CrossFit BNI Trainer Dan Haynes

Daniel Haynes

Dan HaynesCrossfit Level 1 Trainer


I eat quality foods but don’t measure the amount. For my cheat meal I eat buffalo chicken pizza. I use multivitamins, protein supplements and recovery drinks.


I do crossfit 5 days a week and run 6 days a week.  My career job allows me time to stay physically active with a hectic schedule.  I like heavy lifting, it’s a must if I want to see results but I don’t overdo it.  Cardio workouts are essential to keep me generally physically prepared.   I keep track of my progress by using an app on my smart phone and friendly competitions at the box.


I played high school sports and a few intermural sports over the past 15 years.  I have completed a marathon and a 200 mile Ragnar relay race.


I started crossfit when I got home from a deployment in September of 2011 because I saw a need for me to improve my overall fitness level.  Since then I have improved my Olympic lifts, flexibility, cardiovascular capacity and eating habits.  All of these have happened because of crossfit programming and friends that I have pushed me to new personal bests.



15 min APRAP


10 225 Dead lifts

10 24 inch Box Jumps

15 Bar Dips

Levels of CrossFit & Fitness Awareness

Levels of CrossFit & Fitness Awareness

Levels of CrossFit

By Jim Broun, CrossFit BNI Trainer

Over a few decades of doings various things – both professionally and recreationally – I have learned that there are several levels of awareness related to understanding and getting better at your craft.  It seems as though every six years or so as a snobby know-it-all analyst, I would have an awakening and realize that many things I thought I knew about being an analyst were completely different than I perceived.  It wasn’t as if what I was doing was wrong.  I had always been very good as an analyst. I just became aware of the WHY and HOW at a level I hadn’t previously understood, and that changed how I approached being an analyst.

And THAT allowed me to get better as an analyst.

Having been in the CrossFit realm since its inception, I have also noticed the same advancement of my understanding over time; and this has allowed me to progress as an athlete – beyond what I previously thought was possible.

When most people walk into CrossFit for the first time, they see a challenging exercise routine, and imagine the workout is simply an alternative to the LA Fitness drudgery: Back and biceps… Chest and triceps… Leg day… You know the routine.  Some people use the phrase “shock your body” to explain how they perceive that CrossFit will help them lose a few pounds. Some people just needed a financial or social commitment to something that would force them to get into shape. 

This is where most people start their fitness journey – at level one. 

At this level, we have heard a lot of the fitness do’s and don’ts: Diet and exercise are a team. High intensity exercise burns fat. Muscles grow when we force them to work harder than they are accustomed to working.  In this phase, however, we don’t completely know if we want to commit fully to the hype.  Body builders are meatheads, CrossFitters are cultists, and people who have six pack abs are genetic freaks on steroids. You just want to lose a few pounds, or to (giggle) TONE your muscles. This certainly can’t be too strenuous.  So you start your CrossFit journey, and learn how to squat (hopefully).

After a month or so of drinking the CrossFit Kool Ade, you notice that your fitness level has improved by a thousand percent.  You might not be able to do all the movements; but you WANT to someday. You also may not have lost a lot of weight; but you notice that your clothes fit a little looser.  Deep inside you know it is working, so you make a commitment to stick around a while longer. One thing that gets to you is that you seem to always finish last, and are using the pink bar for everything. Man, if you could only get that pull-up thing figured out, you would be kicking some serious ass! 

This is when you hit the second level of awareness. 

You can squat and swing a kettlebell fairly well; but there seems to be a coach within arms length during every workout, and that coach is always correcting your form (nag, nag, nag…).  Chances are, you think you have the super-easy deadlift down pat; but don’t feel comfortable lifting more than 90 pounds for more than a rep or two, and your back feels like you need to take a day off afterwards. You keep hearing coaches say things like “knees out” and “shoulders back”; but those queues don’t really resonate with you yet, and when you DO follow the queues it is uncomfortable.  Chances are, you will ignore these queues until you get injured from not following them; or will only follow them because you see someone else doing it, and lifting a ton more than you can.

People get stuck at level two for a long time.  Self-doubt reigns supreme.  Then people who are newer at CrossFit than you are suddenly doing handstands and muscle-ups, and are leaving you in the fitness dust. You start reading Muscle & Fitness, and soliciting your friends for information on how to get better at everything.  You still, however, half-heartedly approach inch bugs, and are still grabbing the pink bar for cleans and push presses.

Then, one day that light bulb turns on, and that babble that the coach has been spewing at you is suddenly in English! Hips back! Knees out!!! Suddenly your deadlift weight goes to 200 pounds, and your back doesn’t hurt at all after the workout.  All of that silly “form” nonsense suddenly becomes clear – at least for a few movements. 

