Coaches

Nikki and John – ICA Owners / Head Coaches

You deserve the best, and at ICA that’s what you’ll get! Our head coaches lead over 70% of our weekly classes, which is a commitment to quality that you won’t find at other established CrossFit boxes. Our entire coaching staff is knowledgeable, welcoming, fun, and totally passionate about health and fitness! We take the time to get to know each and every client. We’ll learn your background, your goals, and your challenges, and we’ll deliver one of a kind results!

Meet the Coaches

 
 

John Warnek – Head Coach & Owner

John first heard about CrossFit in 2006 after a friend (a Navy SEAL) told him about CrossFit.com. At the time, John was a thrower at West Chester University, and he was always looking for new ways to increase his strength and fitness. John started following the CrossFit mainpage workouts, completing the WODs in his college gym. John loved the workouts and found they gave him great results without causing his joints to hurt the way his years of heavy lifting had done.

In March 2010 John became a CrossFit Level 1 trainer and started up a small garage gym with some of his coworkers. They did most of their workouts outdoors, even in 20 degree weather, multiple feet of snow, and pouring rain!  2010 was also the year John started competing in CrossFit. He joined the CrossFit KOP team, where his strength and leadership helped the team earn a spot in the 2010 CrossFit Games. In 2011 John qualified to compete individually at the Mid Atlantic Regionals, but gave up his individual spot to compete one last time with the team.

In August 2011 John joined up with Nikki to open Iron Cross Athletics, home of CrossFit Phoenixville. As a coach, John is known for his really tough warm ups, and for pushing his athletes to accomplish things they never thought possible.

Certifications and Experience:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, March 2010
  • StrongFirst Kettlebell Course, February 2015
  • Attitude Nation Olympic Lifting Seminar, August 2012
  • CrossFit Powerlifting Trainer course, July 2011
  • Assistant Coach, Abington Senior High School Track and Field, Spring 2010 & 2011
  • Assistant Coach, Lewistown High School Track and Field, Spring 2009
  • CPR/AED and First Aid
  • CrossFit Alias: “The One-Arm Isabel Guy” (click HERE  to see why)
  • Bachelor Degree of Science in Physics Education, West Chester University
 
 

Nikki Warnek – Head Coach & Owner

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Nikki has been a sports and fitness fanatic for as long as she can remember. As a child she competed in gymnastics; in high school she captained her varsity soccer and lacrosse teams; and in college she took up running, completing several marathons before growing bored and craving something new. In May 2009, Nikki attended her first CrossFit class. Within weeks she felt stronger, leaner, and overall fitter, and she knew at once that CrossFit would change her life! Nikki obtained her Level 1 CrossFit Trainer certification in October 2009 and began coaching at a local affiliate. In July 2011, John and Nikki opened up Iron Cross Athletics, and the rest is history!

Nikki trained with CrossFit through 2 pregnancies and has coached many women through this exciting phase of their lives. In 2018, Nikki furthered her knowledge and education in this area by becoming a certified Pregnancy and Postpartum Athleticism Coach.  Nikki is passionate about helping women navigate the journey of pregnancy and the demands of new motherhood with the rewards of consistent CrossFit training.

Although Nikki’s first few years of CrossFit were focused on the competitive side of the sport, today her goals are more simple: to live a balanced and fit life, valuing the long-term sustainability of fitness over any short-term goals. As a coach, Nikki aspires to help each member unlock their true physical potential and discover the JOY of working out!

Click HERE to see Nikki demo the CrossFit.com workout of the day on 9/11/12.;

Certifications and Degrees:

  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • NASM Certified Personal Trainer
  • Pregnancy & Postpartum Athleticism Coach (Brianna Battles)
  • CPR/AED and First Aid
  • Master of Science in Environmental Engineering, Villanova University, December 2009
  • Bachelor of Chemical Engineering, Villanova University, May 2004

Certificates of Attendance

  • CrossFit Gymnastics Trainer, 2010
  • CrossFit Coaches’ Prep, 2010
  • Concept 2 Rowing, 2011
  • CrossFit Powerlifting Trainer, 2011
  • Attitude Nation Olympic Lifting Seminar, 2012
  • CrossFit Movement & Mobility Trainer, 2013
  • StrongFirst Kettlebell Course, 2015
  • Functional Movement Systems, Level 1 Seminar, 2016

Competition Highlights:

  • 2012 Mid-Atlantic Regional, 18th place finish, Individual
  • 2011 Mid-Atlantic Regional, 8th place finish, CFKoP team
  • 2010 Central East Regional, 5th place finish, CFKoP team
  • 2010 CrossFit Games, 58th place finish, CFKoP team
 
 

Mark Kehl – Coach

Growing up, Mark was an avid distance runner but gave that up when he went to college and wanted to start building muscle. Post college, Mark continued strength training at globo gyms following the same regimen for years. He would sign up for occasional running races and would put his lifting schedule on hold so he could train his endurance instead. Mark was eager to find a way to incorporate both, but didn’t know how to do it, so he just kept up with the cycle.
 
