Coaches

Pete Roulet

Pete Roulet, coach and owner of CrossFit City of Angels, has been helping save lives for most of his professional career. As a dive medic and later an EMT in an ambulance and in the emergency room, Pete has always had a passion for helping people. So it’s not difficult to believe that his decision to found his own CrossFit box was motivated by his passion for improving people’s lives.

“I saw the awesome potential to help people be healthy,” Pete said. “And not just a few people, but with the right style of educating, THOUSANDS or more.”

Pete, a native of Seattle, was introduced to CrossFit by accident while he was traveling for work in Southern California and looking for somewhere nearby to work out.

“I was trying to find exercise trails or par courses in L.A., but I didn’t know the name of these things, so I described it in a Google search and CrossFit came up,” he said. “I was like WHAT the #$@% is this?! So I started learning about it and jumped in with both feet.”

Although Pete had competed in a variety of sports—including baseball, football, track and field, wrestling, martial arts, swimming, and skiing—CrossFit offered a different kind of training that markedly improved his athleticism.

“My flexibility was better, and I was way better at pull-ups, which was always a weakness of mine,” he said. “I was just fitter all around and I was having a bunch more fun than I did before.”

Pete has served as a medic at numerous CrossFit competitions, and has picked up his training credentials, including CrossFit Level 1 and CrossFit Endurance. He has also taken a special interest in nutrition and the role diet plays as a complement to exercise. With the help of members of his box, Pete has even organized a kind of CrossFit co-op where members can regularly purchase fresh, organic produce from local farmers.

“Many other gyms want to create the best athlete to win competitions, and that is a great goal, but not realistic for the vast majority of folks,” he said. “Our main goal here at CrossFit City of Angels is to get people from all walks of life to achieve their personal peak of athleticism and health, which, by the way, are not disparate ideals.”

This community-driven focus on overall wellbeing has become the hallmark of City of Angels and is what makes it stand out among other CrossFit boxes.

“Everybody always says the community is one of the best parts of CrossFit and I have to agree with them about ours as well; we are very unique and great,” he said. “What sets us apart from others is our goal of health. What I mean by that is a well-rounded, all-encompassing health.”

While members of City of Angels are serious about their health, they’re just as serious about having a good time. This work-hard, play-hard mentality has transformed a group of workout partners into something more—into friends.

“Opening a CrossFit Gym has been equally one of the most exhausting and rewarding things I ever could have imagined to have done,” Pete said. “I didn’t plan on doing this as a job, I just saw a great opportunity and jumped on it. All I can say is thank you to all the people who helped to start this thing, the ones who kill it daily on their workouts and to the ones wondering if they can make a change to better themselves and do things previously thought impossible. Just show up and you to will be amazed at what you are capable of!”

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Angel Martinez

Having played water polo for one of the country’s most competitive college teams, Angel Martinez is well acquainted with intensity.

It was, in fact, water polo that first brought Angel to CrossFit. During his fourth year at UC Santa Cruz, water polo coach Danielle Edmundson, a co-founder of CF Santa Cruz, began integrating CrossFit fundamentals into the team’s workouts.

“My first impression of CrossFit was, ‘What will this do for me?’” Angel said. “But after the first week of workouts and the feeling of being sore all the time it became a guilty pleasure. I gravitated to the training and programming structure of it; with the dumbbells, kettlebells, burpees and barbells I couldn’t help my excitement.”

Coming from a team environment, Angel was most impressed at how people supported and encouraged each other during workouts.

“What I found surprising about CrossFit was the ability for individuals from all walks of life to come together and build such a strong community with one another,” he said. “CrossFit WODs and the CrossFit community support one’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self. CrossFit has not only made me physically stronger but has allowed me to build mental toughness, emotional stability and the consciousness of being aware of my body and my overall health. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Angel earned his CrossFit Level 1 Certification, and returned to his hometown of Los Angeles to become a pre-med student aspiring to earn his MD/MPH degrees.

“After moving back to L.A. I checked out a couple of boxes in the area and quickly decided upon CrossFit City of Angels,” Angel said. “The vibe, the energy and most importantly the incredible people that create the atmosphere of this box make it incredibly special!”

As Angel prepares for medical school, serving as a CrossFit instructor has tapped into his interests and skill set.

“What I quickly realized was that CrossFit blends all aspects of my passion for health, teaching, community and fun,” Angel said. “It is most rewarding to see people be consistent and hold themselves accountable day in and day out, whether in the box or out in their world, to work hard and be healthy for themselves.”

