Michael T. Aaron - Head Coach & Operations Manager
Michael is the Head Coach at CFM (since March 2014) & a CrossFit coach since 2010. In addition to his CrossFit Level 1 certification, he is also a MovNat Level 1 Certified Trainer.
A multisport athlete growing up, Mike was active in swimming, baseball, basketball, soccer, track & field, football; then 4 years of rugby in college. He plays rugby now for Atlanta's Old White organization, enjoying national success finishing in the top 16 in the county in Rugby 7s (new Olympic version of rugby) in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 & 2014 as well as top 16 in Rugby 15s in 2009 and 2013.
"I was introduced to Crossfit in 2008 through rugby as a way to becoming a fitter, more powerful athlete. I quickly became convinced that CrossFit is the best General Physical Preparation program in existence, and have been turning others on to CrossFit ever since."
Favorite CrossFit movement: one-armed dumbbell snatch
Favorite CrossFit benchmark: Karen (4:58)
Favorite movement to coach: Deadlift
Favorite quote: ""A warrior does not give up what he loves, he finds the love in what he does" -- Dan Millman: Way of the Peaceful Warrior
Advice to new CrossFitters: Be patient with your progress - building strength, developing technique with each movement, and increasing your endurance takes time. Have a positive attitude and give your best every day at the gym. Don't avoid WODs because you don't like them. Most of the time that is exactly what you need.
Lis Saunders - Co-owner, Founder & Coach
In 2011, Lis teamed up with friends Dan, Dyer & Matt to bring CrossFit to Atlanta's Midtown neighborhood. CrossFit Midtown opened in May 2012, and is now in its second location. For the first two years of business, Lis ran the day-to-day operations. She still lives in Midtown and coaches regular intro sessions and CrossFit classes.
Lis has been coaching CrossFit since 2010. In addition to her CrossFit L1, her other CrossFit certifications include Movement & Mobility, Gymnastics, Football and CrossFit Kids programs.
She also attended the Paleo nutrition seminars: Whole 9 Foundations and Balanced Bites, and is a nutritional consultant for CrossFit, powerlifting and lifestyle clients.
Lis has her Master of Education in Sports Management from the University of Georgia. She is also an accomplished powerlifter.
"I started CrossFit in 2009 after undergoing my 2nd knee surgery. My doctor recommended I give up long-distance running in favor of cross-training. After my first workout, I got my butt kicked and was immediately addicted. I've tried so many other exercise programs, but nothing has improved my physique and empowered me like CrossFit does!"
Favorite CrossFit movement: Turkish get-up
Favorite CrossFit benchmark: CrossFit Total (735#)
Favorite movement to coach: Squat
Powerlifting achievements: 6x USAPL State Record Holder - Squat, Deadlift & Total (67.5 & 72kg); 2014 Arnold Sports Festival Pro Raw Challenge - 4th place, 72kg; 2013 USAPL Raw Nationals - 8th place, 72kg; 2013 USAPL GA State Champ, 67.5kg; 2013 USAPL Powerlifting for Pink - Gold medal, 67.5kg & Best Female Lifter; 2012 USAPL Georgia Open - Gold medal, 67.5kg
"There is value in the struggle. You can't expect to break out of a cocoon by lying still."
Advice to new CrossFitters: Check your ego at the door. Rome wasn't built in a day. Don't expect to become an elite CrossFitter overnight. Listen to your coaches & cut out the negative self-talk. Every day you make it to the gym is a step in the right direction. Keep a positive attitude and enjoy the journey!
John Dyer - Co-owner, Founder & CoachDyer has been coaching CrossFit since 2012. He is also a USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach.
Favorite movement to coach: The Clean
Favorite CrossFit benchmark: Lizzie (7:25)
Favorite quote: "Do it now."
Advice to new CrossFitters: Make it your mission to learn how to do the movements as perfectly as possible and take pride in getting it right regardless of the weight. Record your workouts somewhere that you'll be able to find in a year or later. Set some goals.
Kelly Becker - Coach
Kelly is CrossFit L1 & CrossFit Kids certified. She joined the CFM coaching staff in early 2014, after coaching at some other CrossFit affiliates around Atlanta.
"I would highly recommend CFM to any CrossFitter, whether new or experienced, for 2 big reasons: a) I'm a big fan of the well-thought-out, well-rounded programming, & b) the gym is full of motivated, positive, GOOD people!"
She competes regularly in Atlanta-area CrossFit competitions, and helped coach the CFM team that took 3rd place in the 2014 Georgia Fitness League's Spring Series competition.
