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dan lao
Head coach, owner

Dan grew up in Illinois where his parents found the only way to keep him out of trouble was to fill his time playing soccer, basketball, running track, and even a short (and unsuccessful) stint in archery.  For college, he attended the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, where he played volleyball and sprint football.  After graduating in 2005, he joined the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant.  In 2007, Major Jason Kelly introduced Dan to CrossFit.  Since that time, he has continued to learn and grow, bringing anyone willing along for the ride.  In January 2013, Dan made the decision to leave active duty to start a CrossFit gym.  While no longer a full-time Soldier, Dan loves the opportunity to teach, inspire, and encourage others to better themselves.

CrossFit Level 2 Trainer, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, CrossFit Olympic Lifting Trainer, USAW Sports Performance Coach, Pn1 (Precision Nutrition), NESTA Sports Nutrition Specialist, Lululemon Legacy Ambassador, College Sprint Football, College Volleyball

Why CrossFit?
Through 8 years in the Army, including deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, I have found that CrossFit, more than any other single approach to fitness, prepared me to accomplish anything that I have ever needed to do.  When programmed and coached correctly, I believe CrossFit mitigates risk, while applying a comprehensive definition to the idea of fitness.  At the same time, it allows room for friendly competition in a community setting.

Favorite WOD:
Annie – 50-40-30-20-10 Double-Unders and Sit-ups.  It’s all about having doubles!

Least Favorite WOD:
Anything with thrusters.

Best CrossFit Memory:
First Muscle-Up.


Photo taken by Amy Wisegarver

Photo taken by Amy Wisegarver

What brought you into CrossFit? Wanting to try something new to elevate my fitness, that I knew nothing about, at the time.

CrossFit/Fitness Certifications/Experience: CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, CrossFit Endurance Certification, CrossFit Gymnastics Certification, USAW Sports Performance Coach

Why CrossFit? This snippet from a blog post by Kevin Daigle describes everything that CrossFit has become, for me:

"We’ve all been on the ground, exasperated, suffering after a WOD. But, if you’ve never been on the verge of crying your eyes out – you’re clinging to the shore. Let go. If you never get burned you’ll never know just how far you could have gone. People see this, and they know it’s real. We’re drawn to that. Those you care about in the gym and elsewhere understand and are inspired by that level of heart and conviction. I’ll keep doing it, because I know that there are kindred who’ll go with me. Those are the people I want to be around in the gym and everywhere else. No barriers, no insurance, no safety net. Just balls out, all-in, caution-be-damned intensity. Bare your soul to the room – to the barbell, and really show what’s inside, win, lose, suffer, shit, or cry. Risk nothing, gain nothing."

Favorite WOD Anything with overhead squats, pistols, and/or handstand pushups. Or, anything with a weight vest or elevation training mask.

Interesting Fact about yourself I grew up fairly overweight. It wasn't until I reached college that I decided that I needed to find a healthier lifestyle. I've gone from about a size 16 to a 4 while gaining strength and endurance.

Best CrossFit Memory My first CrossFit coach once told me, after I had failed repeatedly during the WOD to lift the barbell and felt so broken because of it, that we learn more from the days that we struggle, than on the days where things come easy. She was right.

Brittanie Facchini

What brought you into CrossFit? I had gone to Gold's gym for years prior to Crossfit. My best friend and her husband opened a Crossfit gym near me, she had encouraged me to come try it out for a year. I finally told her one day that I was tired of my gym routine and was ready to try it out. And 5 years later, I still love it!

Certifications/Experience: CrossFit L1 Trainer

Why CrossFit? Crossfit's pretty amazing! A vast majority of different movements, combined to create an awesome workout! When I started CF, I was scared and could barely do 10 push ups. With persistence I continued to see results while building friendships with the community around me.

Favorite WOD: My favorite WOD would have to be Annie- I love double unders and sit ups!

Interesting fact about yourself: Most know, but some don't. I used to be on a unicycle team for 3 years in Elementary school! And I can still ride one today!

Best CrossFit Memory: My best Crossfit memory was getting my first pull up! It took me a whole year!

Karen Gach

Photo taken by Amy Wisegarver

Photo taken by Amy Wisegarver

What brought you into CrossFit?
What brought me to CrossFit was that I was tired of working out for multiple hours, but not getting stronger. It was boring and lacked challenge. What keeps me doing CrossFit is seeing my own progress, and the progress of everyone around me. Every day can be a challenge.

