Brandi Exarhos (Owner/Head Coach)
Brandi grew up in Wisconsin where she played multiple highschool sports and spent time each summer visiting her grandparents on Bainbridge. She earned her B.B.A from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she also met her future husband, Chris. A career opportunity took her to the east coast for a few years, but after earning her MBA, she and Chris made the move to Washington to plant their roots and raise their two daughters. She became passionate about running and went on to complete 8 marathons before finding CrossFit in 2009. She fell in love with the community aspect of CrossFit, the constantly varied nature of workouts and the exceptional results it produced for so many people. She has close to a decade of experience coaching clients of all ages and abilities, and when she's not in the gym, she can be found traveling around the world as part of the CrossFit Kids seminar staff educating coaches, parents and teachers about how to help kids develop a lifetime love of fitness. She is most passionate about working with teens, individuals with developmental disabilities, and anyone who is committed to making a positive change in their overall health. Go Badgers!
Chris Exarhos (Owner/Director of Training)
Chris has been an athlete his entire life. He learned to skate at 4, started playing hockey at 5, and was an accomplished athlete in golf, baseball, football, and hockey throughout high school. He was also a longtime Globo-Gym weightlifter until being introduced to CrossFit in 2009. Other accomplishments include completing 8 marathons, as well as numerous half-marathons and 10 mile races. Chris earned a B.A. in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was also a member of the Wisconsin Badgers Hockey Team from 1994-1997. He had the benefit of training with a highly qualified coaching staff that provided education on weight lifting, a personalized strength & conditioning program, and nutrition advice, all in a world class athletic facility. An untimely broken hand derailed his professional hockey career. As an athlete and coach, Chris’ focus is on proper technique rather than the amount of weight being lifted or moved. His philosophy is simple, “You’re here today to be better than yesterday.” Chris relies heavily on his education and experience as a Division 1 athlete, CrossFit Games Masters athlete, and professional GRID athlete. His coaching style is personalized to the athlete to encourage and instill confidence for maximum results.
Jessica Bratonia (Coach)
Jessica grew up in Southern California where she started playing competitive softball at the age of 10, which eventually earned her a full scholarship to the University of South Carolina. During college she played catcher and outfield until an elbow and back injury limited her to being a designated hitter. After moving to Washington after graduation, Jessica looked for something to replace the discipline and competitiveness of softball and turned to running. After completing two half-marathons, she quickly realized that running wasn’t for her and set out to find something to replace it. CrossFit entered Jessica’s life in January of 2013 and she immediately fell in love with the discipline, community and competitiveness with oneself that it brought. Coming from a competitive powerlifting family,she felt like it blended her two loves (lifting heavy and moving fast) in a way she hadn’t experienced before. In her spare time, she is a mother of 3 crazy kids and softball hitting instructor. Jessica is passionate about helping young athletes get to the next level, and anyone else who is trying to become a better, stronger and healthier version of themselves. The best feeling as a coach is watching someone accomplish something they never thought they would be able to do! Oh yes, and GO GAMECOCKS!
Jennifer Brooks (Coach)
Growing up by the beaches in Southern California, Jennifer has always been on the move. She played any type of team sport she could while growing up – including softball, basketball and swimming. She was even a part of a traveling and competitive jump rope team in elementary school! Jennifer moved to Hawaii after receiving her Bachelors of Science degree in Special Education from Boston University. In 2011, while living in Hawaii and looking for something to add to her indoor cycling addiction, Jennifer was dared to try CrossFit. She immediately fell in love with CrossFit because of the unequivocal energy, attitude, and community that CrossFit embodies. She views coaching as an opportunity to help others push themselves to achieve their greatest goals and bringing them to the realization of how strong they truly are. Her favorite classes to coach are the CrossFit Kids classes, where she focuses on promoting the importance of a healthy life style and a positive body image. Today, Jennifer is a special education teacher on Bainbridge Island and she is also working on her Master’s degree at the University of Washington. When she’s not CrossFitting, you can find Jennifer playing in the ocean, seashell hunting, and participating in general shenanigans.
Karen Byers (Coach)
Karen has been involved with CrossFit for over five years and coaching for over three years. In addition to CrossFit, she is deeply involved with Bainbridge Island youth and high school sports – working as head coach for the Girls Varsity Basketball program. She previously was an assistant coach for the Boys Varsity Basketball program, ran strength and conditioning sessions for the BHS Girls volleyball program and also coaches 5th-8th grade girls’ basketball with the Bainbridge Island Roots program. Karen also enjoys weightlifting, running and has been a lifelong athlete who played high school and college basketball along with high school water polo and track and field. She has run 5 marathons, countless half marathons, relay races and also competes in local and regional CrossFit and Spartan Race competitions. She is passionate about exposing athletes of all ages and sizes to sports and fitness to help them redefine what it means to be a strong and fit athlete. Karen, her husband, two kids, and Australian shepherd live on Bainbridge Island where they drink a lot of coffee and frequently paddleboard, trail run and enjoy the outdoors.
Maggie Fogel (Intern Coach)
Maggie is the resident transformation specialist, having lost over 100 pounds on her ongoing fitness journey. Having struggled with weight most of her life, she always enjoyed watching sports, but largely sat on the sidelines feeling her weight held her back. Over the years she tried many fad diets, yo-yo’ing up and down as these never worked. At one point she tried to obtain a new level of fitness and weight loss by training for one half marathon, two marathons and then one triathlon. While these instilled in her a level of determination and tenacity, they had little impact on losing weight and had no real lifestyle changes or adjustments to her nutrition. Further, her family grew to having three girls, but along with that, she added on pounds with each pregnancy. Finally, after her last daughter was born, Maggie determined she just had enough and if nothing was done, she’d soon weigh over 300 pounds. She started by dialing in nutrition, first with quantity, and then quality. Then, she recorded all her food macros to add more protein into her diet and added in near-daily walking to get moving. After some success, she could tell something was missing and she wanted to excellerate the process. Despite her fears (can this really scale?!?), she decided to start CrossFit in Brandi’s garage. During her first sessions, she couldn’t squat without sitting down on a box, could only plank for 1 second, would lunge to a rolled up towel, could barely box jump to 6 inches. Fast forward through many WODs, weekly commitment and dedication at 5:15 am, she now celebrates many non-scale victories: walking up and down multiple flights of stairs without using a handrail, carrying her four year old all the way home from festive town event, shopping in any clothing store, not just those with Plus Sized sections, and not needing a seat belt extender on flights. She became so passionate about her journey, she decided to leave the corporate world behind and pursue CrossFit coaching as a career so she could help others find their grit, commit to the process and be their best selves. She still loves good food and drink, but knows how to fit it into a healthy lifestyle. Travel and reading are her other favorite activities, along with being a great role model for her active daughters.
Sarah LaFayette (Intern Coach)
Having grown up in Southern Vermont, Sarah is no stranger to the importance of being active and spending time outdoors. Sports were at the forefront of her experience of middle and high school and this is where she found the significance of belonging on a team. She graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in Environmental Studies and then found herself in Connecticut where she started a family and later rediscovered her passion for sport through competitive running. Having completed 1 full, 2 half marathons and multiple 10k and 5ks, she discovered a national nonprofit called Girls on the Run®, an after school program for girls in grades 3-8 which uses running to empower and motivate girls to believe anything in life is possible. She created the Southeastern Connecticut council and was the Director for over 3 years. After moving to the PNW, she continues to be involved with Girls on the Run of West Sound as a member on their board of directors. Sarah passionately believes in the empowering ability of sport and fitness and hopes to encourage her athletes to be the best versions of themselves by pushing through the hard stuff.