Introducing the CrossFit MetroEast Team
Meet the fitness experts ready to help you achieve your fitness goals and your potential.
I knew I was going to open a gym when by the time I was 15 years old. I grew up in the gym watching my dad own and operate his own fitness center from a young age, and as I began training myself, I fell in love with fitness and capitalized on opportunities to increase my knowledge. Back then, I used fitness as a way to progress in my athletics. Earning a starting position and getting on the Varsity squad were the major motivators for me to work hard in the gym. That hard work and dedication on and off the field helped earn me a college scholarship to play football, but I was already looking on to my career after sports. I pursued a degree in Athletic Training from McKendree University because I knew having an understanding of sports related injuries and rehab would allow me to better serve potential clients later on. While I no longer practice as a Certified Athletic Trainer, I use the skills I learned in my degree on a daily basis with our clients. By my sophomore year of college I was already working as a personal trainer and gaining experience helping clients reach their health and fitness goals.
I was offered a full time position by a local physical therapy and fitness company where I worked for 6 years gaining experience in therapeutic rehab, fitness, and management. I found CrossFit in 2007 around the time my first son, Jack, was born. The short intense workouts were perfect for me to do quickly at work or while my son was napping. Even when he was awake in his pumpkin seat, he seemed enamored by watching me throw a barbell around or jump rope. I was doing most of these workouts in my college weight room or at the fitness center I worked at. I pulled all of my workouts off CrossFit.com and watch movement video after movement video for exercise demos I wasn’t already familiar with. I enjoyed the difficulty of the workouts, the novelty of doing something different everyday, and having a “score” I could compare against others and myself. Being fresh out of college athletics, I quickly fell in love with the budding “sport” of CrossFit. I began finding ways to train at gyms 50 miles away on the weekends and soaking up all I could about this “new” fitness program. In 2008, I got my Level 1 CrossFit Trainer Certification and began implementing CrossFit training principles with many of my one on one clients at the time. In 2009, I got my first taste of the sport of CrossFit when I participated in the CrossFit Regionals trying to earn a spot to compete at the CrossFit Games – I didn’t make it . My athletic career in CrossFit included numerous competitions and multiple appearances at the CrossFit Regionals, but In 2010, my focused began to shift. With the help of my former employer, We started my CrossFit affiliate so that I could officially offer CrossFit training to our local community. We began offering classes in the back of our fitness center. We bought a couple rowers, a few kettlebells, and some bumper plates. It wasn’t much, but it was an opportunity to pursue my passion. By 2012, I realized the potential our CrossFit program had and was itching to take the next step in my career. With little in my pockets other than a whole lot of passion and work ethic, I left my job and took our CrossFit program out on it’s own. We opened up in a blank slate building with about 1800 square feet. It wasn’t fancy, but it was the start of a dream I had had since I was 15. Today, my passion for what I do isn’t fueled by my desire to compete and perform like it was in my early years. My passion is helping our clients live better lives. In over 15 years as a fitness professional, I have found no better training methodology better than CrossFit to do that. These days, my fitness goals look very different than what they did 13 years ago when I started CrossFit. Like many of our awesome clients, I’m just trying to stay healthy for my three amazing kids Jack, Quinn, and Beau, and keep looking good for my beautiful wife, Gina. I’m still super passionate about coaching fitness, but I also love working on our business to keep it running in tip top shape. When I’m not working on our own business, I really enjoy working with other gym owners and business owners to help them realize their dreams and pursue their passions.
Our Professional Coaches
Craig is a part-time assistant coach at CFME. His crossfit journey began in December of 2013 as a way to incorporate some cardio to his weightlifting routine. The intention was to attend crossfit two or three days per week between bench presses and bicep curls. Little did anyone know that he’d soon “drink the Kool-aid” and completely dive into being a full-blown crossfit junkie.
As a former college football player and track & field athlete, Craig brings an attitude of physically and mentally competing every day and trusting the daily process of becoming a better athlete. Crossfit has been the absolute best way to compete with himself and others, while replicating the togetherness and atmosphere of being a part of a team. From flag football on weekends to Spartan Races, fitness and an active lifestyle have remained a high priority in Craig’s life since college.
Craig’s favorite part about being a coach is helping others improve their quality of life through fitness and nutrition. Helping and seeing others achieve elusive goals is a key motivator for him, and led to the motivation to transition to coaching. The broad and scalable fitness that crossfit provides its participants makes every day a fun and new way to evolve as an athlete and coach.
Professionally, Craig is a coach of sorts. He covers a 13-state territory with nine account managers as a part of his team. Traveling within his territory has resulted in drop-ins at more than 30 other boxes and exposure to many different flavors of crossfit. However, he’s always most-happy to get back to CFME for some home-cooked crossfit!
When he’s not working or working out (when is that?), Craig enjoys spending time with his teenage daughter and supporting her budding athletic interests. Thankful for a tight-knit circle of loved ones, he does his best to devote time to fellowship with family and friends.
CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
RPR Level 1 Coach
Sam has been a coach at Crossfit Metroeast since August 2015. He got into the sport at Crossfit Valley Park in February of 2010 to prepare for his selection course in the Air Force. Prior to that, he played all sports growing up and focused on soccer in high school. Since 2010, he has been involved in Crossfit to some degree. An injury led to his discharge from the military in late 2012. The prognosis was not good as far as ever being an athlete again. He leaned on the Crossfit community when he returned and has far exceeded being told he would likely be using a cane by age 25.
