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.

Meredith Smith: Manager

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.

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., Certifications: USAW Sport Performance Coach, 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: Owner

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.


Lisa Stuart

CPR & AED Certified, Mom

Meet Lisa. She’s also fiercely loyal, your top advocate, your coach, and the brains behind the front desk. She’s not going to gush and chit chat. She’s going to meet you where you are and give you what you need. You’ll love her.