when they have fought for the next level but keep coming up short. His philosophy towards coaching is relatively simple. He meets his clients where they are at and nudges them forward in their journey. Not only does he dial in every client’s training individually, but he also does so with their nutrition. Because no two clients have the same training age, biological age, injury history, training history, athletic background or even lifestyle, he believes no two clients should ever be coached the same. To accomplish such individualized approach to coaching, Michael draws upon his expertise in endocrinology, nutrition, biomechanics, anatomy, physiology and psychology to develop a perfectly tailored program to push anyone forward in their fitness journey.

When Michael is not doing what he is passionate about at OPEX, either coaching or consulting with clients from around the world, he finds himself enjoying a good beer (stouts for sure), a great book (he tries to read one per week), or attending various conferences on the areas of interest to him.

Robin Lyons

OPEX Remote Coach

About Robin

Robin Lyons has been with OPEX (formly OPT) since the Big Dawg days. She began as an athlete working under James FitzGerald when competing in the Sport of CrossFit from 2008 (CF games) thru 2013. Robin was then recruited to be a Head Coach for OPEX in 2014 and has never looked back.

At OPEX, Robin Coaches on-site at HQ located in Scottsdale, AZ and works with athletes Globally through Remote coaching services. Additionally, Robin shares her experience and knowledge by also leading OPEX athlete camps around the world.

Robins coaching philosophy is strongly based on building relationships with each individual she works with in understanding what makes them tick. “I want to know my client’s strengths, limitations, motivations and other needs. Not every athlete is the same therefore every athlete needs to be coached in a way, which is suitable for them and supports what they value most.” Robin loves building a powerful prescription that not only enhances performance but educates the athletes on how to reach their full potential.

Prior to OPEX, Robin owned/operated 2 CrossFit facilities and was a strength and conditioning coach for Southern Utah University. Robin is currently completing her Masters Degree in Sports Conditioning this fall (2016), she is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and Catalyst Weightlifting Level 1 coach. Robin believes continued education is key in staying on top in the coaching field. Robin continues to upgrade her knowledge by attending seminars, workshops and advancing her OPEX education through CCP OPEX Level 2 case studies.

To go along with her education Robin also brings an extensive competitive background.

  • 2 Time Canadian National Champion (Track & Field)
  • 5 Time Division 1 NCAA All-American (Track & Field)
  • >NCAA All-American Strength and Conditioning Award
  • 2000-2003: 6 Time World Long Drive Golf Competitor
  • 2004-2006: American Cup Bobsleigh (Brakeman) Champions
  • 2008-2013: CrossFit Games and Regional Competitor

 

Robin specializes in sports conditioning and working with Athletes serious in achieving their innate potential. Robin brings over 18 year of experience working with athletes of all ages and skill levels that need an individualized plan to achieving their goals. 
“Fulfillment is key. I want to help my athletes and clients set goals that fulfill who they are…. Training isn’t about your best day or your worst day, it’s the sum of your averages throughout the year that determines your outcome.”

When Robin isn’t coaching (which is never ☺) you will find her under her own barbell in the gym, mountain biking in Moab, hiking, snowboarding down a mountain, playing a good game of golf with friends and family or sipping on a good cup of coffee. 
Favorite Beer: IPA
Favorite Coffee: Press Coffee(Local)

 

Matt Bryant

OPEX Remote Coach

About Matt

 

Matt comes to OPEX with years of experience coaching all walks of life. He has experience working with kids, the general public, fitness enthusiasts, sports teams, and high level athletes on program design, personal training, and group classes.

Matt was a college basketball player, and shortly after finding the efficacy of mixed modal training for himself, he began using it with success on clients and as a men’s and women’s college basketball strength and conditioning coach. Matt decided to come to OPEX to continue to grow as a coach and athlete. He has dedicated his life to this purpose and has learned from experiencing what he teaches first hand.

Matt is an OPEX Athlete on site in Scottsdale, Arizona and a CCP coach. His competitive attitude keeps him striving to see his full athletic potential and helps motivate his clients to achieve more than they thought possible. Matt’s experiences as an athlete allow him to work exclusively with individuals wanting to take their fitness to the next level. His experiences with personal training and his friendly personality also make him a perfect fit for on-site personal training and remote online training no matter what your goals are. To have a consult with Matt contact him here.

James Taylor

OPEX Remote Coach

About James

 

 

James Taylor is a fitness coach empowering others in the process of creating and achieving goals based in consistent, long-term progress. He is committed to the journey in fitness that his athletes experience in their lives. James especially enjoys engineering the most well designed program for each individual’s lifestyle and goals. His ability to make use of numerical data for movement and energy systems analysis for assessment and design is second to none.