CrossFit/Fitness Certifications/Experience
CrossFit L1 Trainer, Precision Nutrition Certified, Coaching since 2014

Why CrossFit?
We can all move better, and make progress. CrossFit, to me, is a way to challenge myself every day to try something new or be better than I was yesterday. Plus oly lifts and gymnastics are really fun.

Favorite WOD
Not Karen. Anything but Karen.

Interesting Fact about yourself
I believe artificial banana or cherry flavored anything might be the worst ideas on the planet.

Best CrossFit Memory
Crossfit Open 15.3: I spent 28 minutes per day (2 attempts at the 14 minute WOD) trying to get a single muscle up so I could put an Rx score on the board. I didn't get it, but I did get significant tendonitis, and a lesson to quit while your body is strong so you can live to fight another day. I also realized how much support there is in the CrossFit community, even in recovery.

Coleigh Patrick

Photo taken by Amy Wisegarver

Photo taken by Amy Wisegarver

What brought you into CrossFit?
I was born In West Palm Beach, FL. and grew up competing in sports ranging from baseball, soccer, swimming, wrestling, Lifting, BMX, surfing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and even some gymnastics and martial arts.

Introduced by a close friend through persistent persuasion, I gave CrossFit a try. After my first free WOD, I drove straight to my other gym and quit, never looking back.

CrossFit/Fitness Certifications/Experience:
CrossFit Level 2 Trainer, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer

Why CrossFit?
Competing and teaching have always been a part of my DNA in the world of sports and continues to be with Crossfit. Nothing makes me happier to see results like that!

Favorite WOD
Favorite WOD is hard to say but some of my favorite movements are: Muscle-ups - rope climbs – Toes-to-bar - Handstand walks - rowing & snatch (on a good day).

Interesting Fact about yourself
I love adrenaline sports. Love to jump & drop on the MTB.

Best CrossFit Memory
Many fond memories but doing a coed partner pro competition with “V” (a gal 1/2 my age) and seeing her face while I failed miserably at doing 20 synchronized overhead squats (185 for me) with her. I felt so bad for letting her down in that moment and she was nothing but incredibly encouraging & supportive. She held her weight overhead (forever) waiting for me to pull myself together over & over. All the while with a smile on her face. While I was obviously still disappointed in my performance, it was pretty dang awesome having her, fellow gym members, and everyone else there cheering me on. But it’s that smile on V’s face that I remember most…it spoke volumes in that moment.

Rachel Long

Photo taken by Amy Wisegarver

Photo taken by Amy Wisegarver

What brought you into CrossFit? I, on a whim, stopped by Acuo one day to see what CrossFit was about. After a wod that day (it was running, kb swings and pull ups), it didn't take long to fall in love with both CrossFit and the community that comes with it. Since then, I've gained not only strength and skills but some of the best friends someone could ask for.

CrossFit/Fitness Certifications/Experience: CF- Level 1 trainer, USAW Sports Performance Coach, USA Gymnastics professional member/ 11 years coaching competitive gymnastics, CrossFit athlete/ competitive Weightlifter

Why CrossFit? CrossFit is so much more than fitness. It has made me better as an athlete and even more so as a person. The gym is my favorite place to be and the support and encouragement I get from the community and coaches is something I don't find many other places.

Favorite WOD Nancy- or pretty much anything with Overhead Squats

Interesting Fact about yourself Ummm... I'm not that interesting. I really love tacos- I think I could eat them every day and not get tired of them. And I can read books really fast.

Best CrossFit Memory Competing in my first CrossFit competition- The 2015 Iron Open.

Kevin O’Dea

Photo taken by Amy Wisegarver

Photo taken by Amy Wisegarver

What brought you into CrossFit? After years of running, I experienced lots of joint pain and decided to pursue other fitness challenges. I quickly became bored of the gym routine and needed something different. After my brother and sister encouraged me to join, I started CrossFit about five years ago and I haven’t been back to the gym since.

CrossFit/Fitness Certifications/Experience: CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, USAW Sports Performance Coach, former marathon runner, double century cyclist

Why CrossFit? I enjoy each day being a different work out and challenge that pushes me to my daily limits. I’m a bit competitive by nature, and CrossFit allows competition yet is still inviting to the community spirit.

Favorite WOD Cindy: 20 min AMRAP of 5 pull ups, 10 push ups and 15 air squats. The movements are technical and the workout is simple in nature yet is so grueling.

Interesting Fact about yourself I used to foster dogs. I have one rescued dog and two rescued cats and I look forward to more foster when I settle into a house.

Best CrossFit Memory First muscle up, followed by first strict muscle up