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Ralphie Sylvester

Ralphie's Credentials

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Certification
  • CrossFit Olympic Lifting Certified Trainer

About Ralphie

I have always been an active person, playing sports consistently throughout my life. During high school I found a passion and talent for extreme sports. This led to the realization that there is so much more to being an “athlete” then simply fitting into a conventional mold. Each person that is active, and wishes to excel, is using his or her fitness in a manner that is worthy of being admired. This idea remained with me post college, as I searched for that perfect “athletic outlet”. Being in the North East, I found ways to remain active no matter the season; snowboarding, swimming, hiking, club sports. The need for physical challenges led to partaking in winter overnight hikes along triple­summit routes. Anything that would test the bounds of my abilities physically and mentally. However, with the responsibilities of life such times were few and far between. Spending hours at the air­conditioned local chain gym trying to push myself had become tiresome. It was at this point that a friend of mine said, “Hey, I think you’d really like Crossfit”. After the first workout I knew I was hooked. The full­bodied functional fitness that Crossfit fosters cannot be denied. “I just don’t want to lose my explosiveness” is how I would phrase it. Whatever “explosiveness” means to you, as a Crossfit Coach I am intent on helping you realize that there is nothing you cannot accomplish. The community aspect creates the perfect environment for each and every person to succeed in whatever they set their mind to. The programming allows each person to consistently challenge his or her self each and every day. No matter if you are someone that is totally new to any form of fitness training or a professional athlete. The most amazing thing about Crossfit is that regardless of where anyone is in his or her fitness, everyone in the room is working exactly as hard. That is ultimately what drives me; to see people push themselves to be even just a little better than they were yesterday. When you get a community of people all set on that goal, anything is possible.

Amanda Zapatka | CrossFit New Haven

Amanda Zapatka

Amanda's Credentials

  • CrossFit Level 1 Certification
  • CrossFit Running and Endurance Certification

About Amanda

I have competitively played sports since the age of 5 and haven't looked back since! I became an athlete and loved competing in anything and everything! (From tying my shoes faster than my sisters, winning a game of H-O-R-S-E, to report card grades!) At Amity High School, I captained both the soccer and basketball teams and earned the title of Athlete of the Year as a Senior. In college, I continued playing sports as a D1 soccer player at Fairfield University. After graduation and my career in sports ending, the feeling of belonging to a team was missing. It was in May of 2008 that I was introduced to CrossFit. After finishing my first workout I thought, "How could a D1 athlete be THIS tired?!?!" I looked around the room and saw not only my best friend and former D1 athlete, but moms and "older" people doing the same workout! It was then that I realized CrossFit was legit.

My CrossFit journey has taken me from newbie to Games athlete in 2010 and now to a lover of a great workout! I can empathize with all athletes that walk though our doors - from experienced competitors to those who need modifications for injuries.  I love CrossFit for the results it brings, for the community, and for the support you get to succeed. As a trainer, I want to help my athletes reach their goals – no matter how big or small – to live a healthier, happier life.

Whitney Doel | CrossFit New Haven

Whitney Doel

Whitney's Credentials

  • CrossFit Level 1 Certification
  • CrossFit Olympic Lifting Certified Trainer

About Whitney

Whitney was born in Florida where she grew up in a very fitness-focused family who emphasized the importance of exercise and sport in general.  She was a competitive swimmer from childhood through high school, and competed in triathlons, volleyball, and track & field throughout her adolescent years.  Whitney has always been drawn to sports of all kinds, whether competing herself, supporting others, or watching her favorite teams on TV.

After moving to New Haven, she found herself stuck inside a globo-gym for hours a day, going through the motions and trying to maintain some level of fitness.  It was lonely and boring and she felt her fitness level declining after a few years.  Whitney had heard about this 'CrossFit' style fitness from her cousins in the Marine Corps, but she never realized that it was a growing fitness routine that would soon be available right here in her neighborhood.  In March 2010, she and a few friends were out for drinks and commiserating about how boring their fitness routines had become. They made a promise to each other that they'd go check out "that CrossFit Place off the highway" when it opened to see what the hype was all about.  She showed up on Day 1 and has never looked back.  Each muscle ache has turned into an accomplishment; each fear has become a challenge to face; each weakness has been transformed into an opportunity to become stronger. She was drawn to the strength and weight lifting aspects of CrossFit, and pushed herself to meet ever-changing goals.

CrossFit has changed Whitney's life.  What was once a pursuit of general fitness and 'being in shape' has become a passion, a community, a lifestyle, and a love.   Whitney considers it an honor to coach and train alongside the athletes at CFNH.