James has competed in fitness for several years as well as in distance running, chess, and poker. James is committed to continual learning and his own exploration of self through fitness as an OPEX Level 1 CCP Coach living and working in Scottsdale, AZ at OPEX.

Henry Toraño

OPEX Remote Coach

About Henry

 

Henry’s first involvement in sports was at the age of 5, when he joined his first basketball team. In the next three years came volleyball and baseball until he was finally old enough, at 8, to begin Pee Wee Football. For the next 20 years football became his main interest, his passion, his teacher, his refuge, and his outlet. Every day, every practice, every game the whistle would blow and it was the field of dreams. The one place where nothing else mattered and 100% of his being would be dedicated to his performance, his team, and the infinitely insatiable desire to notch another “W”.

By age 17 he realized that everybody goes to practice, listens to the coaches, and dedicates themselves. To gain an edge, there would have to be even more commitment, off the field. That’s when he joined a gym for the first time, and began to learn about the intricacies of preparing the body to perform. After high school, college (Div 1 AA), and semi-pro football, this became his new passion, as he found himself fascinated with the ability to establish a physical training program with predictable results.

Later on, he got involved in the sport of triathlon. With many short distance races as well as several half and full Ironman races, he continued his quest to achieve the highest level of physical performance within his reach. In the sport of fitness, Henry is CF Regionals qualifier out of Latin America as an individual in 2014 and as part of Team Aggressive in 2015. His resumé includes: NASM Personal Trainer, CrossFit Level 1 Coach, CrossFit Coach’s Prep, CrossFit Endurance Trainer, CrossFit Kids Trainer, CrossFit Mobility Trainer, USAW Sports Performance Coach, Level 1 IKFF Certified Kettlebell Teacher, Precision Nutrition L1 Coach, OPEX L1 Associate Coach and OPEX L2 Nutrition.

Sean McGovern

OPEX Remote and Onsite Coach

About Sean

 

 

 
 

Matt Connolly

OPEX Remote Coach

About Matt

 

 

Matt discovered his passion for strength and conditioning during his 7 years working as a Police Officer, finishing his career working under the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime & Operations Wing. The physical and mental demands of the job peaked his interest into learning more about training and the science behind optimising human performance, this led him on a journey of self-discovery as both a coach and athlete.

Matt firmly believes in the Japanese concept of Kaizen – ‘seeking perpetual improvement’ for both himself and his clients and striving toward mastery in all aspects of his coaching practice. As part of this he places a very high value in continuing his education and has travelled across the UK, USA and Europe attending workshops and courses from FMS (Functional Movement Systems), FRC (Functional Range Conditioning), Precision Nutrition, BWLA (British Weightlifting Association), CHP (Complete Human Performance), EXOS, CAFS (Certificate in Applied Functional Science), FDN (Functional Diagnostic Nutrition), UKSCA (UK Strength & Conditioning Association), PRI (Postural Restoration Institute), PICP (Poliquin Group), OPEX Fitness and Catalyst Athletics to name a few.

He has been lucky enough to be able to work with clients across a very broad spectrum, working with everyone from competitive fitness athletes, stuntmen, martial artists, police and military operators, to recreational, and professional athletes across the world, both remotely and in person.

Away from coaching and studying, Matt enjoys spending his time training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and expedition kayaking.

Mike McElroy

OPEX Remote Coach

About Mike

 

 

Growing Up Mike was an avid golfer, but obviously that doesn’t have a big emphasis on strength and conditioning. In 2004 he got into CrossFit and quickly found the OPT Big Dawg Blog. It was with the help of this blog that he made it to the CrossFit Regionals in 2010. Following these Regionals, Mike then began working with Michael FitzGerald to prepare for the 2011-2012 regionals.

With golf as his background, Mike learned patience and discipline for training and applied this to strength and conditioning.  While involved with the sport of fitness early on, he’s always had the long-game in mind.

Since he first heard James speak in 2009, he was hooked and has been involved with OPEX ever since.  Mike’s passion lies in helping others see their potential and helping them overcome obstacles. For athletes who may feel their training has come to an end due an injury or otherwise, Mike is there to help change their perspective and continue to push them to the next level.

“I think there always has to be a balance of keeping you healthy and pushing to new boundaries to get to that next level of competitiveness.”

Even as a coach, Mike still trains to be competitive but more from a coaches perspective.  In other words, his focus has shifted and he trains to learn. which in turn increases value for his clients.

Mike’s wife and 2 little boys are now a priority over his own fitness so lifestyle choices are a large factor.  That being said, there’s often more joy in seeing people overcome lifestyle factors than just performance metrics.

