Coaches

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
CrossFit Aerobic Capacity Certificate
BIRTHFIT Coach

Dave Whitson

Partner & Head Coach, Middle School, High School, Kids, Personal Training

Email: dave@crossfitsoar.com

How did you learn about CrossFit?

I was in college and searching for a workout routine that I wouldn’t get bored with that included body weight movements since I didn’t have a gym to work out in. CrossFit.com popped up and that was it.

What is your favorite thing about SOAR?

The community. The members at SOAR are very welcoming and are always there to help out. Its a very easy place to walk into as a new person and feel comfortable.

What do you love about being a SOAR Coach?

Coaching is the best job in the world. I have the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives every single day.

Words of wisdom for new people?

Start slow. Fitness is a journey that isn’t made in one day. CrossFit is about life long fitness. Take the time to learn technique and work on your mobility and it will pay off long term.

Athletic/Training Background:

I played every sport I could growing up, but stuck with hockey as I started high school. I have played in national and international tournaments. As far as working out and lifting, I really only began when I discovered CrossFit when I was a sophomore in college. I never lifted a weight or did a pull-up before then. Once I started researching CrossFit and other strength and conditioning methods, I made a decision to become a trainer. I started training people out of my home and then had the opportunity to be the Strength and Conditioning Coach for a high school girls Track and Field team. My first year there, we were able to bring multiple people to nationals for the first time in the schools history.

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer

Steve Keefer

Partner & Founder

How did you learn about CrossFit?

I’ve always checked out other athletes’ workouts, trying out and adopting new things that make sense. So there I was – at the gym – and I saw this dude in intense pain, doing some kind of weird workout, and something just totally clicked in me. I went up to him and asked him what he was doing – it turned out he was in the middle of ‘Fran’, thrusters and pullups for time – and after a few minutes in his near-death experience he finally sputtered out, ‘crossfit.com!’. Well dagnabbit, from that moment on I was hooked.

What is your favorite thing about SOAR?

The Community. SOAR is my favorite place to hang out. I love our people! The whole vibe here is super positive and fun.

What do you love about being a SOAR Coach?

Usually I’m a substitute Coach. I just love to get out there and mix it up, as an Athlete, Coach or just as Shteve-O. If I can make one Athlete’s day brighter, or help create a little motivation with a kick in the tail, or help spark an ‘aha!’ moment when it all clicks for an Athlete, that makes me happy.

Words of wisdom for new people?

Move – just moving is a great start. Please remember that CrossFit is a journey not a destination. What your times/weights/reps are when you start is irrelevant if you’re sacrificing form. What matters is not your first WOD, but your WOD’s one, 5, 15 and 50 years from now. Enjoy the process, stay motivated, listen to your Coaches, and allow the program to work.

Everything is scalable! My mom and LeBron James do the same workouts – just LBJ puts 500 lbs on his back to squat, and my ma sits on a tall chair then stands up. It’s the same WOD, performed intensely relative to the given Athlete. Go where you’re able to go.

On a mental note – the WOD’s suck for everyone (except for a couple mutants who enjoy the agony). You’ll want your mama, you’ll want to cry, and…you’ll feel great when you’re done, surrounded by cheering SOAR’ers who’ve just done the same thing. And it’ll get better next time, and your fitness and overall wellness will go through the roof. Stick it out!

Athletic/Training Background:

I played a ton of sports growing up, some competitively. I was a gym rat and down for just about any workout, any time. In the military we played around with some pretty insane physical training but never distilled it to the scientific essence that CrossFit has. I love getting in the water, preferably in big waves, and yoga helps me open up. I’ve been banged up quite a bit with my background, had major spinal surgery, and love that CrossFit has helped me to heal. A little trivia fact about me – I have successfully completed my CrossFit Level 1 certification twice – first solo and the second time with my son.

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
CrossFit Endurance Trainer Certificate
BIRTHFIT Coach
BIRTHFIT Regional Director
BIRTHFIT Seminar Staff Instructor

Nastaran Whitson

CrossFit Coach, Running Coach, BIRTHFIT, Personal Training

Email: nast@crossfitsoar.com

How did you learn about CrossFit?

My husband, Dave. He became a level 1 coach years ago. I was nervous about the workouts, but he peaked my curiosity & let me in on a couple of his cardio workouts – where he would let me beat him – & slowly, but surely, I became hooked! He also happens to be the head trainer; I had no choice.

What is your favorite thing about SOAR?

The people. I love all of the different personalities; we’re all a little quirky. This is a place where members feel comfortable when they walk in and no one judges you. In fact, they cheer you on. It’s a great feeling when no one wants to leave at the end.

What do you love about being a SOAR Coach?

I love to welcome people when they first come in, especially after a long day. Everyone has life going on. I’ve heard some members call SOAR “the bubble” because you can leave your worries out for a little while, de-stress and have fun. I genuinely want our members to leave happier than when they came in.

Words of wisdom for new people?

