What Our Clients Say

It looks like things are shaping up for my transition to CrossFit Nittany in late July/August, so I decided I wanted to make an assessment grid/cheat sheet to use when working with prospective clients to make it easier on myself during the assessment process (less things to remember if I can follow along on paper). I clicked on my Assessment module link to start working on it and saw the link to the OPEX-Athlete-Assessment Excel document. Holy smokes, it’s already done for me…and then some!

I love that your educational resources continue to evolve over time. I learn something new every time I participate in a webinar or visit the opexfit.com site. Thank you (& OPEX)  for being there every step of the way for me as I make this career transition.

Ann Lehman
CrossFit Nittany

antonetteAntonette Dehany is an on-site client of Coach Michael Bann. Here’s what she has to say about working with him and her OPEX Journey thus far;

Hey there,

Just wanted to share that 3 people have commented on the fact that I look “skinny” today. Of course I take that as an opportunity to share my OPEX journey ( they can’t shut me up).  One person asked me what I’m training for, I paused and said, “to be AWESOME!”

Of course I’m not out there seeking complements but the fact that people are seeing my transformation is incredibly exciting, yet humbling.

This is a long winded THANK YOU! Your passion and love of what you do inspire me to be my very best and inspire others. 

adam-eidsonAdam Eidson is an Exclusive Coaching Client of Head Coach Mike Lee.  He is the founder and head trainer at RARE CrossFit in Fredricksburg, VA.

Hey Mike,

I wanted to take a moment to say thank you for your help over the last couple years. I hired you as a personal coach 2 years ago, then to help program for my gym. Well, in those 2 short years I have continued to make serious progress and avoid injuries.

Last weekend I won Gold at the USAW Masters Nationals in Monrovia, CA. 69kg class. Weighed in at 148 and had a total of 193 kilos for the meet.

Thanks again for all your help and support.


Good Afternoon,

I just wanted to take a moment to thank the OPEX team for all my recent success and PR’s.

I’m a competitive crossfit athlete from Vancouver, Canada who at the recommendation of my coach, Jenika Gordon(owner of Crossfit Westside) have been religiously following the OPEX online programming since September 2013.

By focusing on my weaknesses I have see all aspects, including my strengths, dramatically increase. One example would be my 1 RM Back Squat which was 415 lbs before I started the programming back in September and is now 475 lbs which I’ve attached a video of for your entertainment J.

I love crossfit, the lifestyle and community, but would like to thank the OPEX team again for pushing me further than I thought was imaginable.

Thanks again!

Clayton Pettifer

“I started with OPEX as an EC Client in November 2010, spending 3 and a half years getting coached by James Fitzgerald and James Taylor, more recently.  It was a constant learning experience, having unlimited email access to them to answer any questions along the way.  I went back and forth dabbling in different sports, before settling on Crossfit 100% last year.  I also decided that I wanted to make a career change, leave the military and start coaching others full time.  I did a ton of research to find out what coaching courses were available on the market, and settled on OPEX.  Over the last year, I’ve completed the OPEX Level 1 CCP and I fully believe that there is NOTHING that even comes close to covering the depth and breadth of material, in one complete package.  I hope that the word spreads on this over time so that this becomes the recognized gold standard of coaching courses.  It’s a shame to see so many coaches struglling in their teachings simply because they don’t know where to turn to get a solid grasp of the fundamentals.  I’ll be signing up for the Level 2 for sure!”

Wes Kennedy
Owner, Elite Training Programs

I cannot thank James and the staff of experts at OPEX. This was my best Open ever. This was the first Open I was able to compete in as Rx.

The detailed nature of the videos and the strategies that OPEX outlined were immediately deployable meaning i was able to move in strategic or tactical manner efficiently. The tactical effectiveness of what was outlined per athlete and athletic type was spot on.

I was able to follow the prescribed strategy for my skill set as outlined by James and the OPEX team easily, it wasn’t about my ability to comprehend what they were outlining and it made the Open so much more fun as I felt like part of a legit team. Approaching the Open with a strategy and being coached even if at a distance via online was worth every dollar spent!

Thank you for making this the most enjoyable CrossFit Open I have ever participated in and the first I was able to complete Rx

Justin Wade Bowers
Owner, CrossFit Pneuma

Hello James and crew,

I would just like to thank you for helping me prepare for the 2014 CrossFit Reebok open. I did most of the workouts Friday morning before you posted the prep guide. I did all of them again and improved each time and used the strategies you suggested.  I finished with a ranking of 31st in the men’s masters 45-49 age group. My best finish yet! Your expertise definitely helped me get the most of my efforts. Also, being a Crossfit affiliate owner I was able to help all my athletes achieve their own successes. I hope you are going to help me when the second round of workouts begin later this month.

Adam J Henby DC

missy ragnarIt had been a while, 10 years in fact since my last marathon 2004 in Boston. Several of my friends have been training for marathons, half marathons, etc and my mind started to think about running again, but could I do it? I’ve been getting bored with my workouts and have been consistently injured which has meant more time in my physio doctors office for STR therapy than time at the gym. Maybe my body needed something new!

