Brooks DiFiore Owner/Founder
Fitness has always been an important part of my life. Growing up it was something I felt a need to prioritize to be competitive in sports. As my athletic career came to an end I was faced with the realization that I no longer had something I was required to train for. Luckily, given my mindset of the past 15-years, I had a love for fitness that would carry me into the future.
Upon graduating college I knew that I wanted to focus my life’s work around fitness and nutrition although I was not certain what form that would take. In 2013 I began training clients individually and quickly realized that my passion for fitness was only surpassed by my desire to help others achieve their goals.
From 2013-2015 I was able to take a group of clients (most still with us) from a cramped attic above a globo gym to our 6,000sqft facility in Lawrenceville that would serve as a home for hundreds of clients to come. As the years went on and Arsenal continued to grow my vision for the future became clear: Help everyone who walks through our doors live their best lives possible through fitness and nutrition coaching and by creating meaningful relationships.
Today, we continue to pursue that vision by employing a staff of expert coaches who lead with acceptance, love, and happiness. As a community, we preach a radical acceptance of all people and strive to meet each individual where ever they may be on their journey.
To me, fitness is much more than the number we see on a scale or the amount of weight we can lift. It’s about empowering one another to be the best version of ourselves and to have the ability to live our lives the way we choose to live them.
Allie DiFiore Owner/Coach
Firstly, I’d like to introduce myself. For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Allie DiFiore and I’ve been coaching bootcamp classes here at Arsenal Strength for about a year and a half. I love burpees, peanut butter cups, and Harry Potter.
After high school and my team sports days had ended, I tried to find ways to stay active and still have fun. I dropped in to a few free classes here and there and ultimately ended up with a routine of spending an hour or so on a treadmill staring at a wall, headphones in, keeping to myself. Not only was I not having any fun, but I also started to dread those hours. Some days I would put it off until late in the evening or avoid it all together. It just wasn’t the right fit for me. Enter Just Get Fit at Arsenal Strength. The community, the ever changing workouts, and of course, the results, were everything I needed and more. Fast forward to present day and I couldn’t be more excited about our Bootcamp revamp. We are so pumped to roll out the new programming and add even more equipment and class times. We’ll be into our new space in August and can’t wait to mix it up again there.
So if you’re looking for workout where old PR’s don’t matter because you’re just whipping battle ropes, hitting tires with a sledgehammer, and focusing on sweating and moving, a workout that will help you look good, feel good and not cause any stress over past numbers? We have the answer and the workout is called Bootcamp (formerly Just Get Fit)!
Vincent Camps Head Coach/General Manager
Since I was a freshman in high school I’ve always been fascinated with the human body and how it could be manipulated to produce results. As an avid wrestler, this usually meant a combination of cutting weight, lifting, conditioning, and technique work. I was always blown away by the way my body responded to different food and training stimuli. With that being said I decided to pursue a degree in Exercise Science to better understand the human body and the way it works from a more scientific standpoint, rather than trial and error. The curriculum was great and I learned a lot; however, so much of the material was based on rehab or chronic diseases. This is extremely important stuff, but my biggest question was always how could I make peoples lives better before they have to take medicine and rehab injuries. This lead me to pursue my master’s degree in Wellness and Human Performance, where I learned the tools I needed to not only keep people from being sick and injured but preserving longevity and performance.
Through years of various personal training jobs and working with different sports performance facilities I always loved working with my clients, but I lacked to find a facility that allowed me to fully express my passion and true self. Insert Brooks and Arsenal Strength. While crossing paths I quickly realized that everything Brooks was building Arsenal to stand for aligned perfectly with my beliefs as well. I gravitated towards the people and energy at Arsenal Strength, which is still true to this day. No matter how early I have to wake up, or how late I have to stay, the people and culture at Arsenal make it easy to do. Nothing makes me happier than working with our athletes and seeing them break down barriers that they never thought was possible. I coach at Arsenal because together we can become not only better athletes but people and community as a whole. I learn just as much from each of our members as I try to pass along to them. Here’s to many more years and memories!
