The perfect team to help you achieve unreal results.
Andrew Rape, Owner/Coach
As an 9-year veteran of CrossFit, Individual CrossFit Regionals athlete, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and competitor, 2-year starter in the National Pro Grid League, and USAW Olympic lifter, Andrew has a vast understanding of what athletes need to accomplish a broad range of abilities in fitness. As an athlete who personally boasts a 400lb Clean and Jerk, 310lb Snatch, 525lb Back Squat, and 1:59 Fran, he’s been able to set realistic goals, establish the path to accomplish them, and succeed in carrying out the plan with dedicated focus and discipline. These are the same attributes he brings to the table as the Owner and Operator of CrossFit Trussville, both through his actions of continued improvement of CrossFit Trussville itself, and for each of his athletes that he hopes to inspire. Certified in a range of areas, including; CrossFit Gymnastics, CrossFit Olympic Lifting, CrossFit Level 1, OPEX Business Systems, OPEX Life Coaching, OPEX Program Design, OPEX Assessment, and OPEX Nutrition, Andrew brings not only experience, but also a very real understanding of fitness from objective knowledge and education. Competing alongside and against Games athletes throughout the year in competitions around the country, including Madison Square Gardens in New York City, Andrew can bring a unique level of understanding to nearly every situation. As a young man, Andrew was significantly overweight and quit nearly every sport because he was to out of shape to even complete the warm-ups. Since deciding to take a hold of the reigns and push the limits in his pursuit of excellence, he pushed his doubts to the side and realized his own potential through determination and hard work. Here is what he had to say, “Fitness to me isn’t just a physical attribute and small portion of our lives, I truly want to make each individual better in one way or another. Regardless of what life is like outside of the walls of CrossFit Trussville, I want to make each athlete smile, enjoy their day just a bit more, and realize their own true potential. In this I hope everyone can accomplish new levels of confidence for themselves, as well as inspire those around them to enjoy their journey through life and experience it to its fullest potential.” If you don’t see him at the gym, you can be sure he is spending time with his beautiful wife Candace and very well-mannered pit bull, Kona.
Candace Rape, Owner/Coach
As an athlete who has played competitive sports her entire life, Coach Candace has dedicated herself to helping people around her realize their own potential through fitness. Always with a loving smile on her face, Candace brings a wealth of knowledge to the table along with a caring attitude and genuine love for her athletes. She was a collegiate softball player at Bevill State Community College and says that, “Growing up as an athlete taught me discipline, teamwork, and dedication. This is exactly what I would love to instill in my athletes.” After her years at Bevill State, she finished out her education where she graduated from the Physical Therapist Assistant program with an Associates in Applied Science. After being licensed in 2011, she worked hands on with athletes suffering from a host of physical issues for three years as a PTA at EW Motion Therapy in Trussville. The experience she gained working in the Physical Therapy field makes her an invaluable asset to us as she can ensure her athletes are moving properly, safely, and effectively.
Braden Rayburn, Coach
Having had a background in fitness since 2009, he’s now continuing his journey of helping others accomplish their goals through expert coaching and care here at CrossFit Trussville. As a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, he’s had the opportunity to gain significant sports application coaching as a student coach on the UAB football team for the past 5 years. He’s been able to bring his collegiate coaching experience to our athletes here at CrossFit Trussville. If you’ve been able to experience his coaching, you know he is nothing short of compassionate, caring, selfless, and very knowledgeable. Here is what he had to say about coaching, “I love this place and all of the athletes I get to interact with on a daily basis. Every single person here is like family to me and I couldn’t appreciate each one of you anymore. Just come to the gym with a positive attitude, maybe a competitive mentality, and ready to pursue excellence, and I promise if you bring these attributes to the table you will continually improve each and every day.”
Mark Mehringer, Coach
As a former National Champion gymnast, NCAA All-American, guest instructor and speaker nationwide, Mark has coached at all levels of athletics. Coach Mark Mehringer has been involved in CrossFit for over 5 years now and has an extensive and distinguished background in athletics. Originally from upstate New York, Mark has coached athletes across a broad spectrum of sports, including; CrossFit, gymnastics, and cheerleaders from youth through the collegiate level and beyond. A former strength and conditioning trainer, Mark developed his passion for CrossFit after serving in the US Army Special Forces as a green beret. Since then, he has catapulted into the Southeast Region as one of the top master's age competitors and is on the brink of qualifying for the CrossFit Games. His accolades include podium finishes at a host of CrossFit competitions and even placing 3rd in the WORLD during the Reebok CrossFit Team Series. Mark's talents were also recognized by the National Pro Grid League and received 4 invitations to compete at PRODAY where he had the top score in his division earning him a spot at the NPGL Combine. Mark is a CFL1 and CFL2 trainer who is CrossFit Gymnastics certified, and has been a certified CrossFit judge since 2012, including being the lead judge for CrossFit HQ throughout the Atlantic Regionals. When Mark isn't working as a police officer in the city of Birmingham, Alabama, or coaching at CrossFit Trussville, he can be found doing what he describes as his favorite job in the world, being a Dad.
