Danielle Hewitt - Owner/Nutrition Coach
Growing up in a time without X-Box and Nintendo, I spent my days outside. Playing hide and go seek, croquet, and lawn darts (resulting in only one casualty…not fatal).
I started playing softball at the ripe age of 10, and continued on throughout high school, in both club and school leagues. But unfortunately this career came to an early end after severely spraining both ankles, making walking in stilettos difficult (I know, not how you picture a softball player).
After high school, I attended Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. However, the slopes called, so I left early to pursue a career in snow-boarding. Although not successful, had a hell of a time!
Fast forward a couple of years, and my former stalker now husband, moved to Santa Barbara County. So he could pursue his lifelong love and heart’s desire to be a used car salesman. (Ask for Jedd at Jim Vreeland Ford, “Still the Home of Mister Nobody”).
My interest in CrossFit started when my friend, and brother from another mother, Dani, and I first joined a boot camp at another gym. After being encouraged by the trainer to pursue our new passion, we joined CPC, and haven’t looked back since.
I’ve now been doing CrossFit for over four years, and during that time I have gone from a skinny girl to a bro. My love for this sport has led me to coaching at Gravitas. One of the most rewarding parts of being a coach is to see a member’s confidence grow. Many new members come in scared of what Crossfit is all about. But after only a few weeks, they gain a confidence in their abilities, both athletically and mentally.
Nicole Williams - Nutrition Coach
I found Crossfit in 2012, after the birth of my second child, Benjamin. My friend introduced it to me as something I might like so I thought I would give it a shot. Man am I happy I did!
I grew up playing competitive sports, mainly soccer and basketball. I played varsity soccer for 4 years at Santa Barbara High school (that’s right I’m a local) before going off to UCLA and leaving team sports behind me. I found myself grinding it out on cardio machines, not enjoying myself much, and developing an increasingly unhealthy relationship with food. After traveling the world (which helped me gain some much-needed perspective) I returned to Santa Barbara and attended Grad school where I received my MA in Clinical Psychology and went on to become a licensed psychotherapist, with a focus in treating food-related addictions.
Ok let’s get back to Crossfit! Even though I discovered Crossfit in 2012 I don’t think I actually fell in love with it until after the birth of my 3rd son, Jacob (three boys! Luke, Benjamin, and Jacob). During this time my husband started to come to Gravitas consistently and it became super fun to share our progress and celebrate each other’s PR’s. It has been so satisfying to have something that is just for me when I could easily lose myself in motherhood. I love that I am consistently challenged and that it forces me outside of my comfort zone…I have also gained lifelong friends.
Because of my love for Crossfit and my experience in treating food-related issues, I have decided to focus my expertise towards developing the nutrition program at Gravitas Fitness. My hope is to cater to people who want something as simple as a basic nutrition plan, to those whose needs are more complex, related to understanding behavioral tendencies around food.
To be clear this is not a psychotherapeutic program, but I believe my experience as a mental health professional will enhance my ability to help you develop a nutrition plan that works for your specific personality type and needs. I am really looking forward to working more closely with a community that I absolutely love and consider home.
Chance Daskauskas - GM/Coach
Following surgery and rehabilitation, Chance struggled to find his past identity of an athlete in a different sport. He taught private pitching lessons to children and teens and also ran a number of baseball clinics with future athletes.
Chance was introduced to the world of CrossFit in 2011 where he stumbled upon a small gym in Bakersfield, CA. He fell in love with the intensity, competition and community CrossFit provides and signed up immediately. He spent his spare time watching videos on crossfit.com to correct his form and understand proper movement patterns.
After moving to Santa Barbara, CA, he spent time analyzing and gathering trainer’s perspective on fitness. He spent time at various gyms to acquire a plethora of knowledge in different forms of fitness ranging from endurance, flexibility, and power. He also competes in local competitions, his first being a CrossFit competition in 2014. He became CrossFit certified in 2016.
His genuine passion for the sport of CrossFit and the members of the community radiates through the gym while he is coaching. You can hear him cheering whenever someone PR’s or gets their first muscle up (sometimes he is more excited than the athletes). His simplistic nature and patient coaching style helps people understand complex movements without feeling overwhelmed.
Edson Dorantes - Coach
Growing up I played high level club soccer and Olympic development programs. In high school I was a 4yr starter on Varsity and achieved all league awards in CIF. I got recruited by top colleges in Ca. I ended up declining offers and took an opportunity to play soccer in Denmark for a small club. After about 3months of playing all over Europe I got injured and needed surgery.