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Joseph Ayala

 Joseph Ayala easily has one of the most dramatic success stories at CFCOA. He originally just wanted to finish losing 100 pounds when he first joined the gym, but that end goal soon became a starting point. His passion for CrossFit transformed more than just his body. It transformed  his life.

“I wasn’t the healthiest kid growing up,” Joe said. “I wasn’t involved in any sports, and I didn’t really think of what was going around me. But I jumped into a CrossFit class and never looked back. Mind you I was still finishing up my high school classes when I just joined.”

As Joe quickly met and surpassed his fitness goals, he found a renewed confidence in other aspects of his life. The 19-year-old soon graduated high school as class valedictorian and then found a job in technology.

“CrossFit has given me a new mindset,” he said. “I never thought I was going to be the person to better my lifestyle or even motivate other people to do so.”

Joe’s personal fitness goals soon turned into a mission for helping others. He has been a model of dedication in both his fitness and his diet.

When Joe discovered he had complications from hypothyroidism, he radically altered his dietary habits by participating in a food challenge at the gym.

“Now that I have been doing CrossFit for about a year and a half, I don’t struggle with kidney problems and my health has been better than it has ever been.”

With hard work and endless enthusiasm, Joe has quickly worked his way up through the ranks. Soon after joining CFCOA he became a staff trainee, shadowing coaches and learning training techniques. He later completed the certification for CrossFit L1 and a certification though USA Track and Field.

Joe says the coaches and athletes alike at CFCOA have driven him to become a better athlete and more goal-focused person. His determination, in turn, has become an inspiration for others.

“I have come a long way from where I was, but this is only the beginning,” he said. “I will do more.”

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Jino De Castro

Jino De Castro

Jino De Castro wasn’t looking to pursue a career in yoga. In fact, he only began the practice as a way to complement his love of distance running.

As a member of a high school cross-country team here in Los Angeles, running had been a way    for him to stay fit and challenge himself. This carried into college, and in the few years after college his running lifestyle remained in full swing.

“I ran a dozen 5ks, a handful of 10ks, a few half marathons and a full marathon,” he said. “I was     a running machine.

About eight years ago, he discovered yoga at his local gym. It awakened in him a whole new challenge—one where his only competitor was himself.

“I realized that I was more into making myself a better person rather than beating out rivals,”   Jino said. “It’s an attitude and approach that has carried over to my yoga teaching.”

Jino got certified through the National Association of Sports Medicine and became a personal trainer. He later discovered CrossFit and appreciated both the intensity and the variety of the sport.

“Boredom, combined with not getting the results I wanted from traditional gym exercises, made CrossFit just the thing I was looking for,” he said. “Who knew you could pack so much variety and challenge in under 15 minutes?”

Jino, who also teaches at UrbanspaceYOGA and The YOGA Place, was soon invited to teach yoga at CFCOA. He helps athletes practice and understand the underlying commonalities between yoga and CrossFit.

“The physical practice of yoga encourages complete body awareness and activation (or deactivation),” Jino said. “This is a concept that transfers well into the CrossFit exercises, particularly with Olympic lifting, for its compound movements.”

Jino says his primary mission is to point his students toward their own “awesomeness.”

“I want people to realize that the physical stuff is all fun and games, but the real work lies in the transformation of their character,” he said. “Exercise the mind and the body will follow.”

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Alan Gaskill

Alan Gaskill

Alan Gaskill might very well be CrossFit’s only mime.

The lively instructor’s foray into movement as a profession was as a performer for The Mime Company, a professional ensemble dedicated to the creation and performance of new work in     the theatrical art of mime.

“Mime sounded fun and easy at first,” said Alan, who studied communications and theater at Northwestern University. “When daily three-hour physical training sessions began, I was   sweating and puking on an expensive rehearsal room floor while my petite female troupe-mates flowed through it all with grace and ease.

Although he grew up playing ice hockey and football, training and touring with The Mime Company produced in Alan an entirely new awareness of the body as an instrument of power, expression and spiritual development. He got hooked on physical culture.

The L.A. native trained in traditional Chinese martial arts, and over the years he added yoga and tango to his repertoire. Finally CrossFit entered the scene.

“CrossFit lured me in, one WOD at a time,” Alan said. “As I became proficient at the movements and relished the intoxicating hormonal cocktail of testosterone and HGH flooding my body, I took an interest in teaching others the movements and sharing the CrossFit method with anyone who would listen.”

He’s now well known at CFCOA for his infectious energy and his creative warm-ups. In addition to being a CrossFit L1 coach, Alan is also an NSCA certified personal trainer and a certified coach in Animal Flow, a type of bodyweight training that helps people improve their fitness, build their physique, and perfect their athletic skills.