Smile, breath & don’t be so hard on yourself.

Athletic/Training Background:

I did pointe (ballet), karate, and played softball most of my kid life and ran track throughout high school. Although I went to UMASS, Amherst on an academic scholarship, my college roommate insisted I try out for the Division 1 track team. I made the team as one of their starting heptathletes (7 events) and placed top 5 at Atlantic-10 and New England Championships. After college, I decided I hadn’t had enough, so I tried out for Olympic Development Club Teams, Greater Boston and later, Garden State in New Jersey. I now have the distinct pleasure of coaching high school track & field, where – with the addition of a strength & conditioning program – I’ve been able to help my team qualify for such prestigious meets as PENN Relays, the Millrose Games and New Balance Nationals. CrossFit has definitely brought my training and coaching to a whole new level! And I’m excited to share that experience with others.

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
CrossFit Level 2 Trainer

Samantha Hirsh

CrossFit Coach, Middle School, High School, Personal Traing, Sport Specific Strength & Conditioning

Email: sam@crossfitsoar.com

How did you learn about CrossFit?

I had heard about Crossfit through word of mouth and watched some of the Crossfit Games on tv. I thought it was absolutely crazy, but I was intrigued and wanted to know more about it. I had become very bored with my normal fitness routine and decided to give Crossfit a shot. I took a free intro class with Mr. Dave, and immediately I was hooked. I still remember that workout: 3 rounds for time: 15 back squats, 300m run. Looking back at that workout now, I bet zero of my squats counted.

What is your favorite thing about SOAR?

Hands down, my favorite thing about SOAR is the people that make up this community. A big part of Crossfit, in general, is the idea of community, which doesn’t hold true in every box. Crossfit SOAR wholeheartedly embraces the idea of community, and it has really become more of a family. I know that every time I walk in the door at SOAR, I will be surrounded by people that genuinely care about me and what’s going on in my life, beyond just my athletic wellbeing, and that is what keeps me coming back. My second favorite thing (am I allowed to do that…?) would be Wod and Wine night where I exercise my angelic vocal chords in a karaoke showdown.

What do you love about being a SOAR Coach?

What I love about being a SOAR coach is being a part of the impact that Crossfit has on people’s lives. I know firsthand the confidence and overall happiness that Crossfit and the people at SOAR have given me. To be able to help others in that same regard is awesome and so rewarding.

Words of wisdom for new people?

Try your very best not to compare yourself to others. Joining classes with other athletes that have been doing Crossfit for a year or more can be overwhelming. It’s okay to look at other people around you and use them to help shape your goals, but really your ultimate goal for improvement should be based on yourself. There may be days when you feel amazing about how you did in a workout and days where you feel a little bit less amazing about how you did in a workout. Always keep in mind that your journey in Crossfit and with Crossfit SOAR is lifelong!

Athletic/Training Background:

Growing up, I played all sports, but I really had a passion for soccer. By 4th grade, I started playing soccer year round, and the phrase “I can’t, I have soccer” became commonplace in my life. After high school, took my playing career to Syracuse University. Upon graduating from Syracuse, I ran strength, speed, and agility training for middle school and high school athletes, and after that I started coaching youth soccer in Parsippany. I coached 8-13 year olds, until finally had the desire to start my own goalkeeper training business, Dynamic Goalkeeping Academy. Looking to expand my business, I took an assistant coaching job for the Women’s Soccer team at Ramapo College in the summer of 2015, where I still coach today. I spent about a year considering getting my L-1 before I bit the bullet and went for it. Originally, I decided to get my L-1 because I felt that as a crossfit athlete, it would improve my understanding of the sport and movements. After a couple of weeks of consideration, I decided to give coaching a shot, and I haven’t looked back since!

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer

Laura “Legit” Romanek

CrossFit Coach, Personal Training

Email: legit@crossfitsoar.com

How did you learn about CrossFit?

I actually learned about Crossfit through my brother who has been with SOAR since the beginning. One day he had a ton of his CrossFit friends over hanging out. We had a friendly bet going and I lost. I had to try out this “CrossFit thing” he always talked about. A month later I went in to take my free class at SOAR and the rest is history. I was addicted. CrossFit not only formed the strongest bond my brother and I have ever had but it has changed my life! I’ll always have CrossFit SOAR to thank for that.

What is your favorite thing about SOAR?

The members! We have members of all different ages/ethnicities/sexual preferences etc but we are all ONE at SOAR.

What do you love about being a SOAR Coach?

There are so many things that I love about being a coach at SOAR. I love to see the transformations of members. I love the “Coach Legit, I finally got double-unders” I love the PR’s, the high-fives, the hugs, and the support of each and every member. I love the trust the members have in me to help them reach their highest potential! The drive and determination our members have are undeniable.

Words of wisdom for new people?