My good friend Dr. Simon suggested that I check out OPEX. He believed my body and injuries would benefit from it. “Go for an assessment and just see, maybe you will like it,” he kept telling me. Finally I went for my initial consult. Michael Bann blew me away with his knowledge, professionalism and willingness to help me get back to feeling healthy and solid through workouts. I was immediately impressed and eager to jump aboard.

It was at that time that I also met Jason Phillips, on-site OPEX nutrition specialist, and we discussed my nutrition and food history (I have weird food issues), goals and what I wanted to accomplish.

My goal when starting OPEX was to get me prepped for Ragnar Trail Zion 2014. It was a 24-hour relay and a total of 16 miles. As I said, it had been 10 years since my last marathon, my longest runs these days had been recreational 4 or 6 miles and some shorter distances done during Crossfit WODs.

I knew I was capable of going longer, but road races and trail racing are so different. Michael really dialed in my training and focused specifically on building single leg strength and overall strength. He programmed tons of strict pull-ups, weighted dips, heavy farmer carries, suitcase carries, waiter’s walks, Romanian deadlifts, and interval sets on the assault bike (super back side and quad intense!)

Over the course of my training I became stronger. During my weekend trail runs I had more stability and stamina, and uphills were tough but I felt stronger overall.

Jason kept my nutrition on point. I started to fast pre work-out which was something I practiced during my marathon days. It was easy to do this because I train between 7-9am. We added more carbs, YES more carbs, to my diet and I freaked out at first! But after approx 6 weeks I had dropped 3.5% body fat. My body comp was changing. I was learning how to listen to my body. Jason was honest with me and shared with me some secrets on why I needed to make these dietary changes.

I was worried about the race after I rolled my ankle twice during training (NOT Michael’s fault ). Totally a fluke me running past someone on Pinnacle peak on a down hill as I was instructed by my coaches NOT to run downhill. The first ankle roll was 3 weeks out from Zion then again 1 week out. I stayed off it other than a-bike for conditioning and upper body.

Complete with hour by hour meal planning from Jason last Friday I was off to Utah with my team and ready to hit the trail. I was the first leg and starter for our race team. The captain placed me in 2 daylight runs – one at 12 noon at a 3.1 mile distance, and then the second at 6pm at a distance of 8.2 miles. This would enable me to have a lesser chance of another ankle roll, we hoped! As a team we were pumped and ready, ready to have a good time in a beautiful place, with great company and no pressure. We all set out for the same solid healthy trail running.

What we didn’t expect was the weather to change. We did prepare for a temperature drop which was nothing for me being from Chicago, 36 degrees was actually warmer than I was ever used to when I was training for a spring marathon.

My 3rd leg was a 4.5 mile course which was the one and only dark run. I was fatigued but fueled and ready to just get it over with. In between waiting for my teammates to take their turns it started to rain. What I didn’t prepare for was how dark it really gets out there, being alone in the trails when it’s snowing and raining, the only light I had was my headlamp, and I glimpsed another person maybe a handful of times. Mental testing that’s for sure, but once we made it to the switch backs at the end of the trail I didn’t care how long or what I looked like at the point, I was just relieved to be at the end. By the time our last runner came in the race was called off , unsafe conditions.

Myself and the preceding runner were the only two that finished all our distances. I felt so accomplished. I was happy to be done and ready to recover.

The programming Michael gave me taught me that I didn’t have to hit the road with continuous miles on my legs. I worked strength and conditioning together. I have never felt better physically post race than I did after this. Jason helped reassure me that it was ok to feel the cravings I was post race and that I was ok to eat those additional carbs if necessary.

I am ready to continue my journey at OPEX the amazing people and coaches I have encountered in such a short while is unbelievable. I will continue to receive remote programming while back in Chicago when I head home at the end of May.

I can’t wait to return back here in the fall and continue to receive the awesome on-site coaching!

My road to Ragnar 2014 powered by OPEX was a success and an experience I will never forget!

– Missy Turasky, OPEX On-site Client
Founder: Gotmissy.com


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After attending your program design course I have transformed my approach to programming for my gym, my competitors, and myself. It has paid off with huge returns. This past weekend we competed in “Battle Over Redlands” and had a handful of podium finishers (2 Golds, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze). I got 1st in the Men’s RX’d division by winning 4 of 5 workouts.

Thank you for everything you do and for the system you have provided so that others may follow in your footsteps.

Brice Collier
Director of Programming
Koda CrossFit

Hey James,

Wanted to let you know I have opened my own private and semi private training gym. We await the Rogue truck to arrive in minutes. We are not affiliating and we are 4 partners running our own personal training business. Lisa Rendic is amongst my partners along with 2 other females.……. Your CCP program and teachings have been big part of my growth and will continue to be a part of who I am as an individual and professional. A giant thank you for all you guidance and support.

Yago Fidani
Move Strength & Conditioning

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Hi Team,

This is me running the north face 100k trial in the blue mountains Australia, total assent 5000m. My time was 16h 16m 14s I am going for it again in 2014 and hope to smash that time as I think I’m in much better shape. Thanks for all you have done for me the past 12 month, I don’t think you will ever really know how much that is. Have a great xmas and new year.

