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How Will Your Coach Help You Progress Forever?

The Right Coach

Not every coach is a perfect fit. We will help you determine which coach fits your style and needs the best so that you connect to your coach more quickly and more effectively. Your coach will design your fitness experience to give you wins in and out of the gym for the long-haul.

We Start With You, Not The Other Way Around

Everybody is unique. The only way for your coach to start you off correctly is to talk to you face to face. As you begin to build a relationship with your coach, they will understand where to start your assessment and program so that you see and feel the right results for where you want to take your fitness.

Well Help You Understand Your Priorities And Goals

Life has a way of giving us challenges and changes along the way. Your coach will help guide and focus you through the great times as well as the challenging times so that you stay true to who you are and where you want to go.

Training That Comes To You

While you’ll do the bulk share of your training in one gym, just because you have to travel or be away from your gym doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your training. Through your connection to your coach and program, you’ll have training that meets you where you are, literally!

The Power Of The OPEX Tribe

With CrossFit® Games Champion, James Fitzgerald, over 100 CrossFit® Games Competitors as both coaches and clients, over 500 CrossFit® Regional Competitors, and thousands of athletes who train and compete for their own reasons, you’ll have access to the collective experience of coaches and clients in the OPEX tribe. Come see us at OPEX HQ in Scottsdale, ask us questions online, connect with us through social media, and stay connected with the extensive athlete content we post daily as you progress forever.

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Meet the coaches

Michael Bann CCP Instructor

Michael Bann

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.

Matt Bryant CCP Instructor

Matt Bryant

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.

Matt Connolly CCP Instructor

Matt Connolly

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.

Brian Foley CCP Instructor

Brian Foley

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.

Mizar Fuentes-Ortega CCP Instructor

Mizar Fuentes-Ortega

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.

Mike Lee OPEX Remote Coach

Mike Lee

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.”

Robin Lyons CCP Instructor

Robin Lyons

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)

Mike McElroy CCP Instructor

Mike McElroy

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.

Sean McGovern CCP Instructor

Sean McGovern

A 22 year veteran of skateboarding, Sean‘s background in sports and movement is deeply rooted in the experience around the result.

“Growing up, the goal was always to get out with the older guys, learn from them and feed off that vibe of progressing to the next level. We always wanted more – to take things further, but we knew there was a progression and we had to surround ourselves with like-minded people that were better than us.” Designing different lines for the next skate-video started his passion for movement, flow and performance – later leading into a short lived career in film editing upon discovering CrossFit in 2007.

Anxious to become part of building a different story, he pursued coaching – interning under Justin Marcis(Windy City Strength & Conditioning). Within the next 7 years he opened, operated and sold his own facility to focus solely on being a strength coach. “My old spot was CrossFit, and the new approach just didn’t fit there; it was obvious with the flux in clientele and the want for metcon after metcon that they weren’t getting. Upon finishing my first CCP course, I knew James Fitzgerald had those missing pieces that I had been looking for in CF – progression and the individual nature of an athlete.”

Completely intrigued with that essence, he finished his CCP courses and dove into Functional Diagnostic Nutrition. This understanding of the biochemical aspect, helped his clients achieve their health and performance goals at a whole new level. Outside of work, Sean pursues both skateboarding and olympic weightlifting recreationally. He is passionate about his wife Becky and their dog, Demo. He loves Jesus and is thankful for every opportunity to work with clients as a strength coach.

Sam Smith CCP Instructor

Sam Smith

California born, Sam graduated with a degree in Communication with an emphasis on Sports Psychology from the University of Southern California. A former professional golfer, his interest in movement led him to pursue further study in Physical Therapy. After five years in the clinic, Sam turned his attention to coaching. Sam now combines his love of coaching with his passion for learning as an OPEX Head Coach and Research and Development Assistant.

Matt Springer CCP Instructor

Matt Springer

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.

Henry Toraño CCP Instructor

Henry Toraño

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.

Will Trujillo CCP Instructor

Will Trujillo

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.

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How does it work

Your coach designs the experience to best suit YOU!

Consultations Face To Face

Each month you’ll jump on a Zoom video call with your coach so that you can discuss the big picture of your training, how your lifestyle is contributing to your success, how your nutrition is supplementing your progress, and where you’re heading next. That consultation will help you stay connected to your big picture goals so that your training remains on point each day.

Ongoing Assessments

Your coach will consistently re-assess where you are in your fitness journey. We have hundreds of proven benchmark tests that we will be able to gauge your progress with. In addition, we will also continue to look at your movement, your recovery, and your readiness to train on a daily basis to ensure that you are moving in the right direction at all times.

Customized Daily Program Design

You will never receive a templated program. You will always have a program that meets you where you are and progresses you forward each step of the way. With a program that ebbs and flows like you do, you will face fewer plateaus and pitfalls, and you’ll progress longer and faster than you would otherwise.

Nutrition Guidance

Don’t fall for the “macro trap.” Nutrition needs to be designed for you specifically. Your coach will work with you to start you properly, and then progress your nutrition just like they would your training program. As your nutrition continues to zone in, you will find those additional percentage points of progress that have eluded you in the past.

Daily Connection Through Fitbot

You’ll receive your program daily through a state of the art platform that connects right to your phone. There you’ll see your program, a video library of movements, and your library of benchmarks and assessments. You’ll post your results and comments for your coach to see and comment on, send your coach videos of your training so they can dissect movement and pacing, and receive feedback from your coach so that you constantly improve all areas of your fitness. Fitbot keeps your training organized and at your fingertips at all times during your fitness journey.

You deserve to realize the results of your hard work, but that work needs to evolve as you do. With the help of a professional coach, you will continue to progress in the way that most highly connects to your personality, style, and goals. When you have somebody in your corner who helps you achieve your biggest goals, you’ll enjoy greater confidence, resilience, and results not only today, but into the future

If you’re ready to take your fitness to the next level, click below to speak to an OPEX coaching advisor so that we can get you on a call with the coach who will help you reach your own podium.


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