Breathe, relax, and trust the process. The coaches are here to help, so ask questions and don’t be shy. Don’t worry about what the guy or girl next to you is doing. Focus on yourself. This is YOUR journey. Also TECHNIQUE BEFORE INTENSITY

Athletic/Training Background:

I played sports up until college. Softball, Basketball, Hockey, Football, Tae Kwon Do, Soccer, Bowling, you name it I played it. There wasn’t a weekend free in my household as a kid. My parents were always taking me to some kind of practice or game. I was always on the move from the minute I was born and I made sure I put my full potential into every sport I played. I’ve been competitive my whole life and I think this is why Crossfit appealed to me so much. Now, Crossfit is my sport, my love, and my passion! #SOARSTRONG

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer

Abe Sharkas

CrossFit Coach, Personal Training, Media Specialist

Email: abe@crossfitsoar.com

How did you learn about CrossFit?

I found out about CrossFit by stepping through the doors of CrossFit SOAR. As I was driving to work one day I happen to look to my right and see a big warehouse with the words “Beyond Your Limits” and had to step in to see what it was all about. From completing my foundations with Head Coach Dave, to participating in all the classes that I attended, I fell in love with everything CrossFit every step of the way.

What is your favorite thing about SOAR?

My favorite thing about SOAR is the community.
“Expand your knowledge by expanding your community”
From learning about Olympic weightlifting, nutrition, mental toughness, and to how many feet are in a meter {math skills leveled up}, the community at CrossFit SOAR assisted me into becoming the strongest version of myself in all ways.

I’m a believer that we are a direct reflection of the community we’re immersed in so having the opportunity of witnessing the love, inspiration, and gratitude that the members bring into this facility is one of the greatest honors I’ve ever had to witness.

What do you love about being a SOAR Coach?

As this community has been an igniter in a massive change in my life, as a reflection of that, it is my duty to give that back.
Assisting others in growing and discovering the strongest version of themselves is my favorite part of coaching. From Olympic lifts to gymnastic skills, I love witnessing the growth of athletes throughout the process of learning and development.
“Growing stronger is about accumulating wisdom, learning from your mistakes and inspiring others to become the strongest version of themselves.”

Words of wisdom for new people?

Be courageous in all that you do while becoming the strongest version of you. Courage is what you will experience and what you will grow when the doubt is there but you do it anyway. Keep moving, keep growing, and keep falling in love with all that you are, always and in all ways.

Athletic/Training Background:

Never was an athletic individual until I showed up at CrossFit SOAR.
In my youth, I was pre-diabetic, suffered from high blood pressure, and, at my heaviest, weighed over 350lbs.
Through the practice of methodology within CrossFit, I now I enjoy hiking, biking, lifting, and gymnastics. I found stability and harmony in my life, both outside and within.

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
CrossFit Powerlifting Certificate
CrossFit Kettlebell Certificate

Kris Sachanandani

CrossFit Coach, Personal Training

Email: kris@crossfitsoar.com

How did you learn about CrossFit?

I learned about CrossFit through a friend who actually didn’t like it.  He thought I would.  I was competing in MMA at the time and wanted a program to supplement my training.

 What is your favorite thing about SOAR?

My favorite part of SOAR is the community.  I have been to a good amount of gyms before SOAR and the community here was the most welcoming.  I felt like I found my CrossFit home.

What do you love about being a SOAR Coach?

I coach the early (5am/6am) classes.  It is a crazy time to wake up, but the people are awesome.  Just seeing them grow into better athletes and hitting PR’s keeps me motivated.

Words of wisdom for new people?

Have fun with it!  Don’t make training a chore or the main thing in your life.  Train to make your life outside the gym better!

Athletic/Training Background:

In high school, my main sport was swimming.   I played a little rugby and did track as well in high school.   After that, I moved onto MMA and wrestling.  I competed in Judo, Brazilian Ji Jitsu, boxing, and MMA.

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer

Chris Spencer

CrossFit Coach, Personal Training

Email: spencer@crossfitsoar.com

How did you learn about CrossFit?

I caught my first glimpse of CrossFit like many others back in the day watching someone in a regular gym doing these crazy pull-ups, doing Olympic movements, and going a million miles an hour. After doing my own research on it I figured I’d give it a try and instantly fell in love with the workouts themselves and the philosophy of CrossFit.

What is your favorite thing about SOAR?

After dropping into a couple workouts at a few other boxes I found CrossfitSOAR. I had the chance to meet a few of the coaches and after talking with them I new I was among people who were dedicated to their craft and wanted to help others. To me, that is one of the most important qualities anyone could have and that made me want to be apart of such a community.

What do you love about being a SOAR Coach?

I love coming into CrossfitSOAR every day and being surrounded by amazing people who set their own time aside in their day trying to better themselves. Everybody’s commitment to improvement inspires me daily to make myself better as well. The people here make the community and the community is what is so special about this box.

Words of wisdom for new people?

One of my favorite quotes is “when you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful”. Some days you are on others you are off. Stay the course and stay committed and you will see the changes you want.

 

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