COACHES

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KENNY MARKWARDT

OWNER | HEAD COACH

OPEX CCP Coach, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, CrossFit Level 2, USAW Sport Performance Coach, FMS-1, Precision Nutrition Level 2

My life in fitness began at age 16.  As soon as I could drive I got myself a pass to a traditional gym.  I quickly became obsessed, reading everything I could and devoting all of my time to fitness and exercise.

Over time, I grew bored with the monotonous routine of an hour in the gym doing the same old same old.  I started hearing about CrossFit in 2008 and at first I thought it was just another fitness fad and didn’t really pay it too much attention.  Interestingly enough, it was during this time that I was beginning to incorporate very similar principles into my own workouts.  I was utilizing Olympic and compound movements, doing sprints and trying “new” tools like Kettlebells, sandbags and plyometrics.

Finally, at the suggestion of a friend who had similar athletic interests, I took a look at the CrossFit.com mainsite.  I started doing CrossFit WODs (workouts of the day) in the gym I was a member at.  I gained a ton of functional strength and I started to become more and more obsessed with CrossFit, finding continued success and noticing that I was able to maintain near peak conditioning year-round.  I started sharing my workouts with others and training anyone who would listen.  Eventually, I got my CrossFit Level 1 and my NSCA-CPT certification in 2012.  We started CrossFit Sandpoint soon after, and haven’t looked back since.

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JENN MARKWARDT

OWNER | NUTRITION COACH

Precision Nutrition Level 1

I’m a food lover, educator, mom and lover of all things beautiful and nourishing. I have a passion for helping clients create healthy, delicious food for their entire family. 

My food journey began a decade ago. After years of dieting, working like a maniac and general chaos my body quit on me. At that point, I was diagnosed with every allergy under the sun (later I would find out that this meant I had a leaky gut) and I started to realize how powerful food really was. When I used it wisely it was the best medicine and when I ignored my body it was the most powerful poison.

The road to feeling vibrant and healthy has not always been straight, but I have learned incredible things along the way. As a mom and a wife, I am passionate about fueling our bodies with whole, healthy, quality food. After all, if food is the number one input into our bodies, shouldn't we spend our time and resources making sure it's of the highest quality? 

Being a busy mom and wife made me realize how easily we all put our health on the backburner for other priorities. Over the years I learned how to make my health and wellness a lifestyle rather than a burden. Now I'm thrilled to be able to help our clients do the same! 

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AMANDA ABAJIAN

CROSSFIT LEVEL 2, Precision Nutrition Level 1

I grew up playing a variety of sports from the moment I learned to walk, but after high school I went through long stretches of inactivity due to lack of structure in the traditional gym environment. I received my degree in Natural Resource Sciences from WSU and found that living in a place like North Idaho was only natural. I love spending my summer weekends up at Priest Lake, and taking advantage of all the activities our small town has to offer.


I heard about CrossFit Sandpoint for the first time while working in the kitchen at Spud’s, and was incredibly nervous to attend my first class at the gym knowing how out of shape I was at the time. Looking back at my first year living in Sandpoint, going to my first CrossFit class was one of the best risks I have ever taken.
I never imagined a time when I would find personal value in strength, and what my body is capable of doing, over the numbers on a scale. CrossFit has taught me how to dig deep and overcome difficult challenges inside and outside of the gym.

Today there is nothing better than seeing the look on someone’s face when the smallest girl in room is able to carry the heaviest load.
I love the relationships this sport builds between people that may have absolutely nothing common, and it also allows us to come together daily and support one another. 

I am extremely grateful to be a part of this community and look forward to the opportunity to help make a difference in the fitness goals of our members. 

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KELLI BULT

CROSSFIT LEVEL 1&2

I have been an athlete since I could walk. In high school volleyball, basketball, golf and softball I learned to always push myself. I was fortunate enough to run track for Washington State University while obtaining my mechanical engineering degree. Collegiate athletics gave me the opportunity to train on a completely different level than my small town high school. I worked with some amazing trainers and learned a lot about my body as well as nutrition. At that point I realized my passion was deeper than just competitive athletics.


Once I graduated college I moved to Seattle, WA. It was there that I began training for my first marathon, with the goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon while simultaneously coaching club volleyball. This continued for four years with ages 13-17. In 2012 I qualified and completed the Boston Marathon. After reaching that goal, I realized I needed something more “team like” so I tried my first CrossFit class. I was very leery at first but after a week I was hooked. I haven’t looked back and have never been in this good of shape in my career. Not only has CrossFit taught me how to be strong but also how to make my body run like a machine. Nutrition is the most important aspect of this. I completed my CrossFit level 1 certification at the end of 2013 and I have attended two mobility seminars as well as CrossFit endurance seminars. My goal is to make people stronger and also smarter about their body.

MONIQUE BIRKHIMER

CROSSFIT LEVEL 1,

ACE Youth Fitness Specialist

My roots are originally from the east coast but I have been blessed to of grown up in the PNW.


