COACHES

SHERMAN MERRICKS

FOUNDER/CEO

CRISTINA MERRICKS

FOUNDER/MARKETING DIRECTOR

MATT BENGE

GYM MANAGER/KIDS DIRECTOR

JOSH NORRIS

HEAD COACH

Sherman Merricks

Founder/ CEO

Sherman discovered his passion for sports at an early age growing up in Florida. Throughout his athletic career, he excelled at basketball, and played throughout High School and College. He played college basketball at Southeastern University and won a National Championship in 2005.

Once he graduated and could no longer play a highly competitive sport, he felt a huge void. In an effort to find something to replace his basketball career, he tried running and going to the regular gym, but neither filled that void. Then in April of 2010, he tried CrossFit. Sherman realized CrossFit could change his life after that first workout, and has not looked back.

Sherman has a passion for helping others to be their best by improving their fitness.He has found that when you can accomplish things in the gym that you previously thought impossible, this leaks into life outside the gym and anything becomes possible.

Sherman’s main focus is to teach people to train safely and efficiently, and help them to reach their goals more effectively, all while having fun.

I CrossFit because…

I want to be healthy for my family and perform anything I want. It is the most fun I have ever had working out and helps build a community through shared work that can’t be matched.

I coach because…

I love coaching, its the best time of my day and I am extremely passionate about helping others improve their fitness. I also like seeing people do the impossible daily and coaching allows me to do that.

My undercover exercise is…

Deadlifts and maybe Rope Climbs

My weakness is…

Swimming!

My favorite “cheat” meal is…

Gummy Bears!

Cristina Merricks

Founder/ Marketing Director

Cristina Merricks is an owner of Dynasty CrossFit along with her husband Sherman. She was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico but has lived in Florida since she was a little girl and as you might guess, she is fluent in Spanish. She married her better half at the age of 22… college sweethearts! God blessed her and Sherman with 3 amazing children – Kayden, Ariana, and Judah. She grew up as a musician with severe asthma who was allergic to almost everything, so she never jumped on the sports bandwagon. In the third trimester of her second pregnancy she began having complications. The doctor explained that she had no muscle memory and suggested taking one of her husband’s fitness classes to make sure she could physically carry to full term. So as not to bore you with all her previous medical troubles, let’s just say she wasn’t the most fit person in the world. Cristina joined one of Sherman’s bootcamps a few times a week and to no surprise… it worked! Since then she has been hooked. Fast forward 6 years and she is in the best shape of her life, still learning new skills and surprising herself every day!

I CrossFit because…

It makes me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually STRONG! As any mommy knows, it’s pretty taxing to keep up with 3 little ones. I love that I can do so much and keep up with them! I love that I don’t have to wait on someone to help me do pretty much anything. CrossFit empowers me! Through this training I am capable to do more tha I could have ever imagined. Paired with proper nutrition, I feel better all around. I’ve discovered that this is the best way to be the best version of myself, not only for me but for those in my life as well.

My undercover exercises are…

Rope climbs, pull-ups and pistols! Love them and working on them!

My weaknesses are…

Snatches and the assault bike. My body never wants to put anything overhead, but guess what I’m always working on…yep, gotta attack those weaknesses when you have a chance.

My favorite “cheat” meal is…

Haagen-Dazs pralines and cream! Then lasagna or any other yummy pasta mixture with cheese. Also any Puerto Rican dish (arroz con pollo, picadillo, churrasco, amarillos, FLAN…. agh!).

Matt Benge

Gym Manager/ Kid’s Program Director

Throughout his childhood, Matt was very active in athletics. He traveled the state of Florida in middle and high school playing tennis, which eventually led to a top 20 ranking and offers to play collegiate tennis. Matt turned down the opportunities to play collegiate tennis to attend the University of Florida where he played on the club tennis team and other intramural sports.

He spent years after college working out on his own, including running, weights, and Beachbody programs. He hated it and wanted a change in his routine, but did not know where to turn. One weekend, Matt saw the Crossfit Games on tv and decided to give it a try. He went to his first Crossfit class on August 4th, 2014, and later that afternoon signed the paperwork to become newest Dynasty CrossFit member.

I CrossFit because…

I like to stay active. CrossFit makes me commit to making myself better, and in return, I have found a fitness community I call home. Oh, and I love to sweat!

I coach because…

I love to teach! Whether in the classroom or in a group Crossfit class, teaching is what I love, and what better way to teach others how best to reach their fullest fitness potential than to be a coach at Dynasty.