"One of my favorite CrossFit Midtown memories was watching our team as they progressed during the four weeks of competition. I could see the fire being lit in each & every one of them for the love of competition - as they quickly learned, it's addicting!"
Favorite movement to coach: Shoulder-to-overhead, especially push press, due to it being 1 of my favorite movements.
Favorite CrossFit benchmark: Fight Gone Bad: 286...I want that elusive 300!
Favorite quote: "You are where you are in your life at any given point and time for a reason, though you may not know it yet."
Advice to new CrossFitters: It's you against you. Don't fixate on other people's scores on that whiteboard. Once you learn your skill set, you will learn how to run with it in the gym & give YOUR best day in & day out.
Jason Lupuloff - Coach & College program coordinator
Jason is a Level-1 certified CrossFit coach. He is also a senior at Georgia Tech, and coordinator of CFM's College Program. He played football, track & hockey in high school. Outside of CrossFit, he enjoys running with his dog Nike & competing in obstacle runs like the Tough Mudder.
Favorite movements to coach: Rope climbs & power cleans
Favorite CrossFit benchmark: Cindy (20 rounds, 1 rep)
Favorite quote: "The more we sweat in times of peace, the less we bleed in times of war" - Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
Advice to new CrossFitters: Patience and tenacity will get you a long way in improvements.
Amy Rakestraw - CoachAmy has been coaching CrossFit since March 2013. She is also a personal trainer, and certified in kettlebells (Russian Kettlebell, RKC/SFG), Yoga & TRX.
Favorite CrossFit movement: I love to deadlift. I'm not great at it, but I really want to be.
Favorite movement to coach: Double unders. I consider myself the double under whisperer.
Favorite quote: "I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being." - Hafiz
Advice to new CrossFitters: Form first! Own the movement and then add weight.
Ben Sapp - CoachBen has been coaching for three years and doing CrossFit for over four years.
He uses CrossFit to stay in shape for outdoor activities like cycling, climbing and hiking.
Favorite movement to coach: Handstand Push-ups
Favorite quote: "For every strike brings me closer to the next home run." - Babe Ruth
Advice to new CrossFitters: It's not about the clock. With time, patience and determination you'll be able to achieve whatever your goals are for CrossFit.
Casey Woodruff - CoachCasey holds his CrossFit Level 1 certification, as well as a bachelors degree in Exercise Physiology:
"I have been coaching since I was a junior in high school as a TA for an advanced weightlifting coach. Since then, I've coached at the high school, college, and "globo gym" level. In 2009 I drank the CrossFit Kool-aid and was immediately hooked on the high intensity, functional movements, and amazing community. A CrossFit coach gets to work with a wide range of people from many different backgrounds. I've trained and worked out alongside high school athletes and 85-year-old warriors, doing the same WOD, dripping the same amount of sweat. As a CrossFit coach, nothing is more rewarding than seeing a member hit a goal. Whether it's a 400lb squat, first double under, or the first time jumping on a 2" box, it all gives me a reason to keep on coaching.
I recommend Crossfit Midtown because we have coaches that care about the safety and development of our athletes. Everyone person that walks into our box will be given the attention required to improve their movements and reach their goals. CFM stresses skill before intensity, and we believe that form follows function."
Favorite movement to coach: I love coaching the Clean and the Snatch. The Olympic lifts in general are my favorite movements. They are very technical and even the most seasoned lifters need to work on form. Any deviation from the midline causes a ripple effect up the chain and it's fascinating to watch and perfect.
Favorite CrossFit benchmark: Fran. We have a love-hate relationship
(Best score- 2:52 Currently- 1 hour).
Favorite quote: "You cannot dream yourself into a character. You must hammer and forge yourself into one."
Advice to new CrossFitters:
If you are sore, show up.
If you are stressed, show up.
If you are tired, show up.
If you are afraid of the WOD, show up.
If you are unable to do the movement, show up.
If you are afraid of getting your hair wet in the rain, show up.
You will always feel better when you leave this gym.
You will always regret not showing up.
So get your ass in the gym and put one foot in front of the other.
In 30 days you won't recognize that person who was afraid.
Rebecca Wright - Coach
Becca is a Level-1 certified CrossFit coach. She became a CrossFit coach in order to help others grow & achieve something they're proud of. When she's not practicing CrossFit, Becca enjoys spin classes and practicing yoga.
Favorite CrossFit movements: wall balls, KB swings & rowing
Favorite CrossFit benchmark: Karen & Grace
Favorite quotes:"Never hope for it more than you work for it."
"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."
Advice for new CrossFitters: Be patient with yourself, always push yourself, stay open to feedback and trying something new.