We take pride in the quality of people that lead our classes! Our coaches are all experienced athletes who have competed at top levels. Every one of our coaches have been a member at Crossfit Brighton for a minimum of a year, went through our coach development program and fit our core values. We strive to go above and beyond expectations for all of our members.


  • Chris Tamer-Owner/Coach
  • John Tamer-Head Coach/Manager
  • Jill Donovan-Coach
  • Alex Stransky-Coach
  • Darin Spencer-Coach
  • Darcie Donaldson-CrossFit Kids/GirlsEdge
  • Kara Follman-GirlsEdge
  • Nina Hart-Coach
  • Nels Helminen-Coach

Chris Tamer

Chris is the owner and head trainer at CrossFit Brighton. A husband and father of three, Chris is a graduate of the University of Michigan where he played varsity hockey.

After graduating from at U of M, he played professional hockey for the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers and Atlanta Thrashers over a period of twelve years. He credits off-ice strength training as a key factor for maintaining the high level of fitness required of him to play professionally for so many years.

“I’ve always loved using the off-season for strength and conditioning training. My goal was to train harder than the hardest game or practice I would encounter during the season. I still and always will enjoy working out. CrossFit’s training methodology has opened my mind to a challenging and effective training program. Two great aspects of my work are working with the great people in our community and helping members increase their fitness levels. Every person in the gym is dedicated, hard working. It is a great pleasure to see such positive results in OUR gym.”

  • University of Michigan Alumni
  • NHLPA Association Member
  • Detroit Red Wing Alumni
  • USA Sports Performance Coach
  • USA Hockey Level 4 Coach
  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • CrossFit Kettlebell Certified Instructor
  • CrossFit Barbell Certified Instructor

John Tamer

John joined CrossFit Brighton in March 2008 after years of being on the road selling medical devices. Through his training he saw remarkable improvements in his athletic performance in a short period of time and was sold on the benefits and programming style of CrossFit. John played elite-level hockey his whole life and spent three years in the OHL (Ontario Hockey League), so it was natural for him to be involved in a high-intensity fitness program. He started coaching at CFB soon after.

“When I played competitive hockey, I pushed myself to be a better, stronger athlete every day. Now, my drive comes from coaching our members and seeing improvements in their performance and overall health.”

John also runs the CrossFit Kids program and is heavily involved in the recruitment, programming and development of local high school athletes and teams. He’s well-known around CFB for his ability to encourage and motivate our members no matter their level of experience.

He has three grown children, a grandson and was recently married. He lives in Brighton with his wife, so he can be as close as possible to the “box.”

CrossFit certificates:

  • CrossFit Level 2 certification
  • CrossFit Mobility certification
  • CrossFit Olympic Lifting certification
  • CrossFit Kids certification

Jodi Helminen

Jodi found crossfit soon after she graduated from Minnesota State University with a degree in Interior Design and a 4 year D–1 women’s college hockey experience. She now lives and works in Brighton and has gotten involved in coaching girls travel hockey in the area.

Jodi has been an athlete her entire life and shortly after joining Crossfit Brighton she was able to fill the ’missing void’ of being a competitive athlete. Jodi started competing as a Crossfit athlete. She competed in numerous local competitions and went on to qualify for regionals as an individual for the 2011 Crossfit Games. After placing 13th in the Regional competition she went on to compete at the 2011 Crossfit games as part of Ann-Arbor Hyperfit’s affiliate team.

“It seems backwards to me that I am in the best shape of my life now rather than when I was a competitive hockey player and college athlete. I step on the ice now and I’ve never felt as strong or as fast. The versatility of the training program at Crossfit Brighton is amazing. The family atmosphere and commitment level of each and every member to come to the gym and push themselves beyond limits is very inspiring. It does not matter who you are or what kind of shape you’re in, this program can accommodate. I truly believe in it.”

  • USA Hockey Level 3 coach
  • 2nd place 2011 OCCF Games
  • 2011 Crossfit Games competitor
  • College team captain 2006-2008
  • Most Valuable Player award 05-06 hockey season
  • Minnesota State University alumni
  • WCHA Scholar Athlete-4 years

Jill Donovan

Jill has been a CFB member since November of 2009. Since then CrossFit has become more than just her workout, but rather a lifestyle adaptation. “CrossFit gives you a formula to achieve your highest level of physical fitness. It prescribes form, loads, reps, stretching, nutrition and lends a chance for growth in integrity and character.”

Jill graduated from U of M, teaching English and history and coaching Cross Country to jr. high students. “I believe one of my strong points as a teacher and coach is that I relate to the struggles and journey of a student. I was never gifted, but rather a high achiever who had to work my tail off for an “A” or a spot on the team.” As a high school athlete, she ran cross-country and track, and played softball. Now married and a mother of two sons, Jill values the importance of functional, full range of motion movement and the drive and endurance to keep up with her family. “I enjoy holding my own in a game of backyard football or pond hockey, trying to hang with Jed in the wods, and being able to move into a house without asking for help from “big” guys!” When you improve as an athlete at CrossFit, you will find that it instantly carries over into your life outside the gym.

“The best part of being a trainer at CFB, is seeing our members succeed. I love to see the hard work and effort and the gains made by our athletes. It’s a great community here within our gym and every day I look forward to walking through the door. I am thankful for the abilities and experiences CrossFit has given me and look forward to sharing my passion with our members.”

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • University of Michigan Alumni

Alex Stransky

More info coming soon…

Darin Spencer

More info coming soon…

Nina Hart

More info coming soon…

Darcie Donaldson

More info coming soon…


Annie is our “Gym Dog”. It doesn’t matter if it is 5:00 am or 5:00 pm, Annie is always excited to jump in the truck and go to the gym. Once there, she is in charge of greeting the members as they come in and joining in for an occasional group photo.