Coach Success Stories

A coach is a leader, an awareness creator, a force for positive change, and somebody that creates and reinforces great culture for people.  Coach’s stories capture you not through their own experiences but from their shared experiences with the clients whom they have worked with.

Live a Larger Life

OPEX CCP Level 1 Coach

Dani Russell

I coached basketball at the collegiate level from 2012 – 2014 as an assistant – this is where my coaching journey began. I loved the team but because I could not cut it financially coaching full time, I found it to be impossible to really stay connected. I also saw coaching as being so much more than X’s & O’s on a basketball court. At that level so much of what goes into being a coach is lost and athletes tend to be looked at simply as making a program better and more successful in wins. 

OPEX CCP Coach Dani Russell

Thomas Madden

I was introduced to CrossFit in the winter of 2008. This had been my only exposure to fitness other than fleeting attempts at high school sports. By 2010 I had become a “Coach” and was cueing 20 people at a time to get their knees out while they squatted. I thought leading group fitness classes was my destiny, and I was okay with that. At that time, I really thought a certain prescription of high intensity was a great dose of exercise for everyone. I programmed this way for myself and everyone else for quite some time…

Ann Lehman

I started coaching at CrossFit Nittany in 2012. Prior to that, I had little to no experience coaching adults in exercise. I did coach adults all day long at my prior management day job though.

I selected OPEX for my professional coaching education because CrossFit Nittany’s owner, Bryan St. Andrews, is on his Level 1 journey and recommended I begin taking the courses in preparation for joining the CrossFit Nittany team full time some time in 2015.

OPEX CCP Coach Ann Lehman

Ian Kaplan

I started “coaching” my college lacrosse teammates in fitness in 2012. I chose the OPEX CCP program because I know people who were are involved in the community and I shared the belief that there is always more to learn about fitness. The claim that excellence in this field demands never ending test or a really resonated with me. I was getting coaching and I really valued the process, I wanted to learn provide that insight to others.
OPEX CCP Coach Ian Kaplan assessing his client

Michael Brownfield

Not long after joining the affiliate I met with the owner to determine if there was an opportunity to join the coaching staff.  I started with shadowing classes and gradually took on more responsibility at the gym until I gained the confidence to lead sessions on my own.  I attended the CrossFit Level 1 course in 2010 and also the CrossFit Weightlifting course later that year as well.  In 2011 I made the move to my home state of Nebraska to open the third affiliate in Omaha.  It was a leap of faith that included quitting my job, selling my house, and loading up all of my belongings in a U-Haul truck.

Kenny Markwardt

I’ve owned CrossFit Sandpoint for 3.5 years now.  Before that, I did personal training and coached Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for a few years.  Ever since I started coaching, I sought out to learn from the best, and to find the knowledge that gave me the confidence to know that I was giving my clients the best that I could give.  I went through a variety of certifications, certificate courses, weekend seminars, books, webinars, etc, but never felt satisfied.  I sought something more concrete and based in efficacy and proven methods.  Through my journey, I kept hearing the name James Fitzgerald and OPT, especially in regards to a course on Program Design.

OPEX CCP coach Kenny Markwardt

Brandon Wilton

I began CrossFit in 2007, affiliated in 2008, and opened my gym in 2009. This comes along with the usual type of story you’d expect from a CrossFit gym: I was a firefighter before then and once I started the gym, it became my main focus.

OPEX CCP Coach Brandon Wilton