KarolinKarolin Nilsson – CrossFit Director

Karolin’s athletic career has jumped a little all over; as a little girl she started horseback riding, moved to soccer throughout high school, she also tried ice hockey, boxing and football. Due to a injured knee from soccer she had to find a new health path and started gym classes. She tried such a variety in an effort to find something she loved and could compete in.

Karolin started CrossFit 2012 at Gold’s Gym and frankly hated it. Her first workout was “Fran”, 95lbs thrusters and jumping pull-ups, 20 min later she never wanted to do CrossFit again. It wasn’t until several weeks later that she fell in love with CrossFit and the community it brought when a friend asked her to join his team for a throwdown at CrossFit Balance Thomas Circle.

CrossFit has definitely changed her life in a very positive way inside and outside the gym. Karolin’s passion as a coach is to help people reach their fitness goals and especially in the area of nutrition. She strives to motivate and inspire other people to tackle weaknesses without fear, get stronger mentally and emotionally which stems from a base of dedication, consistency and goal setting in their daily routines.

Craig Williams Profile Pic

Craig Williams
Assistant Director

Craig has four years of coaching experience both at CrossFit Salisbury and at CrossFit Balance Thomas Circle. He is both Level 1 and Level 2 CrossFit certified. He graduated Salisbury University majoring in Physical Education. His experience and education have been very influential in cultivating a fun and encouraging training environment.

Craig first found CrossFit while attending a summer camp when he was 14, and quickly fell in love with the constantly varied, high intensity piece of CrossFit. Throughout high school Craig played a variety of sports including: soccer, lacrosse, wrestling, cross-country, street hockey and ultimate frisbee. Since graduating from high school Craig has made a point to focus his efforts into CrossFit to see how far he can push himself.

“I believe that CrossFit has the power to transform peoples lives not just physically but mentally as well. When you push your body and mind to the limit while working out every other aspect of your life becomes easier and more enjoyable.“

Craig has qualified for the CrossFit Games Regionals 3 times as an individual, placing 3rd in the Mid-Atlantic from the Open in 2016. He has also won Fittest in Maryland 2015 and Fittest in Washington DC 2016.

Rob-HoweRob Howe

Rob has been involved in sports since he was 4 years old, starting off in dance and gymnastics lessons, finally switching over to ice hockey. Over the course of 20 years, Rob has played sports? all over the world, trained under a variety of coaches and experienced a number of different training methods.

Rob got into CrossFit in a roundabout way. After becoming a power-lifter during college, squatting nearly 650 lbs., he realized he couldn’t do a pull-up or run a mile. At that point, Rob decided that it was important to focus on “true” fitness, changing his training regime to more high intensity, functional movement circuits. He soon started incorporating some of the main site WOD’s into his training and later switched over to the much higher volume SealFit training. This is when Rob fell in love with CrossFit, figured out how to do a pull-up, and became the great fit he was looking for.

Last summer, Rob moved to Colorado in order to pursue some personal goals in his life. While there, he became a member of CrossFit Venture and became a staple of their gym, learning many of the fundamental concepts of CrossFit first hand. He focused primarily on becoming a better athlete and strengthening his weaknesses, but also got his first chance at helping others progress as athletes.

Fitness and working out has always been a huge part of Rob’s life. Helping others progress in their fitness goals and stay safe has always been a passion of his, he loves seeing members reach their potential and become valued members of the Balance community.

Rob’s favorite part of CrossFit is the constant variance and the fun, but competitive atmosphere that fosters a strong tight knit community. Rob loves competing in team CrossFit competitions and helping others do things they never thought they’d be able to do.

box jumpJordan McGillis

Jordan has been coaching CrossFit in the DC area since September of 2013. His two favorite movements both to coach and perform are the muscle up and the burpee–a movement with which he has a peculiar fixation.

The two highlights of Jordan’s CrossFit journey, which began in January 2012, are attending the inaugural Power Monkey week-long weightlifting and gymnastics camp in the spring of 2014 and participating with Team Balance at the Atlantic Regional in 2016. Outside of the gym, Jordan is an avid reader of history with a special interest in the respective falls of the Ottoman, Romanov, and Habsburg empires as well as a borderline elite Minesweeper player with a PR of 1 minute, 48 seconds on the expert grid.

38963_678697502814_5536642_nMorgan Pleasant

Morgan is a proud D.C. native who grew up playing soccer, lacrosse, and basketball, and switched over to rugby and running marathons in college. She coached high school soccer while working on her master’s degree in psychology, and then moved to Costa Rica where she spent over 4 years as a youth development volunteer in the Peace Corps.

She found CrossFit by accident, searching online for ways to diversify her workouts while living in a small town in the Costa Rican jungle. Kids started joining her as she swung paint cans, lifted tires, and threw rock-filled coconuts around in her front yard each morning. This eventually turned into leading regular fitness classes for groups that ranged in age from 4 to 75.

