Our Coaches & Staff

Beth Vannata »

Co-Owner, Head Coach

Qualifications:

  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
  • CrossFit Kids Trainer
  • CrossFit Weightlifting Trainer

Beth Vannata

Co-Owner, Head Coach

What year did you start CrossFitting?

2012

Beth’s Story

All my life, I struggled with my weight and did not have an athletic bone in my body. At 15, I ballooned to a whopping 225 pounds. After years of living a sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle, I decided it was time to make a change…for good. I traded fast food and soda for vegetables and lean protein and slowly incorporated exercise into my daily routine. Within a year and a half, I lost over 100 pounds, and continue to work every day at keeping it off.

On June 18, 2012, I walked into a CrossFit box for the first time. This was definitely the toughest workout of my life, but I has been addicted since. Gone are the days of Spin and Body Pump classes. I thrive on the challenges that each WoD brings and the feeling of accomplishment upon completing them. CrossFit has allowed me to do far more than I ever thought possible, and I look forward to helping others bring out the very best in themselves.

As a survivor of the 9/11 attacks on New York City, I truly understand how short life is and don’t take one moment for granted. CrossFit is a daily reminder that I am capable of anything I sets my mind to and that no matter what life throws your way, you can get through it.

What is your favorite cheat food?

Margaritas and Mexican food!

What’s your favorite Superhero and why?

Wonder Woman – Strong women are empowering and inspiring.

Favorite WOD:

“Eva” (5 Rounds for Time: 800 meter run, 30 kettlebell swings @ 2 pood, 30 pull ups).

Why? Eva is long and painful. I have to go to my happy place to finish her, and I like being in my happy place…not to mention the running.

Least Favorite WOD:

“Griff” (For time: 800 meter run, backward 400 meter run, 800 meter run, backward 400 meter run).

Why? As a lot of Hero WoDs are, it doesn’t look horrible on paper, but running backwards is no joke. My quads hurt for days after.

Paris Vannata »

Co-Owner, Coach

Qualifications:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • CrossFit Movement and Mobility Trainer
  • USA Weightlifting Level 1 Sport Performance Coach

Paris Vannata

Co-Owner, Coach

What year did you start CrossFitting?

2012

What is your Story?

I participated in a variety of sports throughout my life including, Lacrosse, Ice Hockey, Beach Volleyball and Mountain Biking to name a few. I started weightlifting around the age of 15 and by the age of 20 I developed an increasing interest in Bodybuilding. Throughout this time, I immersed myself in the gym and read all I could about Bodybuilding and Powerlifting techniques. As time went on and as I started my career and family, workouts became few and far between. After so many years of doing the same thing over and over, I just got bored with “going to the gym”. That is, until I discovered CrossFit. I was hooked from day one and never looked back. The challenge and variety of the WoDs means it’s never boring and that’s what kept me coming back.

I genuinely enjoy helping others to accomplish “firsts”, push through barriers, perfect their form and to ultimately become better athletes.

What is your favorite cheat food?

IPA Beer & Pizza

What’s your favorite Superhero and why?

Superman – Because he can fly mostly, but also because he’s strong and fast!

Favorite WOD:

“Isabel” – Snatch 135 lbs, 30 reps for time

Why? It has a barbell in it. It’s a benchmark. It’s short, but brutal and I love to snatch.

Least Favorite WOD:

“The Seven” – Seven rounds of: 7 Handstand push-ups, 135 pound Thruster – 7 reps, 7 Knees to elbows, 245 pound Deadlift – 7 reps, 7 Burpees, 7 Kettlebell swings @ 2 pood, 7 Pull-ups.

Why? It seems like a good idea on paper until you get to about round 3 or so. It’s also a very heavy and very long WoD.

John Lay »

Coach

Qualifications:

  • CrossFit Level 2
  • USAW Advanced Sports Performance Coach (Level 2)
  • Certified Boxing Instructor

John Lay

Coach

What year did you start CrossFitting?

2012

What is your Story?