Lizz Sadowski Nutrition & Fitness Coach
My name is Lizz and I love my family, food, pugs, and Vans high tops. I have been an average athlete for all of my life. Whether it was softball, tennis, or track-I was always right in the middle, never the best and never the worst. It wasn’t until I discovered the sport of obstacle course racing (yes, it is a sport), that I wanted to find out what it would be like to be above average. The desire to exponentially increase my strength is what led me to CrossFit almost 3 years ago. It was love at first barbell. My hour spent at Arsenal quickly became one of my favorite parts of my day. I would jokingly say to my husband upon arriving home, that if I could find a way to spend my entire day at the gym, I would be the happiest girl in the world. Fast forward 2 and a half years, and I was lucky enough to be presented with the opportunity to live out my dream. I only tell this story so that you know that every single day you see me in the gym, there is truly nowhere else I’d rather be (#livingmybestlife). My goal for every person, in every class, is to make it the best hour of their day. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s true. For most of us, our everyday life is stressful! Between work, families, and general adulting, it can be easy to lose ourselves amongst the pressures. For some, that hour they spend at Arsenal is the only “me time” they’ll get in a day. This is something that I do not take lightly! Whether it be making the “perfect” playlist, or giving someone the push they need to challenge themselves to a higher level; I strive to ensure that all athletes are leaving the gym a little sweatier, and with a smile on their face.
I am fortunate enough to not only assist people inside of the
This is me in a
Rich Collage Fitness Coach
Following a suggestion from a friend, I decided to watch the Crossfit Games back in 2014. At this point in my life I was out of shape after having a second knee surgery and decided that running was incredibly boring. Watching these athletes lift, climb, throw and swing looked like “fun” to me and a far cry from what I was used to doing at the gym. Growing up as an athlete I had always associated fitness with sport. Trying to change that fitness mindset to “going to the gym” was something that I was struggling with and thanks to CrossFit, the Sport of Fitness, I didn’t have to try and rewire my brain for what being fit meant to me.
My first personal experience with CrossFit was shortly after watching the games and damn, was it a terrible one. I distinctly remember not learning anything about the snatch in my on-ramp because the coach decided “she didn’t like them.” My first class didn’t go any better, either. The coach read the white board, started a clock and then proceeded to do his own workout in the back corner of the gym. My partner, Steve, and I just stood there not knowing what we were supposed to be doing. Lucky for us, some of the more seasoned members helped guide us through the class. We lasted about a week at that box before we cancelled our memberships. After a LOT of convincing, Steve and I decided to try out a new place and our second experience with CrossFit was overwhelmingly positive. Seeing the distinction early on of what a good coach can do for an athlete’s gym experience is where my interest in coaching first began. I liked it so much that about 6 months into my entire CrossFit journey I had already thought about coaching. A month later I got my Level 1 certification and the rest is history.
Standing on the other side of the whiteboard has been such a fantastic experience in my life, albeit a little frustrating at times! I have learned so much about health and fitness but I don’t think I would have had the motivation to learn without the desire to become an instructor on the subject. I will always try and be as knowledgeable as I can be so I can provide new members an experience like I had for my second go around with Crossfit. While I love coaching all types, my favorite athletes to coach are the people that show up with little experience, little expectations and a positive attitude. Maybe they are overweight, out of shape or just don’t consider themselves an athlete. Regardless of the reason, I enjoy being a part of their complex journey to health and ultimately some level of self-discovery. The first time they get on a scale and reach that 100lb mark. The first time they call themselves an Athlete. The first time they get a box jump. Being a part of those experiences is priceless to me.
