Andy Petranek – Founder & Coach

Andy Petranek is an innovator and pioneer in the CrossFit community. He founded CrossFit LA in 2004 as one of the first original 10 CrossFit gyms, and CFLA is still considered one of the most respected CrossFit gyms in the world.

Andy did not start out as an athlete, however, but a musician. His classically-trained parents encouraged him to play every instrument, and he eventually settled on trumpet by which he earned admission to the prestigious Eastman School of Music. By the time Andy attended the University of Rochester, music was out the window. His desire to serve in the military made fitness his new, top priority. After graduation, Andy was commissioned as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. where he served four years including a tour in the first Gulf War.

runningAfter leaving the Marines, Andy turned his focus toward extreme endurance sports. When he wasn’t working his regular sales-rep day job, he was outrigger-canoe paddling across the Molokai channel, , whitewater kayaking down waterfalls, snowboarding, rock climbing, climbing Mt. Rainier, and racing his bike across Costa Rica. In 1995, he took on his first Eco Challenge, a round-the-clock, 300-mile expedition adventure race that is regarded by athletes across the world as the greatest, most extreme challenge ever. He eventually did four Eco Challenges and was eventually sponsored by Red Bull for shorter distance races (24 hours or less). Andy routinely placed in the top three in at least 30 races over five years.

Andy discovered CrossFit in 2004 and he says it forever changed his life and how he approached training. “CrossFit, to me, was a system that encapsulated all I believed about fitness in a very well developed, thought-out and organized system.” Andy says. “And when I tried it, it turned my boring, mundane training workouts into athletic challenge… more of a sport.” Not long after, CrossFit Los Angeles was born. To this day, Andy maintains that after almost nine years of CrossFitting and at age 46, he is in the best shape of his life.


Qualifications & Benchmarks

Andy lives in Los Angeles with his wife Julia and his six-year old son Dashel George, his primary motivator nowadays. Andy recently graduated with a masters in spiritual psychology from the University of Santa Monica and he just wrote the book Fire Your Gym, now available at bookstores and Amazon.


Kenny Kane – Owner & Head Coach

Kenny Kane grew was raised in fitness. The house he grew up in was literally less than 50 yards away from the his family’s business: a fitness club. Working out, playing sports and constant movement were not just part of life – it was life as a child. With a mom in the Swimming Hall of Fame, a grandfather that was the president of the AAU and a father that was an official at several Olympics, Kenny was exposed to innumerable Olympians from a variety of sports throughout his life. Although his mom was a world class athlete she is an even better coach. She has an insane knack for diagnosing human movement and improving it. Furthermore she taught Kenny early on that sport can teach some of the most important qualities in life: hard work, confidence, breath and mind control, discipline, honor, camaraderie, sportsmanship, dealing with success and failure. His family set the stage for a lifetime of athletics, performance and fitness.

At 15 Kenny earned his Black Belt while simultaneously becoming an instructor. As a sophomore, he was often teaching adults twice his age. In this environment he learned quickly to hold his ground and command a room despite lack of age and or life experience. He captained his high school soccer team and was a two-time, all-state soccer player for the Olympic Development Program. At 17, he started teaching himself hip hop by recording “Yo-MTV Raps!” and repeating every step he saw the. Somehow, in addition to doing all of this and being Student Body President, he completed two triathlons before graduation.

The university years were just as busy. At UC Davis, he played soccer, continued doing triathlons to “stay in shape,” and danced in hip hop shows. He also started track by walking onto the team (without any significant track experience) and running under legendary coach Dee Vochatzer, the ’96 US Olympic Coach. During his time at Davis he helped start the UC Davis Aggie Pack. The goal of the Aggie Pack goal was simple: Get people to athletic events and have fun once they are there. Upon graduation Kenny was awarded the Chancellor’s Award of Merit, given only to the top 5 graduates of the class. After graduation he led the Aggie Pack to became the largest student spirit organization in the country with over 5,000 members. (To this day, professional teams and NCAA programs across the country mimic Aggie Pack methods from the early and mid 90‘s.)

From Davis, Kenny went on to to teach Physical Education and Drama at a school in his hometown. He moonlighted by continuing a decent post collegiate running campaign competing for both the Nike Farm Team and the Reebok Aggies. This is also when he started stand up comedy in the bay area. 2-3 training sessions a day, teaching kids how to move and perform and learning the art and craft of stand up made for a full life – perhaps too full. After 3 years of teaching he was recruited back at UC Davis for a job in Athletic Promotions that seemed perfect on paper. However, 80 hour work weeks, over-training for the Olympic Trials, total lack of sleep all led to a career ending running injury (torn plantar fascia). As a mentor once taught him: “Breakdown leads to breakthrough…IF you let it.”

