Coaching Staff

11058093_10153974306545477_4219008564515880017_oJJ Christopher – Owner/Head Trainer

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After 6 years of strength training on his own, JJ stumbled upon a local CrossFit gym in 2009. Since then he has trained consistently under the CrossFit principles. Incorporating his experience in the power lifts and a newfound love/hate for conditioning workouts, he brought his own brand of the sport to the public when he left his job in consulting and opened Division St. CrossFit in August 2012. JJ is a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and CrossFit Rowing Trainer. He also continues to play baseball in a men’s league every summer and holds bachelor’s degrees in Integrated Science, Math, and Physics from Northwestern University.


577034_586709572880_273867251_nJoey Verrant

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Joey has been crossfitting since 2009 and is the founder and former owner of CrossFit West Ames, located in Ames, IA. He is a USAW Sports Performance Specialist, a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, and is a 2011 Iowa Weightlifting Champion. Joey’s main interests lie in Olympic weightlifting, squats, and all things iron. Additionally, Joey has served in the Marine Corps Infantry.


1000809_10151658525362421_1129475279_n CROPPEDLucas McEmery

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After doing the whole ‘body-building’ routine, Lucas got turned on to CrossFit from a friend. The competitive atmosphere immediately drew Lucas in, as it took him back to his days on the wrestling mat growing up. Wrestling and playing multiple sports growing up [football, baseball, track] always had Lucas trying to become better year-in and year-out, but he lost that edge after college wrestling. CrossFit brought that back. A newfound passion for pushing himself coupled with starting his work-career as a coach/trainer and wanting to bring fitness to his clients had Lucas buying into CrossFit full-swing. Qualifying and competing in the 2010 Reebok CrossFit Games Affiliate Cup at the Home Depot Center had Lucas hungry for competition; it just lit that fire. Lucas is a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, is a certificate of attendance holder for the CrossFit Coach’s Prep course, is kettlebell certified, and is an NPTI-CPT. These days, Lucas’ main focus is on knowledge of sport and movement, trying to gain as much coaching experience and a broad array of knowledge as possible. He has 3 years of CrossFit coaching experience and 2.5 years of personal training experience.

1549199_482543921850868_766416386_n croppedMegan Mangahas

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Megan found CrossFit in August of 2012. Afraid of ‘getting big,’ she shied away early on, only to find herself wanting more. Things quickly changed after her first Open workout. Also known as BIG, Megan is known for her size, or lackthereof. Megan is a CrossFit Level 1 trainer and as a CPA, she finds her time in the gym therapeutic and truly empowering.

902779_463952253675545_369411067_o CROPPEDDan Zyma

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Originally from Pittsburgh, Dan is former college football player and high school coach. Dan completed his first CrossFit workout over two years ago in 2011, leaving him with bloody hands and gasping for air; he was hooked. Since then Dan has been addicted to reaching optimum potential and helping others achieve their goals. Dan is a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and enjoys Progenex, power cleans, peanut butter, and did we mention ….Progenex?

323150_304788072951632_1250585545_oNatalie Rubino

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Natalie loves being active. She grew up playing competitive softball and running track and she began completing marathons, half-marathons, and century rides after college. In 2011, Natalie tried CrossFit because her fitness level began to plateau – she needed a new challenge. From day one, she was hooked. Natalie loved the gym’s energy, the variations of workouts, and the camaraderie among the members. For Natalie, CrossFit isn’t just about exercise; it’s the sense of community and personal accomplishment that keeps her coming back for more. As a CrossFit Level 1 trainer, she is inspired by the members and eager to help them reach their fitness goals.

IMG_4039Rachel Gitles

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While pursing her Bachelor’s in Kinesiology at UIC, Rachel kept hearing mixed messages about an emerging training regimen called CrossFit. Eager to find out more information, she got hired as a summer intern at a local CrossFit gym in 2012. She instantly fell in love with the intensity of the metcons, found her strength and skill work improving like never before, and made great friends and mentors within the community. After she graduated, she became a full-time coach and led multiple endurance programs and nutrition challenges. Rachel loves to learn and develop her skills as a trainer, athlete, and businesswoman, and was ready to venture beyond her CrossFit gym. So in January 2015, she left to start personal training clients and became a yoga teacher. Rachel is passionate about bringing balanced health and happiness to as many people as possible. She is a CrossFit Level 2 Trainer, USAW Sports Performance Coach, 200-hour certified yoga teacher, and has a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology with a concentration in exercise and fitness.

Jodi Wernikoff

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Originally from the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Jodi has always been an avid athlete since an early age playing soccer, softball, and running cross-country. Jodi earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her Masters in Physician Assistant Studies at the University of St. Francis. When Jodi isn’t coaching or squeezing in a WOD, she works at the VA as a Physician Assistant, as well as serving in the Army Reserves as a Medical Officer. In college, Jodi began competing in endurance sports and has since competed competitively with the All Army Triathlon Team as well as the Army 10 Miler Team. CrossFit entered Jodi’s life in 2012 while on a deployment in Afghanistan. Just as many people do, Jodi was hooked after her first workout and she quickly became addicted to the community, athleticism, and drive that defines the CrossFit way of life. Jodi earned her CrossFit Level 1 trainer in 2014, and looks forward to every day she steps into the box and is able to help athletes evolve in their confidence, achieve new milestones and master new skills…doing things which they once never believed they were capable of.



Additional coaching staff to be announced soon!