GoRecess Studio Spotlight: CrossFit Soul Miami; Miami, FL


CrossFit Soul Miami

Owners: Husband and wife team Danny and Monik Lopez-Calleja

Husband & wife team Danny and Monik Lopez-Calleja

Danny is a USA Weightlifting Level 1 Sports Performance Coach, USA Weightlifting Level 2 Coach, CrossFit Level 1 Coach, Westside Barbell Course Attendee, Assistant Subject Matter Expert Coach for CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting Certification with Coach Mike Burgener, Assistant Subject Matter Expert Coach for CrossFit Gymnastics Certification with Coach Jeff Tucker, Certified Addiction and Recovery Specialist, Certified Emergency Medical Technician and certified in CrossFit Powerlifting CrossFit Kettlebell.

Monik is a CrossFit Level 1 Coach and is certified in CrossFit Gymnastics, Mobility and Recovery, and CrossFit Kids.  She has a Bachelors in Digital Media Production with a minor in Psychology, and a Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling.  She spent nine months of pregnancy staying strong and healthy with the CrossFit program and believes ANYONE at any level can benefit from it!

Classes offered: Soul offers a variety of classes and programs, such as Soul Yoga, CrossFit, Team Soul Weightlifting (focusing mostly on Olympic Style Weightlifters, but we also train some Powerlifters), Personal Training, Soul ATP (this is our outdoor bootcamp style program), Soul On The Job (On site wellness program for businesses), High School Team Strength and Conditioning, Nutrition Counseling, Sharing the Soul (yearly community service project/youth mentoring program), Soul Run Club, Injury Prevention/Mobility Classes, and more.

What makes CrossFit Soul Miami unique?  In a city where you can throw a rock and hit three CrossFit Affiliates and five non-affiliated gyms with "CrossFit Trainers", we make it a point to be different.  First and foremost, we believe in small group training.  We don't train groups bigger than ten and most of our busiest classes have a cap of eight.  We were the first, and as far as I know, the only gym in the area that requires clients to sign in before taking a class and have a strict cap on all classes inside or outside of the gym.  We go out of our way to give our clients a different experience at Soul.  From the music we listen to, art in the gym and on t-shirts, style of workouts, flow of classes, pricing, etc.  Our focus is QUALITY BEFORE QUANTITY. This helps us to offer our clients red carpet treatment and keep growing.  On top of offering small intimate classes, we offer a great deal of variety.  While CrossFit is our most popular program, it is not the end all be all.  Our Injury Prevention, Weightlifting, Run Club, Mobility and Yoga classes are an essential part to a well rounded, safe training program!

Punk DannyOur background is punk rock, so we try to brand our gym the same way a band would. We aren't into the whole puking clown, flailing barbell, "our workout is better than yours" thing.  We like to keep it simple and have fun with our art!  Soul also hosts two art shows every year, where we invite our buddies from the tattoo and graffiti community to showcase their art, eat some clean food, have an alcohol-free night and enjoy some good music.

Did you know? Sean Velas (Assistant Coach for CrossFit Gymnastics Course), was the 2690 fittest in the world in the 2012 CrossFit Games Open! Monik did the whole CrossFit Open RX while pregnant last year! Her horror movie collection is bigger than yours. Danny can grow a massive red beard and sings in a band that is better that yours.

Monik training at 6 months pregnant
Monik training at 6 months pregnant

As a CrossFit athlete and a mom, what advice does Monik have for moms or moms-to-be eager to use CrossFit as a way to stay in shape? Monik had already been doing CrossFit for a few years when she got pregnant. She was very comfortable with the movements and aware of her body and its signals to slow down. During the open workouts, she took her time just getting through the movements. It doesn't come down to competition, at least it didn't for her, it was about continuing with what she knew her body was capable of and staying strong and healthy for the baby. When she got too big for Olympic Lifts, she just used dumbbells instead. She worked out until 39 weeks! The workouts really helped the labor too, because during her 52 hour (yes 52!) labor Aiden's heart rate did not dip even once. He stayed strong throughout the whole thing and was born without any complications. Her advice is to listen to your body and take it easy if you are having a rough day. You should never push yourself to the point of exhaustion, that can be dangerous.  Just stay active and have fun!

Most memorable CrossFit moment? My most memorable training moment is when one of my weightlifters (17-year-old Katherine) competed in her first Olympic Weightlifting Meet this past December.  Katherine had been training with me for two years when she decided to compete in the sport of weightlifting.  Naturally, Katherine is a shy girl and does NOT enjoy getting up in front of a group of people.  Needless to say, it was a challenge to calm her nerves the day of the meet.  Since it was her first meet, we decided to make her opening lifts numbers that she has hit in training during her warm ups. Even though she had hit these weights COUNTLESS numbers of times, calming her nerves was still a huge issue. Katherine missed her first two attempts in the Snatch portion of the meet…We went back to the warm up room and had a talk.  I did everything I could to cheer her up because she was bummed out.  We had her hit those same weights in the warmup with NO issue.  She was VERY adamant about hitting her goals, so we put in her third attempt.  It may or may not have been a smart choice on my end as the coach but I let her do her thing and she CRUSHED it.  All of her family had come, her teammates made posters and were cheering like crazy.  She later went on and went 2/3 in the Clean and Jerk portion and had a great meet.  I have coached several CrossFit clients in competitions, seen them finish 1st place, coached teams that have done well but this was BY FAR the best experience I have had as a coach.  I had the opportunity to coach Katherine from day 1, see her grow, learn and change!

CrossFit Soul MiamiWhat personal achievements are you most proud of? Having the raddest in gym in all of South Florida.  I get to coach and work with my family and best friends. This BY FAR exceeds any and all competitive goals I may or may not have. This is why I opened up a gym and do what I do.  Working with my wife by my side, my brother, mom, dad and friends around make EVERYTHING I do worth it.  It is honestly the most important thing in my life.   

Ready to strengthen your mind, body and soul? Try a class at CrossFit Soul Miami today! 




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