Beginning with martial arts at the age of 6, John has continuously practiced and studied various fitness modalities. Realizing the potential benefits of strength and conditioning programming to his own martial arts practice, he began formal study of various methodologies through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He went on to hold various management and training positions in the DC Metro area, before founding Tough Temple CrossFit.

He believes in constant self improvement, and to that end continues to study and learn in various fitness modalities to better help his members’ growth. His own experience with the effectiveness of CrossFit has led him to use it as his primary method of training, while scaling it to appropriate intensities for anyone and everyone. He balances this high intensity approach with a solid foundation in Corrective Exercise and rehab modalities. This holistic approach allows him to work with injured athletes, deconditioned populations, and children; systematically building them up to allow for higher work capacity over time.




-National Academy of Sports Medicine

-CPT - Certified Personal Trainer

-CES - Corrective Exercise Specialist

-PES - Performance Enhancement Specialist

-CrossFit – Level 1 Trainer

-USAW – Advanced Sports Performance Coach

-30 Years Martial Arts Experience





Yavor “Yav” Pernev is a native Bulgarian. With over 10 years of Martial Arts background Yavor went looking for a new challenge, in which he found a new passion for movement in CrossFit. 

He has always been active in and out of the gym. In his free time he does lots of  hiking, biking, running and anything else that can be physically and mentally challenging. CrossFit has been a game changer for all of his physical preparation. 

Yav not only has found a new challenge at Tough Temple CrossFit, but also has found family. 



-CrossFit - Level 1 Trainer
-Strong First Girya Certified Instructor 
-Power Monkey Camp #7 Attendee






Ryan is a former college football player that found CrossFit to improve his overall fitness. He is a passionate teacher that shares the same passion for coaching CrossFit and uses that drive to create a friendly and competitive environment for all athletes of all ages and abilities. Ryan finished graduate school in May 2017,  moved to the area, and has called Tough Temple CrossFit his home since.




-CrossFit - Level 1 Trainer

-CrossFit Scaling Certification

-2010, 2011 Suffolk County Champions in Lacrosse

-Division 3 Linebacker and Long Snapper

-Masters in Education

-Bachelors in History


Has lost 60 lbs. since starting CrossFit in 2016






Chris stumbled upon CrossFit in the fall of 2011 while looking for training alternatives to prepare for a Tough Mudder. He also played collegiate lacrosse at York College of Pa. and was a year round athlete in a local high school participating in football, basketball and lacrosse. Chris quickly became hooked on CrossFit due to its competitive nature and overall variety in encompassing all levels of fitness. Chris received his CrossFit Level 1 certification in Spring 2014. Currently, Chris’s main focus is in participating in local CrossFit competitions in team & individual settings.




-CrossFit – Level 1 Trainer





Seth started with CrossFit in 2014 and fell in love with the variety in fitness and community it brought. As a coach, Seth brings both CrossFit and Weightlifting competition experience to share with others. His current position is in Weightlifting and embraces the challenge of helping our members and himself towards their goals.




-CrossFit - Lever 1 Trainer

-USA Weightlifting Advanced Sports Performance Coach




Courtney is from Lehighton, PA and grew up playing soccer, field hockey, and riding horses.
While in college, Courtney played field hockey at Bloomsburg University, PA. During college, Courtney stumbled upon CrossFit where she instantly fell in love with the community, intensity, and competition. When not in the gym, Courtney enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking.
For Courtney coaching occurs not only at Tough Temple but also on the soccer field and in the classroom, as she is a  Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Middle School Soccer Coach.



-CrossFit - Level 1 Trainer 
-B.S. Speech Pathology & Audiology
-M.S Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing





Matt started CrossFit in 2012. Bored by the monotony of the typical gym, Matt sought out more exciting opportunities to compete athletically. When he found CrossFit, he fell in love with the constantly varied aspect of the sport. Growing up, Matt was a multi-sport athlete playing soccer, baseball, lacrosse, and track. Matt also enjoys distance running and has completed multiple marathons, and other distance running events. After moving around the DMV, Matt found his home at Tough Temple CrossFit and enjoys coaching individuals to meet their personal fitness goals. Matt obtained his CrossFit Level 1 certification in the Winter of 2018.


In his spare time Matt likes reading, playing sports, going to Maryland's eastern shore, and spending time with friends and family along the Chesapeake Bay. An interesting fact about Matt is that although he is from the country, no country will be played during his classes.




-CrossFit - Lever 1 Trainer






Don's passion for CrossFit began several years ago when he was looking for a way to push himself harder in the gym. As a CrossFit L-1 Trainer Don brings energy, excitement, and enthusiasm to Tough Temple each and every workout.