You are officially at the third level of awareness. 

At this level you make New Year’s resolutions by the hundreds. Every movement has a benchmark that you need to meet. Pull-ups, handstands, a 7-minute Fran time, pistols… You don’t know how, but by the end of the year you will be at the CrossFit Games.

Level three doesn’t last that long, because as soon as you miss 99% of your new resolutions, you become a bit more of a realist in what it takes to get to the next level of your personal fitness.  This is also a phase when PRs mean everything, and the work to get those PRs seems to get ignored.  You may hit a few personal bests in some lifts; but overall your strength and gains are about average for your body type and musculature.

At some point, the realization hits that in order to get better you have to put in hard work. Getting a pull-up is hard when you can’t even hang your body weight by your hands for more than a couple seconds. Handstand push-ups are hard when your push press PR is 45 pounds. 

Level four hits when you finally concede and follow the programming and skill work recommendations.  Form AND function start becoming one.  As people go through this phase, however, they go though it with intent. They have accepted that they need to listen to their body, and discover where and how they can make gains by recording their efforts and the subsequent results.  For people with less then three years in their personal fitness journey, this is a long phase. There is so much to learn about ourselves.

From this point forward, each individual will continue to go through periodic enlightenment.  This enlightenment continues as long as that individual continues to push himself or herself physically. Suddenly, aspects of intensity, pace, nutrition, supplementation, and rest become important. Some people will culminate at this level of awareness, as it takes more time and energy to focus this much on fitness.  

There is a Progression Chart on the wall that uses the terms “beginner”, “intermediate”, “advanced”, and :fire breather”…  That chart approximates the phases or levels of progress – which usually includes both physical capability and level of fitness awareness.  If you are a new CrossFitter, or have never thought about how you are going to progress as a CrossFitter, it’s important to realize that your transformation from desk jockey/soccer mom is much more than just thoughtlessly grinding through a randomized fitness program.  Learn the form.  Get good at the form and the required mobility.  Learn how a 10-minute METCON WOD affects your body versus a 5×5 back squat at 80% of your one rep max. 

Realize that even Veruca didn’t get the golden egg the minute she wanted it.

CrossFit BNI Trainer Damion Jones

Meet BNI Trainer Damion Jones, MSPT, BS, K1/K2 Certified

CrossFit BNI Trainer Damion JonesDamion is a PT with 10+ years of clinical experience in a variety of settings ranging from acute care in hospitals, subacute care in skilled nursing faculties, outpatient rehab, and home health care. He received his Bachelors Degree in Biological Science from Florida State University in 2000 and then earned a Masters Degree in Physical Therapy from Florida A&M University in 2002.

In addition to clinical patient care experience, Damion also ran a rehab department as a Director of Rehab at Bayshore Pointe Nursing and Rehab in south Tampa for 3 years before embarking on his current practice as a contract PT for Supplemental Rehab for the past 4+ years. As a PT, Damion applies the principles of kinesiology (the study of the body in motion) as part of treating a variety of clients each day.

In CrossFit, it is necessary for our joints and muscles to be mobile enough to allow our bodies to move fluidly through various motions and movements in order to be efficient in our workouts. The purpose of this class will be to teach individuals how to safely mobilize joints, increase muscle flexibility, and properly warm-up muscles and tissues to prepare for intense activity as a supplement for the programmed warm-ups and WODs at CrossFit BNI.

CrossFit BNI Trainer Susan Kirkham

CrossFit BNI Trainer Susan KirkhamMeet CrossFit BNI Trainer Susan Kirkham

I am a military brat, and grew up all over the United States.  After majoring in Business Management at Texas State University, I joined the Air Force where I spent 8 years serving our country.  Being active and staying physically fit has always been important to me, however, it wasn’t until I turned 40 that I took a more vested interest in my overall health and fitness.  As a busy mother of three, taking care of myself and being a role model for my girls is very important to me.   At that time, I worked toward my fitness goals by doing what most typical gym go-ers do; I would run two to three times a week and lift weights at the gym on alternate days.
Inspired by others in the fitness industry, and wanting to motivate others to achieve their fitness goals, in 2011, I received my personal training certification with the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and spent several years actively working as a Personal Trainer, both in Tampa and Valrico.  In 2012, I stumbled into a Crossfit Gym.  Having continued my workout routine consistently for three years, I was eager to try something new to stay motivated  and increase my overall level of fitness.  I attended my first class and was hooked.  Not only did Crossfit provide me with the ideal core strength and conditioning program that I needed to stay fit and healthy, but it also enabled me to become part of the Crossfit community.  With my background in personal training, and my desire to teach and motivate others, once I had established myself as a Crossfit Athlete, becoming a Crossfit trainer was a natural progression.
In October of 2013, I received my Crossfit Level 1Trainer Certificate and in January of 2014, I received my Crossfit Weightlifting Trainer Certificate.