Jason Loaney Fitness Coach
My name is Jason Loaney and I am a returning coach to Arsenal Strength. The culture, community, and the friends brought me back. The atmosphere of CrossFit is energizing. That energy is how I am able to continue in my fitness journey. Meeting amazing people, becoming each other’s biggest fans and witnessing the accomplishments and dedication all around encourage me to show up, workout and continue coaching.
The “why” to my story is a timeline of life events? I was always active through high school and college; playing soccer, golf, sand volleyball and other rec. sports. Getting a job, I became more sedentary; I still tried to run and workout in the evenings but eventually became a weekend warrior. As a young man I was mostly invincible, but I learned firsthand; with age my body isn’t as young as it used to be. That became more evident after an evening soccer game. I was 28, playing in an adult league, while dribbling up the dasher boards I was body checked, which projected me into the air and I landed on my right knee. After a trip to the emergency room and a specialist it was determined that I shattered my knee joint. It was purple, swollen, with no ability to bend, and in a tremendous amount of pain. I was told by doctors that running or physical activity involving my knee was not in my future. My knee was crushed and so was my spirit. There was no surgery that could fix my injury just time. After multiple rounds of physical therapy over six months I eventually was walking again and got back into a moderate fitness routine, I was determined to ensure that the injury would not haunt me the rest of my life and why I couldn’t stop trying to improve my fitness level.
A year after my injury a college friend opened a gym and my wife and I started going. CrossFit exposed me to new movements, new levels of competition and most importantly olympic weight lifting. I also had a coach at every step to make sure I was completing the movements safely and in proper form. I knew that this new lifestyle and exposure to full body training was going to help me today but also better my life in the future. For someone who wrestled 108lbs my freshman year of college the strength and change of body shape was empowering. I wanted to coach and play with my two daughters, ultimately setting a good example of an active lifestyle. Gradually I got stronger; box jumps, power cleans, RUNNING, double unders…I was doing movements with my knee that were not fathomable a few years earlier post injury. That is why I believe in the CrossFit methodology and keep coming back.
I see older men and women in the CrossFit community that that are amazing athletes. I want to move like them when I am older – It is a part of the vision of who I want to become; the husband, father, friend, son, – all need a bit of athlete in order to be best at those titles. Seven years later and I am still at it. One full marathon, 3 half marathons, numerous CrossFit competitions, running with my kids, best golf of my life, capable of any physical demands for moving furniture or running a Tough Mudder.
My story is the start, but it was when I realized I could help others change their life, that I decided to become a coach. I am naturally a people person, but finding ways to connect with people, push them to their limits, giving cues that trigger proper form, and helping them feel great, makes me feel great. I want to make a connection with people that makes a lasting impression. Sounds cliché, but the Arsenal Strength community gives me the satisfaction of playing a bigger role in this world. My wife asks, when will I stop? There is a lot of me that always feels like the young guy inside, a bit more invincible after each WOD. I will strive to keep feeling that way myself and to give a piece of that to others. So for now, NEVER.
Jennie Kaufman Fitness Coach
I set forth on my fitness journey the same way most people do- joining a commercial gym. With little to no direction on how to move properly, I spent most of my time there on an elliptical and in the tanning bed (yikes!). I was making my way into the gym a few days per week, without seeing any improvement. After years of falling in and out of random fitness routines, and trying some less than ideal diet trends, I was desperate to find something that would stick.
A friend of mine had recently joined a local CrossFit gym and her results were coming in quick. I knew I had to give it a shot, so I went to a class with her and it did not disappoint. I experienced an overwhelming soreness that I had never experienced before, which made me realize the effectiveness of the workout I had done. I immediately knew that I couldn’t go back to being rogue in a commercial gym. About a month after, I decided to blindly join a CrossFit gym that had just opened in my neighborhood, Arsenal Strength.
From the very moment I walked through the garage doors at Arsenal, I knew that this was where I belonged. What really clicked for me was the atmosphere. I’ve been involved in team sports for most of my life, so working out alongside other people under the direction of a coach was an ideal transition. However, I quickly came to realize that although I had an athletic background, I never really knew what it meant to be “fit”.