I am a bit of an Artist, craftsman, and Poet. Written poems mainly for family, and most recently have personalized (Painted) Aluminum Tumblers for people. My favorite food is New York Strip with baked Sweet Potato. What most people don’t know is, I love high action, manly movies; Gladiator, Sicario, 13 Hours, American Sniper, but every stinking time The Devil Wears Prada is on I have to watch it. I cannot explain, I just love that movie!!! HaHaHa! Pet Peeves – untidiness, and when people call me over by curling one finger, actually cannot stand that one, please don’t. 🙂

Fitness came into my life with the US Marines, and never left. I have competed and trained people for
Triathlon, Marathon, Obstacle races, Adventure race, and Military service. My Fitness philosophy is easy to describe, make it fun. Yes, we all want the movement we don’t have, but it is really a 1st world problem if you don’t have kipping handstand push-ups. Striving for your goals and pushing yourself should be daily in everything we do, beating yourself up and being seriously depressed because you missed a PR shouldn’t happen. Smile, try again tomorrow, and find a new scale or progression. Remember this is long-term fitness, not who can deadlift the most. I also love to equate movements to other sports or activities. I compare the Snatch to the Golf swing; there are about 30 things that can go wrong from bottom to top.

My favorite Quote of all time?

I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend with my life, your right to say it!

What is your favorite cheat food?

Cookies!

What’s your favorite Superhero and why?

Venom

Favorite CrossFit Movement:

Overhead Squat

Qualifications:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer

Michael Mallette

Coach

What year did you start CrossFitting?

2014

What is your Story?

I grew up in Smithfield, Rhode Island playing a variety of sports including Baseball, Soccer and Hockey; which was my favorite sport where I played Left Wing. I helped his team to win 4 consecutive State High School Hockey Championships while there. I continued to play Hockey in college while attending Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island.

My passion for fitness started after the realization that I was gaining a lot of weight after college and was a natural at CrossFit from early on. I love to compete and push my limits. I wanted to become a coach because it meant that could spend more time at the gym, helping people, instructing them on proper technique and continuing my own education.

What is your favorite cheat food?

Donuts

What’s your favorite Superhero and why?

THOR – he can summon thunder and lightning, that’s pretty cool.

Favorite WOD:

Fran & anything with Burpees

Least Favorite WOD:

Anything with Running

Qualifications:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • CrossFit Gymnastics Trainer

Jamie Gregorich

Coach

What year did you start CrossFitting?

2013

What is your Story?

I grew up right here in Bradenton, FL. I played soccer at a competitive level for many years. In 2002, I tore my ACL and had reconstructive surgery. I came back strong and continued to play with passion for my junior and senior years, graduating from Manatee High School in 2004.

Being an athlete my whole life, I was always aware of my health, but after ending my soccer career I had nothing to fill that void. I found a friend in alcohol and it wasn’t until 2012 that I decided I had to fill the loneliness of that evil with something healthy. CrossFit came on the radar and after the first WOD I was hooked. In 2013, after two more ACL surgeries, the doctor informed me that there would be little chance I would ever again be able to do the CrossFit movements I loved. Being the hard-headed determined girl I am, I took it as a challenge, working one day at a time and never looking back. Now my left knee and I enjoy all of the CrossFit movements again.

I believe happiness in life is about finding balance. I feels most grounded when the physical, emotional, spiritual, professional, and personal aspects of my life are in balance. Keeping this balance is a constant struggle but CrossFit gives me the outlet I need. By staying in the struggle, I feel I is able to relate to athletes and help them adapt and overcome.

What is your favorite cheat food?

Pizza popcorn and ice cream…(mikes=Oreos:)

What’s your favorite Superhero and why?

Wolverine because wolverine

Favorite WOD:

Grace (30 Clean & jerks for time). Why? Short and heavy, I call it my “angry WoD” when I have a bad day I can grab Grace and forget everything.

Least Favorite WOD:

Couplets and anything with running. Why? Because I can’t seem to find my motivation when running, and bouncing between 2 movements bores me.

Qualifications:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • USA Swimming Coach
  • USA Weightlifting Strength and Performance Level 1

Hannah Winner

Coach

What year did you start CrossFitting?

2013

What is your Story?

I grew up in Annapolis, Maryland with a fairly athletic childhood. I tried every sport that my local youth club offered. In high school I participated in gymnastics, swimming, softball, soccer and cheerleading. In October 2012, I moved to Florida and one short year later joined CrossFit Bradenton to begin my ultimate fitness journey.

