Meet the Trainers

Amy, trainer

I have always had a passion for fitness. It wasn’t until I turned 37 years old that I truly began to understand what being fit entailed.  After having two children, it was hard for me to reach the weight loss goals I was looking for.  I decided to give CrossFit a try.   After joining in 2010, I have been hooked ever since.  I met those weight loss goals within six months of joining but most importantly, I have become stronger and healthier each and every day.   My goal as a trainer is to continuously expand my knowledge in fitness and nutrition and inspire others to do the same.

Certifications and Background

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, January 2014

Barnette, trainer

When Matt got home from the Army (Iraq), he said “Dad, you’ve got to try out CrossFit.  That was about 5 years ago.  I was 58 years old then and rode a bicycle maybe 50 to 100 miles per week and was in decent shape for my age.  Matt knew that I had a really bad knee (high school football injury and 2 surgeries), but he insisted that CrossFit was the prescription.  I reluctantly gave it a try.  I could not believe it!  In no time at all he had me doing full-depth squats and I gradually started getting stronger and started feeling better and better.  Within a couple of years I could do 21 unassisted pull ups, and I was over 60 years old (now 63).

I played football and baseball in high school and one year of baseball at Duke.  The highlight of my ACC sports career was stealing home against NC State.  I graduated Duke University in 1972 with a Chemistry degree and went into the US Air Force for 2 ½ years as a Communications Electronics Officer.  I am, and have been a general contractor in the Triangle area for over 40 years.  I am married, have 3 kids (adults), 8 grandkids, and their grandmother (my wife, Cindy) can deadlift 215 lbs!  CrossFit works for folks of any age.  You just have to scale it to your situation.  And we can help you do that.

Certifications and Background

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, March 2013

Jamie, trainer

Certifications and Background

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, August 2014, Charlotte, NC

Jen, trainer

I have always loved being active and doing something productive.  I’ve dabbled in sports a bit, but have spent most of my time trying to get “fit”.  Before CrossFit, I didn’t even have a good definition of FIT!  I used to run and lift – mostly by myself, and often got bored and quit for periods at a time.  Then one day, some wrestlers told me about CrossFit online and told me to give it a try.  My first workout was filthy fifty’ and I was grabbing my knees before the first exercise was over.  I think it took me over an hour. After that, I was hooked.  For the next several months, my neighbors witnessed me running around the block, jumping onto my picnic table, and throwing myself onto the ground…then up into the air as I tried to “do CrossFit” on my own.

I joined 21CF in August 2011 and have loved the planned workouts, the accountability and the camaraderie.  I no longer try to fit exercise in my life…now I make life fit around my workouts…and it WORKS!  I am now able to do the skills I used to skip (like double unders and rope climb)….and I’m doing Olympic lifts.  I have a new definition of FIT  and though I’m not there yet, I’m getting better.

I got Cross Fit Level 1 Certified in July 2012 because I love helping people get healthy and achieve their goals.  As a trainer, my aim is to help you with your technique, make adjustments that fit your training level, and encourage you in your progress.  21CrossFit  is a great place to end boring workouts and to start building a like-minded fitness community. Only one warning…It’s addictive.  Check it out for yourself and get FIT.

Certifications and Background

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, July 2012, Charlotte, NC

Athletic Trainer at Duke University, August 1995-present

Kate, trainer


I have always enjoyed fitness and sports, though often health wasn’t as much a priority as it should have been. After finishing undergraduate I decided that it was time to take my health more seriously. Being a professional researcher I am I began to look into how I could improve my routine and started to find out more about resistance training and began lifting weights. It went against much of what I thought I knew about how to exercise and ‘look good’. As I leaned out, felt better, and enjoyed higher quantities of whole foods I finally felt I found a balance I was happy with and could maintain.

I decided to try to CrossFit in November of 2012 with the intention of mixing it up for a month and then going back to solo training. But soon I was hooked-my lifts were 20, 30, 100 lbs more than they had been and I could move faster for longer. It was extremely empowering-quality instruction and a great community pushed me to achieve more than I had ever envisioned.
When I moved to Durham to start my Ph.D. at Duke I knew I had to find a CrossFit box. I’m happy I found 21 CrossFit, a great community of kind and passionate people who love fitness and self-improvement and put safe training first. I believe strongly CrossFit training combined with a healthy lifestyle can bring enormous benefits to everyone and I feel honored and lucky to be a part of that.

Certifications and Background

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, October 2013, Concord, NC

Matt Crabtree, owner & trainer

Matt is the founder of 21 CrossFit, has been teaching CrossFit since 2008, and is one of the most experienced CrossFit trainers in central North Carolina.

“My first CrossFit workout was in December 2006.  Up to that point I was a chest on monday, back on tuesday, arms on wednesday, skip doing legs because I run in the Army type.  That workout was an athletic turning point.  I was intrigued (and humbled because I couldn’t believe how hard it was to do an overhead squat).  CrossFit was providing the fitness prescription I had been looking for for years.  I began doing the CrossFit workouts at the gyms on post whenever I could.  Over the course of the next year I was deployed to Iraq as part of “the surge” and continued to CrossFit.  By the time I re-deployed home, I was buying equipment to outfit my garage.

