Our coaches will help you FEEL Amazing

Meet the team that’s dedicated to making your goals a reality.

our story

Mehdi has been coaching CrossFit since 2011. He is a Certified CrossFit Trainer (L3) and is the co-owner of CrossFit South Arlington. During his coaching career, he was the founder and head coach for The Last Pull weightlifting club, the Competition Director for the CrossFit Games Atlantic Regionals and the personal trainer for several competitive CrossFit Games athletes and teams. Mehdi is currently focusing his energies on growing CrossFit South Arlington to help people of all fitness levels find their path and reach their health goals.

“My wife and I are completely in sync. We both agree that I make the best decisions and I know she backs me up 100%.” – Mehdi E.

Meredyth has been coaching CrossFit since 2012 and has completed her CrossFit L2 certification. She’s also coached olympic weightlifting under Olympian, Cara Heads Slaughter. As a kid and young adult she was involved in swimming, tennis, hiking, whitewater rafting, dance and cheerleading. She’s a former elementary school teacher, and behavior analyst. Meredyth specializes in moving people toward healthier lifestyles. She enjoys training people who want to be better versions of themselves and believes wholeheartedly that CrossFit is a medium that transforms people in amazing ways. Meredyth is the co-owner and Director of Training at CFSA. These days you can find her helping athletes in the roles of personal trainer and CrossFit group class coach.

‘Whatever my husband says probably needs to be run by me first.” – Meredyth E.

Meredyth & Mehdi El-Amine

meet your support team

Edith Heggs

Fitness Manager

Edith has been coaching one on one athletes since 2013. Her specializations include rehabilitation, adaptive athletes, and women’s fitness. Edith’s passion is helping her clients move pain free and find happiness through exercise and living an active lifestyle.

“Trust the process and enjoy your journey” – Edith

Crossfit South Arlington Coach

Tyler Pumphrey

Fitness Coach & Facilities Manager

I grew up in Hawaii and Texas, but my wife Emily and I moved to the DC area after spending 5 years in San Diego, CA. As a kid I enjoyed team sports and really fell in love with baseball, playing in college. I was in the Navy for four years and enjoyed traveling the world. I started CrossFit in 2013 and my passion for fitness has grown ever since. I enjoy the personal interaction coaching brings, it allows me to make a positive impact in people’s life by sharing something I love with others.

Quote: “Your absolute best effort in anything will dispel any second thoughts you may ever have.”

Nate Naidas

Fitness Coach

Nate has been coaching CrossFit for nine years. He has a Level 1 certification. He was the founder and head coach for Redrum Barbell Club, CrossFit Impavidus Endurance Team, and CrossFit Montgomery Endurance Team. Nate has a passion for helping athletes identify their potential in and outside of the gym. He believes with the right mindset and focus on quality of movement, athletes can accomplish any of their goals.

“I do not sleep…I wait. It’s a ninja thing.” -Nate N.

Crossfit South Arlington Coach

Chris Santaniello

Fitness Coach

Chris has been training and coaching CrossFit since 2011. Chris has his CrossFit L-1 Certification, and was a DIII College Football player and CrossFit Mid-Atlantic Regionals 2014 Team member. Chris specializes in coaching Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, gymnastics, and conditioning with the mindset and approach of a power sport athlete.

“I’m not perfect, but I’m damn close!” – My dad

Crossfit South Arlington Coach

Mariela Alas

Fitness Coach & Social Media Specialist

Mariela walked through South Arlington’s doors in late 2015, with no previous athletic experience and even less body awareness. She attributes the majority of her athletic and personal development, over the past five years, to the warm community and adept coaching staff within the walls of this gym.

Her goal as a coach is to help athletes evolve their confidence, master new skills, and ultimately do things they never believed they were capable of. She loves watching members grow, not only as athletes, but also as confident individuals. As a crossfitter, now also turned dance enthusiast, movement has become an integral and beloved part of her life.
These days you can find her either: shoving a camera in your face, finding a new sport to play, or bragging about her new dance moves to the rest of the coaching staff.