Being “fit” meant many things for me. In addition to being underweight, I suffered severe PTSD, depression and anxiety as a result of my father passing away in 2008. CrossFit has helped both my physical and mental fitness. Working out is what I look forward to everyday and every time I reach one goal, I creates a new one. I got hooked because I believe CrossFit is an outlet that gives you endless chances to progress and better yourself.

I’m now in school to receive my Master’s Degree in Oriental Medicine. Once I graduate, I hope to open an integrative wellness center. My main focus in the practice will be fertility and pediatric care.

What is your favorite cheat food?

Anything that has dark chocolate and cheesecake

What’s your favorite Superhero and why?

My favorite superhero is Captain America. Even though he doesn’t have real super powers, he started out frail and transformed into a strong super soldier. The sub 100# character was surrounded by those who doubted his abilities, which I can relate to having started CrossFit at only 95# and weak.

Favorite WOD:

Snatch, Box Jumps and Sledge Hammer Strikes

Least Favorite WOD:

Rowing, Wall Balls and Rope Climbs

Qualifications:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer

Jordan Escher

Coach

What year did you start CrossFitting?

2014

What is your Story?

All my life, I have been very active. I started playing soccer at 5 years old and stuck with it all the way through my sophomore year in high school. In High School I participated in marching band (playing drums), track & field, long distance running, hurdles and pole vault. Heights though were never my thing, so that didn’t last long as I made running my focus.

After high school, I wasn’t very active due to work and social commitments. Eventually I reached a point in his life where I just wasn’t happy physically with how my body looked. In my words, “he was a skinny guy without much muscle”. So, like most people, I joined a gym and went hard at it for a couple of weeks before I eventually didn’t have any motivation to go and just ended up paying for a membership that I didn’t use. This cycle repeated itself for a couple of years.

It wasn’t until my early 20’s while watching the movie “Rocky” that I found my real motivation. Something about watching that movie gave me an awakening and pushed me to do more. Soon after, I happened to catch the CrossFit Games on TV while at work one day and I was so mesmerized by it. That’s when I caught a glimpse of the 4 time games Champion, Rich Froning and thought, “that’s who I want to be like. Strong, fast, agile, skilled and complex”.

Eventually after trying out a couple different gyms around the area I found CrossFit Bradenton and fell in love with it. “The coaches were awesome and the members were very welcoming”. I jumped right in and started going every day he could, typically between 5-6 days per week. Eventually, I started competing and after a few years after gaining some experience, decided to get my Level-1 so I could help coach other athletes and share some of my experience with others.

What is your favorite cheat food?

Pepperoni pizza

What’s your favorite Superhero and why?

Spider-Man! He is quick and agile and though he is small he still very strong. Plus he is witty and sarcastic always cracking jokes and making the villains really frustrated.

Favorite WOD:

“Murph” (With a 20# vest: Run 1 mile, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats, Run 1 mile)

Why: It’s a gruesome and painful workout, but thankfully it only comes once a year on Memorial Day. It’s a great way to remember a true Hero, Lt. Michael Murphy, who gave his life to save his fellow crew members from an attack, and even though you’re suffering and feel like you’re dying it pushes you to know why you’re doing it.

Least Favorite WOD:

Amanda (9-7-5: Muscle-ups, Snatches @ 135)

Why: Not that it’s my least favorite WOD, but it’s definitely one of the ones that I struggle with due to the movements. Both are very complex, but over the years I’ve managed to get a little better at each and continue improve my score each time.

Qualifications:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer

Rubie Gaudette

Coach

What year did you start CrossFitting?

2015

What is your Story?

As an athletic trainer, I specialize in bio mechanics and injury prevention. I had my doubts about CrossFit but knew I had to try it for myself before coming to a conclusion. After my first class, I was hooked. With coaches who understand movement and who are dedicated to not only seeing athletes succeed but keeping athletes safe, CrossFit can be for every one! I continue to do CrossFit because I care about my personal health and want to be able to do all the things I love as I get older.

