Andy Petranek – Founder & Coach

Andy Petranek is an innovator and pioneer in the CrossFit community. He founded CrossFit Los Angeles in 2004 as one of the ten original CrossFit gyms.

Surprisingly, Andy did not start out as an athlete, but rather, a musician. His classically-trained parents encouraged him to learn a variety of instruments. Andy ultimately pursued the trumpet and was later admitted to the prestigious Eastman School of Music. By the time Andy attended the University of Rochester, his desire to serve in the military quickly began to overshadow his passion for music performance. As a result, fitness became his new priority. After graduation, Andy was commissioned as an officer in the United States Marine Corps where he served four years and completed a tour in the first Gulf War.

runningAfter serving in the military, Andy turned his focus toward extreme endurance sports. When he wasn’t working as a sales rep, Andy was outrigger-canoe paddling across the Molokai channel, whitewater kayaking down waterfalls, snowboarding, rock climbing, hiking 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. Andy competed in 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 that five-year period.

Andy discovered CrossFit in 2004 and 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 explained. “When I tried it, it turned my boring, mundane training workouts into athletic challenge… more of a sport.” Not long after discovering CrossFit, Andy opened the doors of CrossFit Los Angeles. To this day, Andy maintains that after almost thirteen years of CrossFitting, at age 50, he is in the best shape of his life.

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Qualifications & Benchmarks

Andy lives in Los Angeles with his wife Julia and son Dashel George, his primary motivator nowadays. Andy recently graduated with a Master’s 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 was raised in fitness. The house he grew up in was located less than 50 yards from his family’s business: a fitness club. Working out, playing sports and constant movement were not just part of life – it was the only 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 incredible ability to diagnose human movement and optimize 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.

Needless to say, high school was a busy time for Kenny. At 15, Kenny earned his Black Belt while simultaneously becoming an instructor. As a high-school sophomore, Kenny 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 full. At UC Davis, he played soccer, continued doing triathlons to “stay in shape,” and danced in hip hop shows. He also walked onto the track team with very little track experience and trained under legendary coach Dee Vochatzer, the 1996 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 90s.

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 Kenny started stand up comedy in the bay area. With 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.

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Qualifications & Benchmarks

Kenny holds multiple certifications and is a graduate of SealFit’s Kokoro Camp. The practical and spiritual teachings from Kenny’s diverse athletic training have culminated in his context-driven coaching methodology where body, mind, and heart are given equal weight in the portrait of good health.
Kenny has implemented his mind-body training protocol whilst coaching Olympians, NBA players, Premiere League soccer players, A-list celebrities, CrossFit Games athletes, and Nine-to-fivers alike. He has also developed and directed several fitness programs for kids, coached an adaptive athlete to compete alongside able-bodied competitors, and continues to contribute to broader philosophical discussions concerning public health in podcasts and other forums with elite athletes, movement and human bioenergetics specialists, and thought leaders from around the world.
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Shirley Brown – Coach & Director of CF Kids LA

Believe it or not, Shirley was not a particularly athletic child nor was she terribly fond of sports growing up. While Oregon’s abundant hiking, camping and beautiful beaches allowed her to stay relatively active, Shirley cringed at the thought of gym class due to her exercise-induced asthma.

All of this changed in junior high when a coach encouraged Shirley to try weight training. As it turned out, lifting weights helped Shirley discover her inner athlete. From there, Shirley participated in track and field, where weight training served as a natural part of conditioning that she enjoyed with friends.

After high school, Shirley moved away to pursue a nursing degree at Southern Oregon University, where she also specialized in shot put as a member of the school’s track and field team. While pursuing her degree, Shirley worked with the local YMCA and coached a teen strength-training class, as well as an after-school program aimed at encouraging kids to move more and eat better, healthier food.

Shirley moved to Los Angeles after college where she experienced some of the extremes of the angeleno job market. Her first job was at Gold’s Gym in Venice, which opened her eyes to the lengths to which people will go to enhance their aesthetic. While impressive, this environment was not a great professional fit. Shirley then worked as an administrative assistant at UCLA, but quickly realized that a desk job was not ideal for her either. Recalling her positive coaching experiences in Oregon, Shirley decided to pursue aNational Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certification to become a personal trainer. In 2007, she helped create and build a new teen fitness training facility in Santa Monica called O2 Max and worked with numerous kids and teenagers on strength training, nutrition, and incorporating fitness into their life.

