Meet Our Coaches

Our exercise methodology is based on our personal experience as well as the systems popularized by the brightest minds in the fields of Strength and Conditioning, Nutrition and Injury Prevention.  CFS provides professional grade coaching because our team is passionate about what we do - helping our clients reach their fitness goals.

Coach Dan 

Dan Goldberg – Owner, Head Coach, Personal & Remote Trainer


Education, Experience & Qualifications:  Union College 2005, Certified Personal Trainer from American College of Sports Medicine, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist from National Strength and Conditioning Association, USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach, Kettlebell Athletics Level 2 Coach, Michael Fitzgerald Fitness Coaching Apprentice

CrossFit Certifications: Level 1, Endurance, Kettlebell, Mobility, Competitor’s Course, Judges’ Course

Competitive Experience: 2009 CrossFit Games Northeast Regional Qualifier (35th place), 2010 CrossFit Games Northeast Regional Qualifier (DNF), 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games Northeast Regional Qualifier (12th place), 2011 Skinny Man Triathlon, 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games Northeast Regional Qualifier (9th place), 2012 WNY Hammerhead Challenge (1st place), 2013 WNY Hammerhead Challenge Dewitt Event (1st place), 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games Northeast Regional Qualifier (DNF), 2013 Beast of the East (9th Place), CrossFit 315 1 Ass to Risk 2013 (1st Place)

My first gym workout was 15 years ago as an 8th grader trying to get stronger so I could make the varsity football team.  In my waking life I have spent more time in gyms than anywhere else.  In 2006 I decided to leave law school and made my love of fitness a career at an Equinox in Manhattan.  In 2009 my love for my future wife Ellen (the redhead at the front desk) brought me to Syracuse.  When I moved up north I was disappointed to find a very limited number of CrossFit gyms.  As of 2012 there are over 120 active CrossFit affiliates in New York State alone from CrossFit Reebok on 5th Avenue in Manhattan to Schenectady New York (GO UNION!).  I knew that Syracuse’s active community would embrace another CrossFit gym and that is why we are here: to help the people of Syracuse discover their physical potential and improve their longevity through general physical preparedness. In all of the years of training myself and others I have never found an exercise methodology better at changing bodies and lives than the brand of CrossFit you will find at our gym.  Whether your goal is to run a marathon pain free, become a CrossFit competitor or just look better in your clothes, CrossFit Syracuse is the best place in town for you to realize your goals. I am currently seeking an elite level of fitness that earned me a 9th place finish at the 2012 CrossFit Games Northeast regional.  Outside of the gym I use my fitness to more completely enjoy my life whether it is a long hike in the Adirondacks or helping out on the farm.  I love knowing that I am physically capable of whatever life has in store of me.  I have helped older folks work around and eventually overcome limitations and I’ve helped young people make their varsity teams.  I love the process of helping others by sharing my passion for fitness and the experience I’ve gathered in my own pursuit.

 Coach Colin

Colin Hillman – Owner & Coach


Education, Experience & Qualifications: SUNY New Paltz 2006, City of Syracuse Police Officer/ SWAT Operator

CrossFit Certifications: Level 1, Gymnastics Level 1, Gymnastics Level 2,  Rowing, Mobility, Olympic Lifting

Competitive Experience: SUNY New Paltz Soccer 2002-2006, Cayuga Lake Triathlon 2009, Skinny Man Triathlon 2010 & 2011, Tough Mudder Tri-State 2010, Tough Mudder Vermont 2011 & 2012, CrossFit Games Open 2012 & 2013 Hammerhead WNY Challenge 2012, Mayhem in the Meadowlands 2013, Tough Mudder Buffalo 2013, CNY Affiliate League 2013, Wodfest in the Wild 2013

I was introduced to CrossFit as a rookie cop in early 2008 at a not so CrossFit friendly gym in Ithaca, NY. I was sick of the typical lifting routine that I had done for years and I instantly fell in love with “constantly varied functional movements at high intensity.” It was plain to see that CrossFit was not only the best program for law enforcement, but for improving everything in my life. When I moved to Syracuse, my passion for CrossFit soared as I began training at a CrossFit specific gym. From there, I completed my Level 1 Certification and the dream of opening a CrossFit box in Syracuse was born. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work with the incredibly talented team we have assembled at CrossFit Syracuse and I know CFS will facilitate the improved fitness and lives of not only our staff, but our entire community, too.

Coach Rob  

Rob Burke – Owner & Coach


Education, Experience & Qualifications: SUNY Oswego 2005 (Minor in Athletic Coaching), United States Army, Level 1 Youth Fitness Specialist from International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA)

CrossFit Certifications: Level 1, Kids, Olympic Lifting, Mobility, Judges’ Course

Competitive Experience: SUNY Oswego Baseball 2000-2005, Team RWB Athlete, Reebok CrossFit Games Open 2012 & 2013

I have been involved with athletics my whole life. I was a tri-sport athlete in High School and D3 Baseball Player at Oswego State University. After graduating college in 2005, I joined the United States Army. Within 2 short years, the Army Infantry introduced me to a whole new level of fitness, placing me in some of the best shape I had ever been in my life.