Kenny broke through, switched gears and pursued stand-up because it was the hardest thing he could think to do: Develop an hour of material, polish it and go headline. Through the 2000‘s Kenny toured the country and world performing stand up. Additionally, he gave motivational talks to high schoolers, college students, and business types about taking the risks to do the things you love. Kenny loved stand up because it is so much like a sport – you prepare for thousands of hours for just a few moments of precise execution, timing, and fearlessness. If you aren’t in the moment you get torn up… If you are in the moment you are unstoppable.

Since January of 2013, Kenny has used his methodology and programming to the betterment of CrossFit Los Angeles.


Qualifications & Benchmarks

Teaching people to be in the moment with body and mind is what makes Kenny Kane a great Coach. He knows from a lifetime of experience succeeding and failing as a performer and athlete just what it takes to commit one’s whole being to something – to truly go for it. He was born to coach. He has trained Olympians, NBA players, Premiere League soccer players, A-list celebrities, CrossFit Games athletes, 9-5‘ers. He has created and run several kids fitness programs, coached an adaptive athlete to compete with able body competitors, was a trainer for The CW’s “Shedding for the Wedding,” instructed thousands of hours of hip-hop and martial arts; holds multiple certifications and is a graduate of SealFit’s Kokoro Camp. All of this experience has led to the creation of “The Kenny Kane Training Methodology”: a mind-body training protocol designed to blend the physical and mental demands of training for designated performance outcomes. A lifetime of competing, performing coupled with thousands of hours of teaching a huge variety of things to a huge variety of people make Kenny Kane a unique master coach.


Danette “Dizzle” Rivera – Coach

I’ve been playing since I was born. I tackled my uncles during living-room football at age five. I crashed all-boy kickball games on the playground. I was amazing at peewee AYSO soccer. I swam on a swim team. I dove on a diving team. I swam in the ocean. I tried my hand at hurdles. I danced salsa exhibitions. I loved playing, and I loved all physical activity though I loved nothing more than basketball. I ate, drank, slept basketball all through high school.

As an adult I tried hard to hold onto the fun in physical activity. I kicked boxed, Turbo kicked, took dance classes, had a love/hate relationship with the treadmill and elliptical. I even continued to play pick-up hoops on the playgrounds until I was pregnant with my second daughter.

I found myself practically at CrossFit LA’s doorstep in 2010 at age 42 when the search to meld fitness and fun again became desperate.  I’ve been doing CrossFit ever since, and I still love it.

After hustling as a semi-conductor broker for almost 20 years, which included owning my own company, I began interning then coaching at CFLA in November 2012. I started and still run the Women’s Program.  I love empowering people by encouraging them to take personal responsibility for their health and fitness. And now I’m the General Manager. My objective is to keep the joy of play alive, which I believe only leads to a sustainable fitness that contributes to a high quality of life on all levels. I love my job.

Qualifications & Benchmarks

I am a CrossFit Level 1 trainer. I’ve also earned a CrossFit Kids Trainer Certificate, and a CrossFit Mobility Trainer Certificate.


Niki Marek – Office Manager

Niki’s athletic career began like many others, on the local elementary school soccer fields. A proud team member of the Red Dragons, she quickly identified soccer as her ‘sport’ and continued to play competitively in high school. She also dabbled with basketball in middle school, as well as cross country, track, and field hockey in high school. Being the daughter of a Marine also meant that camping trips, hikes, biking tours and other forms of outdoor physical activity were common weekend affairs. She was always up for a new challenge, and enjoyed trying new things.

Staying fit post-team sports proved difficult, lonely, and boring. Niki had taken up running, but it lacked the energy and camaraderie team sports provided. After she completed a few marathons, she decided to give her knees a break and try something new. She started at CFLA as a Bronze, two time a week member while she attended college at UCLA. CFLA was a perfect match; it challenged her in ways — physically and mentally — she hadn’t been challenged in years. She joined the ranks of the CFLA staff interning for CF Kids. Soon, she moved up to her current position, Office Manager. She has been full time since June 2011 and has enjoyed every day of it. You can find Niki in the gym working out with the nooner class, or at the top of the stairs ready to help you with whatever you need!



Matt “Chip” Cipolla -Coach

Matt has been active and having fun in some way shape or form for his entire life. However, he was a late bloomer when it came to organized fitness and athletics. He joined the Mens Rugby team at the University of Rhode Island while he was obtaining a degree in Chemistry. He also spent a lot of time in the weight room and continued to do so when he moved to California to attend graduate school at UCLA.

During grad school, Matt was first exposed to CrossFit, and he was instantly hooked. It was at CFLA School of Mastery that Matt found himself surrounded by peers, trainers, coaches, and mentors that have helped him to drastically improve his well-being by inspiring him to optimize his training, diet, and entire lifestyle. The result is a level of health and fitness that has him feeling and looking better than he ever has before in his life.

These events have served to develop Matt’s strong passion for health and fitness. He put in the time and effort to make a career change and is now a Full Time Coach and the Facilities Manager at CFLA. Matt brings his passion for life, health, and fitness to his coaching. His vision is that he will help YOU to experience the same positive influences and changes that he has experienced, so that you can transform your life every single day.