Mark first heard about CrossFit from a coworker who started in October of 2010. For months, his coworker would talk about his workouts and use words like, “kipping, WOD, Spealler, and Fran.” Finally, in April of 2011, Mark decided to give it a try. He saw the WOD and it looked fairly easy…on paper. Mark thought he was going to crush it, because he had endurance and muscle strength. Boy was he wrong! He was floored, exhausted, and fatigued all in a matter of 15 minutes. From then on, he was hooked! Naturally competitive (mainly with himself), Mark strived to take each workout to the next level.
 
Mark continued to CrossFit with coworkers for the next 5 months in a non-CrossFit gym. In September of 2011, Mark decided to check out a real CrossFit gym…ICA! Hesitant at first and unsure of what to expect, he was welcomed by all in the gym; egos are checked at the door. Mark quickly realized his weaknesses and his coaches worked with him to balance everything out. Mark has grown as an athlete and continues to be humbled by learning something new every workout. As an assistant coach, Mark strives to bring out the best in each athlete. Mark wants to instill confidence in what they are able to do and let them know what they can become.

Certifications and Degrees:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, October 2011
  • POSE Method Running Clinic, November 2011
 
 

Phil Zhu (“Zoo”) – Coach

Phil was first introduced to CrossFit in late 2011 when a friend suggested he check it out when he was looking for a conditioning program to get him ready for a mud run. Prior to CrossFit Phil spent his time building his body up through strict bodybuilding routines in globo gyms focusing on anaerobic concentric movements (bro sessions). After being demolished by his first introductory workout ‘The Baseline,” he knew instantly this was what he needed. He saw results across the board immediately and his whole perspective on fitness and wellness changed dramatically. He was blown away by the raw intensity of the diverse workouts and even more so the fun and supportive atmosphere of the box/community. In the fall of the next year he completed his Level 1 Cert and a few months later he began to intern at ICA.

Phil’s passion in coaching lies in his overwhelming belief in this method of training and lifestyle and his desire to spread this knowledge. He is passionate about helping athletes improve physically as well as forging that mental strength to go beyond their limits and what they think they are capable of. He is excited to be on the coaching team and looks forward to helping you achieve your fitness goals!

Certifications and Degrees:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
 
 

Tanya Curtis – Coach

Coach Tanya graduated from Lock Haven University with a degree in Recreational Management and then again from Temple University with a degree in Kinesiology and Health and Physical Education K-12. After school, Tanya started coaching Swimming in 2011 and found CrossFit in 2013. She dropped into ICA for a single class – back squats – and she was hooked! About a year later, Tanya decided to continue her education and passion for sport and fitness by becoming a CrossFit coach. Tanya completed her CrossFit Level 1 certification in 2014 and has enjoyed every moment coaching since. Tanya has done CrossFit through two pregnancies (including twins), and currently manages 3 part time jobs while raising 3 young children. Tanya is thankful for the community, health, fitness, and support that CrossFit has brought to her life, and she loves helping to bring this to other athletes.

 

 

 

Certifications and Degrees:

  • Bachelors in Kinesiology and Health and Physical Education K-12, Temple University
  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer  – 2014
  • Swim Coach and Head Development Coach at Radnor Aquatic Club
 
 

Erin Quinn (“eQ”) – Coach

Erin has been involved in sports since she was 5 years old. Although she has played almost everything, her true loves in high school and college were field hockey and running. After college she became more interested in running and ran her first marathon in 2002. Since then she has run at least a dozen marathons/half marathons. After awhile, she became bored with running and found Crossft. She was instantly hooked because of the variety and new skills that she was learning.

Flash forward a few years and she decided to start formally coaching at a CrossFit in Philadelphia. In 2014, she moved to Phoenixville and started coaching at ICA.  Erin’s passion for understanding movement drives her to help her athletes perform at their best while maintaining proper form and mechanics. Erin has spent many hours attending workshops and getting certifications in FMS, Resistance stretching, Olympic Lifting, programming and nutrition.

Certifications and Degrees:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer – 2010
  • FMS Level 1 & 2 Courses – 2013
  • Functional Movement Patterns Workshop – 2013
  • Ki Hara Resistance Stretching Level 2 – 2013
  • Ki-Hara Resistance Stretching Level 1 – 2012
  • Basic Olympic Weightlifting Course – 2012
  • Programming for Athletes Course – 2013
 
 

Dave Boelker – Coach

A life-long, multiple team-sport athlete, Dave has always loved competition, including playing collegiate football. When the sporting opportunities ended after college, he needed to find another outlet. Dave started running 5Ks that quickly turned to trail running and he has completed countless races of varied distances, even an annual 12 hour endurance race.

