From Elmhurst, IL (although he grew up in a farm community in WI)
YOUR GO-TO FOR: power tools and all things strong.
EXPERIENCE: CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and Endurance Coach, Westside Barbell Conjugate Influenced, Olympic Weighlifting Certified, USAW Sports Performance Coach, 15+ years experience as Powerlifting Lifter and Team Strength Coach, Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.
LIKES: training and development podcasts, documentaries, statistics.
Before opening Defined, David was a multi-sport athlete and played basketball, volleyball and rugby. Through team sports, he found his passion for coaching. While working at a Martial Arts Gym, David was introduced to CrossFit. Having trained with mentor and friend, Ed Coan, David currently holds five national lifting records.
With over a decade of coaching experience, his greatest passion is helping athletes improve their athletic potential by building a strong foundation. In 2010, he and co-owner, Noal, founded Defined to spread the rigorous, inclusive and community-centered mission that the gym is now known for.
David is the creator of the Strength Cafe and Powerlifting programs at Defined. He is known for his positive coaching style and dad jokes.
From Cape Cod, MA
CAPTAIN OF: Defined Barbell Weightlifting Team
EXPERIENCE: CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and Level 2 Coach, CrossFit WeightLifting, Gymnastics, Powerlifting and Movement & Mobility Coach, USAW Sports Performance Coach, BA Business Communications with a Minor in Public Relations from Bridgewater State University.
LIKES: traveling, roller blading, swimming, martial arts & power washing the deck.
Noal got hooked on CrossFit in 2009 after completing his first workout at a commercial gym in Lakeview. He was humbled by this experience and realized that his previous workouts didn’t prepare him for this type of training. He saw the profound effects that functional fitness could have on many people’s lives and knew this was the path for him.
Noal studied and taught Jeet Kune Do martial arts for over a decade while transitioning from corporate sales to co-owning Defined. In 2010, Noal and David founded Defined to build a space that could support a diverse community, functional programming, and a versatile coaching staff.
Noal pushes athletes to perform at their highest level and achieve goals they never thought possible. He’s been a CrossFit Games Regional team competitor and leads the gym’s primary strength and conditioning program and Weightlifting Team. He has a passion for the application of biomechanics to sport and utilizes his knowledge to build strong athletes and diverse programs.
From Chicago, IL
KNOWN FOR: his leadership, organization, and outgoing personality.
TRAINING GROUPS: Kettlebells, Foundations, Powerlifting
EXPERIENCE: CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and Level 2 Coach, Certified Eleiko Strength Coach, CrossFit Strongman Coach, CrossFit Mobility Coach, Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification, CrossFit HQ judge and team lead
LIKES: coffee, Justin Bieber, fried chicken, jasmine rice, Call of Duty.
LOVES: his friends and family.
Kevin remembers resting in between sets of E-Z Bar Preacher Curls at X-Sport Fitness—and seeing Rich Froning and Jason Khalipa competing at the Reebok CrossFit Games on TV. He found Defined while working near-by at Illinois Masonic.
Kevin loves coaching and competing at the highest level—and has a knack for helping his athletes find confidence in themselves and reach their highest potentials. Defined relies on his organization and leadership to manage community events and competitions, assist with coaching development, and contribute to programming. Kevin’s experience has led him to judge for CrossFit HQ competitions, such as Central Regionals (2017), CrossFit Games (2018), and Wodapalloza, to name a few.
When he’s not at Defined, Kevin is a teacher at St. Sylvester Elementary School in Logan Square, where they’ve replaced traditional PE with CrossFit programming. He wants young athletes to understand that physical education is more than just “sports.” The program is meant to help kids feel empowered by their own courage and physical development.
Coach, General Manager
From Rochelle, IL (but Chicago has been home for over 15 years)
KNOWN FOR: her fun, engaging approach to coaching.
TRAINING GROUPS: Foundations, Mobility, Weightlifting
EXPERIENCE: CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and Level 2 Coach, Yoga and Recovery Techniques, Kinesiology, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Columbia College, pre and post-natal training, CrossFit Kids Trainer, Precision Nutrition Level 1, CHILL Meditation Certification.
LIKES: traveling, strong coffee, healthy cooking, Chicago culture.
LOVES: Ollie, her French bulldog, and high-fiving herself.
Cara combines art with athletics and has been a professional dancer in Chicago for over a decade. She has taught and toured nationally and internationally as a member of The Seldoms and found CrossFit while looking for a smarter way to cross-train for her dance career. Her first CrossFit experience—which happened to be on a first date—left her rethinking everything she’d ever known about functional fitness.
Cara became a coach because she loves seeing people discover confidence within themselves. Teaching is her love, and it gives her the opportunity to help people reconnect with their bodies and with their potential, both in and outside of the gym. She enjoys coaching a wide range of athletes and leads Foundations, Mobility, Olympic lifting, and pre and post-natal training.
Cara is Defined’s General Manager and the co-founder of The Lunge Ladies, LLC: an all-female strength training collective.
From Edwardsville, IL (but born in Chicago)
KNOWN FOR: her relentless support and encouraging coaching.
EXPERIENCE: CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education, with an emphasis in English, 2016 NAACP Educator of the Year.
LIKES: spending time with her husband, reading, powerlifting.
LOVES: her Yorkie, Twixie, and supporting her students.
MiKala was a D1 track and field collegiate athlete and has always been mindful of staying active since graduating college. She was the girls Head Track and Field coach for Edwardsville High School and led them to an IHSA State Championship for the largest division in IL. When she found CrossFit in 2014, it was a mind and body transformation—and she fell in love with its constant challenges and the ways it continued to motivate her to become a better version of herself.