He got his Level 1 Certification in early 2013. Since then he has been heavily invested in the Crossfit community as an athlete and coach.
After his injury, he was a coach for people in the Combat Control training pipeline. He helped program everyone’s workouts and provided individual coaching for trainees not currently in a school. Before coming to Crossfit Metroeast, Sam coached at Arch City Crossfit. The opportunity to introduce people, at all skill levels to Crossfit, couldn’t be more rewarding. It makes him incredibly passionate about this place and his role as a coach. Sam most recently became a Certified Adaptive and Inclusive Trainer to better serve the adaptive athlete community.
CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
Level One CrossFit Coach
Head Nutrition Coach
Millie spent four years as a CrossFit athlete while living in Virginia. It was there she came to value all that the community had to offer, and made it a goal to eventually coach and educate others. Her passions especially lay in helping post-partum women pursue their fitness goals and help them recognize and resolve any possible issues.
Millie and her husband, Travis, have one daughter, Nora, who is 2 years old. Having a young child is why she is also especially passionate about coaching CrossFit Kids. She wants to encourage and help children of all ages develop a strong fitness base and educate them about healthy eating habits.
Outside of the gym Millie enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, and always enjoys reading a good book. Her family also includes three cats and two dogs. Millie has an Associates in Applied Science in Veterinary Technology, and is a Licensed Veterinary Technician.
CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
James has been an athlete his entire life and has always had some form of competitive sport to spend his time on, whether that be in soccer, baseball or track.
In 2014, he found CrossFit while pursuing an engineering degree at the University of Oklahoma and quickly fell in love with the comradery involved in each workout. He earned his L1 and had the privilege of coaching/training at Norman Strength – Sooner CrossFit amongst a great group of individuals. Coach James has enjoyed finding a new family at CrossFit MetroEast and the great people that call it home.
CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
CrossFit Kids Certificate
Elisa grew up in Spokane, WA and was more of a bookworm than an athlete. However, in adulthood, she realized that since exercise is part of a healthy life, she better start doing some. She tried out several fitness avenues: going to a Globo gym, taking classes and running outside. She found that these did not interest her and she couldn’t maintain any consistency. She discovered CrossFit in 2012 and was hooked right away. CrossFit has shown her that her body is capable of doing far more than she thought. The CrossFit community has also been key through multiple military moves in building new relationships and maintaining consistency with fitness. Elisa thrives on being part of a group of people encouraging one another to be the best they can be.
In February 2016, Elisa received her CrossFit Level 1 certification and in 2017, she became a coach at Copper City Strength & Conditioning in Butte, MT. She coached here until a move to Belleville, IL in 2021 which brought her to Crossfit Metro East. She is passionate about sharing her love of fitness with others and to show that you can begin CrossFit at any time and any level.
CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
Ali is originally from Belleville, IL, but first found CrossFit in 2014 when she was living in Charleston, MO. She was nervous to walk into the box that day but it turned out to be one of the best decisions she ever made. She was hooked from then on. The CrossFit methodology and great boxes she has been a part of have profoundly changed her life. She has been a member of CrossFit MetroEast since October of 2017 and considers the gym to be her happy place and second home. When the opportunity to coach at CrossFit MetroEast was presented, she immediately accepted. The challenge of each workout, the tight-knit, supportive community, and the opportunity to become a little better every day is what she loves about CrossFit. She looks forward to working with all the CFME members and helping them to build confidence and achieve things they never thought they could.
Ali holds a master’s degree in organizational management and is CrossFit Level 1 certified. She currently works full-time as a Program Manager at USTRANSCOM. When she is not working or coaching, she enjoys getting her own workouts in, spending time with her husband (and fellow CFME member) Brink, traveling, reading, and jigsaw puzzles. She also spends much of her free time with family and friends (and her and Brink’s three cats).
CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
Born and raised in Belleville, Illinois; Paul is a proud father of three and avid health nut. Though he did not always live the definition of a healthy lifestyle, he decided to take action and become proactive in his health. Through his own trials and errors he developed a passion for not only bettering himself but also crushing goals. Paul joined CFME in May of 2020 when the gym he belonged to closed due to Covid. Paul quickly fell in love with the community and healthy competition and decided to stick around. After a little while Paul obtained his CF-L1 certification to be a better athlete and has decided to pass his teachings and knowledge on to help others reach their goals!
CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
Lindsey’s journey in CrossFit started when she was 15, when she decided to try it as a way to keep herself in shape. She was a former gymnast and always enjoyed physical activities. Crossfit was a great outlet to use for that.
Crossfit was the way to go because of variation of movement, some of which had gymnastics skills that she could put to use.
Right now she is a part time coach and is planning on going to school to get her EMT certification.
One large component of CrossFit that really fits well with her personality is the group component. It creates a bond and relationship with other athletes to be a part of such a close knit community.
Lindsey is a part of a military family and always enjoyed having a place she could go to everyday that stayed consistent. Athletics was always that place. Now that she’s older, Crossfit will always be that place.