MEET OUR TEAM

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

Jodi Laakso

Coach

Jill Donovan

CrossFit LT Programmer/Coach

Alex Stransky

Coach

Darin Spencer

Coach

Darcie Donaldson

CrossFit Kids/GirlsEdge

Alissa Earl

Brighton Nutrition Coach/Mobility

Kara Follman

CrossFit Kids/GirlsEdge

Nels Helminen

Coach

Patrick Seremet

Coach

Annie

Coach/Mascot

CHRIS TAMER

Chris is the owner and general manager 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 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.”

Certifications/Education:

  • University of Michigan Alumni
  • NHLPA Association Member
  • Detroit Red Wing Alumni
  • USA Sports Performance Coach
  • USA Hockey Level 4 Coach
  • CrossFit Level 1 Certification
  • CrossFit Kettlebell Certified Instructor
  • CrossFit Barbell Certified Instructor
What would the members in your class say about you?
I think what most people would say about me is, “I don’t know if he is serious or joking.”

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.”

Certifications/Education:

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

JODI LAAKSO

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’s now married with two young children and lives in Howell.

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 earned a spot to compete on a team at the 2011 Crossfit Games. Since then she has had two children so she has shifted to being a stay at home mom and uses CrossFit to stay in shape to keep up with the kids.

“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 doesn’t matter who you are or what kind of shape you’re in, this program can accommodate. I truly believe in it.”

Certifications/Education:

  • USA Hockey Level 3 coach
  • 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
  • Crossfit Olympic lifting certification
  • Crossfit level 1 certification
What’s your CrossFit Superpower? 
I really like barbell WODs 🙂 

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. As a high school athlete, she ran cross-country and track, and played softball. 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. 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.”

Certifications/Education:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Certification
  • CrossFit Level 2 Certification
  • CrossFit Olympic Lifting Certification
  • CPR Certified
  • University of Michigan Alumni
  • University of Michigan Angel Scholar

What got you interested in CrossFit in the first place?

I tried CFB due to some coaxing from my husband, who was a member a year before I was. I was very intimidated and nervous at first (still get nervous, sometimes) but I was so empowered with the sense of getting in better shape and learning all these new “things” that I became very dedicated to showing up. I love the efficiency of what CFB can pack into an hour.

ALEX STRANSKY

Alex spent most of his life playing and training for team sports. In college he played rugby for Grand Valley State University. After graduating, he continued play to play rugby, but ended up sustaining a knee injury in 2010 that required surgery.

After recovering from surgery, he realized he gained nearly 30 pounds in a short amount of time. He started working out again at a globo-gym and several others, but wanted something different. A friend of his suggested CrossFit and in 2012 he joined and never looked back.

“I always enjoyed working out at a gym, but going to CrossFit reminded me more of the teamwork mentality that I had grown up with, at the same time, it had that individual accountability that came with working out in a traditional gym. It was fast paced, it was challenging, most important it was fun.”

He enjoys the diversity of CrossFit, learning new skills and challenging himself regularly, but at the same time returning to the fundamentals and still get in a great workout. Coaching was a natural progression for Alex, who enjoys helping people get outside their comfort zones an do more than they ever thought they could.

Certifications/Education:

  • CrossFit Level 1 certification
  • USAW Level 1 Sport Performance
  • Red Cross CPR/AED

What’s your CrossFit Superpower? 
I love learning about mobility and how it can help improve performance and recover from injuries. Many members come to me looking for a solution to an issue they’re having and I love always having suggestions for them.

DARIN SPENCER

Darin grew up as a naturally competitive person who likes physical activity, playing soccer and volleyball through high school and earning her black belt certification in Tae Kwon Do. So in 2011 as a stay at home mom, the “regular” gym wasn’t cutting it. She found CrossFit Brighton and the minute she got her hands on a barbell she was hooked.

She needs a challenge to keep her interested and likes that it’s hard to perfect CrossFit, because there’s always room for growth and improvement with form and function.

With a background in project management in the mortgage/credit industry for nearly 20 years, coaching was a natural progression for her.

“I enjoy the CFB community as much as the sport. Our athletes are my friends that I (many times) spend more time with them than family. Who doesn’t want to help their friends succeed and improve? I’ve always considered myself to have a decent eye for movement and a realistic way to translate that to normal English. Form and function in a sport can be complicated to explain, so I wanted to be able to help the athletes that can’t always translate that language to movement.”