During my time in a cast and rehab I felt really lost and confused everything I had worked for was gone( a little dramatic but that’s how it felt). The only thing that made me feel like me was exercising and fitness. This led me to the Fitness industry, I started with bodybuilding and continued on to Strength and Conditioning. I fell in love with human performance and watching people progress with their strength and fitness.
I began doing personal training in a small neighborhood gym in San Francisco and ran soccer camps at the SF state. I eventually moved back to S.B and got back to my same globo gym and soccer camp routine. I started feeling really bored with my workouts and progress. Then I found Crossfit on ESPN and my mind was blown! I fell in love with every aspect of this training methodology. I began working out at gravitas around 2012 and soon after got my CF-level 1 and was hungry to start developing my crossfit skills. A friend and I started running classes out of our garage for our friends and family with great results. We ended up disbanding and I found myself back at Gravitas Fitness!
Eric and Dani were nice enough to give me the opportunity to bring my strength/conditioning and soccer background to Gravitas! I am excited to part of the Familly!
Sally DeLyser - Coach
I’ve been an athlete for as long as I can remember and growing up in southern California made it easy to play sports year round. My first true love was the sport of soccer. From the time I could walk I was putting on my mom’s cleats and kicking a ball around the house. In true tomboy fashion, when I wasn’t on the soccer field you could find me schooling the neighborhood kids in whatever sport was in season. Football, baseball, basketball, roller hockey – I loved it all. It was a positive way to channel my energy and it fed my competitive spirit. I liked to win, but more than anything I loved the game. Making gains, seeing improvement, using my body to do amazing things.
As much as I loved soccer, I didn’t want it to dictate my college experience (AKA – I wanted to party and meet boys and do stupid college shit with my friends). So in 2001 I hung up my cleats and moved to Santa Barbara to attend UCSB. I played intramural soccer through college while also finding myself in the rut of a “globo gym” filled with people I couldn’t relate to and equipment I didn’t really know how to use. The “globo gym” rut continued for several years after college until I decided I had finally had enough. I had lost the athlete I once was and was ready to get her back. I tried a local boot camp for a year, but was still left wanting more.
In 2013, with a little coaxing from Lauren Sova, I decided to give the Crossfit Kool-Aid a try. Lauren and I left the bootcamp we were at and spent a Saturday checking out the local Crossfit gyms. Luckily Crossfit Pacific Coast (now Gravitas) was our first, and last, stop. I had some friends that were already members and knew that the community at CPC was something I needed to be a part of.
It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with Crossfit. Not only does it call to my competitive side, but it allows me to have meaningful interactions with people I love and care about every day. I am a teacher by trade, and the measurable growth that comes with training in Crossfit is one of my favorite things about the sport. There is always something heavier to lift or a skill that needs refining. While I continue to play soccer on both a co-ed and women’s team (which Coach Danielle is THRILLED about), Crossfit has become my day to day release. It has not only helped me to rediscover the athlete that I once was, it brought me a community of incredible people and a home at Crossfit Pacific Coast. As a member of the Gravitas coaching staff I hope to share my love for and experience in Crossfit to help others grow as athletes and develop a love and appreciation for this incredible sport.
Tom Straub - Coach
However, with high school over and my professional sports career nonexistent, I did what I could to remain involved in my passion of sports. I went on to study Kinesiology (Exercise Physiology) at Arizona State University thereby combining my love of sports with my interest in science. This experience led me to a plethora of information involving exercise and performance, all of which constantly changes due to more and more research within the subject.
Around this time I was also becoming more involved in endurance racing, particularly triathlons. I feel that the combination of swimming, biking and running is an ultimate test of endurance as well as a monumental test of one’s mental and emotional strengths. My training regime was strict and mostly sport specific involving long days with a mixture of long low-intensity aerobic training sessions, periodic high-intensity interval training sessions and additional supplemental weight training. While the program worked and I was a top performer in the few races I competed in, I found it difficult to maintain the hours of training.
Following my time at ASU, my rigorous training schedule lapsed. Although I tried to remain in shape, frequenting the local “globo gym” and getting in an occasional run/bike/swim, I never felt at the top of my game.
My career path soon led me to the Fire Academy at Allan Hancock which undoubtedly required me to be in tip-top physical shape. Again, my self-programmed routine was effective but I knew there was room for improvement. It was at this time that I was introduced to the way of life referred to as Crossfit. Praised amongst firefighters, police and the military service alike, Crossfit was quickly growing and becoming the preferred method of training for likeminded individuals.