“Alan is enthusiastic and thorough,” said CFCOA athlete Nicholas Wells. “He brings a great amount of upbeat energy as well as new stretches and exercises to the box that make the warm-up seem like a WOD in itself!”

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Anthony Madonna

Anthony Madonna

Anthony Madonna would be the first to admit there’s something fishy about him. The CFCOA endurance coach is aquatic at heart, having spent much of his life in and around the pool.

“Swimming is my life and I’ve been a member of a swim team for 36 years and counting,”   Anthony said. “Every sport I do revolves around swimming, and CrossFit has helped me return     to my college performance.”

Anthony, who is from Vacaville, Calif., was a Division I swimmer at Cal Poly SLO and exceled at the 100-meter and 200-meter Butterfly. In recent years he has become a triathlete, competing in seven half-Ironmans, one full Ironman and numerous Olympic distance triathlons. He shares    this passion for endurance sports with his wife Annee, who has competed in multiple Ironman competitions as well.

“I use CrossFit as a way to increase endurance and my ability to get up those tough mountains on the bike and run,” Anthony said.

Anthony, who is also a sixth-grade humanities teacher and ASCA Level 3 swimming coach, first discovered CrossFit after growing bored of P90X. He saw a flier for CrossFit at his local gym and signed up.

“CrossFit has been much more challenging and a lot more fun than I expected,” Anthony said. “It has allowed me to complete in half-Ironmans and Ironmans at almost half the amount of time I used to.”

Anthony used to train 20 to 30 hours a week for a half-Ironman, but in 2013, he completed Ironman Coeur d’Alene with a time of 11:39, having never trained more than 19 hours in a week.

“CrossFit has given me confidence, abs at over 40 years old, and put me in the best shape of my life! Seriously!”

In addition to the superior conditioning CrossFit offers, Anthony loves the community at CrossFit City of Angels.

“CFCOA is all about having fun,” he said. “We all say ‘hi’ and introduce ourselves to people we haven’t met in class. When the timer starts we all compete and want to beat each other, but when the WOD is over we all give each other a high-five and a compliment. Basically all the coaches have made this place a comfortable space for all levels of people to come in and work out.”

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 Steve Cho

Steve ChoSteve Cho began hearing about CrossFit in fitness circles around 2006. As a NASM-certified personal trainer, he was looking for a modality in which to specialize, and CrossFit drew his attention.

“Crossfit was not what I first expected,” Steve said. “From an outside perspective—seeing athletes running in the streets, flipping tires, doing “funky” pull-ups—it seemed very chaotic. I was surprised at how controlled that chaos was. The educational background and the technical training of CFCOA impressed me. There was a method to the madness.”

Steve, who’s from Sunland, Calif., found many parallels between the CrossFit methodology and his own personal training philosophy. And the way he advised many of his own clients in terms of diet have been mostly in line with Paleo-style eating that the CrossFit community espouses.

Energetic and enthusiastic, Steve creates a positive environment for athletes of all levels.

“The best feeling is the one that I get from seeing the facial expression of someone hitting a long sought-after personal record, athletic feat or weight loss goal,” he said. “The privilege to help facilitate positive life changes in people is great.”

Steve got into fitness because of his own journey in improving his health and wellbeing.

“I have gone from weighing 250 pound and being unfit to losing 80 pounds and changing my life in more areas than just my physical appearance,” he said. “I know how important exercise can be for the physical, mental and emotional well being of people.”

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Candie Sripipatana

CandieCandie started her fitness journey after deciding that sitting behind a desk and being sedentary wasn’t her ideal way of life.

“My work career started off in the tech industry, working for numerous start-up companies,” she said.

Candie, who’s from Montebello, grew up with a background in Muay Thai and is an avid runner. Not only does she compete in distance runs, she truly enjoys trail runs and obstacle course races.

“It’s the community and friendship cultivation that draws me to these events, more so than the competition itself,” she said.

Candie started CrossFit in 2008. She had no idea what to expect and has since been hooked with the varied training that CrossFit provides.

“A friend introduced me to CrossFit before it was popular,” she said. “My first workout was Murph—I died. Second workout was Linda—I died again.”

The motto: “To outlift a runner, and outrun a lifter” has since been her go-to slogan. She fell in love with the technicality of the Olympic lifting portion of CrossFit and is USAW certified.

Candie is a motivational group instructor as well as personal trainer who caters to your specific goals. She has thorough knowledge in athletic specific training and is certified through the National Council for Certified Personal Trainers. She is also StrongFirst SFG Kettlebell certified.

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