I want to be as fit as possible in every area of fitness.  Not just strength, not just endurance, not just bodyweight, not just weights.  I want to be fit, be strong, not just look like it.  CrossFit fits the prescription like no other program.

I love exercise and want to help people achieve their peak level of fitness.  An engineer by schooling, and an athlete at heart, I started my gym out of my garage in 2008 as a part time gig while working as a builder.  2010 saw us go full time and then in 2011 we moved again to our current 3,000 square foot facility.  From October 2002 to 2008, I served on active duty in the U.S. Army.

Certifications and Background

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, August 2008, Rainier CrossFit, WA

CrossFit Kids Trainer since 2011

CrossFit Olympic Lifting Course, with Coach Mike Burgener, May 2009, CrossFit Wilmington, NC

CrossFit Kettlebell Trainer Course, with Jeff Martone, October 2011, 21 CrossFit, NC

Test Subject for CrossFit Level 2, November 2009, CrossFit Decatur, GA

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, June 2010, CrossFit Wilmington, NC

CPR/AED and First Aid Certified by American Red Cross

Olympic Lifting Training with Olympic Coach Glen Pendlay, October 2010

USA Weightlifting Referee since 2010

USA Weightlifting Certified Sports Performance Coach since 2011

Matt J, trainer


“I first got interested in fitness as a rower in college.  After graduating, I found myself in downtown Chicago with a membership to a large brand-name gym.  It turns out that wasn’t for me. I wasn’t enjoying it, and as a result, I was getting pretty out of shape.  I had done some CrossFit workouts as cross training while rowing, and I decided to check out a few of the boxes in the area.  I found a lot of the things there that I really missed about college athletics.  The feeling of being part of a team, someone else telling me what workout to do everyday, and the actual difficulty of the workouts were lacking from my earlier experience.  I joined pretty much immediately.

I moved to Durham for graduate school in 2013, and before I had moved down I was already in contact with the different gyms down here.  After trying out the local boxes, I ended up at 21 CrossFit – originally just because I preferred the programming here, but I’ve come to love the sense of community as much as the workouts.  As a trainer, I enjoy learning and teaching the technical aspects of new movements – I like seeing people able to do something they had never been able to do before.”

Certifications and Background

CrossFit Level 1, August 2014, Charlotte, NC

Preston, trainer

Certifications and Background

CrossFit Level 1, CrossFit Kids

Stacy, trainer

“I’ve been an athlete all my life:  from a 5 year old playing softball… to high school tennis / cross-country / basketball / softball teams… to college basketball player & coach.  I love sports and competition.  I graduated from UNC Greensboro in 1996 with a BS in Exercise & Sport Science.  And in 2005, I graduated from Cabarrus College of Health Sciences with a degree in Nursing.  I’ve had a variety of careers (coaching, nursing, general contractor, housing inspector, and currently an orthopedic nurse).  In the past I was a certified personal trainer, and now am CrossFit Level 1 certified.  I look forward to seeing you all at 21 fitness soon!

I had been in a rut for a long time as far as exercise goes – overweight & limited by a bad knee, but since starting Crossfit I’ve gotten hooked.  For me, it’s the accountability as well as the competition – with each other sometimes & with ourselves every day, that keeps me coming back.  I still have to scale or modify workouts due to my knee or more times than anything because I’m not strong enough yet…like to do a ring handstand pushup…crazy…but one day I’ll be able to do it!  I have also incorporated the Zone diet and now the Paleo diet, which when paired with Crossfit, is really helping me drop some pounds to get me back to a good fighting weight…25, 30, 32, 37, 39, 41, 45, 51, 60, 75+ pounds and counting.  No matter what your current fitness level, Crossfit is the place to start.  We’ll modify workouts as needed so you stay safe while constantly improving your overall fitness.”


CrossFit Level 1, June 2010, CrossFit Wilmington, NC

Basic Life Support Certified


-2011 CrossFit Games Open competitor

-2011 OBX Sprint Triathlon competitor

-BS in Exercise & Sport Science

-Orthopedic Nurse

-Division I College basketball player and coach, UNCG

Todd McKee, owner & trainer

“I began CrossFit in January 2011 and have been hooked ever since. As an Army Officer, I used the Army physical training standards to gauge my fitness. I was rudely awakened during the first 20 minute AMRAP learning the Army PT standards are not a fitness measure. My athletic background is football, wrestling and track in high school and recreational sports such as paintball and golf since.  My CrossFit goals are to push myself and those around me to get better every day, integrate myself into the 21 CrossFit  training staff and to improve my teaching/coaching techniques.

I’ve been a Flight Nurse at Duke since 1994. Flight nursing is a physically and mentally challenging career; CrossFit has extended the career I love.”

Certifications and background

CrossFit level 1 Trainer, May 2011

Medical Certifications:  Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Cardiac Life Support, Neonatal Resuscitation Provider, Pediatric Neonatal Critical Care Transport Nurse, North Carolina EMT-Paramedic

Bachelor of Science in Nursing, the Ohio State University