Get to Know Your Coach | Carla Neilly

Ask a CrossFitter to describe their CrossFit box (in the odd instance they aren’t already talking about it), and you’re sure to leave the conversation knowing the name of at least one of their coaches.

Why? Because they’re that impactful.

Unlike so many – if not all – other sports, in CrossFit, the last person to finish is the one cheered on the loudest. The person who fails rep after rep is greeted with the same high-five as the person who cycles through Rx’d movements with ease.

It’s these unique characteristics that separate and define CrossFit, and it’s the coaches we owe thanks to for putting them into practice day in and day out. 

While day after day, they’re reminding us to keep our elbows up in a front rack and break parallel in a squat, CrossFit coaches serve a deeper purpose.

They create an environment where one can scale movements without being overcome by embarrassment, where neither the number on the scale nor the barbell define worth, where confidence is built rather than broken.

They transform a class into a community.


Where does your passion for fitness and a healthy lifestyle come from?
My real passion for fitness came later in life. I always had an active lifestyle but was looking for a change in my mid 20’s. I needed a change from the typical globo gym scene but wanted to continue with lifting weights. When I walked into crux watching the weights hitting the floor I was hooked and signed up immediately!

Why do you coach, what motivates you to coach?
Many things motivate me as a coach. Working with all sorts of athletes young and old, with different goals and the challenges it brings with it. Most importantly watching people reaching beyond physical health and develop strong work ethics by embracing failure and building resilience.

I love the opportunity I get each day to teach the sport of CrossFit.Nothing is more motivating to me than to see our athletes get as much as they can out of the hour they spend on the gym!

What is a typical day in the life?
My full time gig as a police officer is demanding and very busy. My typical day starts with a workout 🏋🏻‍♀️ . I usually get some form of training in on the gun range before the night gets busy. I currently work on the Tactical Response Team and responsible for attending weapon calls like shootings, armed robberies and executing high risk search warrants. My day is hard and full of unknowns and nothing is more soothing than coming into Crux and blow off some steam!

What is the most rewarding part of coaching?
The most rewarding part of coaching is when I see our members build their self confidence and self esteem through their fitness journey.

What is your favourite movement/benchmark workout and why?
Snatch is my favourite movement. Isabel and Grace have to be my favourites! Short, fast and heavy is my jam!

What is your most hated movement/benchmark workout and why?
I would never say hate but Turkish get -ups are probably my least favourite.

What is something most people don’t know about you or something interesting?
I am currently going back to school part-time at Wilfred Laurier to get my degree in Criminology.

What type of music do you like to work out to?
It depends on my mood, I can listen to almost any genre ...... but rock music seems to be a regular go to unless Al is rocking the country jams.

What is one highlight from your athletic career?
The highlight of my athletic career is when I passed the physical fitness test for my police services Tactical Team. I was the first female to do this successfully and motivate other women to achieve things they never thought possible.

Where do you spend your time when you aren’t at the gym?
I like to spend my free time up north at the cottage with my husband and two dogs! The fresh air and minimal technology allows me to recharge from a stressful week and enjoy the outdoors!