Shirley joined CrossFit LA as a student in March of 2008, thankful to have finally found a place where her strengths could be put to use. Shirley could lift heavy weights in an accepting environment, and was surrounded by people who motivated and challenged her to grow. At the recommendation of her CFLA coaches, Shirley decided to train for and compete in the CrossFit Games Sectional Qualifier in 2009; and she later joined CFLA’s Affiliate Team, which competed at the CrossFit Games in 2011.

After joining the CFLA coaching staff, Shirley dedicated many hours to the CF Kids LA Program since its inception and now serves as its Director. The kids Shirley coaches inspire her, and she delights in seeing the proverbial light bulb turn on in class. Because working with kids and fitness are Shirley’s two primary passions, you could say she’s “living the dream”.

Qualifications & Benchmarks

Shirley is a CrossFit Level 2 and NASM Certified Trainer. 

 

Matt “Chip” Cipolla – Coach & Head Programmer

Matt has been an active and fun-loving guy his entire life. When it came to organized athletics,  however, he was a relatively late bloomer. Matt joined the Men’s Rugby team at the University of Rhode Island while earning a degree in Chemistry. He also spent a lot of time in the weight room and continued to do so after moving to California to attend graduate school at UCLA. It was during grad school that Matt was first exposed to CrossFit and was instantly hooked.

At the CFLA School of Mastery, Matt found himself surrounded by peers, trainers, coaches, and mentors that helped him dramatically improve his well-being through the optimization of  his training, diet, and overall lifestyle. The result was a new level of health and fitness that has him feeling (and looking!) better than ever before.

These experiences electrified Matt’s passion for health and fitness, and ultimately lead to his career shift from Chemist to Coach. After many hours of training, education, and coaching, Matt has even worked up the ranks to Head Programmer at CFLA. Matt brings his zest for life to his coaching and programming alike. His ultimate goal is to empower others and encourage members of the CFLA community to benefit from the same positive influences that had such a profound impact on him. Matt believes that every day is an opportunity to live your best life.

Qualifications & Benchmarks

Matt is a CrossFit Level 1 and MovNat Certified Trainer. He is also an Eleiko Strength Coach and AHA Heartsaver CPR AED Certified. Matt holds a M.S. in Chemistry (UCLA) and B.S. in Chemistry and Forensic Chemistry (University of Rhode Island).

 

Danette “Diz” Rivera – Coach

Diz found herself at CrossFit LA in 2010 when the search to meld fitness and fun became desperate. She had been an athlete all her life, but had a hard time as an adult finding the joy she knew as a young athlete. She found what she was looking for at CFLA.

After hustling as a semiconductor broker for almost 20 years, which included owning her own company, Diz began interning then coaching at CFLA in 2012. She started and still runs the CFLA Women’s Program, “The Strongwoman’s Society”. What she enjoys most about being a coach is empowering people by encouraging them to take responsibility for their health and fitness. Her objective is to keep the joy of play alive, which she believes only leads to a sustainable fitness that contributes to a high quality of life on all levels.

While at CFLA, Diz trained for her first triathlon placing 2nd in her age category. She also competed in a bikini bodybuilding competition placing 3rd in her category. She is currently training for her first marathon.

Diz is a certified CrossFit L2 trainer and lives in Santa Monica with her husband Julio and youngest daughter, Mina, a senior in high school. Her oldest daughter Maya is a junior in college.

Qualifications & Benchmarks


Danette is a CrossFit Level 2 trainer. She has also earned a CrossFit Kids Trainer and CrossFit Mobility Trainer certificates.

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James “Jamie” Silber – Coach & Director of CFLA Tri/Speed Team

James “Jamie” Silber began coaching at CFLA in 2013 and is the Director of the CFLA Tri/Speed Team.

Jamie came to CFLA with over 30 years of experience as endurance performance coach.  He is the founder of the LA Tri Club and TTS, a triathlon coaching company based in Los Angeles. He has personally coached world class athletes and amateurs of all abilities to compete in an myriad of multi-sports events.  Jamie, himself, is a 10-time Team USA triathlete with two 2nd place finishes at the National Championships in both the Olympic and Sprint distance triathlons.  Jamie has recently place 4th in his age group at the ITU World Triathlon Championships. He has also completed seven Ironman triathlons, including the Ironman Hawaii World Championships.

