THE Rising Legends Academy of Fitness STORY

Charly Sith - OWNER


Charly Sith
Owner Charly Sith, has been a professional fitness trainer for over 15 years and doing functional fitness for over a decade. He has committed most of his adult life to improving the lives of others through fitness, laughter, and creating a warm community. Expect to feel welcomed, appreciated, and pushed to your limits. “My ceiling will be your floor!” I’m excited to meet you!

Charly was a personal trainer and group instructor for a number of years, but he felt like he wasn’t improving his own well-being. “I decided to try out a class at a local box and haven’t looked back since,” he says. “I started training there and even implemented some of the crossfit methodologies with my own clients and classes. One of those classes was a boot camp for a more senior crowd. They all saw results. They all shared with me how much better they felt, and all I did was more crossfit. I knew I was onto something special.”

Not only is charly a determined dadbod destroyer, he also has a softer, nuttier side. Kinda like a snickers. “I’m a loving father and a disney nut.” charly is just the type of well-rounded, jovial individuals you will encounter at rising legends academy of fitness.


Certificate of Attendance from the CrossFit Mobility Course





OUR coaches



My passion is for people. I got into fitness to help people one person at a time. I see a lot of potential in everyone. There's nothing more rewarding than seeing someone start at the beginning and work towards what they never thought possible for themselves. Whether it's their first pull up, push up, 5k, spartan race or whatever, the magic is always there.

As a coach / owner my biggest reward is watching my members as their confidence grows and their belief in themselves blossom.

– Personal Trainer
– Group Coach
– Really good at numbers & Excel
– Can chew bubble gum and walk at the same time
– CPR /AED certified

Kate O'Dwyer


Hi there future Legends! My name is Kate (K8) and I am a 43 year old wife and mom. I'm here to tell you that, I see you. I've been you. And now I want to help you. I struggled for years trying to transform my body composition and improve my body image.

I did everything from running half-marathons, to boxing, kickboxing, Les Mills programs, Zumba, hot yoga and even MORE running. And then one day I walked into a gym community like Rising Legends and not only did my body transform but my entire LIFE changed.

My experience inspired me to apply what I have learned to help others on their personal fitness journeys. Today, 11 years after those first steps, I am a General Manager and Coach at Rising Legends. I am determined to assist members in finding the drive, motivation and determination to prioritize themselves and their health. I want people to genuinely enjoy working out and come to love it as much as I have.

CPR Certified
Certificate of Attendance from the CrossFit Weightlifting Course



Hello future athlete! My name is Kris Hardin, I am 39 years old and have been lifting since I was 15 and through my journey I had the opportunity to learn from Gerard Benderoth "THE WHITE RHINO" a professional strongman competitor, Jason Manenkoff, a world class powerlifting coach and powerlifter himself and a variety of professional MMA trainers and athletes.

To be honest, this isn’t what I pride myself on. I like to believe that I can change your day for the better, Thats my goal! If I can…. Improve your technique, make you stronger, Or just put a smile on your face, I did my job. “LOVE LIFE AND LIFE WILL LOVE YOU”.

– 20 years experience Powerlifting
– 3rd Degree Balckbelt in Kempo
– Brown belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
– CPR Certified



Jon is our in-house motivation master! His positive disposition and encouraging attitude makes you believe you can achieve anything! Jon's main passion in life is helping people. He spends most of his time studying different aspects of the healthcare field to learn as much as he can about helping people recover from injury and illness.

This has led him to the field of Physical Therapy where he currently studies and thrives in helping people overcome obstacles and take back their lives through exercise. Besides helping others, Jon is an adventurer and looks for any chance he can to experience the great outdoors. He has hiked all over the U.S. from The Appalachian Trail in the East to Zion National Park and The Colorado Rockies in the West. Jon has also played almost any sport you can think of and pulls from all his experiences as an athlete to find the best way to coach you to victory. Jon is a passionate, driven and dedicated individual that will transform your perception of fitness with a smile.

– Undergraduate studies in PT
– Physical Therapist Aide
– Medical Assistant
– Personal Trainer
– Multiple Spartan Trifecta Holder
– I-fly Flight Instructor
– Loves Wendy’s



From her mouth to your ears: "You CAN teach old dogs new tricks! I'm too old, I'm too out of shape....... NEVER! Let me repeat that….. NEVER!!!! I was an athlete when I was younger and still have that bug in me…… it was dormant for years as life just got the better of me. I became sedentary, unfit, unhealthy and yep, you guessed it……rather large.

I walked into Rising Legends in 2018 (in my 50’s) and haven’t looked back. I’ve learned so much about health, fitness and being an athlete. I knew right away that I wanted to work with others like me, so I became a coach in 2019. I have been and will continue to learn from every athlete and all of the talented coaches here. I still have a way to go on my fitness journey and I want to take as many people with me as possible. You are never too old and/or out of shape – that is what we are here for – don’t let any more time pass you by – trust me!”

– CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
– CrossFit Masters Trainer
– Certified Kettlebell Professional Trainer & Coach
– Adult and Pediatric CPR/AED Certified



I have been involved with athletics and soccer in particular all of my life. After completing my college career, I was looking for a way to offer young athletes an opportunity to play soccer in college and joined several local soccer clubs in a coaching capacity as well as starting my career as a School Psychologist.

I found a great parallel between student development in the classroom and on the soccer field and it was rewarding to see the kids develop over time. In 2011 I found CrossFit which was being instructed in what I would call a personal fitness center. I was somewhat skeptical because I was never a fan of lifting heavy, it did not seem to fall in line with what would make me a better soccer player, so I stayed away. After the first week I found that I very much enjoyed the workouts, but it was more the environments and people who were suffering with me that brought me back. I always thought to myself “if these guys keep going, I can’t stop”. CrossFit has introduced me to many friends throughout the years and I became enamored with not knowing what was going to happen the next day, it became a daily challenge. As I became fitter and my knowledge for the movements increased, I saw that I enjoyed seeing myself progress but more than that, I enjoyed seeing my community members improve.

– USSF C License



While a student athlete in HS, I started martial arts at age 14, eventually earning a 1st degree black belt in Shorinji Kempo, a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and a 4th degree black belt in Hisardut/Krav Maga. I taught martial arts for 15 years, while also working as a personal trainer.

I discovered functional fitness around 2015, and made the move to CrossFit officially in 2018, which led me to my CF L1 certification last August.

Outside of athletics, I was a paramedic for 17 years, having just left the job to go back to school to become a physical therapist assistant, which will be completed in May 2022. In that capacity, I earned 3 commendations from Hackensack and Bridgeport Police departments, and held positions of FTO and Paramedic Field Instructor for the last 10 years. I am a military veteran, a husband to my beautiful
wife Kim, and devoted father of 4, Dylan 26, Emma 20, Olivia 17, and, yes, Olivia 10.

Without question the thing I love most about coaching and training others is watching them achieve. Whether the member I’m coaching is an advanced athlete, or it’s their first class, new barriers are broken everyday, and I thrive on being a part of that. We are never finished improving ourselves, both in and out of the gym, and I believe our gym improves lives in both arenas. Whether it’s someone lifting more than they have ever lifted before, or an athlete literally passing a rope under their feet for the first time without tripping; every milestone is something to be
celebrated by all of us here. I believe this is a philosophy that RLAF takes very seriously, and that’s why when new members start here, they stay here.

– CrossFit LvL 1
– 1st degree black belt (Shorinji Kempo)
– Blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
– 4th degree black belt (Hisardut/Krav Maga)
– Former Paramedic Filed Instructor (10 years)
– Military Veteran

Donna Chu


I'm Donna! I am a HUGE advocate for health and fitness and am excited to be one of your coaches at Rising Legends. When I'm not coaching, you can probably find me in the kitchen experimenting with recipes or playing tennis.

I am a foodie, wife to my loving husband, mother to my three kids and my two mini poodles.

My fitness journey began in 2014 at a local Crossfit box and fell in love with it. It became my passion. I soon earned my certifications to help train others. I became a coach wanting to inspire others and remind them that it’s not too late to begin your fitness journey. Whether it’s your first class or 100th class, I’m here to motivate, celebrate, and help you unleash your potential while you work towards your goals!

Crossfit Level 2 Trainer (CF-L2)
Crossfit Gymnastics
Crossfit Weightlifting
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
CPR/AED Adult/Infant certified



Hi, I'm Angela, also go by Ang, Angie or L1. My Fitness journey began in 2011 when I dropped into my first class and was hooked. I've always had a fascination with functional movement, how the body works, and its ability to change.

Outside of the box, I’m a foodie in training and always on the lookout for the best mom and pop shop, as well as a fantastic donut!

Looking forward to helping you reach your goals, unlock your full potential, and will be your biggest cheerleader every step of the way.

– Crossfit Level 1
– CPR / AED Certified

Chris Nordstrom

Chris Nordstrom


Live each class! Baker of amazing treats, hiker of mountains, and traveler.

Chris started his fitness journey weighing in at 400lbs and not loving every second of it.

Working his butt off dropping 200lbs to take the military entry exam and physical. While his journey of weight loss was not always easy, he figured out a lot of information and misinformation and passes it on to all. Which led him to go to college in the fitness field. With his 14 years of fitness experience and numerous degrees and certifications, he is here to help you on your fitness journey!

Through his many career endeavors he has always had fitness in the job line up. Being a Personal Trainer and Coach at a number of gyms in Rockland. Using CrossFit all the while with clients and classes.