Mike Kuschner

OPEX Remote Coach

About Mike

 

 

Both fitness and competition in the sport of sailing are closely connected for Mike Kuschner. Mike has been a world-class competitor and leader ever since beginning the sport of sailing as a kid in Minnesota. Mike relocated to San Francisco for his high school years, which greatly expanded his horizon in the sport of sailing both nationally and internationally. Mike was the captain at the St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) College Sailing Team where he became a two-time National Champion crew and after completing his degree in Biology spent a year as an assistance coach for the SMCM Seahawks. Through Mike’s early sailing career he gained interest in competition at the Olympic level and in 2005 he took the opportunity to train and compete for a bid in the 2008 Olympics. This began a long-term dream for elite level sailing, resulting in two more Olympic Trial efforts in 2012 and 2016.

Prior to his last Olympic Campaign Mike spent 2 years completing a Masters degree in Marine Science and continues to make efforts to help in ocean conservation within the sailing community. During his last Olympic training years he gathered a wealth of knowledge of fitness and nutrition from James Fitzgerald and the OPEX CCP Courses, which allowed him to optimize his own on and off the water program. Despite not reaching his goal to compete at the Olympic Games, the journey allowed him to develop a passion and see a need to inspire, empower, and enable sailing athletes to accomplish their goals through fitness. Immediately after finishing the 2016 Olympic Trials he continues to race competitively in the professional sailing scene and has actively been programming for elite sailing athletes. He now is eager to continue that passion as an OPEX Remote Coach.

Will Trujillo

COPEX Remote Coach

About Will

 

Will Trujillo has a long history with athletics and wellness. His history as a collegiate athlete at The Adams State University led him into exercise science and to further pursue his doctorate in physical therapy. During his doctoral studies he found a passion for coaching in youth performance and multimodal fitness. Upon graduation he continued both roles programming for multiple sports teams, individual athletes in various realms, and facility wide programming, all while maintaining an outpatient caseload at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center.

Since graduating his desire to improve has led him to various educational pursuits including the GIFT fellowship, Certified integrative dry needling, Active Release Techniques, Functional Range Conditioning, and many others in the hopes of achieving improved results for athletes and patients.

Outside of coaching he enjoys watching his youth athletes compete around the valley, walking his mastiffs, and touring model homes with his girlfriend Danielle.

Sam Smith

Head Coach and Research Assistant

About Sam

 

 

Christian Haynes

Apprentice Coach

About Christian

 

 

Christian comes to OPEX from Murfreesboro, TN where it didn’t take him very long before he found sports and fitness. In fact, most of his life has been spent in a gym environment in some capacity. Growing up, he spent many weekends traveling on a competitive baseball team while playing football during the week. But, his love of functional fitness came in the form of his parent’s CrossFit facility. That gym not only helped cement Christian’s passion for health and fitness, it also helped create and then fuel his journey to OPEX. Christian, his mother and his sister had all been OPEX Exclusive Coaching Clients for several years so Christian felt a huge level of excitement when the opportunity arose to move to Scottsdale and work with OPEX.

Christian’s work as an Exclusive Coaching Client was really where Christian found a passion for working with clients one on one. His goal is to become an EC coach for OPEX so that he can utilize all of the lessons that he’s learned as a client and as part of the OPEX team so that he can make powerful and positive changes for his own group of clients.

Mizar Fuentes-Ortega

OPEX Remote Coach

About Mizar

 

Mizar is a former gymnast, CrossFit athlete, and martial artist. Mizar started coaching when he was 15 and first started teaching gymnastics at a recreational and pre-competitive level (kids ranging from 4-16 years old). As a gymnastics instructor, Mizar coached for eight years and obtained a gymnastics Level-1 Certification. Looking to challenge himself, he started CrossFit in 2009. With the mentorship of James FitzGerald (Owner/Head coach at OPEX), he qualified for the CrossFit Regionals multiple years in a row.

Seeking to understand more in depth to this unique journey, he joined the CCP program and continued to develop his mind, body and spirit to their natural limits. He became a personal trainer and lifestyle coach to share his findings. Why? Because he enjoys having a positive impact on people’s lives.

Brian Foley

OPEX Remote and Onsite Coach

About Brian

Brian Foley is not new to the fitness community. His experience with competitive sports gave him the drive to pursue fitness and help others on their fitness journey. First starting in the CrossFit community, he became a coach for two Southern California affiliates. His expertise allowed him to manage and program for one of those facilities. While coaching, he continued to put in work and his commitment landed him a team spot for Southern California regionals.