MiKala found Defined when she and her husband moved to Chicago in June 2016. She was concerned about two things: finding a place to live and finding a CrossFit home. But it only took one visit to CFD and she was SOLD.
MiKala believes in a safe, energetic, motivational, and fun environment. She encourages athletes to dismiss all mental roadblocks in order to grow into the best version of themselves. For her, Defined is a place where people can learn to break through barriers—both physical and mental.
From Merrimack, NH
KNOWN FOR: her endurance and inspiring, athletic achievements.
AKA: Principal Doyle
EXPERIENCE:CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, M.Ed from the University of Notre Dame, M.Ed in Administration and Supervision from Loyola University, CPR/AED Certified.
LIKES: running, cooking, exploring Chicago’s food scene, discovering coffee shops, coaching soccer and basketball at her school.
Allyn is a natural and talented athlete. She was a 3-sport Varsity athlete in high school—cross country, basketball, and softball—and a Varsity Cross Country team member and captain at Saint Anselm College: a two-time U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division-II All-Academic Team; named to USTFCCCA Division-II All-Region Team in 2011. She is now a competitive CrossFit athlete and her accomplishments include: Granite Games Community Team competitor (2017, 2018), Wodapalooza Intermediate Team of 3 competitor (2018, 2019), and Wodapalooza Intermediate Team of 4 competitor (2020).
Being an educator, Allyn loves watching athletes’ progress and enjoys helping others recognize their capability. She believes that CrossFit provides people with so many great opportunities to challenge themselves and to test their limits—which is what makes her such a fun, compassionate, and patient coach.
From Milwaukee, WI
AKA: Lil’ Ben
YOUR GO-TO FOR: exceptional playlists.
EXPERIENCE: CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, Associate’s Degree in Business Management,
LIKES: volleyball, softball, running, biking, collecting vinyl, being front row at pop concerts.
In his younger years, Ben recalls: “I was never very active, nor in the best shape. I was also too nervous to be a part of any sport or team activity.” As he got older and more confident in himself, he started getting involved in other team sports. When it came to fitness, he stuck with traditional gyms, although they didn’t motivate him.
Four years ago, he was introduced to CrossFit and quickly became hooked. He found it to be a great way to socialize, meet new people who had similar interests, and to get a kick-ass workout.
After moving to Chicago and joining a newer box, he found himself getting involved with coaching, which inspired him to get his Level 1. Not only was it an opportunity to learn more about the sport and improve upon his own goals, but it also allowed him an opportunity to work with newer athletes who might find themselves feeling nervous or unsure. For Ben, coaching is a rewarding experience, and he always looks forward to helping athletes achieve their goals.
IGOR J. MELNIK
From Chicago, IL
OFTEN SAYS: “Suh, dude!”
EXPERIENCE: CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, ACE Certified Trainer
LIKES: Powerlifting, CrossFit, endurance sports, biking, podcasts, live music.
LOVES: Frosted Flakes
Igor grew up playing hockey, soccer, wrestling, and riding his bike. In 2010, he began working out with a personal trainer who taught him about movement mechanics and the body’s physical responses during exercise. A few years later, he decided to change careers and began training others.
In 2014, Igor followed a friend to CrossFit Defined. Shortly after, he met Noal and David, who not only became his mentors, but also challenged his understanding of the phrase “strength and conditioning.” From Defined’s programming and coaching, Igor began to understand his true potential as an athlete and coach.
Igor enjoys learning and sharing his knowledge in order to help athletes reach their goals; but he also loves developing meaningful relationships that support them. “Meeting people of all different backgrounds who have similar fitness goals is really cool because it creates pathways for learning about each other and from each other. I’m genuinely happy to help anyone, for any reason.” Igor enjoys being a part of the Defined team because we all share a common goal.
From Louisville, Kentucky
KNOWN FOR: being the only coach that works out at 5:30AM.
EXPERIENCE: CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, Bachelor of Science, Master’s in Business Administration
LIKES: sports, biking, cooking, music, traveling, reading, podcasts, philanthropy.
Matt started weight training while playing sports in high school. He continued working out at commercial gyms, participated in running races and triathlons, until he found CrossFit by accident in 2013. He lived near Defined when it was located on Belmont Avenue and saw athletes running around the neighborhood. He signed up for Foundations and has been a member ever since.
Matt was intrigued by the coaching staff, constantly varied functional workouts, class structure, high intensity, and community. He was drawn to coaching because it was an opportunity to learn and give back by developing relationships and sharing his knowledge. In addition to coaching, Matt is a skilled athlete that has been training with the Defined community for almost as long as we’ve been in business.
Coach, Communications Manager
From Milwaukee, WI
YOUR GO-TO FOR: Defined social media, copywriting, and dance moves.
EXPERIENCE: CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and Bachelor of Arts in English, with a concentration in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa, CPR/AED and First Aid Certified, pre and post natal training, website and creative content design.
LIKES: coffee, traveling, sustainable fashion, writing, riding her bike: The Queen.
Sarah is a dance artist, copywriter and editor, and functional strength coach. She has toured and performed both nationally and internationally as a dancer for over a decade and now collaborates with The Seldoms as an ensemble member.
Sarah was introduced to CrossFit by friend and business partner, Cara Sabin. She was coached through her Foundations program by Coach Noal, and now trains regularly to support her athletic career in dance.
Sarah coaches daily programming at Defined, Foundational Strength at lululemon as an ambassador, and co-owns The Lunge Ladies, LLC: an all-female strength training collective. She is passionate about developing connection through functional movement and empowering all womxn to feel strong and capable.