I began my journey into Crossfit in 2014, my only regret is not starting sooner. Crossfit has helped me find a path in life I can be proud of and it has given me a community of friends I now like to consider my family. For a very long time I used substance abuse to numb my anxiety and depression I had been dealing with all my life. When I was ready to make changes, I began live what I thought to be a healthy life style. My addictive behavior transferred over to nutrition and exercise. I became obsessed with everything I ate and every minute of exercise I did or didn't do.

One day I walked into Crossfit and I never left. Fast forward to today, I am happier and healthier than I have ever been. I've stopped obsessing and started living.The satisfaction I feel of accomplishing things I never thought I could is better than any feeling I have ever had and It's a feeling I now chase even outside the gym.My goal as a coach is to help inspire people and to show them it doesn't matter how far down a hole you are, you can always get out and there is always a community of people waiting with open arms to do whatever it takes to help pick you up inside and outside of the gym. Crossfit didnt save my life, I did that, but it gave me the tools and mindset to not give up on myself.

Aside from Crossfit, I love practicing yoga, finding the steepest trails to hike and beating my son at most board games.





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ALEYA HUTCHENS

CROSSFIT LEVEL 1

Growing up my parents enrolled me in the occasional dance and gymnastics class and I played SSA soccer until the age of 10. I hated all of it. Playing sports and working out was never my forte until I started CrossFit in 2011. I was so far out of my element and I had so much to learn. I jumped right into taking several classes a week and gradually began to learn the basic skills and awareness of my body. Over the next year and a half I had progressed tremendously from my starting point and when it came time to take things to the next level I quit CrossFit. For the next 2 years with Kenny’s coaching and support I spent countless hours in the gym building strength and mastering the Olympic lifts, the snatch and clean and jerk. I knew I had to get stronger and I knew I had to learn how to lift. Coming back to CrossFit after 2 years was difficult for me after having a barbell attached to my hands for so long, but once I did I found that everything In CrossFit began to click. That’s when I truly found my passion for the sport. 

I feel great mentally and physically, I’ve found balance between life, fitness, and food and it’s been quite a journey for me. Fitness is something I’m incredibly passionate about and there is always something new to learn, always room to grow, always new goals to reach and that’s what makes coaching others through their own journeys so exciting and awesome for me.

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NICK BANDY - CROSSFIT LEVEL 1

Group Classes, Personal Training, CrossFit Teens

I was born and raised in Sandpoint and have been CrossFitting for 5 years. Before my career in the gym, I was working as an Engineering Project Lead at Polaris Industries but CrossFit had been growing into a strong passion for me and I wanted to bring my learnings and experience to more people. Doing something you love and working with people you enjoy being around is never the wrong move so I made the permanent switch and I have absolutely loved every second of it.

What drew me to CrossFit were the many opportunities for learning. Every day you learn how to move in a way that supports better health and fitness here. You learn about your body and become more in tune and aware of its needs and abilities. I use all of this outside the gym in my other activities and it helps me enjoy the things I love more than I could have imagined.

As a coach, there are so many moments that inspire me. I love watching people from every level of fitness push themselves further than they originally could have imagined. It promotes a great spark of accomplishment and pride from putting it all out there and working hard that is so great to watch people achieve and go through. 

What inspires me is sharing my knowledge and experience with people and seeing how that helps them build better skills and strength that can they can use in their everyday life and physical activities. Knowing that I can help people get stronger and mover better, rehab a past injury, or help prevent a future injury is what I love and is what I try to bring to my classes.

 
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MARIAH DECKER

CROSSFIT LEVEL 1

Growing up I considered myself a “tom boy” and loved doing anything athletic and everything that my brother did. At the age of 6 my parents put me into basketball and softball which started my true love for sports which I played through high school. After college I got into running and considered myself a runner,  running 10k, half marathons, and marathon races. 

In 2012 my husband Rick found CrossFit and said we should try it out.  We took an introductory class at CrossFit MBS in Colorado and never looked back! We immediately fell in love with everything about the sport and it completely changed the way we looked at “working out” and the way we nourish our bodies. I truly believe that CrossFit can prepare you for anything mentally and physically.  My greatest CrossFit accomplishments were completed a 50 mile running race relying solely on my CrossFitting and that I was able to CrossFit through both of my pregnancies and up until the day I gave birth.  

I will forever be grateful to CrossFit Sandpoint because it was the first community we had before we moved here from Colorado. I am also grateful that I was given the opportunity to coach and I love that it has allowed me to share my love and knowledge of CrossFit with so many people.  To help people achieve their goals is a pretty special thing to be a part of and I am honored that I get to do this! When I am not CrossFitting or coaching you can find me spending time with my three favorite people, my husband Rick and our two daughters McKinley (5) and Malia (3). I also enjoy snow and water skiings, hiking, and taking our dog Kilo on bike rides.