Meet the team that makes it all possible
Our coaches are professional and caring, who know how to provide our clients with just the right amount of support and challenge for them to be successful. And just like the people we coach, we are in constant forward motion - testing, trying, growing. Through our own evolution, we’re also learning what you need to keep moving forward, which makes for a journey together worth taking.
When you reach out to schedule a free consult, I will be the one calling you 🙂 I will ask you a few questions to get to know you a bit, so it is only fair that you get to know a little about me:
"Fitness is not my top priority." - Coach Tara
Yes, you read that correctly. I am a professional coach, owner of a fitness facility for more than a decade, a woman that is truly passionate about the work I do in the health fitness industry, and I just stated that fitness is not my top priority.
How can that be? Don't I just love doing plank holds, burpees, push-ups, pull-ups, and squats? The answer is...not really.
Fitness has always been an important part of my life, but that was because my fitness always allowed me to excel at whatever was important to me at that season of my life. Fitness is meant to be the medium for us to live larger lives.
When I was younger, living a larger life meant earning a scholarship to play college soccer.
Years later, my fitness meant I was able to effectively train the soccer teams I coached.
A few years later, my meaning of living a larger life shifted to include having a healthy pregnancy and thriving baby.
When I tore my ACL in late 2017, I found myself unable to do many of the things that I had apparently been taking for granted.
Through the course of my rehab, I began to understand the true meaning of what it meant to be fit, and it had nothing to do with how much weight I could lift or how fast I could run.
My "aha" moment came about 6 months after surgery while enjoying a sunny day in an Arizona river with a knee that was not 100% yet. There was a picturesque area I wanted to get to with many rocks and rapids, and just enough shade from an overhanging tree.
Feeling a little unsure, I essentially crab-walked over the rocks carefully until I reached my destination. The feeling I had when I picked the perfect rock on which to perch in the middle of all the beautiful rapids was amazing. Yes, the cool water and warm sun felt great on my skin, but it was the feeling that I was physically ABLE to do what I wanted to do that made my "aha" moment.
I am pretty sure some call that feeling: EMPOWERMENT.
When I remember that feeling and everything it allows me to do, it is much easier to be consistent with my workouts even though they are not my top priority.
Now, how about you? What are YOUR top priorities? What does success look like for you a year from now? I would love to hear the answer to some of those questions. Don't know the answers? Not sure? No worries! We can work with that too:) Sign up for your free consult, and let's talk!
Bachelor of Science Belmont University, OPEX CCP L1 Candidate, CrossFit Level II Coach, CrossFit Mobility Trainer, CrossFit Gymnastics Trainer, CrossFit Olympic Lifting Trainer, USAW Sports Performance Coach, USSF National D License, CPR, First Aid, Melaleuca Director 3
When asked why he coaches, Coach and co-owner Dennis stated very matter of factly, "to have a positive influence on individuals' health, wellness, fitness and performance, because people just don't know what they are capable of."⠀
Early in his career, he was able to be that positive influence to some of the younger athletes he was coaching at the time. It was then when he realized how important the client-coach relationship truly is, and how a genuine relationship is required in order to see positive change in those clients.⠀
It is those genuine relationships that drove him to change our business model after 9 years in the industry to the OPEX Gym model, and only deliver fitness in a manner that we 100% believe is best for people.
With 25 years experience in this field, he is a sought after coach for all types of individuals. He enjoys working with what he calls "everyday Joe's", competitive athletes, as well as using his background in Sports Medicine to work with clients through some of the most difficult rehabilitation situations. His own vast collection of life experiences also brings a level of wisdom and compassion to the relationship he has with each of his clients.
Once you get done reading through his extensive list of credentials, schedule your free consult to see if he is the right coach for you.
B.S. Bio/Chem/ATC Belmont University, M.S. Exercise Physiology & Health Promotions Middle TN State University, National Athletic Trainer Association Certified, National Strength & Conditioning Association Certified, OPEX CCP Level 1, CrossFit Level I & II Certificate, CrossFit Mobility Trainer, CrossFit Gymnastics Cert., CrossFit Football, USAW Advanced Sports Performance, USAW Club Coach, United States Soccer Federation “C” National Licensed, National Academy of Sports Medicine Performance Enhancement Specialist, CPR, First AID
Originally from Houston, TX, Hunter came to Tennessee to play collegiate baseball while getting a B.S. degree in Exercise Science. His passion for health and fitness originated during his time spent as a collegiate baseball player, a strength and conditioning coach for group and individuals, as well as having a personal history of GI issues. The investigation into his GI issues were what led him to discover the connection between proper nutrition and performance, as well as the importance of taking a holistic approach when working with clients to achieve their personal goals - from improving body composition via sustainable fat loss and increased muscle mass, to sport-specific training, and injury recovery. It was a holistic approach that led him to seek out an OPEX gym when he was ready to begin a professional career.
When Hunter came to us as an intern in 2017, we were expecting...well...an intern. We quickly realized that Hunter was not your ordinary intern, as he contributed to our team of professional coaches from day one. With each passing year, we continue to be impressed by his passion to meet people where they are at, his desire to continually learn, as well as create individualized programs for each of our members on their own journey to live a larger life. When we converted to an OPEX gym after almost a decade in business, one of the main drivers in our decision was to upgrade our coaching staff to include only professional, full-time coaches. Hunter has fulfilled the role to our fullest expectations...just ask any of his clients.
While his passion is to help others on their fitness journey, outside of the gym, Hunter enjoys spending time playing tennis and hanging out with his wife and two dogs.
M.S. in Kinesiology with a Specialization in Sports Psychology (completion 5/21), B.S. Exercise Science Middle TN State University, Precision Nutrition PN1 Certified, OPEX L1 Candidate, CrossFit L1 Trainer, CPR, First Aid
I was born in Corpus Christi, Texas and was raised in a little town called Alice.