In 2007, I deployed to Iraq with the 10th Mountain Division. I was initially introduced CrossFit there, where a peer of mine was doing ”The Bear Complex” WOD. I tried it and it completely dominated me. During the deployment I was wounded in a raid, sustaining 5 gunshot wounds to my body. While at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Doctors informed me my body had experienced so much trauma that I would ”never be able do the things I was once able to do”. I took that quote and used it as fuel to prove them wrong.

Over the next two years I rehabilitated myself enough to return to my unit and in 2010 I deployed with them to Northern Afghanistan. It was there that I was reacquainted with CrossFit and fell in love with the program. I returned home in 2011, and after separating from Active Duty, my wife Katie and I settled here in Syracuse. Within the next year I began working out and coaching classes at CrossFit Dewitt. It was this experience that drove my desire to start another affiliate here in Syracuse and share my love for fitness.

Coach Mike  

Michael Elliott – Coach & Personal Trainer


Education, Experience & Qualifications: BS in Kinesiology/Exercise Science SUNY Cortland 2005, attained CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) thru the National Strength and Conditioning Association in 2005, CPR certified.

CrossFit Certifications: Level 1, Mobility, Judges’ Course

Competitive Experience: 2012 WNY Hammerhead Challenge, Reebok CrossFit Games Open 2012 & 2013, 2012 Binghamton’s Fittest Competition, 2013 WNY Hammerhead Challenge

I began personal training in 2004 while attending SUNY Cortland.  I got my first experience in strength and conditioning while working with the US Women’s Handball Team from late 2004 through early 2005.  After graduating in 2005, I began my personal training career.  Throughout the years, I have worked with a variety of individuals: professional athletes, children, grandmothers, and everything in between.  I have worked with people with a wide array of physical conditions, including back problems, knee problems, pregnancy, diabetes, the physical effects brought on by cancer, etc.

Every minute of my training experience has been extremely fulfilling.  My passion is helping people reach their fitness goals.  The results my clients get extend far beyond the physical; the effects are truly life changing.

Like many others in this country, I have struggled with weight issues.  In January 2011, I tipped the scales at 235lbs.  I decided it was time for a change and committed myself to a CrossFit training regiment and strict paleo diet. I now weigh around 190lbs.  I am not only lighter on the scale, but I have more energy, my mood is better, and my head is clearer.

I have experienced the changes first hand and know what it takes to reach those goals.  This is why training others is so fulfilling for me.  I understand what people are going through, both physically and mentally, and know what it takes to change.

Please feel free to visit my personal blog to help you change your life!

Coach Brian 

Dr. Brian Stalnaker, DPT – Coach


Education, Experience & Qualifications:  Bachelors in Health Sciences, Utica College of Syracuse University 2008, Doctorate in Physical Therapy, Utica College of Syracuse University 2010

CrossFit Certifications: Level 1, Mobility

Dr. Brian Stalnaker, DPT is excited to call CrossFit Syracuse his home. Dr. Stalnaker has been CrossFitting for over three years and independently coaching CrossFit for the past year outside his physical therapy career. With his professional background as a PT, educating, resolving and preventing movement dysfunction and injury is a standard component to Dr. Stalnaker’s coaching.  He emphasizes the importance of active recovery and educating others on the proper steps anyone should be able to do to foster quicker recovery, resolve old injuries, enjoy greater fitness, and avoid future orthopedic injury and dysfunction. Hiking/climbing, mountain biking, snowboarding, kayaking/canoeing, and paddling are all sports he enjoys spending his free time doing with his wife, Nicole, and pup, Zoey.

Coach Travis

Travis Holmes – Coach


Education, Experience & Qualifications: Herkimer CCC 2004,SUNY Potsdam, Columbia College, City of Syracuse Police Officer

CrossFit Certifications: Level 1, Mobility, Judges Course

Competitive Experience: Herkimer C.C.C. Lacrosse 2003 – 2004 (2003 National Champions), SUNY Potsdam Lacrosse 2005 – 2006, Tough Mudder Vermont 2011 & 2012, 2012 Hammerhead WNY Challenge, WODchester Games 2013, Tough Mudder Buffalo 2013, CNY Affiliate League 2013

While my older brother, Jamie was enlisted in the United States Army and preparing for deployment he introduced me to CrossFit with just a kettlebell and burpees. After completing my first WOD I knew I was hooked. Upon realizing that I wanted to become a Police Officer, I implemented CrossFit’s methodology into my life. By doing this, my life immediately changed for the better. On a daily basis, CrossFit is as an essential tool for a healthier lifestyle as well as preparing myself for the unknown on the job. I have been CrossFiting for 3 years and I can’t imagine a better environment than CrossFit Syracuse to learn, teach and grow. After finding a CrossFit specific gym, my love for the sport grew immensely and I knew that I wanted to do more than just participate in the WODs. I wanted to help show people how CrossFit can change their life for the better too.

