Meet Our Team

Head Coach

Blanco

Background

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. Fifteen 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.

Since then, he has shed 100 pounds and is in the best shape of his life. Blanco is truly happy to share his experience and help other people along the road to transformation!

Blanco has a secret identity as an opera singer… for real!  Never challenge him to a karaoke showdown!

Qualifications

CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
CrossFit Gymnastics
CrossFit Kettlebell
CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting
CrossFit Endurance
CrossFit Kids
USAW Sports Performance Coach
USAW Advanced Sports Performance Coach
USAW Club Coach
USAW National Coach
CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting Seminar Staff

Lead Coach

Ariel Fernandez

Background

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.

Qualifications

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

Lead Coach

Rob Swayze

Background

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.

Qualifications

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

Coach

Mike Christman

Background

Mike is a CrossFit OG. He’s been doing CrossFit since 2009, working out with us here at Brooklyn Barbell 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!

Qualifications

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
CrossFit Kettlebell

Coach

Reggie Lominy

Background

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.

Qualifications

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer

Coach

Noelle Nieva

Background

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!

Qualifications

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