I soon began paying attention to my nutrition and learned how food affects performance. I have made meal prepping a weekly routine for the last five years, and quality of food has become a priority. Not only was I noticing physical results, but I also began to experience relief mentally. I have dealt with regular anxiety and depression for years, and a regular workout routine has been vital in managing symptoms. I can easily say that I have never been this invested in my physical or mental health.
CrossFit had become such a focus for me that after three years of training, I decided to dive deeper and obtained my L1 Training Certificate. I had spent years building and bettering myself and realized that I was ready to help others achieve their goals as well. Coaching at Arsenal has provided me with an overwhelming amount of happiness and personal growth. I value so much the time I get to spend guiding members on better movement, technique, and overall wellness. There is nothing better than seeing them achieve things they never thought were possible, and to learn and grow together as a community.
I truly am so very lucky to be a part of this amazing community! I am so excited to watch it continue to grow, and to grow along with it. I am looking forward to a happier and healthier future here at Arsenal.
Ken Huntly Fitness Coach
I was relatively active through my teens and early 20’s, first with yoga, which I used to practice 5-6 days a week, and then through weightlifting, which I got heavily into when I started playing rugby in college. My journey through a globo gym continued post-college as my professional life dominated the bulk of my focus, but it became something I endured, rather than something I enjoyed or saw benefit from. I found myself using food as a way to cope with stress and a demanding schedule and at the age of 32, I was heavier and more out of shape than I had ever been in my life. Knowing I had to do something or face similar medical issues that plagued many in my family, I ultimately found my way to CrossFit which I have been doing consistently for almost 7 years now. CrossFit helped me find fitness – both in the mental and physical sense – and set me up with the ability to recognize and ultimately react towards stress in a healthier way.
The impact it’s had on my life is hard to overestimate. I’m 30 lbs lighter and significantly stronger than 32 year old Ken was. I pursue ‘fitness as fun’ outside of the gym in ways I never did when I was younger – I hike, I climb, I run, and I do so often. Lastly, I recognize the impact stress has on my body and how important dealing with it in the right way is to my overall physical wellbeing.
I love coaching first and foremost b/c I get to interact with all types of people. Getting to know people on their personal journey and helping weave that story into the larger community is in my mind what makes what we do so special. I also think it’s important for people to see their stories in the people that coach them. My journey into fitness, and thereby coaching, is not totally dissimilar to people who walk through the doors of a box on any given day. I found functional fitness in my 30’s at a time of personal struggle with weight and stress, and yet I have managed to continue to become a stronger and healthier version of myself over these last 7 years – even as I quickly approach 40. Coaching to me is about helping someone be a better version of themselves than they were yesterday, regardless of age or ability, and it’s a process I greatly enjoy being a part of with each one of the athletes we work with.
Vicky Reiser Performance Nutrition Coach
Fitness has always been a major part of my life, particularly when I started swimming competitively at the age of 7. My mom required me to participate
Fast forward to college when I had already completed 4+ years of shoulder
Summer of 2017, I found Arsenal Strength
I started exploring various sports performance, from low carb to carbohydrate cycling, macro counting, and more. I found that providing my body with the proper FUEL it needed was critical- restriction was no longer an option when I wanted to give 100% effort every day. These nutrients have helped me to build a body that I am proud to live in. I finally feel powerful like the blogger I so greatly admired in the past. The incredible thing is, there is only one way to go from here: up. It is my hope and dream to help others to achieve their health, fitness, and wellness goals as I did. As a nurse and future nurse practitioner, I see many people who battle chronic health conditions that are largely preventable through health lifestyle that includes food, movement, positive mindset, and community. As a nutrition coach, I not only seek to help you create a healthy relationship with food, but also to be a supportive person in your life. I want to not only motivate you but empower you by providing tools to create a sustainable plan for wellness. I can’t wait to see what you can accomplish.