Brian has tested most research of fitness and diet on himself which has allowed him the experience to personally program for others. Brian also has had the privilege and experience of having James Fitzgerald as his coach. Once you meet Brian you will see that his excitement and innovative take on fitness will change your life. He believes personal programming is the key to improvement. He started a personal programming clientele and has pursued that passion. Brian is eager to assist in developing the EC coaching system and on-site coaching here at OPEX.

HEADQUARTER (HQ) STAFF

Emma Robertson

Creative Specialist

About Emma

Jared Jankowski

Social Media Coordinator

About Jared

Born and raised in the northern suburbs of Houston, Jared was a highly energetic kid who loved being outdoors and trying out new sports. His passion for athletics allowed him to be a 4 sport athlete in high school and it was clear to everyone around him, he loves to be active and loves to compete.

In his first semester of college he took a kinesiology class that taught the foundations of fitness and the sport of fitness. It was a match made in heaven and he never looked back. Jared began his journey from there and began to research and learn everything he could about optimizing health/wellness in order to perform at a high level. Having an innate craving to help others, he took his knowledge and began coaching hoping he could positively impact as many lives as possible in his community. He then sought to affect a greater population and began volunteering with an all-natural nutrition supplement startup helping out with their social media and website SEO.

Now a proud graduate of Texas A&M, Jared was searching for his next opportunity to make a difference and help others.

Through his pursuit of competing in functional fitness he naturally found OPEX and became one of our remote clients. Experiencing first hand and believing in the OPEX way, he decided to fully commit and moved out to Arizona to join our Marketing Department. Jared is dedicated to spreading his message of the importance/relationship between health and fitness and we’re excited to see how far he can propel OPEX.

Angel Montemayor

RC and Onsite Sales

About Angel

 

Angel is one of the few natives of Arizona. Having growing up in the valley of the sun, it has giving him great perspective on the tremendous growth over the past 20 years. Being a former three sport athlete in high school, and playing collegiate football at the University of San Diego fitness has been engrained in him at an early age.

Angel also achieved his Maters Degree in Management from the School of Business at University of Phoenix. His athletic and competitive background has carried over to his sales career. Angel comes to OPEX with 15 years of inside and outside sales experience, with a multitude of new and progressive perspectives to challenge the threshold of onsite and remote coaching here at OPEX. Angel embraces the challenge and looks forward to the journey that lies ahead, and is extremely excited to contribute and assist in any and all ways possible. If you are interesting in starting your journey with OPEX please contact Angel Montemayor today,.

Stephen Sizer

Web and Technology Developer

About Steve

British born, Steve graduated with a degree in Computer and Business Information from Hull University. A life-long athlete, Steve grew up playing soccer, basketball and volleyball and eventually became a coach himself. After taking OPEX’s CCP course, his relationship to fitness changed, as did his connection to OPEX. Steve now combines his love of fitness and web development as OPEX’s Web and Technology Developer.

Leah Putz

Coaching Fulfilment Coordinator

About Leah

Leah was born in Florida, but lived most of her life in Prescott, AZ. She has been in the health and fitness industry for years, working as a nutritional coach and personal trainer. She received her black belt in karate by the age of 11, and competed frequently alongside her two sister who also held black belts and her father who was her trainer.

She grew up in a family that hikes, bikes and runs, she enjoys mud runs (Tough Mudder and Spartan Sprints) and most recently competed in the PF Chang ½ marathon. Her life revolves around health and fitness, family and two furry friends.

 

Luke Tagle

Digital Marketing Coordinator

About Luke

 

Luke was born and raised in sunny Southern California. As a child, he developed an interest in storytelling and adventure which cultivated itself into a love of video games, movies and theatrical performance. Throughout his early years, he acted professionally in a variety of shows at South Coast Repertory which is a tony award winning theater.

He attended Chapman University in California where he further developed his talents as a performer and sought ways to bring his showmanship to business. He graduated majoring in BFA Theater Performance and Economics.

It was also during College that he began to discover the hidden passion he had for athletics. Having never participated in much sports before, he began with CrossFit and also joined the college’s Crew Team. Luke went on to compete in many different CrossFit events locally and even got a Level 1 Certification. He knew during this time that he wanted to be a part of the fitness industry.

In 2015, shorty after graduating, Luke started his professional life working as junior marketer for a personal injury law firm called Bergener Mirejovsky. This position allowed Luke the chance to use his creativity for business purposes and help develop the brand of an emerging company.

However Luke wanted a career and position that married all three of passions, Fitness, Marketing, and Storytelling, which brought Luke to OPEX Fitness HQ.