Our Coaches have certifications in Olympic Lifting, Crossfit, Personal Training, and Nutrition
— as well as lengthy backgrounds in sports and performance
Kristen Markel, Owner/Head Coach
USAW L2 Advanced Sports Performance Coach, Crossfit Level 1, Donny Shankle Certified, RN BSN
Kristen grew up playing sports with her older brothers. It turned into Varsity swimming, skiing, crew, and softball. Her relay teams garnered state titles and records and an All-American swimming title. She picked up running in college but stopped when she got a stress fracture in her shin. A friend introduced her to CrossFit in 2012, working as a travel nurse meant a new location every few months and the built in support from the crossfit community that she found gave her a solid foundation no matter where she was.
Kristen became certified as a CrossFit L-1 coach in early 2013, then USA Weightlifting sports coach in 2014, and finally as NASM Personal Trainer in 2015, all the while attending seminars (such as Bob Takano, Outlaw and Donny Shankle) to increase her knowledge. Her bachelors degree as a RN gives her in-depth knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and nutrition. When home, she works with her mother who is in her 70's since she thinks nobody is too old to get fit! She has a passion for eating well, exercising, and having fun. Her motto is "safety first" while in the gym but if you're not having fun you're not doing it right!
Beaux Blackwood, Owner/Head Coach
Crossfit Level 1, Cal Strength Certified
Born and raised in New Orleans, Beaux grew up playing football and baseball. He started wrestling in 7th grade, going on to become one of the top wrestlers in the state by the end of High School, even after being displaced by Katrina. While interning as an Athletic Trainer he started a powerlifting program at his college, performing the programming and coaching as well as competing. He is now a full time weightlifter; he qualified for the American Open in 2015/2016 and went on to place 10th in the Nation at the USAW 2017 National Meet.
Beaux became Crossfit L-1 certified in late 2013, followed by CalStrength Weightlifting certified in early 2014, and finally NASM Personal Trainer in 2015. It has always been his dream to be a personal trainer, and he could be found in the gym from a young age trying to look like Arnold. He has a passion for being physically fit, chest squats, and good beer. Ask him how to get an amazing bicep pump.
Katie Gray, Coach
USAW Level 1 Sports Performance, ACSM
Katie started her fitness career at a young age, becoming a top ranked gymnast in her home state of New Jersey. Her athleticism caught the attention of her high school track coaches, and from there she went on to become All-State in the pole vault. Recruited by East Carolina University, she competed at the Divison-1 level and aided her team in winning the 2012 Conference USA indoor championship. After graduating with a degree in Health and Physical Education she realized education wasn't her calling, but coaching was. She acquired an ACSM certification shortly after and spent a year traveling the country and training. She has been coaching in the New Orleans area for over a year now. Her specialties are sport performance training and handstand/gymnastics training. Want to learn a handstand, kipping, or muscle ups then she’s your girl! In her free time, Katie loves Acro Yoga, rock climbing, exploring the city and hiking with her pup Lou.
Jared Mata, Coach
Crossfit Level 1, BS in Kinesiology
Jared specializes in Sports Training, taking athletes to the next level of performance within football, baseball, and soccer. When he is not competing at Crossfit, look for him on the pitcher's mound in the men's fastball league! He also stays active in local sports such as volleyball and kickball (anybody noticing a trend with balls here??) and enjoys biking and running along the lake.