Dabbing into some quick research, I was amazed and impressed on the amount of information and the education Crossfit supplied in addition to their unique and basic fundamental workouts. After a brief experimental period, I made my way into Crossfit Pacific Coast for proper training.
The results I have experienced have been unparallel to any other program I have attempted. My strength gains constantly climb; I continue to PR with my Olympic lifting (which was a new experience for me) and my endurance level has been elevated beyond that of my triathlon days.
Being involved with Crossfit Pacific Coast for nearly 2 years now, my natural progression is to want to teach and share with others the benefits and education I have gained from my experience. Coaching allows me to inspire others to perform to the best of their ability thereby meeting and exceeding personal gains, while promoting safe training practices so that others may enjoy a long and injury-free experience.
Bret Williams - Coach
Fast forward eight years, I was now living with the same coach and her husband who started me at 5…playing tennis every day! I would leave school at 2:30, be at the courts at 2:45…put some ankle weights and wrist weights on and jump rope for 30 minutes. Play a match with one of the UOP tennis players or some random 40 year old dude, Run 3-5 miles, Play another match, Do some home work, and finish with a lesson from my coach, then race my coaches home (I would run, they would drive…it was about a mile). I’d do that every day and play tournaments every weekend. I lasted about a year. It was lonely on the court and the thing I LOVED became a job.
I moved back home to Los Angeles for high school. I gravitated towards team sports after that, basketball in particular. I still played tennis and fell back in love with it once the expectations had been removed.
I came to UCSB for undergraduate and quickly realized I needed to figure out how to stay here. I played a ton of basketball and some tennis during my time at UCSB. I had some friends who played on the tennis team so I was fortunate enough to hit with them.
After graduating UCSB, I moved away for law school. Thankfully, I found my way back to Santa Barbara and met my amazing wife Nicole. I would still play basketball a couple of times a week and tennis once a week but I wasn’t in the best shape (to put it mildly). This point was undeniable when I joined Nicole for a personal training session. About a third of the way through I was lightheaded and about to vomit. I was unable to finish the training session…and did I mention my wife was about 6 months pregnant with our second kid. At that point I knew something had to change.
My wife was introduced to crossfit by some friends of ours. She went through the zombie apocalypse intro session at CPC/Gravitas. She thought I’d like it and man was she right. After the first few months of weirdness, new super awkward movements, people cheering for me as I barely finished workouts…I was hooked!
My crossfit experience has been so profoundly shaped by two things; the community and the coaches. When I had the opportunity to coach, it was something I had to do. I love crossfit and the impact it has had on me individually and it being a shared passion of my wife has been amazing. I look forward to being a part of the athlete’s experience at Gravitas.
Sean Von Hoetzendorff - Coach
I spent my last two years of summer in Mammoth leading guided trips on the John Muir trail where we covered ground from Mt. to Yosemite.
I Moved to Santa Barbara in 2000, went to SBCC cosmetology school and got my license in hair dressing. In 2010 I opened my own hair salon. During my time in Santa Barbara I jumped around from gym to gym trying to keep my motivation and love for fitness . Four years ago I found CrossFit. At first CrossFit and its movements were so foreign to me but that’s what intrigued me especially Olympic lifting and gymnastics, Crossfit has pushed me to new fitness highs and has helped keep me in the best shape of my life.
Chris Chan - Coach
As a secondary sport to swimming, I locally competed in USTA tournaments for over seven years and reached the sectional level of age group tennis. As of today, I still recreationally play tennis with friends (Bret Williams).
After graduating high school, I went on to UC Santa Barbara and studied Electrical Engineering. During college, I joined the school’s triathlon club and eventually was elected to their leadership team for three years. I raced several different sprint and Olympic distance races for UC Santa Barbara.
Post-college, I slowly transitioned to long distance running, surfing, and CrossFit. My first half-marathon was in 2012 and since then, I have completed over ten half marathons and two full marathons. Some of the half-marathons I have raced include the local Pier-to-Peak race and various runDisney races. One of the challenges I am proud of is the Dopey Challenge at Disney World which entails running their 5k, 10k, Half, and Full Marathon in four consecutive days.
Also, in 2012 I was first introduced to CrossFit. What caught my eye was that the community and team atmosphere of CrossFit. Because of my athletic background, technique and pacing are what I excel at in CrossFit. As a member of the coaching staff, I am excited to share my experiences and knowledge in endurance sports to others to help improve their fitness.
Becky Villaneda - Ambassador of Sparkle
Dania Vega - Membership Coordinator
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