Certifications/Education:

  • CrossFit Level 1 certification

What’s your go-to WOD playlist?
My favorite wod music is definitely 90’s/2000’s pop/rap and members will always catch me dancing around the room! I just have fun being at the gym and watching our members grinning ear-to-ear when they reach a PR or correctly perform a movement. Sometimes that means I have to bust out a song …

DARCIE DONALDSON

With a background as a flight attendant and in recreational programming, Darcie has been a part of CrossFit Brighton since the Fall of 2011.

Darcie has played sports all her life focusing on volleyball, softball and basketball, leading her to a degree in recreational programming from Bowling Green State University where she was also a step aerobics and cross-training instructor.

After starting a family with her husband Jason, she coached basketball and soccer with her kids Jackson and Josephine) and got in involved with triathlons. After competing in the Steelhead Half Ironman in 2009 she searched for a fun way to stay fit and active. She signed up to compete in a Tough Mudder race and was worried about rope climbs, monkey bars and obstacles to do with upper body strength. It led her to CrossFit Brighton.

“I remember being so sore for the first two months, but I still kept coming back. Everywhere I looked there were strong, powerful men and women doing real pull ups, toes to bar, muscle ups and lifting an incredible amount of weight over their heads. It was humbling but inspiring. Now, I’ve formed a bond with those people through the laughs, sweat and motivation to push each other further. I truly found my family here.”

Certifications/Education:

  • CrossFit Level 1 certification
  • CrossFit Kids certification

ALISSA EARL

Alissa has been a member of Crossfit Brighton since June of 2016. She grew up playing competitive sports and enjoyed supporting and cheering others on.

Soon after her second child, she found the same boring workouts at the gym were not helping to lose the extra baby weight and she knew she needed to find something that made her excited to attend. ” I love working out as a group. You have this common thread that ties you all together and no matter if you are the first to finish or last, everyone cheers each other on. I knew this was what I was missing in my everyday life. I was intimidated at first, having never picked up a barbell, but everyone was very welcoming and slowly I gained confidence. Now I get excited to pick up that barbell and see what I can do. I’m constantly learning and I get better with every workout.”

Not long after Alissa started to see the benefits of Crossfit, she got interested in Nutrition. “I learned early on that you can’t out-train a bad diet. No matter how many days of the week I trained or how many hours I got in, what truly mattered was what I was putting in my body. Not only for weight loss but for energy and performance. Nutrition became a passion of mine. Once I started to learn how to fuel my body properly, that’s when I started to truly see my body change.”

She is currently studying nutrition and working towards getting a degree in Dietetics. Recently, she completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training and is happily teaching the Mobility class on Sundays. “Yoga has always been a love of mine and when I started to combine yoga and Crossfit, I found my mobility and flexibility improved my overall performance. It’s a great balance and I want to share that knowledge with others.”

KARA FOLLMAN

Kara was an enthusiastic albeit not incredibly talented high school soccer player who took up several short-lived exercise fads throughout her adulthood.

After having sons Drew and Luke, Kara and and her husband Jason tried to find hobbies and athletic activities they could do together. While only Jason excelled at martial arts and shooting (and basement P90X became too annoying!), Kara immediately fell in love with CrossFit and and the amazing community she found there, jumping right in during the Summer of 2011…dragging along Jason a few months later.

With a background in marketing and communications, Kara became a CrossFit Level 1 and CrossFit Kids certified trainer and in 2013.

NELS HELMINEN

BIO COMING SOON!

PATRICK SEREMET

BIO COMING SOON!

ANNIE

Annie has been the gym dog for the first 10 years of CrossFit Brighton’s existence. She has been there since the start and always enjoyed jumping in the truck to go to the gym. She now chooses her dog bed at home for morning naps but occasionally will come to the gym. She is handing off her “dog duties” to her daughter Cece. Cece is always excited to run around the gym chasing her ball, greet members when they walk in and pose for an occasional group picture.

HOW DO I GET STARTED?

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INTRODUCTORY TRAINING SESSION

Evaluate your fitness and lifestyle goals. Are your actions leading you towards achieving these goals? If not, we can help! Your first training session is an opportunity for us to meet, discuss your goals, and create a roadmap for your future.

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FOUNDATION CLASSES

At the end of Introductory Session, you can sign up and become a member. You will learn about our Foundation Classes. These classes are an On-Ramp to the group classes and are mandatory for new members. This will help get you ready for your next steps!

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GROUP CLASSES

After Foundations, you will have access to any of the adult classes on our calendar. We will guide you regarding appropriate equipment, weights, and modifications according to your individual abilities. Our classes fun and community-centered!