THE Catalyst CrossFit STORY
Monica Buccellato & Fernando Gamarra - OWNER
Life is an adventure! But too many of us miss out on it, either because our bodies or our minds… or both… aren’t up for the challenge. We’re too afraid of the unknown, we’re afraid we aren’t fit enough, we’re afraid we might fail and lose everything, we’re afraid we might get hurt. The excuses are never ending as to why we can’t do something. Monica and Fernando officially started Catalyst CrossFit in 2019, but the idea of their company was birthed many years prior. Before they even met, they separately dreamed of one day owning a gym that helped people live happier, healthier lives.
But life happened, and they each grew successful careers outside of the fitness industry. It was natural to assume opening a gym at this point wasn’t possible… until they started asking themselves “why not?” Monica left her 15-year career as a CPA to pursue their dream. And now they’re on a mission to ask others the same thing… why not? Deep down, we love the challenges that come with adventure. Looking back on our lives, our greatest memories involve us overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges… the time we worked 40 hours straight to successfully finish a project, walking across the stage at a graduation ceremony, giving birth, getting your first muscle up, losing over 100 lbs… As humans, we are drawn to these stories. Our emotions are stirred when we hear stories of people defying the odds, when they overcome challenge after challenge to arrive at their goal. There’s a reason for that. We weren’t built for sitting on the sidelines! We were literally made for adventure and to live our lives to their fullest! That’s why Monica and Fernando started Catalyst CrossFit: to show people they can do so much more than they ever thought possible and to prepare them, mentally and physically, for that journey. A quote from Hunter S. Thompson says it best: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely… but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a ride!” It’s time to start asking ourselves “why not”!
One of my favorite things is watching someone go "full send", with 100% commitment. There is no "Plan B". Failure isn't an option, and neither is following the status quo. The odds are stacked against them, and there's no reason for anyone to believe they'll succeed… but they do. Many of us have chosen not to pursue our goals because of fear, choosing to live within the safety of our comfort zones.
The thought of failing is too much for us to bear, so we try to bury our dreams in excuses, convincing ourselves it’s not even possible. I was that person. Despite having a love for health and fitness my entire life and wanting to open my own gym, the fear of going against conventional wisdom and the fear of failing held me back. I picked the safe career as a CPA, while learning as much as I could about health and fitness in my spare time. In 2011, I fell in love with fitness even more, when I was introduced to CrossFit, a sport overflowing with those “full send” moments. I found myself doing things I never thought were possible. Those moments built a confidence in me that translated to life outside of the gym, and eventually my mindset towards starting my own gym shifted from “what if I fail” to “what if I never try”. The thought of never trying scared me more than the thought of failing. After having my own “full send” moment, quitting my 15-year CPA career, and starting a business from the ground up, now my passion is asking that same question to others… what if you never try… if you knew you couldn’t fail, would you still be ok burying your goals?
I have a few loves in my life; my wife, my son, my family and helping others achieve their goals. I have spent most of my life studying fitness, human physiology, nutrition, medicine and the importance of a positive mindset. In college, I worked as an assistant strength & conditioning coach, where I had the opportunity to work with Division 1 and professional athletes while completing my degree in Exercise Physiology.
My love of human physiology and passion for helping people led me to medical school where I became board certified in Internal Medicine, later specializing in Gastroenterology and Obesity Medicine. After discovering CrossFit in 2011, I later earned my CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, CrossFit Kids Trainer and Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certificates. It was at a CrossFit gym where I met my incredible wife, Monica. Our shared desire to help others ultimately led to the creation of this business. Catalyst CrossFit is more than just a gym, it’s a community where strong friendships are forged. It’s a place where we teach our members how to take control of their health and learn how to improve the quality of their lives every single day. I believe that fitness and mental strength is a lifestyle and necessary ingredients in the quest of becoming the best version of yourself. My goal is to transform the lives of everyone around me using health, fitness, nutrition and mindset as catalysts.