Evan Kelly | CrossFit New Haven

Evan Kelly

Evan's Credentials

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Certification
  • CrossFit Movement and Mobility Certification

About Evan

My fitness background is roughly "none". Never a collegiate athlete, never an avid anything; I knew I should workout to be healthy and meet my goals, but always had some reason I didn't, couldn't or wouldn't. I had heard of CrossFit but no gyms were nearby, though I knew it was something different, something I could look forward to instead of grow bored with. I tried it on my own a few times to the best of my limited ability and knowledge, but never had the opportunity to really benefit from the experience.

One day, I decided to look again to see if any new gyms had been opened and I met the people who, today, have become a family to me. They reassured me when I thought I was going to literally die after every workout or could hardly move the following day and drove me to push harder than ever before. Through their support, I quickly turned into the person who made the time to improve my health in countless ways, and saw goals I had believed unattainable reached and exceeded.

It's an amazing feeling that everyone can and should experience and may only be surpassed by the satisfaction that comes from helping another to feel that success through coaching. Every day presents an opportunity to challenge yourself to be better than yesterday at CrossFit New Haven. I count myself lucky to be part of this "community of people who have decided that easy will no longer suffice" and I welcome you to be one of us.


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John D'Agostino | CrossFit New Haven

John D'Agostino

John's Credentials

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Certification
  • CrossFit Endurance Certification
  • 13x Marathoner/Ultramarathoner (3:11.34 marathon p.r.)
  • CrossFit Strongman Certification
  • CrossFit Movement and Mobility Certification
  • CrossFit Olympic Lifting Certification

About John

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a total gym rat, spending all of my free time playing, watching, officiating or managing every sport imaginable (inner-tube water polo?  check; wallyball? check;  5x intramural champion).  As college and intramural sports drifted away, I discovered a passion for running that led me across distances from 5K's to ultra-marathons every single weekend of the year.  Thousands of miles later, I needed a new challenge and happened upon Crossfit after hearing it mentioned in a conversation at work.  I still remember the last workout of my on-ramp:  a 2-minute balls-to-the-wall AMRAP of dumbbell man-makers that left me still-gasping for air more than an hour later, but also left me loving every single minute of it.  More than three and a half years later, I’m still only scratching the surface of my potential as an athlete and relish helping others pursue their own potential as both a Crossfit athlete and a person.  I’m a believer that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are and every single squat, dip, snatch, clean, and press helps get us there.  You know you’re hooked when you go to bed dreaming of dead-lifts.


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Frank DeMatteis | CrossFit New Haven

Frank DeMatteis

Frank's Credentials

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Certification
  • CrossFit Gymnastic Certification
  • USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Level 1 Coach
  • CrossFit Olympic Lifting Certified Trainer
  • CrossFit Endurance Certified Trainer
  • CrossFit Movement and Mobility
  • CPR Certified

About Frank

Right before the birth of my son, I was at an all time fitness low. I realized I did not have the energy to take on the job of being a parent. I started to look at things I could do to better my situation. I tried dieting, running, weight training and some voodoo remedies to "get fit" but nothing seemed to work. My weight would yo-yo and I could not find the drive to get up and do anything. My motivation just wasn't there.
Then one day Mark called me, extremely excited, to tell me about a system of working out called CrossFit. I said I would look into it, albeit halfheartedly. I went home and spent the next three days downloading CrossFit articles and videos. I WAS HOOKED. Mark and I got together and started "doing work" in his garage. I got my ass kicked and I smiled the entire time. The garage group grew and before we knew it, we had a little community of people who loved to feel great (physically and mentally) and wanted to help others feel great, too.

Now, I have energy. I feel strong. I feel confident. I am happy. I am healthy. This is what I want everyone around me to feel. This is why I said, "Absolutely YES!" when asked if I wanted to be a trainer at CrossFit New Haven. I love the community I am now a part. I love walking down the street, seeing someone wearing a CrossFit shirt and just approaching them to say "Hell yes, CrossFit!" You know that person is going to recognize you as peer no matter his or her level of fitness. There is always something to talk about with other CrossFitters. The conversation inevitably turns to Fran times and chasing the perfect snatch.
I am honored to be a part of the CrossFit New Haven family. I look forward to working with each and every one of you to help you meet your fitness goals.