My undercover exercise is…

Rowing and Push-ups

My weakness is…

Overhead squats

My favorite cheat meal is…

Sweets, pizza, and fried chicken

 

Josh Norris

Head Coach

Joshua grew up in Florida playing multiple competitive sports through high school. After graduating from high school, he enrolled into the fire academy and found a passion for helping others. After obtaining his first fire service position he began researching training programs that could mimic the unknown and constantly varied physical demands of the fire service. He found CrossFit in 2008 and realized that it was the most effective way to train. He used CrossFit to keep himself physically prepared for firefighting while in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also implemented CrossFit as part of the fire department’s physical fitness training and began training firefighters while downrange. While working with the firefighters he realized that training people in CrossFit was another way to help others. He developed an obsession with biomechanics while coaching CrossFit that solidified his desire to attend medical school. Josh focuses on form and the intricacies of technique to help athletes reach their goals. He hopes to help bring the medical community and CrossFit closer together as he works towards and eventually becomes a physician.

I CrossFit because…

I started as a means to keep myself prepared for work. I now do CrossFit to be as healthy as possible and to maintain freedom from physical limitations as I get older.

I coach because…

I love to teach and help others. Coaching ties both of these passions together. Coaching others to goals that they previously thought unattainable provides me a great deal of joy.

My undercover exercise is…

Probably deadlifts.

My weakness is…

Overhead movements.

My favorite cheat meal is…

Biscuits and gravy with corned beef hash, over-easy eggs, and bacon.

 

Stephanie Cinkovich

Operations Manager

Sports have always been a part of Stephanie’s life as a product of being raised by parents that were both coaches. She competitively played softball and volleyball earning multiple all conference awards and even Female Athlete of the Year. After foregoing college volleyball for academic scholarships, she was at a loss to fill the athletic void – trying everything from Bikram yoga to TRX. Finally, in 2013 she discovered CrossFit and found a way to be a “competitive” athlete again.

Stephanie has been a member at Dynasty since August 2014, when she moved to Gainesville to start her PhD at the University of Florida. She did her research on all of the gyms in the area before joining and knew, even when Dynasty was in a tiny building, that this was the best there was to offer in terms of coaching and community.

I CrossFit because…

There is so much to be said for seeing your worth in what your body can DO instead of what it looks like – everyone loves to PR, right?! CrossFit gave me the athletic outlet I had been searching for since leaving high school and it really pushes you every single workout, no matter how long you’ve been doing it.

I coach because…

I want to help people realize their full potential – whether that is throwing up 200lbs on their clean and jerk; reaching a fitness level that will allow them to play with their kids without getting tired; or just being able to exist in everyday life with less struggle (functional fitness!). I love seeing faces light up when people are able to perform a movement or move some weight they never thought possible before – it is truly a privilege to help with that journey.

My undercover exercise is…

Double-unders or anything heavy

My weakness is…

Gymnastic movements (muscle-ups, pistols…)

My favorite cheat meal is…

Everything at a Mexican Restaurant – margaritas, queso dip… *drooling*

 

Lucas Driazo

Coach

Lucas comes from a very passionate Colombian family that loves sports and competing. At a young age, his parents introduced him to every sport available to young kids. His love for sports lead him to invest more time into improving his body strength and fitness. He was always researching new conditioning programs or new exercises that were more effective to help him improve as an athlete. He realized that fitness and competing had become his sanctuary. Lucas strongly believes that fitness is a tool to help each one of us take on life’s daily struggles and to find the happiness we desire. Before he found CrossFit, he was training to run a half marathon and was running 3-5 miles a day, although he felt great, his overall fitness was lacking and he knew there had to be more effective training methods to not only improve our lung capacity and endurance but also strength. It only took one CrossFit workout for him to realize that CrossFit’s methods were what he wanted to teach others.

I CrossFit because…

I love to compete against my peers, it pushes me to become better and to improve my weaknesses. I also love to be active and CrossFit helps me feel like I can enjoy life to the fullest.

I coach because…

I want to help others become their best selves. When we take care of our bodies and learn from them we can have more control of our lives. I love to see how quickly, through constant effort, our bodies can change and improve and I love the reaction people get when their friends and family begin to notice the differences. That’s when it becomes addicting!

My undercover exercises are…

Box jumps and cleans

My weaknesses are…

Overhead press and pull-ups

My favorite “cheat” meal is…

I love food… so there are too many favorites but at the top of the list is burgers and jalapeno chips!

Shelby Mahaz

Coach 

Shelby grew up playing competitive volleyball from the age of 13 until senior year of high school. She won MVP, hustle award, and many other achievements throughout her volleyball journey. Once volleyball ended, she began weightlifting in high school and then Crossfit to fill a competitive, athletic void. Fitness has always been a focal point of her life. Her passion is to utilize fitness as a means to improve others’ quality of life. She is currently an undergraduate at UF with hopes of continuing on into a Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Coaching at Dynasty Crossfit has been a fulfilling starting point to live out her passion. The supportive community within the gym has poured into her time and time again to help pursue her dream.

I CrossFit because…

I wish to become a better form of myself each and every day. My greatest competitor is my past self. I want to be faster, be stronger, and last longer than the person I was yesterday. Crossfit allows me to train hard and continuously test myself. I also like the community aspect of Crossfit. There is nothing like being surrounded by like-minded people who have identical goals to you and want to see you achieve as well. 

