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stephen gizzi — CO-OWNER/HEAD COACH
Gizzi does not hesitate when you ask him who his fitness hero is…“Chris Spealler exemplifies the sentiment that the mind is primary. The guy was competitive at the highest level for years against athletes that on paper were far superior to him.” And it is this same focus on training the mind that the athletes at Left Coast CrossFit love in owner and coach Stephen Gizzi.
Raised in Orange County, it was his father, a tennis and soccer coach, who set the standard of coaching for Gizzi. “I have always been extremely active, and into sports and training for sports. I have also been coaching people in some capacity since I was 13, coaching younger kids at a soccer camp. I feel very fortunate that my job is getting to do what I love and would be doing no matter what. It is the perfect marriage of coaching and active lifestyle.”
When Gizzi first discovered CrossFit from a college teammate he thought it was strange. But when he realized the potency hidden in his first CrossFit workout, Fran, he was sold. What Gizzi discovered in CrossFit is “the incredibly broad scope of athleticism that it creates and encompasses. The concept of a well-rounded athlete, someone who snatches 300 pounds, runs a sub 5-minute mile, and can do ten strict muscle ups as the end goal, means there is virtually endless opportunity to learn and grow as an athlete.”
Coaching first at CrossFit Tustin, it was only natural then that Gizzi’s natural talent for coaching and athleticism pair with CrossFit. Now, as Left Coast’s owner and a well-respected figure in Orange County CrossFit community, his commitment to the athlete and good foundational coaching remains the same. “My favorite part of coaching is seeing someone realize they are capable of much more than they previously thought possible. I also love finding out a person’s goal, and then helping them to get there.” But Gizzi also expects the same commitment in return, “What is most difficult for me is when people are inconsistent in their attendance. It makes it almost impossible to make progress.”
This formula of commitment and expectation works well for the athletes at Left Coast. And it is telling that all of Gizzi’s favorite fitness moments involve his athletes, not him. “I can recall several. Most recently seeing John Gottron get his first bar muscle up, or Kyra getting her first pull-ups. I also remember when Mary Ann got her first strict pull-up. And as cheesy as it sounds, every time Ryan Hayes walks in the door.”
It is this same sense of dedicated and honest service that Gizzi hopes to continue with Left Coast CrossFit, growing organically while they broaden their scope of service to the community. “Starting with Olympic lifting and the kid's program. Eventually, I’d like to get a gymnastics program and have an endurance program take root. I’d also like to see the community grow tighter through more events in and outside of the gym.”
But Gizzi’s core elements remains the same. “I’ve always been told by my dad and other coaches that sports are a microcosm of life. I believe this to be true of CrossFit as well. The lessons I learn in here (how to handle being uncomfortable, how to deal with disappointment, the pleasure of working really hard for a goal and then achieving it, the list goes on) stay with me when I leave the gym.” It is these same lessons that Stephen Gizzi helps those at Left Coast achieve, in the gym and out of the gym he is an example to us all.