Since a young age, I have been around sports and fitness. As a kid, I would lift weights with my Dad in our garage gym and run bleachers with him at our high school football field. I played football, basketball, and roller hockey with the neighborhood kids, as well as little league and middle school football/basketball. Although I did not play sports in high school, I stayed active by being a skateboarder punk. Through most of my adult life, lifting weights (bodybuilding) has been my main choice of exercise. After graduating high school, things at home weren't great and my parents divorced, sending me into a depression. For months I battled and went through some hard times. I wasn’t eating much and slept all the time and avoided my friends/family. One day, I decided I was fed up with feeling terrible and decided I needed to make some changes. I got back into exercising and it helped me through those tough times. At the time, I didn’t realize how much being healthy can affect one’s mood and outlook on life. After I was able to get back into the swing of things, I began navigating life to find my career path.
I completed my undergraduate degree and spent the next 13 years exploring and even working in different careers. However, I never quite felt fulfilled, and I certainly wasn’t getting any younger, so I decided it was time for a change. I wanted a career that would get me excited to wake up in the morning. It was then I realized that fitness was always a constant thought my life, and was what ultimately pulled me through the rough times. My friends and family always believed that I could be a great personal trainer, so I started to explore my options as a fitness professional. I started with my CrossFit L-1 and coached group classes for about a year. While I enjoyed those classes, I found that I wanted to be able to provide more for my clients. I didn’t just want to coach them through a workout a few times a week. I wanted to have a greater impact on their lives, and I learned very quickly that true results didn’t come just from the work inside the gym, but through proper nutrition, recovery, and lifestyle, and those items couldn’t be covered in an hour class.
So, I visited OPEX Franklin, where I met Tara and Dennis Cheatham. We had a lengthy conversation about their philosophy of coaching and what OPEX is, and I knew it was where I needed to be. As someone pursuing my own personal health and wellness, I understand first hand that exercise is not the only piece of the puzzle. Nutrition, rest, recovery, hobbies, self-care, are all key factors that make a person healthy. The feeling and joy that I get from bettering myself with exercise, proper nutrition, and discipline are things that I want to share with others.
Therefore, I COACH!
CrossFit-L1, CCP Candidate
“Preventive medicine is thought of as alternative medicine in this country […] Ultimately, doctors in this country are taught that the patient is cured if they have managed to erase the symptoms of the disease.”
-Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival pg. 36
As anyone who has had a ten-second conversation with me knows, I have an avid love for cinema, and as it was said in American History X “someone else has already said it best, so if you can't top it, steal from them,”. That is what the quote up above is all about, T.S. Wiley said it better than I ever could.
On my journey to coaching I had an epiphanic moment while obtaining my license as Advanced EMT: as much as the people I had the privilege of being with during their time of need, needed me at that specific moment, based off the gifts I had been blessed with, I could have been of far more service to them 5 to 10 years ago when they had a shot of beating what was causing their illnesses. I do not mean to marginalize, or, in any way, minimize just how important the service that EMS professionals provide, because it literally saves lives, but most of the calls those professionals go on are in response to chronic illnesses that have led to acute emergencies. So, I decided to go where I could be of the most service, which led me back to OPEX Franklin.
Fitness is preventive medicine. It is what has the best shot of keeping you happy, healthy, and functional for as long as possible, and I want the privilege of helping people discover this for themselves. Fitness goes beyond just performance in the gym, as exciting as that can be. Fitness is truly the everyday victories that I hear our clients talking about. Like something as simple as being able to get up and down off the couch easier or more effectively, or even better yet, the toilet. Because as awkward as it may be to talk about, losing the ability to get oneself up and down off of a toilet is one of the first things to force you into a nursing home.
While fitness cannot promise you MORE time, it does hold the promise of BETTER quality time. So, come see us and let’s find out what fitness means to you.
Bachelor of the Arts in English - University of Tennessee - Knoxville, The Gymnastics Course Certification, CF Level 1, Licensed AEMT, OPEX CCP Level 1 Candidate
"Your values will shape your sense of purpose and will determine your life goals. Having a sense of purpose is important as it’s a key ingredient for having a meaningful and successful life."
From "Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson: The Life, Lessons & Rules for Success
My journey into coaching actually began as a client. I was attending classes at my local CrossFit gym in Phoenix, Arizona, but knew I needed more than just classes to guide me into my competitive career. So, I decided to hire an OPEX coach to help further myself within my personal fitness journey. I was surprised to find that my coach had a powerful impact not only on my life inside the gym, but outside as well, and I found that to be very admirable. It was the experience I had with him that led me into coaching and allowed me to discover a passion for helping others achieve what they never thought was possible.
I quickly learned that I wanted to make an impact on the lives of those that I was coaching and made it a point to learn everything I could to better support their individual wellness and fitness journeys. It was through coaching that I fell in love with the idea that I was able to help others change their lives for the better. Helping someone accomplish a goal that they thought was a distant fantasy, and being there to watch their realization of it becoming their reality, is an amazing experience, and one that I am so grateful to be a part of each and every time.
Some of the goals I have seen my clients progress towards include becoming competitive athletes, passing the FBI fitness test, losing weight, gaining strength and/or weight, being able to keep up with grandchildren, and move them from being in pain on a daily basis to finally being able to hike and run pain free. Being a guide to someone through their journey is something that always motivates me when working with a client, and I am so proud to be a stepping stone in their journey towards their goals, no matter what those goals may be. Being able to show them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel even when life seems to throw doubt their way, and help them to connect the dots to their sense of purpose, is only a small part of why I decided to become a coach.