Megan Sicheri Fitness Coach
Shannon Mooney Fitness Coach
From a very young age my dad taught me a few very important lessons. First was the value of exercise, physically and mentally. He introduced me to the weight room around 13 years old and it quickly became “our thing.”
He also instilled in me the importance of spending your life doing things you’re passionate about, and being of service to others.
After studying marketing and accounting in college, i spent my time at desk jobs crunching numbers, forecasting marketing trends, and feeling completely unfulfilled. And so i began my journey into the fitness world.
The fulfillment that i get from coaching is immeasurable. 6 years into my training career and there are still days where i pinch myself and think about how lucky i am to help so many people.
I’ve worked with the simplest of clients who are simply in need of some guidance and maintenance, to individuals who have suffered life altering injuries and are trying to reclaim their confidence and their body’s abilities. Each and every one is a challenge and a blessing for me, as i get to watch them grow.
My WHY is because i needed to spend my life helping others in order to help myself. I need others to see what the gym can do for them, the same way that it’s helped me overcome so many tribulations in life. My WHY is because everyone should have a safe space, where they can release everyday life and focus on what their body needs. My WHY is because fitness saved my health and sanity when I was at my lowest, and i believe everyone should have that same outlet. My WHY is because of YOU, my “clients,” my friends.
John Breslin Fitness Coach
As a child and teenager I was always involved in sports. While my athlete days ended after college, I continued to enjoy staying fit and active. I did the globo-gym thing but it never really stuck. After seeing a handful of CrossFit YouTube videos I decided to give it a try. I was hooked! I enjoyed learning new movements, pushing through my comfort zone, and being encouraged no matter how far behind everybody else I was.
Overall, my fitness journey has allowed me to feel better and to move better. More importantly, I quickly learned how amazing it is to be surrounded by hardworking people trying to get a little bit better each day. I learned to make a habit of working hard. I learned how to force myself to do something that will hurt, that will not be enjoyable all the time, but will – eventually – make me better. I learned how to push myself, how to exceed any self-imposed limitations. I’ve tried to understand my conditioning and movement patterns, to take control of it, and to use it my advantage. This helps as I try to keep up with the young bucks in the box, and my little ones at home. It’s fun to be more motivated, capable and confident.
Not too long after starting CF, I was quickly seeking to attain a greater degree of knowledge and proficiency in the methodology. Also, I wanted to coach. I received my CF-L2 certificate during the summer of 2016 after a year of coaching as an L1 trainer. To me, teaching is sacred. It is a commitment to others and a process. I enjoy getting to know people from my community. I am humbled by the trust athletes give me that allows me to help guide them toward their goals. Every day I’m excited to play a small part in an athlete’s best hour of their day (hopefully!). Ultimately I want to celebrate with them all their success – big and small. Lastly, within the box, both as a coach and athlete, I have forged relationships with a diverse group of great people. It is truly an honor to be part of such a positive community! I’m excited to see what comes next in someone’s fitness journey – perhaps it’s yours.
Arlene Warywoda Fitness Coach
I found fitness at a young age. Even though I have been athletic for most of my life, fitness was not an impact until much later. While actively playing softball, soccer, and being a track athlete, I also engaged in free weight training while in college. I never touched a barbell until 2015. I assumed that as long as I was actively running or lifting weights, I was fit. I never took nutrition into consideration and I ate whatever I wanted and used workouts to “burn” the fat. I continued that trend as I began running marathons, same mentality but never seeing any real results. I found CrossFit and weightlifting over 4 years ago and that’s when I can say that fitness has made an impact on my life. Fitness to me, is not just about putting the time in to look a certain way or to perform your best but it’s about self fulfillment. Fitness is not about how much you can lift, how fast you can run, or how many more reps you can do in one set. Fitness to me has been about how I feel each time I show up, giving it my all and being happy with myself. Fitness has made me not only physically stronger, but it has taught me about mental focus both in the gym and outside of the gym.