Email Frank at:

Carla O'Brien | CrossFit New Haven

Carla O'Brien

Carla's Credentials

  • CrossFit Level I Trainer Certification
  • C2 Rowing Certification
  • CrossFit Movement and Mobility
  • CrossFit Endurance Certification
  • CrossFit Kids Certification
  • CrossFit Olympic Lifting Certified with Mike Burgener
  • CrossFit Gymnastics Certification

About Carla

Carla enjoyed a long career in classical and contemporary dance and dance education.  During that time, she has taught and performed with several schools and professional companies. Carla also received her BS, in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the University of Rhode Island and MBA in Health Care Administration from Quinnipiac University.  She has trained hundreds of dancers of all ages.  Carla remains a board member for the New Haven Ballet School and MacArthur Dance Project Company.

Carla retired from her own dance career in 2005.  While teaching dance, she switched to running for an alternative fitness lifestyle.  Since then, Carla has completed many races from 5K’s, to relays and marathons.  Carla started CrossFit on a dare by her husband, Eric, in 2008.  Eric said it would improve her race times.  Although she was skeptical, CrossFit became the next step in her journey in health and fitness. 

Carla is the CrossFit New Haven Endurance Team coach.  The CFNHE Team has done many events from Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder’s, Spartan, Marathons, Relays and the annual C2 Crash B Regatta.  You can often find her at East Rock Park, Wilbur Cross Track, or heading “Up/Down the River” with her endurance junkies.  Her knowledge in dance kinesiology has folded over into CFNH and she brings mobility and injury prevention technique to the gym.  In addition, Carla enjoys working with athletes and their nutritional needs.  Carla offers nutritional consulting to all members of CFNH.

“I love coaching and working with our members individual life goals.  To be able to be part of that process and pass along a love for fitness and a knowledge of keeping your body in the best shape it can be, gives a person the most valuable gift, longevity.  No matter what your age or fitness level, CrossFit provides you a new quality of life”.  Carla, and Eric, have two children Casey and Jack.

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Eric O'Brien | CrossFit New Haven

Eric O'Brien

Eric's Credentials

  • CrossFit Level I Trainer Certified
  • CrossFit Movement and Mobility
  • CrossFit Power Lifting Certified with Louie Simmons
  • CrossFit Olympic Lifting Certified with Mike Burgener
  • CrossFit Gymnastics Certified

About Eric

Eric is a former collegiate diver, having competed at University of Rhode Island, a Division I school. Eric also was a track and field competitor and swimmer & diver in high school. Eric spent his youth playing baseball and has remained a passionate fan of baseball throughout his life. Eric has many years experience as a coach himself, sending his own Branford High School divers to the CT State Championships every year he coached. Eric also coached little league baseball for Greater Hamden Baseball.

“Finding CrossFit brought me back to my days at Rhode Island; great coaching, motivation, skill work, variety, intensity and community. That friendly competiveness pushes us all to go further, to work harder, and to never quit. CrossFit and CrossFit New Haven have reenergized and refocused my life. I train CrossFit, I teach CrossFit, I am CrossFit. To me, this is home.”

A Co-owner of CrossFit New Haven, Eric is a regular trainer on the CFNH gym floor. Eric is committed to helping his athletes achieve their fitness and lifestyle goals no matter what.

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Aaron Poach | CrossFit New Haven

Aaron Poach

Aaron's Credentials

  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer Certification
  • USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Level 1 Coach

About Aaron

A native of Connecticut, Aaron grew up with a very active lifestyle. Whether it was playing baseball for 11 months of the year until he was 18, or hiking, swimming, snowboarding, or just messing around in the backyard, Aaron was always moving. During college he played almost every intramural sport available – soccer, basketball, flag football, volleyball, kickball and even dodgeball. 

After graduating he continued to stay active while also visiting a “globo gym” three-to-four times each week. Then one day in 2010 a co-worker mentioned this “CrossFit” thing. Immediately intrigued by the prospect of cross-training and “something different,” that afternoon Aaron walked into CrossFit New Haven just a few weeks after opening their doors. Interestingly enough, he wasn’t too impressed with the workout right away after finishing. “Then I woke up the next morning and was sore in places I didn’t know I could be sore in,” he said upon attempting to get out of bed. “Maybe there’s something to this then,” he thought next. So he tried it again and has never looked back.

“It’s the community and the people that I love the most. I feel like I’m on a team again. It’s also different everyday so it’s impossible to get bored. We’re a bunch of people trying to be healthy, improve our lifestyle and have a good time – and I can’t get enough of that!” Aaron is always happy to chat about CrossFit, sports (especially the Red Sox and Saints), food and almost any activity that involves being outside. “I am thrilled to be coaching with the CFNH Coaching Staff and am excited to help people accomplish things they never thought possible.”

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