Coach Dennis

Dennis Bitetti – Coach


Education, Experience & Qualifications: Syracuse University 2014, Army ROTC Cadet

CrossFit Certifications: Level 1

Competitive Experience: High School Varsity Wresting, Army ROTC Ranger Challenge Team, Army 10-Miler Team, Reebok CrossFit Games Open 2013, Catalyst Games 2013

I was introduced to CrossFit by a friend of mine and was hooked after my first WOD (Diane). I had been training previously in a powerlifting style doing only heavy squats, deadlifts and bench. Although I loved training like that, it was not the best way to prepare for my future career as an Army Officer. Crossfit fused my passion for powerlifting with my career path’s requirement of being functionally fit and able to conquer any physical test.

The CrossFit training methodology is hands down the most effective way to improve health and fitness and I love seeing the changes CrossFit can make in anyone’s life. Although not everyone is preparing to go overseas or compete in the CrossFit games, everyone wants to enjoy the quality of life that comes with better fitness.

Coach Josh

Josh Kerwood – Coach

Education, Experience & Qualifications: Syracuse University 2014, Army ROTC Cadet

CrossFit Certifications: Level 1

Competitive Experience: 2012 Boston Marathon Rucking team, 2012 Lake Placid Half Marathon, 2012 Mountain Goat Ten Miler, 2012 Army Ten Miler, 2012 Warrior Dash, 2013 Catalyst Games, Reebok CrossFit Games Open 2013, Catalyst Games 2013

Ever since I was young I have been an extremely active individual. When I was not at the gym, it was safe to assume I was working around the farm or climbing a mountain. During my first two years of college, I became an avid runner and quickly became bored with the routine I was following. After hearing about CrossFit time and time again I decided to give it a try. Ironically, CrossFit Syracuse was opening right around this time. Following the completion of my first workout, I knew I found the sport that would always present a challenge, forcing me to leave my comfort zone regularly.

The ‘constantly varied, functional movements’ CrossFit is derived from offers the most effective way to improve quality of life. The diversity of CrossFit still amazes me. During any given class there is a melting pot of people ranging from the office worker wishing to rid themself of their nagging back pain to the tactical athlete who requires the physical capacity to perform safely and efficiently on the job under any circumstance. I will end with this quote from Socrates,” The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

Coach Piston

Dan Piston – Coach

Education, Experience & Qualifications: US Navy Veteran, Syracuse University 2017, New York State EMT-Basic

CrossFit Certifications: Level 1, Gymnastics Level 1

Competitive Experience: Festivus Games (Apr 2013), CrossFit Open 2013, Tough Mudder Buffalo 2013, 1 Ass to Risk Competition (Oct 2013)

I have never been an overall fit person.  Sure, I had been in shape doing calisthenics/running for the military but I minimally participated in strength work.  It was not until my last Navy deployment in 2012 that I made two significant life changes: cleaned up my diet and started strength training.  Most of the credit goes to one of my friends for motivating me to go down that path.  It was also on this deployment that I was introduced to CrossFit with my first WOD including handstand pushups and ring dips.  It’s safe to say I did not do very well on my first WOD but it opened my eyes to the challenges offered by CrossFit.  As soon as I returned from my deployment I signed up for my Level 1 certification course to further my education while starting to train with some friends in a garage gym.  After leaving the Navy in February 2013, I returned home to Syracuse to attend college at Syracuse University.  CrossFit has made such a large impact on my life that I decided to pursue Health and Exercise Science as my course of study.

Being a member at CrossFit Syracuse has been an amazing experience.  I love being around so many people that are constantly striving to challenge themselves physically and mentally.  My goal as a CrossFit coach is to help inspire and guide others to lead a healthful lifestyle.

Coach Pat

Pat Commeret – Coach

Education, Experience & Qualifications: MVCC (AS) 2010, National Council on Strength and Fitness Certified (NCSF), SUNY Youth Sports Coaching certified (SUNY YSI), CPR/AED Certified, USA Boxing certified

CrossFit Certifications: Level 1

Competitive Experience: Watertown boxing amateur level 2008-2009, MVCC Soccer 2009, MVCC lacrosse 2009, 2013 CrossFit Open, 1 Ass to Risk 2013, CNY Affiliate League 2013

Growing up, I’ve always had a passion for sports and fitness. In high school, as well as college, I participated in soccer, lacrosse and boxing. My involvement in these activities enlightened me to a broad array of strength training modalities. I was first introduced to CrossFit at a local high school gym in Watertown. CrossFit made an immediate impression on me, and further proved that my other previous training programs were inadequate.  After moving to the Syracuse area and becoming acquainted with the CrossFit community, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to become a part of this movement. My experience with CrossFit has been nothing short of a positive, motivating, self-improving program to assist individuals in achieving their physical, emotional and mental goals. My decision to become Level 1 certified was greatly influenced by the positive impact it was making for me, as well as the other members of our gym. I consider it a privilege to be part of this tremendously talented group of coaches. I look forward to a bright and fun future with CrossFit Syracuse.