I love coaching for many reasons. I love the feeling of seeing athletes push through their threshold as I am cheering them on for one last rep. I love being looked up to for guidance through a tough workout. I love seeing athletes obtain their personal goals. I love being a coach at such a strong establishment with great comradery. I love coaching because it is not for self recognition or trying to teach the correct form, but it’s about the personal connection that you can make with someone. As a coach, athletes have taught me how to be patient, respectful, and present in the moment. Coaching is not repetitive, it’s not boring. Each day is constant with new challenges and continuous excitement. It is such an incredible feeling knowing that I am a representation of such a great and inspiring community!
Lizzie Ginsberg-Raney Fitness Coach
My introduction to fitness began when I was 5 and my parents signed me up to swim on the same team as my older sister. I spent the next 16 years swimming competitively and training year round. At the age of 12 I started training 9 times a week, both in and out of the pool. We would accumulate tens of thousands of yards in the pool every week, and training at the time was focused on volume. This unfortunately meant that I was in physical therapy dealing with shoulder injuries before I started high school. After years of nagging injuries and countless physical therapy sessions, I had shoulder surgery when I was 17 so that I would be able to continue to swim in college. My surgery was successful but only got me through another few years. I wasn’t able to swim through all four years of college without more surgery, and it didn’t seem worth it. I finally had to stop swimming and didn’t know what else I could do. My training relating to swimming involved a lot of core work, calisthenics and lifting, but it always felt like a chore. I had never thought of all these years of training as a way to maintain fitness; instead it was me working toward specific sport-related goals. When I finally wasn’t swimming anymore, I felt lost in the gym. I would use the elliptical, run on the treadmill or use the weight machines, but it wasn’t fun and I found it hard to maintain. I missed having a reason to push and a goal to work toward.
I first started coaching when I was 18. I would coach swimming when I was home from college in the summers, and I knew right away it was something I had always wanted to do. After I graduated and started working full time, I continued to coach swimming in the evenings and on weekends because I loved it so much. I coached swimmers of every age–from 6-year-olds just learning to swim–to 80-year-old master’s athletes who made coming to the pool at 4:30 a.m. a priority in their retirement, and everything in between. A few years ago my husband and I moved to Flagstaff for a change of pace. We didn’t know anybody, and the adjustment was harder than we had anticipated. It was the first time in my life that I wasn’t the athlete or the coach. I was already aware of CrossFit at that time, and had looked up the local affiliate, but I was too scared to make the call. Having been an athlete my entire life, I felt embarrassed by my lack of fitness at that time. I spent two weeks working out on a rower in our living room, trying to get in shape enough to start CrossFit, before I finally decided to call. I made my husband go with me, and I was instantly hooked. The owners and coaches at CrossFit Flagstaff were incredible and encouraging. It was exactly what I needed, and I was instantly annoyed that I hadn’t signed up sooner. I was definitely out of shape, but after a couple of months I started to feel like myself again. I loved having a workout written for me and a coach telling me what to do, encouraging and pushing me through each class. I was motivated by having new goals to work toward every day. I knew that I wanted to eventually coach at a CrossFit affiliate. CrossFit made me feel strong and confident, something that carried over into my daily life as well.
I love coaching because it gives me the opportunity to help others push their limits and challenge themselves in a way that they might not be able to do on their own. It motivates me to work hard and continue to grow and learn so that I can be a better coach. I look forward to my time coaching at Arsenal Strength every week, and I always leave the gym in a better mood than when I arrived. I tend to think about the things I do every day in terms of whether or not they fill my cup. Do they leave me feeling emptier or fuller than I was before? No matter what kind of day I’ve had at work or what is going on outside of the gym, I always know that the hours I get to spend coaching at Arsenal keep my cup full.