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Real Fitness Sarasota
Real Fitness Sarasota
Get Started at RFS CrossFit!
Get Started at RFS CrossFit!


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Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 3.06.23 PMThis weekend kicks off a string of CrossFit competitions for RFS members! Coach Matt heads to Miami for the Miami Soul Classic and Sophie, Tommy, Tanya, Katie and Cherisse will throw down in the Thunderdome in Estero. Every athlete looks forward to these events with anticipation, wondering how they’ll stack up against the competition, but for one of our members, this weekend is particularly meaningful.

photo 1-2Cherisse Kellemen has been a gymnast since she was 5. As a high school athlete, she was on track for college scholarships until her knee started to give her trouble. After her second ACL surgery, her doctor sidelined her. Cherisse tried finding a sport she loved as she did gymnastics: she considering trying out as a BUCS Cheerleader; she looked into competitive fitness competitions, and tried her hand at yoga and boxing. Nothing stuck, and she found herself gaining weight and losing her edge.

In January of 2012, a friend introduced her to CrossFit. “We went through the warm-up and then the coach said it was time for the workout,” says Cherisse. “I was shocked, because I thought that was the workout. Right there, I fell in love with it.” A month later the CrossFit Open started and Cherisse learned about the competitive culture within CrossFit. She came in 725th in that year’s open.The following year, she was 136th.

photo 2-3Cherisse placed herself under the coaching of Spencer Arnold and began training with intensity for the 2014 Open. But then her injury surfaced. “I was doing a burpee box jump, and I felt the pop I know so well,” she says. “I knew that was it.” In September of 2013, she had surgery, but four months into her recovery, she lifted a kettlebell and felt her other knee pop. This time, she opted for therapy over surgery. In April 2014, she was cleared to begin training again. (Anyone who knows Cherisse knows she never really stopped altogether! Spencer had her on an upper body, single-leg rehab program!)

throwdownsCherisse is training with a goal in mind: She wants to secure a spot in the Granite Games in Minnesota. Similar to the Open, WODs for the Granite Games are announced on Thursdays, and athletes have to complete them and submit their scores. The Top 70 athletes make it to the games in St. Cloud. (The final WOD is announced today! Cherisse will complete it before her rest day tomorrow as she heads into the weekend for the competition.)

We asked her expectations for the weekend and her first competition since her surgery. “Well, I’m really glad to be doing it with a team,” she said. “And, really, I just want to go and have fun, it doesn’t matter if we wi–” Wait. That’s not what she said. “My hope for the weekend? Well, I want us to stand on the podium, of course.” Ah. There it is. Love your fighting spirit, Cherisse.

We’re proud of you, Cherisse-and of all the RFS athletes who are willing to test themselves in these competitions! GOOD LUCK!

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IMG_0867She’s been assisting in the shadows, but now she’s officially part of the RFS team! Born and raised in Kentucky, Meredith gravitated to sports early and continued her interest through college to graduate from Western Kentucky University (WKU) with a BS in Exercise Science. Her competitive training for 3 NPC bikini competitions developed a strong passion and curiosity for fitness. That propelled Meredith to earn her certification as an ISSA personal trainer and begin teaching group classes at WKU.

Being in the fitness community, Meredith heard all about CrossFit–both the good and bad–so she decided to try it to form her own opinion. “I fell in love with the methods, atmosphere and community,” says Meredith. “It didn’t take long before I knew this was a field I wanted to pursue, so I took my L1 and became a Certified CrossFit Trainer.”

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 3.00.03 PMWe’re excited Meredith is part of the team … and we’re putting her right to work! We hear great feedback about the yoga class she leads on Sunday, and we anticipate the same response from the newest class we’re adding this week:

(Ages 16+)
Wednesdays, 6-7 PM, beginning June 11
Cost: $10

Boot Camp offers high-intensity interval training without the Olympic lifts we add to the WODs. Boot Camp gives you a chance to add another dimension to your training. Don’t worry—your body will still gain strength and increased cardio!

We’re also introducing RFS PUNCH CARDS for all of our extra classes! Cards cost $50 and they allow members and non-members to attend 6 classes of their choice without any commitment. You pay for five, but get the SIXTH class of your choice FREE!

Choose from:

  • Olympic Lifting Class, Tuesdays at 7 pm/Saturdays at 8 am
  • Boot Camp, Wednesdays at 6pm
  • TRX Class, Thursdays at 6 pm
  • (Coming Soon!) Body Movement Classes

Yoga on Sundays remains complimentary!