Tiring of the typical Mon-Fri, chest/back, tri’s/bi’s, treadmill routine between trail races is what lead Dave to CrossFit. He needed more; something that was invigorating yet sustainable. He and his wife, Erin, took their Intro Class with John, and still sweating from the Baseline, immediately signed up for Fundamentals and unlimited memberships. His competitive nature is still satisfied by the occasional trail race, but even more so by competing in the region’s Masters competitions as an individual, partnership or as part of a team.

Since starting CrossFit in July 2013, Dave’s entire outlook on health, nutrition and fitness have changed to reflect the well-rounded, up-for-anything approach CrossFit training takes.

Energized by the class dynamic, and of giving little pointers along the way, Dave earned his CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Certificate in March 2014, recertifying November 2018. He joined the ICA coaching staff in May 2015.

Dave is passionate about assessing and helping newer athletes establish optimal movement patterns by drilling the finest details of a movement. He desires to expand his knowledge about practical ways to apply the CrossFit methodology to masters athletes that take into account how age, fitness, goals and injury state interact, creating different coaching challenges and scenarios.

Dave is also adamantly attentive to role of diet and nutrition as they relate to the general wellness and fitness of an individual. As part of that, he is cognizant of the balance between performance nutrition and living life, especially as a 40+ year-old competitive athlete himself. He is always eager to chat with members about any diet and nutrition questions they might have, pulling from his own nutrition journey.

Certifications and Degrees:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer – March 2014
  • CrossFit Sport Specific Application Specialty Course – November 2016
  • FuBarbell (Diane Fu) Olympic Weightlifting Seminar – June 2015
  • Punk Rope Double Under Seminar – April 2014
  • Bachelor of Arts in English – Muhlenberg College, 1999
 
 

Ryan Ignatovig – Coach

Ryan Ignatovig graduated in 2016 with a B.A. in Economics from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. During his tenure there, he was a 4-year starter, 3-Time All-Centennial Conference Offensive Lineman (Left Tackle) and 2016 Offensive Lineman of the Year on the Franklin & Marshall College Varsity Football Team. Ryan acquired extensive experience in Exercise and Nutrition, through being a personal trainer and performance coach at a private training facility during his time in college. He has trained with athletes making the transition to Division 1 and professional careers, including Todd Herremans, a ten-year veteran for the Philadelphia Eagles, and All-pro three time pro bowler Tra Thomas. As a trainer he wrote programs and instructed numerous athletes based on the principles of Charles Poliquin.

Ryan started training at ICA the summer before his senior year of college, and joined full time after graduation. Ryan found CrossFit was a great way to continue his competitive nature and further his knowledge of fitness. Ryan earned a Level 1 CrossFit Trainer Certification in 2016 and joined the ICA coaching staff in 2017. Ryan has a passion for using his knowledge to develop all athletes he interacts with.

Certifications and Degrees:

  • Level 1 CrossFit Trainer, 2016
  • Leo Totten BOLC Olympic Weighting Certification, 2017
 
 

Heather Stem – Coach

Heather will be the first to tell you that, growing up, she lived an unhealthy lifestyle. She wasn’t actively involved in sports, and nutrition was not a priority. Luckily, all that changed in college. While a student at Millersville University, Heather found herself called toward a healthier lifestyle. She began exercising, joined an intramural soccer team, and started running 5Ks.  However, even with the new found “like” of exercise, Heather still struggled to find a balance in life with food, exercise, and confidence.

Heather was introduced CrossFit in April 2014, and she remembers her first class like it was yesterday. When her Coach asked her to do a pull-up, she couldn’t budge. She couldn’t pull-up… anything. Yet, the high-spirited atmosphere of the gym, loud heart-pounding music, and heavy weights had her going back each day. Over time Heather achieved her first pull-up, climbed a rope, and started to find the confidence in life she had been searching for.  

In August 2016 Heather moved to Phoenixville and discovered ICA.  From her first class, the ICA community welcomed her in and re-energized her spirit for fitness and a healthy-lifestyle. As Heather’s passion for fitness and nutrition blossomed, so did her curiosity to know more about CrossFit’s movements and techniques. In the Fall of 2018, Heather took the leap and completed her CrossFit Level 1 Trainer certification.

Heather currently resides with her husband and two stepsons in Royersford.  She is thankful for the journey that led her to CrossFit, and honored to be coaching at ICA. Heather’s athletic background didn’t start at a young age, but that is exactly what fuels her fire now. Her passion is to find the best in every athlete and help them find the greatest version of themselves. With a smile on her face (and maybe a dance move or two in class), Heather hopes to bring out the inner athlete in each member.

Certifications and Degrees:

  • Level 1 CrossFit Trainer, 2018
  • CPR/AED and First Aid
  • Bachelor of Science in Meteorology – Millersville University, 2010
  • Masters of Science in Emergency Management – Millersville University, 2012
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