I coach because…

My passion is to improve the quality of life of others with fitness as my tool. CrossFit allows me to live out my passion. I love to be an active part in people’s physical improvement. It is uniquely preparing me to become a future physical therapist. 

My undercover exercises are…

Burpees, handstand walking, and rope climbs.

My weaknesses are…

Push-ups and push presses. 

My favorite “cheat” meal is…

Chicken and dumplings (extra dumplings). 

Tammy Turner

Coach

Sports, and being competitive, have always been a part of coach Tammy’s life. She played softball from grade school all through High School where she also ran track. She’s always enjoyed being active and being outdoors. When she came to UF for college, being active took a back seat and she focused more on my studies. Getting married, raising a family and traveling the state of Florida to watch her 2 boys play competitive AAU baseball became my priority. But as she approached 40 she decided it was time to start exercising and get healthy again. She started to go to the gym and workout but it just became a routine.

Being friends with Sherman and Cristina, I was a somewhat familiar with CrossFit. I knew it was some kind of training program that Sherman was excited about. Cristina invited me to a workout at SF track in 2011 and I have never looked back. The workouts were fun, challenging and always a surprise. We didn’t know the WOD till we showed up for class.

I soon realized that the “something” that was missing at the local gym was the fun and the community. There isn’t anything better than working out with a group of people that have become your family. The atmosphere is one of encouragement where accomplishments are celebrated no matter whether you finish first or last.

I CrossFit because…

I love the feeling of accomplishment after finishing a workout. Everyday is a challenge. Working out keeps me feeling young. I love the social aspect as well. Dynasty CrossFit has the best community of members. CrossFit makes me a better wife, mother, friend and employee.

I coach because…

I have a desire and passion to help others become healthy and fit, especially the masters athlete. As we age, our muscle tone begins to break down and we lose bone density. The only way to naturally slow this process down is through exercise. I want to teach and coach athletes that no matter your age, it is never too late to exercise. CrossFit can be modified for any athlete no matter your age and fitness level. I enjoy coaching athletes as they achieve PR’s and just improve overall. I look forward to every class I have the opportunity to coach.

My undercover exercises are…

Pushups, Pull-ups and HSPU

My weaknesses are…

Burpees, Running, Wallballs

My favorite cheat meal is…

My homemade cheesecake or Columbia Restaurant’s “White Chocolate Bread Pudding”.

Michelle Valentine, M.D.

Nutrition Coach

 

Michelle is excited to be part of the Dynasty Nutrition program and wants to know what she can do to help YOU. Nutrition is the foundation of all that we do; it can either support our goals and progress… or undermine them. You have heard it before: you can’t out-train a poor diet. Knowledge is power. You can learn how to enjoy foods and still align your choices with your fitness goals.

Although she lifted weights for much of her life, she is newer to CrossFit and Olympic lifting. Sometimes Michelle would get frustrated, initially failing to realize (as many of us do) that this sport requires experience and dedication and unique talent. We must learn to compete with ourselves alone.

She has TWO surgically reconstructed hamstrings and is the first to say that CrossFit is appropriate, when expertly coached, for anyone with injuries who seeks to improve his/her fitness. Two and a half years ago, she was in a lower body brace. Now she can deadlift 200+ pounds. Ironically, compound movements that include the posterior chain don’t phase her… thanks to physical therapy, expert weightlifting coaching, and the Dynasty staff.

I CrossFit because…

I love the community and I suppose am a little more competitive than I’d like to admit. CrossFit is unique in that we focus on what our bodies CAN DO, not what they look like. I feel strong and empowered. I never want to be as fragile or helpless as I was after my hamstring rupture repair. CrossFit helps ensure that I am always working towards becoming the strongest, most humble version of myself.

I coach Nutrition because…

My background is in education and I truly do love to empower people & help them achieve what they did not think was possible. Teaching others learn how to care for themselves, optimize their health, eat for performance… well, that inspires me. Food choices and eating habits can be emotionally charged topics; I try to listen and learn about each client so that I can devise the best way to help. No one is expected to become an expert in a day, a week, or a month. Life is a marathon, not a sprint!

My undercover exercises are…

Probably bench or floor press. I can definitely bench more than I can clean.

My weaknesses are…

Ah, that’s easy, overhead movements. I have an old shoulder injury that likes to remind me of my fallibility.

My favorite “cheat” meal is…

I’m Italian and love to make healthier versions of beloved recipes. I have to pick one? Well then… pizza! Ooey, gooey, pizza.

WE KNOW YOU WANT IT!

TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE; TO BE HEALTHIER, HAPPIER, AND MORE FIT!

We can help with that! Come in and meet with our knowledgeable and caring staff and let us talk to you about how we can help you meet your goals and have fun doing it.

BOOK YOUR FREE NO-SWEAT INTRO!