I Love the potential everyone has, and being a part of the journey to reach new levels of that through improving your body and mind is a treat. My mission is to improve your health, whether that is through fitness, a bad joke, or just the right que to help; as long as you leave better than entering, my mission is accomplished!

AS: Exercise Specialist
AS: Exercise Science

CrossFit L1
IFPA Certified Personal Trainer
UCanRow2 Cert. Rowing instructor
Strong First Cert KB Instructor
Stages Cert. Spin Instructor
CPR/AED + First Aid Adult/Infant Cert

Terrance Williams



Sup my Rising Legends I'm coach T. I'm here to ignite the Fire to your Soul. I have always loved fitness and participated in sports such as basketball, Muay Thai kickboxing, cycling, marathons and many more. I'm a Detective for the NYPD and fitness has helped keep my stress levels at all time low.

My love is to help everyone achieve their fitness goals. Let’s discover the mobility and strength in you. We are Rockland’s friendliest gym community with positive energy that will that will leave a smile on your face. Come in and join us so we can create the LEGEND in you!

Stick Mobility Level 2



As an Occupational Therapist my role is to help individuals maximize independence in their basic daily activities; especially after injury, accident, surgery or illness. I adapt, modify, restore skills and the environment for individuals to thrive and be able to increase their performance and engage in meaningful "occupations". Basically, live happier and more fulfilling lives doing things they love.

I believe I have found the fitness equivalent in the functional fitness community. I was a competitive and professional dancer in high school and college and love being active and pushing my body to the limits; but when I tried to go to the regular gym I was either bored or confused on what to do.
Functional Fitness felt like home. I was surrounded by people who were friendly, supportive, pushed me past what I thought I could do and had me follow a structured and proven program to get results. Functional fitness means that it relates to real world activities and can be modified and applied to any individual regardless of their age or ability. I got into coaching for the same reason I chose to be an OT; To help people achieve their health and fitness goals, provide knowledge, education, and motivate and support them throughout their journey which would allow them to do things they never thought they could do.
It’s the little things in life that make all the difference.

Licensed Occupational Therapist
CF Level 1
Certified Flexologist by Stretchlab
CPR/ AED first aid

Craig "CHALK" Johnston


Hi, I'm coach "Chalk" and I could talk about my accomplishments here but I would prefer to hear about what yours are, where you want to be and what your future goals look like.

I’m here to make you believe in yourself. I have a drive to unlock your full potential. I have a passion for your progress & will strive to bring out the absolute best in you.

I have always told the athletes that I work with that, you can take away the title of “Coach” you can take away the money that comes with it, YOU are the reason why I do what I do. I would love to help you with your wins, successes, overcoming obstacles, learning from failures and celebrating your victories no matter how big or how small.

I just want you to know that I have been where you’re at, I’ve been the underdog, I’ve been down on myself, I’ve been in a dark place and I’m here to tell you that if I can flourish in my fitness journey, you can too.
I promise, If you put all of your effort out on the gym floor, I will give you all of my effort in coaching. Let’s get you to where you want to be.

CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
CrossFit Aerobic Capacity Trainer
CrossFit Masters Trainer
CPR/AED Certified

Christina Zacharopoulos "CZ"

Before raising four children I was a speech pathologist. My passion was assisting patients with traumatic brain injury to regain their lives. I discovered high intensity functional fitness in 2013 and have never looked back. As a coach, I'm finding similar enjoyment of helping others to realize their goals and overcome limits. I am continuing to learn to become a better athlete, coach and member of our RLAF community.

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
10 years of loving the sport

Coach Phil

Phil Placido

I'm Phil! I started my Functional Fitness journey in 2011. I did my first trial workout and right after class, I signed up for the Beginner' Course. One of the best decisions I have ever made. In 2014, I became an CrossFit L1 Trainer.

I left my old gym in 2020 due to the pandemic. A few months ago I heard from my friends (and my wife kept nagging me lol), that RLAF was looking for coaches. AND HERE I AM! Sports have always been part of my life, from ice hockey, triathlons, and boxing fitness.

I love this community! I am looking forward to seeing you in class. Let’s work out, laugh, get fit, and have some fun!

CrossFit L1 trainer
CrossFit Weightlifting

Rising Legends Academy of Fitness Chris Hayes

Chris Hayes

Chris spent most of his youth participating and coaching a plethora of sports. He is a Pennsylvania East-West Game alumni and played 4 years of college football at Bucknell University.

While still in high school, Chris coached youth football teams, and after college spent time as an assistant high school football coach. Chris has more than 6 years of experience coaching group fitness classes, and has aided in the development of athletes of all ages, from adults in functional fitness, to kindergarteners in track and field. Chris spends his days as a Quantitative Analyst for CNBC.

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