Upon returning to the U.S., she joined a proper “box,” and started coaching CrossFit classes in 2014. Morgan loves coaching because she is terrible at being still, gets fired up when people are sweating all over the floor, and finds that there is infinite space to learn, grow, and become better at motivating others to reach their potential.

shane2-225x300Shane O’Donnell

I received my BS Degree in Health and Exercise Science from Bridgewater College in 2011. Soccer has always been the foundation of my life and fitness. On top of captaining my team at BC, I went on to receive All-Conference recognition, and continued my soccer journey through coaching following graduation.

After my athletic endeavors, I found CrossFit as a full-time personal trainer. I truly believe in the methodology and the benefits it has across a variety of different populations. CrossFit has truly filled a void in my life, and has steadily built into a new passion. The competitive and community aspects of CrossFit play a huge role in my interest and desire to become more involved. There’s a fire in my belly to achieve not only my full potential in fitness, but other’s as well.

JaredPhotoJared Miranda

Jared was first introduced to CrossFit while training for U.S. Army Ranger School in 2005.  Spending years since then as an Army and State Department officer navigating war zones, armed political standoffs, and food poisoning across the Middle East, he is a believer in the physical and mental discipline honed by CrossFit.  Excited to share his passion with the Balance community, Jared promotes nutrition as the foundation of fitness, and is quick to point out that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 10.33.28 AMMike Lorenzen

Mike Lorenzen was a terribly untalented gymnast in college and a bit of a ring specialist. He developed a passion for movement and the incredibly complex biomechanics of gymnastics, however, that started nearly 30 years of coaching at the NCAA, Junior Olympic, Olympic and US National Team levels. He is a member of the USA Gymnastics National Teaching Staff and holds the highest coaching rating awarded by the Federation Internationale du Gymnastique.

Though he has pursued a few other jobs on the side and a variety of irrelevant graduate degrees along the way, teaching gymnastics remains his passion and it has created new challenges with adult learners in the world of CrossFit. Three years ago Mike began developing teaching paths and progressions for adult athletes with no gymnastics background and he now offers clinics on anything related to bodyweight movement for CrossFit competitors and recreational athletes. He has judged at the CrossFit Games the last two years and continues to believe he might actually still be a competitive athlete.

JuniusJunius Carter

Junius Carter IV was born in Los Angeles, California and moved to New Jersey at the age of 11. He played football, baseball, and track and field for 10 years, and was a letterman athlete in two sports- track and football. He currently still holds his high school record in the 100m and 4X400m events.

Junius opted out of the opportunity to play collegiate sports, so that he could focus on school and attend every party possible- J/K. During college, he dedicated himself to studying finance, while working at a local Washington, DC gym.

After college, Junius worked full-time in corporate finance and part-time as an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer. After being bored with monotonous gym training programs, that left him plateauing after a few months, he was turned onto CrossFit. His first WOD left him gasping for air and probably took over 50 minutes to complete for a simple run, kettle bell, pull-up WOD. He was so sore; he took the rest of the week off to recover. When he recovered, he became immediately hooked, he was looking at the main site and comparing his times, buying gear and equipment, watching videos, and etc. Yes, he definitely drunk the CrossFit Kool-Aid, and was hooked.

In 2013, Junius decided to get his Level 1 CrossFit Certification and help share his knowledge with others. Today Junius enjoys CrossFit competitions, flag football, volleyball, mud runs, softball, running, biking, hiking, pretty much anything that will keep him active.

JoeHeatonJoe Heaton

Joe hails from Centerville, Ohio, and is a graduate of Miami University and Penn State University. He grew up as a tennis player, and took up rugby later in life. He started CrossFit in 2009, as an athlete at Primal Fitness in Washington, DC and joined Balance in 2010.

Joe is particularly focused on how CrossFit benefits clients who participate in sports like football and rugby. During the day, Joe is a Counsel on Capitol Hill. He lives in Washington, DC with his French Bulldog whose max deadlift is 500lbs.




Ben Liebling

Ben grew up in Grove City, Pennsylvania – a small town an hour north of Pittsburgh.  He began playing sports at a young age and found his way into a weight room
sometime around middle school.  In high school Ben quickly realized the distinct physical advantage he had over both teammates and other teams by remaining active in the weight room throughout a basketball season while others took that time off.  Though at this time, and for many years to come, Ben was still a globo-gym-Monday-is-my-chest-day type.

In college Ben stayed in the gym, and stayed on the 3 sets of 10 plan.  Ben graduated from Penn State in 2011, and shortly after was introduced to CrossFit by a friend.  Ben hijacked workouts from various blogs for a little over 2 years before joining Balance in 2014.  After only a few months at Balance Ben decided to pursue his Level 1 certification, and is excited to help athletes achieve their fitness goals, whatever they might be.

AhmedAhmed Gadallah

Ahmed has been a certified fitness trainer since 2010. Along with being a trainer, he is a certified CrossFit Level 1 Coach and CrossFit judges certified. Ahmed enjoys CrossFit because of its impressiveness- the workouts require so many skills enabling the athlete to feel accomplished and powerful.

Ahmed was a swimmer on Egypt’s national team (his home country). Today, in his free time, he enjoys working on his mobility, form, and learning about new skills. He wants to enhance and improve CrossFitters in their workouts. Ahmed aspires to be an inspiration to others as a strong athlete and coach.