Qualifications & Benchmarks

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
MovNat Certified Trainer

M.S., Chemistry, UCLA
B.S., Chemistry and Forensic Chemistry, University of Rhode Island
AHA Heartsaver CPR AED Certified


Shirley Brown – Coach/Director of CFLA Kids

Believe it or not, I was never a particularly athletic kid. In fact, you could say that I hated sports! Living in Oregon allowed me to stay active with its hiking, camping and beautiful beaches, but in grade school I actually loathed gym class because of my exercise-induced asthma.

All of that changed in junior high when I had an inspirational teacher who introduced me to weight training. This is when my love of lifting weights began. I participated in track and field through high school, and lifting weights became a natural part of the training that I did with my friends. Through my teens I continued to get stronger (though I never particularly liked to run!) 

After high school, I moved away to college to pursue a nursing degree at Southern Oregon University. I joined the track and field team and specialized in shot put. While there, I worked with our local YMCA and coached a teen strength-training class. I also taught at an after school program aimed at getting kids to move more and eat better, healthier food.

After college, I moved to Los Angeles. My first job in LA was at Golds gym in Venice, which opened my eyes to insane measures that people will take to enhance their “look”. My next job was as an administrative assistant at UCLA, I quickly found that working at a desk all day was NOT for me. I then became a NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) certified personal trainer and continued to improve my own fitness. In 2007, I helped create and build a new teen fitness training facility in Santa Monica called O2 Max. I worked with numerous kids and teenagers on things like strength training, nutrition, and incorporating fitness into their life.

I joined CrossFit LA as a student in March of 2008, thankful to have finally found a place where my strengths could be put to use. I could lift heavy weight with no strange looks, and was around a community of people who pushed me to do more, continually inspiring me to improve. On the recommendation of my coaches at CFLA, I decided to train for and compete in the CrossFit Games Sectional Qualifier in 2009. Since then I’ve found that I not only love competing, I excel at it, and have been on CFLA’s Affiliate Team ever since (including a trip to the CrossFit Games in 2011!)

I’ve been working with the CFLA Kids Program since its inception and am now it’s head coach/ facilitator. I’m inspired daily in seeing the ‘light bulb turn on’ in the kids I coach, and since working with them is one of my primary passions, you could say “I’m living my dream.”



Michael Stanwyck – Coach

Michael came on board with CrossFit LA in 2006 and, finding something here that he had never found in his workouts and training before, quickly rose to the top of our leader boards. When he expressed an interest in instructing, we welcomed him with open arms.


Jennifer Shoskes – Class Coach

Jennifer has been a student of health and fitness at CFLA for over 5 years. Energetic and passionate, She is personally inspired by ordinary people doing extraordinary things… and loves helping them make that happen!


Giancarlo “GC” Cava – Class Coach

GC has spent most his life on a tennis court, competing throughout his childhood and early adult years, and for the past 8 years he’s been coaching. He was introduced to Cross​F​it while playing Division 1 Tennis at UC Riverside in 2004, and hasn’t stopped. After ​C​ross​F​itting on his own for many years he joined CFLA in 2012 and found the most critical piece of Cross​F​it, community. It was a game change​r. H​e always knew he wanted to crossover into coaching Cross​F​it, and once that opportunity arose, it was a no brainer. He enjoys coaching​ adults and young adults alike, and ​his satisfaction is in ​seeing​ teens and adults​ improve not just their fitness but their everyday lives. He’s thankful for being part of the CFLA Family.


Benet Heames – Class Coach

Like many CrossFit enthusiasts, Benet grew up playing all types of sports. He played rugby in high school and played competitively during his four years at Loyola Marymount University. Post college, he found that the corporate life was full of happy hours, client lunches, and long weekend. After a few years of this new “grind,” he decided to look for something that served his health and fitness.

With an extra 30lbs on his frame, Benet joined CFLA in the Spring of 2012. During his first year, he took a chance and participated in both the Whole Life Challenge and the CrossFit Open (for fun). These two events were a turning point for him. His competitive instincts from his rugby days came back into his daily workout mentality. He then studied movement, worked on strength, and learned the basics of nutrition.

Eventually, he participated in a “Friday Night Lights” CrossFit competition. He also completed his first triathlon with the CFLA Tri Team in 2013. This led him to the realization that the CFLA community helps make the impossible possible. He never thought he would be able to complete a full Tri, get back into shape, or be able to competitively participate in the Sport of Fitness.

Benet became a coach with CFLA in 2014. He is motivated by helping others to find freedom through fitness. He is a sales consultant in the insurance industry for employee benefits, and still excels in the corporate game. You can find him at the gym at the 5:30 class, or teaching on Thursday nights.

Qualifications & Benchmarks

  • CrossFit Level 1
  • Certified Advanced Scuba Diver
  • Licensed CA Life & Health Insurance