-CrossFit - Level 1 Trainer






Chris discovered CrossFit in 2014 when he was looking for an alternative to ultramarathon training.  Forsaking long, slow, distance for high-intensity interval training, Chris quickly became a regular fixture at Tough Temple CrossFit, and earned his CrossFit Level 1 (CF-L1) in 2016.  Chris is a passionate CrossFit coach, masters athlete, Brazilian jiu-jitsu player, husband, and father.




-CrossFit - Lever 1 Trainer



A lifelong fan of all forms of fitness, Sara is newer to CrossFit; however, she has been teaching yoga and other group exercise formats for over ten years. As a mom of two, she believes kids of every age and ability should have the opportunity to experience physical activity in a fun, challenging, and positive environment. She approaches kids classes in the CrossFit environment with creativity and an emphasis on good sportsmanship. Her primary goal as a kids' coach is to help each athlete discover how much he/she are capable of achieving.




-CrossFit - Level 1 Trainer

-CrossFit Kids Trainer

-500-hour Yoga Teacher Training Graduate - Yogaworks NY

-200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher - Yoga Alliance





A former swim coach and spin instructor, Nate was looking for something to shake up his fitness routine when a friend recommended he join her at CrossFit in the spring of 2011. The friend didn't stay with it, but Nate was hooked. He enjoys the variety of CrossFit as well as the camaraderie of the community. Nate enjoys competing in local CrossFit and USA Weightlifting events and was proud to defend his title as the fittest "45-49 Male School Teacher in Maryland" during the most recent CrossFit Open. He has worked as an elementary school teacher for over 25 years - currently at the Bullis School - and enjoys teaching our youngest CrossFitters. 



-CrossFit - Level l Trainer
-CrossFit - Kids Trainer
-M.Ed. - Elementary Education (Vanderbilt University)




Victoria is a former Team USA, nationally ranked figure skater and D1 collegiate athlete who continues to coach rising hockey and figure skaters. After retiring from competitive skating, Victoria searched for something to help match the intensity and level of her passed athletic achievements. It was in December of 2014 that Victoria found Tough Temple Crossfit; where being an active member in the community has helped fulfill the void competitive figure skating left. 

Victoria seeks to encourage an energetic, friendly, and supportive community at Tough Temple through an engaging coaching style and maintaining Tough Temple’s robust social media accounts. Victoria brings a perspective gained as a former international athlete which she uses to inspire members to reach their highest potential. 

Her ideal WOD is box jumps, rope climbs, and running. If you find her taking photos, don’t worry… she’s just going to post them all over the @toughtemplecrossfit socials. 




-Crossfit - Level 1 Trainer

-Professional Figure Skating and Hockey Power Skating Coach



Diana's CrossFit journey began when Tough Temple CrossFit was established in 2014. Diana has always been very athletic, however she had trouble sticking to a sport which could challenge her enough and continuously peak her interest. After years of training her love for the sport encouraged her to become a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. In the last 1.5 years Diana has consistently trained with Tough Temple Barbell Club and has qualified for national meets. Her next step is to become USAW Certified and plans to do so in the coming year. She also enjoys the occasional CrossFit competition of course!


Diana's goal is to bring her knowledge and appreciation for the CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting sports to those who wish to improve their fitness. She believes each human has the ability to succeed at anything if given the time and correct guidance. If you see a short chick using elaborate (and sometimes funny) hand gestures while yelling "You've got this, I believe in you", that's sure to be her.



-CrossFit Level 1 Trainer



Emily is originally from Hampton, Virginia where she grew up with a passion for fitness. She played soccer up into high school as well as intramural in college. Emily also participated in competition cheerleading in high school which only intensified her passion for competing and improving her fitness capabilities. With a background in child counseling as well as nutrition mentoring, she strives to make her coaching environment one of comfortability and teamwork. Joining the Army to pursue a career in Pathology, Emily is always striving to expand her scope of learning.

When not working, Emily volunteers with service dogs as a handler, equipping them for therapy training within a medical setting.



-Crossfit- Level 1 Trainer

-American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP cert.)

-Bachelors Degree in Child/Adolescent Psychology

-Masters Degree in Human Services, Health and Wellness



Andrea grew up in North Carolina in a family that valued health and nutrition; however, she did not participate in sports or consider herself an athlete until her adult years. Andrea began CrossFit in 2016 after moving to the DMV area. Prior to CrossFit she participated in boot camp and personal training. She soon found herself "eyeing" CrossFit athletes in awe of their strength and stamina and was looking for an additional challenge. With CrossFit not only does she enjoy setting and achieving new goals for what she can push her body to, but she loves the community and looks forward to each and every time she can step foot in the gym. As a coach she strives to share this passion for fitness and community. 


Outside the gym Andrea works with others to balance physical and mental health as a clinical psychologist and professor.



-CrossFit - Level 1 Trainer

-CrossFit Gymnastics

-PhD in Psychology

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