Quote:”My opinions may have changed, but not the fact that I’m right.” Ashleigh Brilliant

Crossfit South Arlington Coach

Gisele Nighswander

Fitness Coach

Gisele started training in 2017 and completed her L-1 certification 3 years later. She played most sports throughout childhood and spent 3 years rowing for two local teams. It wasn’t until she started CrossFit, however, when she redirected her focus towards body awareness, nutrition, and the various benefits of movement. As a coach, Gisele aims to provide an inclusive, holistic, yet challenging experience for all of her athletes. Despite being relatively new to the CrossFit world, she has always had a passion for teaching, learning, and helping others, and is excited to continue this journey at South Arlington Fitness

“Here’s the deal I’m the best there is. Plain and simple. I wake up in the morning and I piss excellence.” -Ricky Bobby

Coach Tamara Cordero

Tamara Cordero

Fitness Coach

Tamara found CrossFit in 2014 and was immediately hooked. She started coaching shortly after and has been coaching CrossFit and competitive weightlifting for 7 years now.
She currently holds a CrossFit Level 2 Certification, USA Weightlifting Level 2 and CrossFit Weightlifting Level 1 Certification.
Coaching has allowed her to help others and give back to the community in a unique way. Her specialty is primarily olympic weightlifting.
For several years she managed a local weightlifting club before starting Iron Crown Fitness. Before COVID she was regularly traveling to competitions for her athletes and looks forward to getting back to competitions soon.

“The barbell has a way of teaching everyone a little bit more about themselves”

Coach Elise Perez

Elise Perez

Fitness Coach

Elise joined the fitness world two years ago, after achieving her own health transformation. She specializes in nutrition, weight loss, and pain management. Elise’s coaching takes a whole-person approach; by teaching and empowering athletes to significantly enhance their lifestyles. She lives for the moments of clients moving some heavy a** weight, realizing their true strength and seeing that strength manifest in other parts of their lives.

“Life sometimes gets heavy, baby. But that’s why we strength train our spirits too.” -Unknown

Kirsten Barbato

Customer Success Specialist

Kirsten is a full-time mom to an adorable 17 month old girl, Annie, and an even bigger fur baby, Birdie. She is a part-time CFSA customer success specialist, spin instructor, amateur cook, and sweat life enthusiast. Any given day you can find her sipping coffee in some sort of luon, luxtreme, sweat wicking material, and kicking butt. (Usually at a kids gym, park, or the library but that is neither here nor there!)


CrossFit Level 1 Certification
CrossFit Level 2 Certification
CrossFit Level 3 Certification
Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT)
CrossFit Football Certification
CrossFit Endurance Certification
CrossFit Gymnastics Certification
CrossFit Barbell Certification
CrossFit Olympic Lifting Certification
CrossFit Kids Certification
CrossFit Mobility Certification
USAW Certification

Our vision

To create an inclusive space where anyone is empowered to pursue their personal health and fitness goals and guided in their journey to become the healthiest, happiest version of themselves.

Our mission

To help people get healthy. Now and 30 years from now.

To guide athletes towards well-rounded general fitness. Help a friend move, play with our kids, run a marathon, we want to do all of it.

To offer professional fitness and nutrition services that produce results through sustainable behavior change and smart goals.

To establish relationships with our clients built on trust, positivity and mutual respect.

Our philosophy

We believe in fun. We believe that, to be effective in a long-term sense, what we do here has to be enjoyable. It has to be engaging.

We are the segue into a more healthy, active life. That responsibility means introducing clients to new activities and habits, making them comfortable with working out in any environment, and giving them attributes they can display with pride.

We love general physical preparedness. Strength, speed, endurance, stamina, power, balance, accuracy, coordination, agility and flexibility. We want to work on ALL of them. Our daily workouts prepare you as best as possible to be a great all-around athlete. The point is not to be great in the gym, it’s to be ready and capable everywhere outside it.

We believe in hard work and professionalism. Our own hard work will be recognized by our clients and friends, and will encourage them to work hard in the face of challenge. We sweat the details, take ownership of our work and put our clients first in all our interactions.

We believe in the long haul. Continual progress is necessary for self- actualization; consistency is the driving force. We set milestones and celebrate not only when they’re reached but when the unsexy work is being done in the form of small daily steps. And then we reach further.

We don’t take ourselves too seriously when we workout. We’re comfortable in our skills, and can joke about our weaknesses. It’s always easier when you’re the best!

We believe client results are enabled first and foremost by a relationship of trust and mutual respect. A coach listens with empathy and deeply cares for their athlete and their individual physical and emotional needs.

We believe in science. We believe in ongoing education. Teaching, Behavior, Sport, Medicine, Psychology, Nutrition, Kinesiology, to name a few. We’re committed to the peer review process, the application of cutting-edge science, the debunking of myths, and the benefits of active debate and discussion.

We believe and stand for inclusivity. We welcome members into our community without discrimination, regardless of sex, age, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, national origin, color, marital or familial status, disability, or religious affiliation.

Above all, we believe in ourselves and our clients!