Fergus Hayes

marcus granite gamesI’ve been working with OPEX in some form for over 4 years. From the Big Dawgs Blog, to CCP courses, to Exclusive Coaching with James himself, I’ve always felt like I was getting the best the industry has to offer. OPEX has been and will continue to be my home for training, knowledge, and community.

Marcus Filly
TJ’s Gym – Mill Valley
Exclusive Coaching Client, CCP Coach
2013 CF Games Individual Competitor, 2011-12 Team Competitor

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I have been with James Fitzgerald/OPEX for 5 months. I knew after 2012 Regionals I needed to make a change in my training and I decided to go with OPEX. Going with James was the best decision I could have made and what has evolved from that decision I could have never dreamed. After working with James long distance for a few months, I was able to work with an OPEX coach Mike Lee in person for a few days. When I came home I knew I needed to make a big change and move onsite and train full-time as an athlete. A month and a half later I moved from Florida to Arizona and have not looked back. The coaching and programming style has made me more confident as an athlete and the realization of a dream becoming a reality.

Gabrielle Andrews
EC Client, Onsite Athlete

Mike McgoldrickMy experience with James/OPEX started by stumbling across the blog one day. I was writing my own programming and wanted to experiment with some of OPEX’s current training. I mixed and matched a few things, learned quite a bit. It wasn’t until I heard James speak at a seminar at the Garage Games in 2011 that I was completely sold on the training philosophies.

I continued to write my own programming up through regionals of that year with guidance from OPEX’s Big Dawg Blog. Starting the summer of the next season I began following the Big Dawg Blog exclusively. I was tired of always wondering if “am I programming the right amount?” or “ am I efficiently targeting weaknesses?”. The Blog was great because I could just follow and train. No other thoughts. Just trust. Also, I connected with a BUNCH of other athletes and made some life long friends through this as well. Amazing community.

I continued to improve throughout the next season in 2012 and once the summer came I made a choice to find out what the next step would be. I decided to throw it all in and see what could happen. The Blog was great, but I was ready for specific tweaks and modifications to my current training goals. I felt that personal attention and detail would help move my training to the next level.

I have learned a LOT since working with James. Experience is valuable. There is no bullshit in answers driven from experience. James has experience.

What I didn’t expect to learn was how to be accountable for myself. I have to be honest, part of me expected a coach who would be there after every workout telling me that I “did a great job”, or I “crushed it”. I learned that I am truly doing this for myself, and not for someone else’s praise.

A couple of fears I had prior to hiring James were that I wasn’t sure if I was “good enough” for a coach yet. In my eyes, you had to be “good” to take on that kind of commitment.

I’m glad I stopped wasting time waiting for things to setup, and just took action. You won’t regret it. And if it’s not for you, at least you tried it and now you know.

McG (Mike McGoldrick)
2013 CF Games Competitor
Exclusive Coaching Client

James and Sharon:

Thank you for the opportunity to join the OPEX community through the Life Coaching course. My life has increasingly led towards a path of taking the course and listening to my purpose of helping others balance their lives. Before I took the course I experienced “eureka” moments through reading and studying philosophy and balancing my own life. Leading up to and during the course my knowledge based increased through your leadership and the experience of interacting with those in that room over those 48 hours. Since the course I have continued my education immersing myself in Dr. Demartini’s books and philosophies and working with those in my life that are willing to challenge themselves and balance their life.

My wife and I are on the verge of opening up our own place in Cincinnati so we can officially follow our purpose and help others “find their fitness and BALANCE their lives.” It has been a challenge to coordinate many of these consultations since I don’t have the regular contact of coaching in the gym anymore, but I know this is part of the challenge in the journey of opening our own space. I look forward to sharing with you both our journey and also continuing my OPEX education journey sooner than later.

I can’t thank you enough for the opportunity to learn and interact, so I will simply say…thank you.

Chris Burke

Gordana TestimonialI can’t even begin to explain how happy I am at the progress!! It’s awesome and exciting…it’s been a long 5 years of plateaus and to finally see some steady gains is amazing. That dip was pretty big for me…maybe a mental thing because of my arm/surgery…maybe I didn’t train it properly..or maybe I was just weighed down.

I found a quote today that really caught my attention..you know those that kinda re-affirm what you’ve known all along. It’s a huge mental game and it’s so nice to get that f*#king rock off my back!!

“We attain freedom as we let go of whatever does not reflect our magnificence. A bird cannot fly high or far with a stone tied to its back. But release the impediment, and we are free to soar to unprecedented heights.” – Alan Cohen, owner of the Florida Panthers.

Thanks for the awesome programming…you’ve helped make my gains seem effortless!! Onward!

G (Gordana Jakopcevic)
Exclusive Coaching Client, CCP Coach

I cannot recommend this enough. If you want to teach and train people, you have to know what you are doing. No one else delivers this type of education. It should be mandatory.

Soren Kristensen, CCP Coach