Grab a punch card and sign up for classes at the Front Desk or send Jess an email letting her know you’re in:

(And when you see Meredith, welcome her to the RFS Family!)

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          Summertime brings more than picnics, beach parties and vacations. It’s also the beginning of competition season for CrossFit throw downs! We’re thrilled to brag on the RFS-ers who are competing in two local competitions–one in Tampa and one in Estero. Both are close enough to attend to cheer on your peeps. So, grab some friends, make a couple of signs, load up the car and go cheer* on your WOD mates! If you’re competing and we’ve missed it, send Tanya an email to let her know. (

FitNation Thunderdome, Estero, FL, June 21/22

  • Sophie Larson (Individual)
  • Tommy Marchand (Individual)
  • Tanya, Katie, Cherisse  (Team)

Miami Soul Classic, Miami, FL, June 22

  • Matt Saeler

Bacon Beatdown, Daytona Beach, FL, June 27-29

  • Erin Mungavin, Chelsea Lyman and Aimee Heden (Team)

The Raid Games, Miami, FL, August 23/24

  • Sam Peachey

CF Throw Down, Lakeland, FL, September 6/7 

  • Cherisse Kellemen, Matt Saeler, Sophie Larson, Justin Helmuth (Team) 

*Cheer them on … or sign up yourself!

You can be part of the excitement of the competition by volunteering for events, too. Check the websites to see who still needs volunteers and judges. You’ll get to cheer on athletes and go home with an awesome bag of goodies! You can help out one day or for the entire weekend.

Links to Competitions:

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You may have noticed over the past couple of weeks that you’ve been introduced to some new techniques, some new machines, and a little more work. That’s the work of this guy

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Click to launch an awesome video.

One of the reasons we were so excited to bring Matt on as coach at RFS is because of his lifting background and his programming methods. You may not know this, but Matt holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Athletic Training and a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion & Injury Prevention. So, yeah … he’s got creds.

Along with his official documents, Coach Matt has the experience we’re proud to offer our members. Matt assisted the head football coach at Upper St. Clair High School in Pennsylvania, teaching his players speed, agility, and explosiveness techniques. Through his programming, athletes improved their core strength and balance to gain better body awareness and control. This fits perfectly with Coach Mike’s passion for graceful, controlled movements from full-body connectiveness.

We asked Coach Matt to tell us a little bit about how his technique fits into his overall training philosophy. Here’s what he said:

When starting a program, you want to have an overall goal in mind. Mine was simple: improve the overall fitness domains (defined by CrossFit) of our novice athletes and the most experienced/skilled athlete!  We work in small cycles, or segments, of time. Each has a slightly different focus, but it progresses seamlessly into the next.  Ultimately, these small work cycles increase your aerobic and anaerobic capacity, your absolute strength and a bunch of other smaller sub systems I won’t get into here.

What we’ve been exposed to recently has been a lot of short interval sprints and bursts with built-in rests.  This is designed to get you moving fast and with intensity for a short duration to ensure quality of reps and a sustained intensity level.  Before fully adapting to the work-to-rest ratio, the cycle will slowly change, and you’ll find the rest periods dwindle as the work durations increase. This way you’ll be able to sustain a faster pace for a longer period of time, resulting in better performance and health. According to CrossFit Journal,  health can be concisely and precisely defined as “increased work capacity across broad time, modal, and age domains.”

Work capacity” (FxD/T=P) is the ability to perform real physical work as measured by force x distance/time (which is average power). Your level of fitness, then, becomes your work capacity across as many domains as possible. CrossFit defines ten: Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination and accuracy.

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Click to launch another jaw dropper.

Coach Matt is a great resource. Stop him (when he isn’t working out on his own) and ask him fitness questions and talk about your goals. You can learn a lot from a guy weighing 170# who can squat snatch 250#.

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Client Success Stories

Michelle Pennie

I was lucky to find Mike, Chris and Tanya at Real Fitness Sarasota during a rough point in my career. I needed an outlet after many stressful days and looked forward to my daily WOD (workout of the day) at 5pm. I knew if I could get through my day, then I could get through Read More »


Steve Wieder

I have been working out at conventional gyms most of my life from bigbox/big name gyms to small individualized gyms and everything in between. The common link with all of them was the “this is the way we’ve always done it” attitude: cardio mixed with free weights and machine training; upper body one day… Read More »



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