Taylor Owens, Coach
As a current professional athlete for the NPGL San Francisco Fire, CrossFit competitor, and former competitive cheerleader, Coach Taylor has competitiveness and a strive for excellence throughout her personality. Walking into her first CrossFit workout in 2014, she saw the competitive and engaging nature of the sport that she had been missing so much. Being surrounded by people of all backgrounds, ages, goals, and needs only made her that much more impressed with what could be accomplished through CrossFit. Since then, she's never looked back. Now in her 3rd year of CrossFit, Taylor has achieved many of the goals she has set for herself thus far, including: getting drafted as a professional athlete by the San Francisco Fire in the NPGL as a bodyweight and gymnastic specialist. She is a dedicated athlete who is constantly focused on bettering herself in all regards, including her many fitness goals. With her background in cheerleading and gymnsastics and subsequent knowledge of how the human body moves, she knows exactly how to cue her athletes with proper form and hlp them reach their goals. Her coaching style is a combination of technique and form first presented with an exciting and uplifting personality, so you know you will never see her coaching without a smile on her face and words of encouragement. Her favorite part of coaching is the teaching aspect, and there's nothing she loves more than when she has the opportunity for an athlete to "see the light come on", who she says have become family to her since joining the CrossFit Trussville team. Outside of being a competitive athlete and coach, Taylor is also a Kill Cliff Rep servicing the Southeast, a HUGE Alabama football fan, and the soon-to-be bride to one of our competitors "Boy Taylor" (yes, his name is Taylor too!) They now live in Southside with their 3 fur babies: a tabby cat named Prince, a shepherd mix named Jake and a pitbull mix name Harley.
Sophia Rodriguez, Coach
As an athlete who has been in sports all of her life, including sports such as; soccer, softball, dance, cheerleading, and gymnastics. The sport she devoted the most energy toward was gymnastics. As a natural-born gymnast who spent 8 years in the sport until her senior year, she knows what it takes not only to excel in the sport, but also what it takes to be proficient in bodyweight movements. Beginning CrossFit only wanting to stay in shape, Sophia quickly realized that she had found a way she could train her body and elicit her competitive nature as well. Sophia has a passion for understanding human movement, exercise, wellness, nutrition, and everything involving fitness; graduating from UAB with a major in Kinesiology, Exercise Science, and a minor in Nutrition Science will propel her into her next stage in life. Attending OTA school and eventually working in pediatrics, Sophia will be changing lives for quite some time. She loves seeing people accomplish things they never thought they could and wants all of her athletes to believe in themselves and achieve what they think is impossible. As she says, "It is extremely rewarding as a coach to see confidence grow in your athletes," and she works tirelessly to always help athletes accomplish their goals.
Brandon Jones, Coach
As a firefighter/paramedic, physical fitness and exercise has always been a big part of my life. Exercise has been a major part of my daily routine since 2005. I started working out after while i was in rookie school right out of high school. I knew i had to get stronger if i wanted to excell in this field. I fell in love with exercising. I became a personal trainer in 2009, and that is when i realized i loved helping others achieve their goals. In 2009 i was over the physical fitness program for frefighter recruits during their rookie trainging. I lead an excruciating daily pt regiemn over a 10 week period. I was able to teach guys what it took to work in my field on a day to day basis. Overall, I enjoy coaching and leading people to help them achieve their goals. I enjoy the fellowship and comradary that the crossfit community has.
I have an amazing wife and woderful son. After faith and family, health and fitness is the next biggest part of my life.
Melissa Donaldson, MS, RD, LD - Dietitian and Nutritionist
As someone who grew up never considering herself athletic or the "sport" type, Melissa has added a myriad of accomplishments and experience to just that. After the birth of her second son, Henry, she decided that adding fitness and exercise higher on the priority list had to be mandatory for her own life. Looking for something that worked, got her into great shape, and could help her become a stronger and more capable Mother, she decided to try our CrossFit in August of 2012. Since then, she has never looked back. Even as a Registered Dietitian with a degree from Auburn University and Masters from University of Alabama with a Dietetic Internship from UAB, she always felt as though she was missing the other 50% of the equation. Since beginning CrossFit Trussville, taking time to learn what it takes to fuel like an athlete, and introducing her own principles in nutrition, she has not only dropped an impressive amount of weight, but also built a deal of lean muscle. In just 4 months she lost 18 pounds and 9% of pure body fat while monitoring her macros and eating how her body is designed. Her heart is in changing lives by helping realize how important nutrition is to health and just how much of a component it is to fitness. Her motivation is other peoples success and is excited every time the light bulb goes off for someone in realizing their own potential. If you don't see her at the gym, you can expect her to be spending quality time with her two boys Will and Henry (13 and 8 respectively) and her husband Chris.
Also, what specifically do you do for a living? Child Nutrition Coordinator for Trussville City Schools
And what would you consider your biggest accomplishments? Or are most proud of? This is so hard..... up to this point I am most proud of the accomplishments I have made in my career. I have been recognized on a state and national level for my work in child nutrition. Being selected to be on a national committee that focuses on nutrition and research is a huge honor.
What would you recommend to women who listen to culture, magazines? Throw away the scale!!!!! The scale is not indicative of your health or level of fitness.
What do you think are the biggest misuderstandings with nutrition? The biggest misunderstanding I believe is “anyone can be called a nutritionist” and not everyone has the training and education to give nutrition advice and facts. Most people do not understand the difference between a registered dietitian and nutritionist. You want to make sure you are getting your information from someone who has the appropriate education and training.
Wanted to make sure you got my nutrition coaching sheet? What are your thoughts? Do you think we should change anything?
Also I have had a ton of folks inquire about a nutrition class. These are all non-CFT folks. I would love to be able to offer something at CFT. What are your thoughts?
So excited to be a part of this team!