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Our Coaches

blanco

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Juan Blanco
Head Coach

(a.k.a. “Blanco”)

Photo by Toby Seifinger

Blanco is a CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting coach, and an opera singer. Yes, CrossFitters sing opera!

As a child, Blanco was often called “husky” and always picked last in kickball. He battled with his weight, a struggle that would follow him into adulthood. Ten years ago, weighing an impressive 280 pounds, Blanco found himself at a crossroads. In one direction was continued unhappiness and ill health. In the other was the hard road to fitness. After struggling through a series of false starts, including a diet named after a Miami beach and some questionable pharmaceutical remedies, he found CrossFit.

In the past ten years, he has shed 100 pounds and is in the best shape of his life. If you want to see the kind of transformation that’s possible, ask to see his old photos. They’re pretty incredible, and as an added bonus you’ll get a great laugh from his Florida “frosted tips” hairstyle.

Blanco is truly happy to share his experience and help other people along the road to transformation!

Blanco’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
  • CrossFit Speciality Trainer Courses:
    • Gymnastics
    • Kettlebell
    • Olympic Weightlifting
    • Endurance
    • CrossFit Kids
  • USAW Sports Performance Coach
  • USAW Advanced Sports Performance Coach
  • USAW Club Coach
  • CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting Seminar Staff
ariel

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Ariel Fernandez
Lead Coach

(a.k.a. “Candi”)

Photo by Toby Seifinger

The myth of Ariel Fernandez begins in Queens, New York, where he is rumored to have grown up amongst many brothers (perhaps as many as 5!) Details are sketchy, but we hear he attended Baruch College, and played baseball in the minor leagues (a story that may serve to explain his immense strength.) A true New Yorker, Ariel still lives in Queens and subjects himself to the horrors of the LIE and the BQE to bring us his coaching magic.

As a member of Team Virtuosity, Ariel went to the CrossFit Games in 2014. His training regimen is impressively extensive. He claims to be training for this year’s Games season, but we suspect he’s really trying to steal away the strongest+stretchiest coach crown away from Elizabeth: we’ve seen him get absurdly close to full splits, as well as front squat over 400lbs.

Ariel’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
  • USAW Sports Performance Coach
  • 2014 CrossFit Games Athlete, Team Virtuosity
rob

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Rob Swayze
Lead Coach

(a.k.a. “Swayze”, “McFly”, “Handsome”)

Photo by Toby Seifinger

Rob is a complete mystery to all of us. One day in about 2010, he appeared out of nowhere and wowed us with his kettlebell skills and uncanny resemblance to Patrick Swayze, so we decided to keep him. As a bonus, he now comes with a hot wife and an adorable kid*.

From our observations of Rob in the wild, we hypothesize that he is very knowledgable in the areas of building strength, gymnastics, working with athletes who are rehabbing injuries or have movement restrictions, and tattoo art.

*If you see a toddler running around doing handstands and l-sits on things, please return him to Rob.

Rob’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • USAW Sports Performance Coach
  • Functional Range Conditioning Movement Specialist
  • CrossFit Speciality Seminars:
    • Weightlifting
    • Gymnastics
  • Jiu-jitsu Competitor
  • Former Russian Kettlebell Challenge
  • Former Girevoy Sport Competitor
mike

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Mike Christman

(a.k.a. “Hammertime”)

Mike is a CrossFit OG. He’s been doing CrossFit since 2009, working out with us here at CFV since 2010, and coaching for us part-time since 2011 and full-time since 2016.

After competing in wrestling, track, basketball and football in high school, Mike fell upon hard times athletically speaking, spending his college career and several years afterwards “doing nothing, getting fat, and drinking a lot.” His return to form was an uphill battle, not made any easier by his former career in finance: he knows first hand the struggles of all you desk jockeys out there!

Mike particularly enjoys coaching new athletes because he gets to see them discover how fun and amazing CrossFit is both physically and mentally, and lend a helping hand when things seem a little daunting!

Mike’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • CrossFit Speciality Trainer Courses:
    • Kettlebell
reggie

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Reginald Lominy

(a.k.a. “Tank”)

Reggie has been a Virtuosity fixture since he joined our youth athletic program as a bright young 16-year-old looking to supplement his wrestling training with a strength and conditioning program.

After competing in wrestling throughout high school (and reaching a rank of 3rd in NYC!) Reggie turned his attention to Olympic Weightlifting. His passion and natural aptitude for the sport has led him to great success: he ranked 9th at Junior Nationals in 2014, and 11th at University Nationals in 2015, in addition to winning several local competitions.

Reggie began coaching for us as an assistant in 2012, and has grown into a passionate and dedicated member of our coaching staff. He is currently a student at Baruch College.

Reggie’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
noelle

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Noelle Nieva

www.brooklynbodyshop.com

Noelle began her strength journey after she gave birth to twins, and found herself carrying around two increasingly heavy babies-slash-weights. Her resultant shoulder pain led her to an exploration of bodywork that (in typical Noelle no-half-measures style) became a career, turned her on to the world of physical culture in general, and eventually led her to try CrossFit with us.

In addition to being one of the most gifted bodyworkers we’ve ever had the privilege of having torture massage us, Noelle is a natural coach. She describes her coaching style as “your badass mom,” so expect some tough love!

Noelle specializes in working with older athletes, particularly women. She dreams of a world full of strong, kick-ass 40-, 50-, 60-, 70-, 80-, and 90-plus year-olds who are fully embracing their physicality and staying self-sufficient throughout their golden years!

