Our Coaches & Staff

CrossFit coaches play a huge role in a member’s overall experience at any CrossFit gym. We are proud not only of the credentials of our CrossFit coaches, but also in their passion for fitness, proper movement, and each members’ success. If you ever have a question about health, fitness, nutrition, movement modification, or fitness goals, please don’t hesitate to approach any member of the coaching staff and ask for help.

Matt Saeler: Head Coach

matt_webBachelor of Science in Athletic Training from California University of PA, Masters of Science in Exercise Science: Performance Enhancement & Injury Prevention from California University of PA, Certified in NASM: Performance Enhancement Specialist., Certified in NASE: Speed and Explosion, CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting, CrossFit Level 1 Certification, CrossFit Endurance Athletics from Max Wunderle.

“I really enjoy coaching and programming the WODs and Barbell Club at RFS.  I’m particularly excited about starting the Training Program for Teens. It’s great to coach teens because they have such a high energy level, their bodies respond well to training, and we see results fast. It’s so satisfying to educate them about how their body works and then see them succeed when they move and control their body with the proper technique.”

Come to me for: Physical therapy questions, injury treatment, goal setting and programming.

Tanya Poppa

tanya_webBachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Eckerd College, CrossFit Level I Certificate, Olympic Lifting Certificate, CrossFit Endurance Certificate, CPR/AED Certified, Specialist in Fitness Nutrition Certificate

“I could go on and on about all of the reasons why I love CrossFit.  But what I’m most excited about now is not only being a part of the Crossfit community  (I am Level 1 Certified and also have my Olympic Lifting Certification) and culture that I so strongly believe in, but sharing it with others and watching them reach their goals.  There are few things more rewarding than to see a person mentally and physically changing for the better on a daily basis, fight through self-doubt to achieve a goal and reach a point where they truly  feel good about themselves.  I hope I get the opportunity to see that happen to YOU!!”

Come to me for: Any and all questions!! If I can’t answer it I’ll point you in the direction of who can!

Chris Poppa

Chris_webBachelor of Science in Business Administration & Finance from Eckerd College, CrossFit Level I Certificate, CrossFit Mobility Certificate, USAW Weightlifting Certification, CPR/AED Certified

I have excelled as an athlete my whole life. CrossFit is my newest–and most rewarding challenge yet. Living in Ohio, I played the trifecta growing up and in high school (football, basketball, and baseball). My junior year of high school I picked up track and field, well mostly the field part (discus). When I attended Eckerd College I played rugby, which utilized all of my abilities. With the combination of speed, agility, power, and awareness, rugby was the most complete sport I ever played. In the last game of my senior season, against Georgia Tech in the Southeast Regional playoffs, I tore the labrum in my left shoulder. The next year, I found CrossFit.

I began doing CrossFit workouts that my brother, Mike Poppa, would send me each day while I was living in St. Petersburg.  With my left shoulder hanging by a thread, I worked around my inabilities and scaled every movement I could.  After a year of neglecting my injury and working around confused onlookers at a globo-gym, I decided I would move home in order to have arthroscopic surgery on my shoulder.  My surgeon told me I would be cleared for intense exercise (CrossFit) six months after surgery, and so I wanted to learn everything I possibly could in that time.  I had surgery on June 10, 2011, and exactly six months to the day on December 10, 2011, I earned my Level I Certificate.

CrossFit has changed my life in many ways.  Graduating with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Finance, I never imagined a career in fitness.  More importantly CrossFit is a perfect fit for the type of active lifestyle that I live.  CrossFit incorporates the best aspects of my athletic background, as well as prepares me for the unknown.  The intensity and competitiveness of  CrossFit workouts fills a huge void that that came after competitive college sports ended.  The best part of my story is that it’s not unique.  There are much greater athletes than myself out there who have discovered that CrossFit provides something they otherwise cannot find.

Come to me for: To talk about ANY and ALL sports.

Meredith Smith

Meredith_webBachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Western Kentucky University, ISSA Personal Trainer, ISSA Nutritional Specialist, CPR Certified, Yoga Instructor, Group Fitness Instructor, CrossFit Level 1 Certificate, Specialist in Fitness Nutrition Certificate

I fell in love with the methods, atmosphere and community of CrossFit, and it didn’t take long before I knew it was a field I wanted to pursue. I took my L1 and became a Certified CrossFit Trainer. I strongly think everyone should be a teacher at some point in their life. Not only within schools but in general. I have found my way of teaching through fitness. It is what I am passionate about and study so I can teach to others who are willing to learn. What I love specifically at RFS is the community. The commitment and drive from members makes coaching enjoyable. RFS is a family and we grow and improve together which makes it an amazing and fun place to work.

Come to me for: Nutrition, mobility and yoga.

Miguel Leitao

miguel_webBachelor of Science in Athletic Training from University of Ceara, CrossFit Level I Certificate, CrossFit Kids Certificate, CrossFit Weightlifting Certificate, CPR/AED Certified, Capoeira Instructor (17 years), Gymnastics Conditioning Coach, Personal Trainer ISSA Certified

I was attracted to CrossFit as a sport, but I’m passionate about CrossFit because of the friendship and family I’ve found in the community. Here at RFS, the coaches are honest and knowledgeable, the members are committed, and they work hard for progress. I feel like we’re all a team working toward better fitness and personal growth.

Come to me for: Physical therapy help, gymnastics and coconut recipes.

Patricia Dore

National Academy of Sports Medicine, CrossFit L1 Certificate, American Council on Exercise, Aerobics & Fitness Association of America, Functional Movement Screening/FMS, Pre-and-Post Natal

I started my fitness career as a professional dancer, then moved to body building competitions when I turned 40.  I started CrossFit in 2011 after I finished my last bodybuilding competition. One of the personal trainers I worked with was in amazing shape, but I never saw him work out. I asked what he did, and one day he brought me along … and I’ve never looked back. I fell in love not only with the workout but also with the community. In 2012, at age 42 I became pregnant and it was CrossFit all the way till my due date, and back again 5 weeks later. My son is now three and he helps teach the warmups (he’s a huge fan of squats).
When I retired from dancing, I really missed not only the physical aspect but the camaraderie and close friends I made in the dance world. CrossFit has filled that void for me: everyday I’m challenged with bettering myself. I’m so lucky I can share our members joy and accomplishments!
Come to me for: tips on proper form, technique, and posture–and for boogie breaks and random dance moves.

Some fun facts about Patricia:
  • She has competed in 5 NPC bodybuilding competitions, beginning at the age of 40. She finished with a national placing of 3rd in Over 40 and 4th in All Ages. 
  • Patricia’s 17-year career included Broadway, contemporary and ballroom.
  • She was the US Professional Rising Star ballroom champion in 2000! 
  • Her choreography work for stage and TV has earned an Emmy and a Telly award!
  • She continues to choreograph for local charities in Sarasota, including the Soleman dancers for Wine, Women & Shoes!

Lisa Stuart

lisa_webCPR & AED Certified, Mom

Every one loves Lisa not only because she’s always smiling and encouraging, but also because she keeps the kids safe and happy so parents can work out! RFS offers free childcare during our busiest hours, and we depend on Lisa to make it happen! Thanks, Lisa! You’re influencing the next generation of fitness!