CrossFit has become an important part of who I am and I want to share my passion with others. I am also a dance teacher along with being a coach and an athletic trainer. I love movement! I could spend all day talking about proper mechanics and mobility. Being able to watch people improve on a daily basis and achieve their goals, is the greatest reward.

What is your favorite cheat food?

Can’t go wrong with a chocolate vanilla swirl in a waffle cone with rainbow sprinkles!

What’s your favorite Superhero and why?

This one is hard to narrow down! Captain America and Thor. Captain American because you know, ‘Merica. Thor because have you seen those muscles?!? He’s the God of Thunder!

Favorite Movement:

Deadlifts!!!

Mallie Shirk »

Dietitian / Nutritionist

Qualifications:

  • Licensed and Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist RD/LDN

Mallie Shirk

Dietitian / Nutritionist

What year did you start CrossFitting?

2015

What is your Story?

I have always loved sports and had a passion for health and fitness. I received a BS in Biology and Nutrition and completed my dietetic internship in Florida to become a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Nutritionist.

As a collegiate soccer player, I learned how important nutrition was to performance and overall health. After graduating and no longer playing soccer, I began to train for marathons and half marathons. Through these experiences I have gained greater insight to how big of a role nutrition plays in performance. After several years working in clinical nutrition at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, I began to follow my passion by taking a position as the Dietitian for the Sarasota YMCA. I loved working at the YMCA and helping athletes, children, and seniors achieve their health goals by eating the proper foods, but after I had my first son, I decided that I wanted to be stay at home mom. At that time, I helped mothers with proper eating for pregnancy and post pregnancy and also became a Lactation Counselor.

My husband John and I have four beautiful and full of life children. I enjoys being outdoors, relaxing on the beach, playing recreational soccer, and thrift shopping, but lately if I’m not at home taking care of the kids I’m with my CrossFit Bradenton family pushing hard to finish the WOD of the day. I loves being part of the CrossFit Bradenton family and pushing my body to its limits while gaining strength and letting my inner competitiveness come alive.

What is your favorite cheat food?

A good burger with all the fixins and fries.

What’s your favorite Superhero and why?

Wonder woman!

Favorite WOD:

My favorite movements are cleans, deadlifts, and I oddly enjoy running.

Alia White »

Joy Girl

Qualifications:

  • Positivity & Persistance 🙂

Alia White

Joy Girl

What year did you start CrossFitting?

2014

What is your Story?

A common remark about my is that “Alia is ALWAYS smiling”. Since the beginning of time, I have eagerly made it my mission to find the joy in just about anything. Luckily for me, I was introduced to CrossFit Bradenton in August of 2014 and it was an instant love!

I have been active in team sports like tennis, volleyball, and basketball my whole life, but have always struggled with “looking active”. I am also not afraid of commitment or a challenge. From my very first trial class at CrossFit Bradenton, I felt that this gym provided these components and so much more! One of my favorite things about CrossFit Bradenton is the community. There is nothing like cheering on your fellow athletes, screaming at the top of your lungs with all your heart for them!

Currently down 50 pounds since I started CrossFit, and in the best shape of my life, my life completely changed for the better when CrossFit Bradenton introduced her to the Paleo lifestyle. I left my accounting career and my husband and I have started our own business, Paleo Pantry, which provides the service of delivering local organic/sustainable ingredients along with the corresponding Paleo recipe to subscribers in the Manatee and Sarasota County areas. The union of CrossFit Bradenton and Paleo Pantry has me living the healthiest lifestyle I ever have and I do not intend on stopping!

What is your favorite cheat food?

Hmmm, probably sushi or charcuterie platter, though I rarely stray 🙂

What’s your favorite Superhero and why?

Either The Incredible Hulk or Wolverine; The Incredible Hulk because there is something about transforming with rage and ripping into a different side of you, quite similar to how I feel in some workouts. Wolverine for a similar reason, along with the dark mysterious and brooding nature that is the exact opposite of my own.

Favorite WOD:

Long grueling chippers! Why? Anything that has several movements with high-volume reps takes Alia to her happy place where she can persist at a steady pace, as endurance is key!

Least Favorite WOD:

Anything that requires “Do __ for 1 minute, then __ for 1 minute, etc.” Why? Alia works better with specific goals and struggles with not knowing how many reps she can actually perform within a designated time frame.