Meet Our Coaches

- Chai Merrell -

Chai Merrell has been a fitness enthusiast since she was a young girl. She used to spend her free time playing outdoors and staying active; exploring on nature hikes and horseback riding. Her love for horseback riding was so great that she ventured into trail riding and the sport of barrel racing. Chai kept active and avid about health and wellness into her adult years which led her to pursue a career in personal training. She could not wait to share her enthusiasm and love for fitness with others, so she began personal training 15 years ago on a independent basis at local studios throughout Los Angeles County to allow individual development and growth with her clients.

 

Chai is a Certified Personal Trainer with over 15 years of experience in the fitness community.  She has a wide variety of experience with multiple sports as well as conditioning athletes on a competitive level. Her background in health and wellness is very diverse having experience with circuit training, weight lifting, coaching/conditioning athletes for boxing and mixed martial arts fights, as well as customized diets for weight loss management for young children and adults with diabetes. Chai is also an adaptive athlete coach. She trains athletes with mobility impairments, such as those who use wheelchairs.  Some of her athletic career highlights are marathon running; 2011 USPA California State Powerlifting Champion, Sub-Masters RAW Division in all three categories of the SQUAT (214.9lbs)  |  BENCH (137.7lbs)  |  DEADLIFT (308.6lbs); and 2015 IPF World's Masters (Age 40-44) which were SQUAT (270lbs)  |  BENCH (143lbs)  |  DEADLIFT (352lbs).

 

-Rachel Gamallo-

Rachel Gamallo has been involved in various athletic endeavors, broadening her knowledge and experience.

 

 

 

 

-She took 5th place World qualifier for Ironman Arizona in 2008.

-Qualified for Boston Marathon in 2009

-Placed 3rd in Mt. Disappointment 50m

- Qualified for nationals in all distance triathlon and ran 75 miles in 24 hours

-Rachel set a State record for Squat and Dead Lifting at the USPL Open in 2011

-She also holds a State record for Bench she set at the USAPL Open in 2013

-Qualified for Cross Fit Regional 2014

- Qualified for the American Weightlifting Open 2015




- Ryan Dye -

Coach Ryan Dye has been involved in strength sports since high school when he received 11 varsity letters for football, wrestling, and track & field.  He participated in track & field, as a thrower, for both Long Beach State and Westmont College.  He continues to participate in powerlifting and Highland Game throwing events as well as any other strength endeavor he can train for.

Since college he has coached multiple athletes for strength and conditioning in a myriad of different disciplines.  He is well-versed in training protocols and progression models for powerlifting and other power oriented sports.  He enjoys helping clients optimize form to make it highly efficient and effective for training goals while minimizing injury risk.  He is always striving to improve all aspects of training in himself and those he works with while balancing realistic abilities of the individual.  

Coach Dye is also quite good at explaining the rationale behind any training modality and you will likely leave training knowing why you performed any particular exercise or workout.  

Credentials:

BS in Kinesiology and Exercise Science – Westmont College

13 years personal training and strength coaching

NSCA- CSCS and CPT Certified

USPA Powerlifting Coach Certified

Licensed Physical Therapy Assistant

Rock Tape FTM basic and performance certified

USPA and IPL World Powerlifting Qualifier

 

SAAA Highland Games Thrower


- Sam Alduenda -

Sam Alduenda, grew up in Lawndale, CA and spent much of his free time as a child tumbling and doing gymnastics. At 14, he started to prepare for Olympic weight lifting in his 20's. Shortly after, Sam joined the Army, and would serve our country as a Sargent. When Sam came home he raised a family with his wife. At 47 Sam returned back to power lifting for the age 50 bracket at Nationals' and went straight to World's. Sam is a 15 time National Champion in weight classes: 148, 165, and 181. He represented the USA in 12 international competitions and he is a World Champion in the 148lb and 165lb weight class. In addition Sam holds 13 world records and is a 5 time best lifter at Nationals'.

 

Sam's World Records:

February 5, 2003 in Baton Rouge, LA USA

SQUAT: 443lbs and 474lbs.

DEAD LIFT: 519lbs and 540lbs.

September 10, 2003 in Regina, Canada.

SQUAT: 485lbs

April 30, 2004 in Denver, Colorado.

SQUAT: 4491.6lbs

BENCH: 304lbs

                                                                      Sam's best competition lifts at age 57 and 165lbs.

 

                                                                            SQUAT (496lbs)  BENCH (325lbs)  DEAD LIFT (540)



- JOIN OUR TEAM! -

 

Interested in joining our Powerlifting team?  

Please contact either Chai or Rachel at DivinityCrossFit@gmail.com for more information!