Noelle’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • Bodywork Certifications:
    • New York State Licensed Massage Therapist
    • Trigger Point Therapy
    • Orthopedic Medical Massage
    • Tui Na
    • Thai Massage
    • Myofascial Release
    • Sports Massage

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Morgan Pitcher

Photo by Lisa Haefner Photo

www.emergeactivelife.com

Growing up in Austin Texas, Morgan played almost every sport under the sun (figuratively and literally!) She graduated from Texas A&M University where she worked for the Student Recreation Center, played intramural sports, learned about nutrition, and found CrossFit.

Along the way, a casual workout blogging habit developed into a career-sized passion for helping people accomplish their goals both large and small. Morgan wants people to enjoy being active and healthy just as much as she does, and has an infectious enthusiasm for living a consistently healthy lifestyle that’s always inspiring.

Morgan is currently working towards her ISSN (International Society of Sports Nutrition) Certification.

Morgan’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • USAW Sports Performance Coach

devin

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Devin Kittle

Devin was introduced to CrossFit by a fellow baseball teammate in college who came across main site crossfit.com. After toying with CrossFit throughout college, he got serious about it after graduation. He watched pretty much every video in the CrossFit Journal and taught himself many of the basic movements.

After Equinox frowned upon his wall balls, handstand pushups, and cycling through multiple barbells, Devin found CrossFit Virtuosity and never looked back. After playing four years of college baseball and competing in 3 sports throughout high-school, it gave him something to continue to compete at.

Devin joined the CFV coaching program to both hone his skills and to help others in their athletic journey.

Devin’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
  • CrossFit Speciality Seminars:
    • Olympic Weightlifting
    • CrossFit Football

kim

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Kim Alpert

(a.k.a. “Paleo Spice”)

Kim’s first taste of CrossFit was a free intro class at a gym in the city. After a 5 minute talk, they put her through a 12 minute AMRAP of strict pull ups, kettlebell cleans, and sit ups. Needless to say, she was terrified. Six months passed before she decided to give it another go, this time at Virtuosity, and this time it stuck.

Kim signed up for On Ramp, and was quickly hooked. The only problem: she was leaving for a semester abroad immediately afterward. She decided that she needed to leave her mark on the leaderboard so that we would remember her while she was away. When Karen was programmed the day before she left, she was ecstatic. She completed the WOD with an 8lb ball in the morning and decided to come back later and do it RX, in record time. She came back at night after a power nap and protein shake, ready to kill it. 3,2,1..GO! She got about 30 reps Rx before the time cap was up. It probably took the entire eight months she was in Spain for her quads to recover, but she joined CFV when she returned to the States and hasn’t looked back since!

Kim’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
  • CrossFit Speciality Seminars:
    • Olympic Weightlifting
    • CrossFit Football

Founders

Samantha Orme

(a.k.a. “Good Sam”)

Sam founded CrossFit Virtuosity and is its current owner. She is part office manager, client services manager, human resources director, art director, event planner, tech support, construction manager, handyman, and accountant, and hence has all the real responsibility around here.  She is a CrossFit Level 2, CrossFit Kettlebell, CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting, and CrossFit Endurance Trainer, as well as certified by USA Weightlifting as a Sports Performance Coach.

A couple years back (while it was still relatively easy to do) Sam competed at the CrossFit Games Northeast Regional competition as an individual. A couple years before that, she decided on a whim to ride a bicycle across the continental United States and against all odds emerged unscathed.  Somewhere in between, she ran a half marathon and found it far more challenging than the 4,000 mile bike ride.

As a former web developer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as several start-ups, Sam understands how hard it is to prioritize health and fitness, and spends most of her time trying to make this gym the most awesome possible place to escape to!

Keith Wittenstein

Keith Wittenstein

(a.k.a. “Panda”, “Tyler Durden”, “The Mayor of CrossFitTown”)

Keith founded CrossFit Virtuosity.  He just so happens to be the only Level 3 CrossFit Trainer in the New York area.  Apparently that means he’s pretty badass.  Keith has been personally invited to coach at certification courses by luminaries such as Mark Rippetoe, Mike Burgener, Jeff Martone, and Jeff Tucker. He’s a member of the CrossFit Level 1 Seminar Staff, which means he is an Official Source Of CrossFit Wisdom, and gets to wear a pretty snazzy red shirt.

Before founding CrossFit Virtuosity, Keith founded CrossFit NYC, the first New York CrossFit affiliate, and the eighteenth affiliate nationwide.

Alumni

Gregg Martino — was Lead Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now Head Coach, CrossFit ONE Nation
Matthew Bernstein — was Lead Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now Founder and Teacher, Boulder Movement Collective
Justin Algera — was Lead Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now living the dream in Charlotte, North Carolina
Jay Hachadoorian — was Associate Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now Head Coach, CrossFit Gantry
Mario Barraza — was Assistant Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now Owner, ISLA CrossFit
George Lee — was Assistant Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now Owner, Bushwick CrossFit
Nathan Barnett-Herrara — was Assistant Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now Coach at CrossFit Cayman
Emily Buckley-Matura — was Lead Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now Director of Operations at CrossFit Westchester
Elizabeth Wipff — was Lead Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now a personal leadership coach at Strong & Bendy
Joey Swidler — was Lead Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now Head Coach at Rise Youth Athletics.

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