Jamie graduated from the University of San Diego in 1987 with a B.A. in Psychology and B.S. in Exercise Physiology.  His professional transition from endurance coaching to the methods of CrossFit have not become mutually exclusive.  He has transformed numerous athletes by implementing a more inclusive and  balanced approach to strength and conditioning. His leadership role with the CFLA Tri Team and Speed Team have transformed numerous CFLA’ers by blending CrossFit methods with the endurance culture.

Qualifications & Benchmarks

  • USAT Level 2 Certified Triathlon Coach
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified
  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer

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 CrossFit while playing Division 1 Tennis at UC Riverside in 2004, and hasn’t stopped. After CrossFitting on his own for many years he joined CFLA in 2012 and found the most critical piece of CrossFit, community. It was a game changer. He always knew he wanted to crossover into coaching CrossFit, 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 to be part of the CFLA Family.

Qualifications & Benchmarks

  • CrossFit Level 1 Certified
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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
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Kevin Kurz – Class Coach

Kevin is a highly energetic, optimistic and upbeat individual who brings excitement into all elements of his life.  In 2009, after growing tired of plateauing with typical weightlifting routines at globo-gyms, a friend told him to look into CrossFit. He remembers his first WOD very well, as he was completely exhausted and totally hooked!

Kevin began CrossFit at Hybrid Athletics, which combined elements of Strongman lifts and CrossFit.  In 2011, he received his CrossFit Level 1 certification, as he knew that he wanted to join the movement in teaching students about the fitness philosophy that he enjoyed so much. In 2013, after a few years of experience, he became the Head Coach at CrossFit Mount Kisco, a newly found box in Westchester, New York.  Continuing his fitness education, he earned his CrossFit Olympic Lifting Certification in 2014.

After relocating to Los Angeles in the Spring of 2014, Kevin immediately found a home at CrossFit Los Angeles.  He completed the box’s apprenticeship program, and started coaching morning classes, which some might call the toughest of them all, as you have to “round up the troops” at 6am and get them moving.

Kevin’s most recent coaching accomplishment was achieved in November of 2016 when he completed his CrossFit Level 2 Certification, which has allowed him to advance his coaching technique even further.  He is excited to share his expertise and love for the sport to all students that walk through the doors at CrossFit Los Angeles.

Qualifications & Benchmarks

  • CrossFit Level 2
  • CrossFit Olypmic Weightlifting Certified

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!

Qualifications & Benchmarks

  • CrossFit Level 2 Certified

Breia White – Breath Coach

Our resident Breath Coach Breia has always had a passion for physical fitness and meditation. Although she worked as an industry television editor for the better part of 15 years, she has been an avid CrossFitter since 2011 and a dedicated practitioner of Kundalini Yoga since 2013.

Breia’s fascination with breathing techniques first became apparent through her experiences with Kundalini Yoga. In seeing how something as simple as breath could quickly affect her mood, thoughts, and actions, she began to incorporate breathing meditations into her routine as a method for increasing focus, creating a deep sense of mental clarity, and managing stress levels in high-pressure environments.

After receiving her certification in Kundalini Yoga at Yoga West, the official home of Yogi Bhajan, Breia wanted to expand her knowledge base to breath practices outside of Kundalini. Since then, Breia has attained her Level 4 certification of the Pranayama Two-Stage Breath technique as taught by David Elliot, a celebrated healer, teacher, and leading force in the breath community.

Breia has travelled as far as the foothills of the Himalayas in India to work with masters and learn techniques for navigating life with more ease, grace, and love. She even spent time in Poland with world-renowned breath expert and Guinness World Record holder, Wim Hof; and is a part of the first official instructor class to teach the Wim Hof Method in the United States.

Breia joined the CFLA community in 2016. Her ultimate goal is to share all she has learned from her training and empower others to create more days of feeling healthy, happy, and strong.

 

Favorite Quote:

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

― Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist

Qualifications & Benchmarks

  • Certified Wim Hof Instructor
  • Level 4 Certified Pranayama Two-Stage Breath as taught by David Elliot Instructor
  • KRI Level 1 Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training Certification
  • CrossFit Level 1
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