CrossFit BNI Trainer Robert Benitez

CrossFit BNI Trainer Robert BenitezMeet CrossFit BNI Trainer Robert Benitez

My name is Robert Benitez. I’m a Crossfit Level 1 Trainer. I was introduced to Crossfit about two years ago and have never looked back. I have always been involved in some sort of physical fitness and organized sports. I also spent many years in and out of the typical gym.  Prior to being introduced to Crossfit,  I never had the motivation needed in that environment to stick to a regime for any length of time. After the first few Crossfit workouts, I was sold on the Crossfit methodology.  The teaming, structure, motivation, coaching, competition, and results have keep me motivated and inspired me to teach others. Its a lifestyle, not just a fitness fad.
What motivates me is seeing progress in others.  I believe to be an affective trainer, you must understand what it takes to motivate and retain your clients. Being able to properly train your clients so they get the most out of the workouts and see the benefits of all their hard work is what continues to keep me motivated and inspired.
I have also judged several Crossfit competitions and appreciate all the great athletes Crossfit has molded in the last few years.

CrossFit BNI Trainer Christy Enos

CrossFit BNI Trainer Christy EnosMeet CrossFit BNI Trainer BNI Christy Enos

I’ve been doing CrossFit for a little over a year now with BNI. I’ve always enjoyed sports and being active while in school, especially volleyball. Once school was over and I was out in the “real world”, I realized it was hard to maintain the weight I was at when I was younger. I tried spin classes, yoga, boot camps and nothing really made me feel or look the way I wanted.

I started running, doing a few half marathons a year, and then one day decided to check out CrossFit on the recommendation of a friend. I watched people doing all kinds of gymnastic movements, and was immediately intrigued. I signed up the same day. I ran the Disney full marathon in January 2013 but after that really focused more on my CrossFit training.

I’ve enjoyed it so much, I decided to become a Level 1 trainer this past October. I love getting the chance to help others see what they capable of, and do more than they ever thought they could.

CrossFit BNI Trainer Omar Marin

CrossFit BNI Trainer Omar MarinMeet CrossFit BNI Trainer Omar Marin

My name is Omar Marin.   I’ve been doing CrossFit for 2 years now and have loved every second of it! Through Crossfit, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to push my body and others to reach great results.

I have played competitive sports all my life. I grew up on Army Bases around the world where playing sports was the favorite past time of all the kids on base! This is where we picked up baseball for many years but eventually moved on to play Soccer all through elementary to high school. My father played soccer growing up as well so it was always a dream of his to have us follow his footsteps. I met great friends through Soccer but most importantly I learned what it was like to win and lose.   My appetite for winning and competing only grew from there.

While at USF, my fraternity brothers of Sigma Lambda Beta and I played intramural soccer and softball for all four years while majoring in Communication.

It’s been an honor to join the team here at BNI and I hope to grow with each and every one of you. Let’s conquer some Pr’s!

Best Nutrition Advice Ever

With the CrossFit BNI Paleo Challenge now underway, we want to give you some words to live by. This “diet” is not hard to simplify. CrossFit founder, Greg Glassman explains it like this:

Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.

Our friends at Steve’s Original Paleo Kit put it this way:

CrossFit BNI Paleo Challenge

We are so excited for everyone who has registered to participate in the CrossFit BNI Paleo challenge. Through discipline, determination, and community support, we know that all the participants will end up making tremendous improvements in their overall health and individual WOD performances. Good luck!

Bay Area Beatdown Photo Gallery

Bay Area Beatdown Features the Fittest in Tampa Bay

The 2013 Bay Area Beatdown is in the books and it was an incredible success. The athletes who competed gave everything they had and showed the kind of community and support that CrossFit has become famous for. Thanks to our friends at Jay Knickerbocker Photography, we can relive the moments, effort, and emotion of this year’s competition.

Bay Area Beatdown Results and Review (Video)

2013 Bay Area Beatdown is Officially in the Books

Bay Area Beatdown ResultsHundreds of athletes from around the state descended upon the Florida State Fair Grounds for the second annual Bay Area Beatdown hosted by CrossFit BNI. Over two days of competition, the participants were tested in a wide variety of strength and endurance skills. Whether it was climbing a rope, completing as heavy a thruster as possible, performing unique gymnastics-style movements on the rings, lifting atlas stones, or anything else, these athletes did everything they could to determine who is the fittest in Tampa Bay.

If you missed this year’s event, check out some of the highlights. Special thanks to Saringo Picture Co. for providing this footage.

Bay Area Beatdown from Roy Saringo on Vimeo.

Check out the results here: