Stephanie Taylor Twohey

Welcome to the Coaches page!  Let me introduce myself first.   

I'm the sole owner and head coach at GRIT.  We opened GRIT's doors in February of 2015 and have been growing and thriving here on the Upper East Side of ATX since!  Here's the short story to the long story of my background...

I have 20 years of experience in the sports and fitness industry, having started my career teaching kickboxing in gyms all over Austin. I worked for Pure Austin, the premier downtown, high volume gym for 8 years, and became a lead instructor in strength training and kickboxing. During this time I became a certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). I worked with a wide range of clients including weekend warriors, first responders, City of Austin employees, brand new athletes who were obese and diabetic, AISD elementary school children and teachers, professional athletes and geriatric elderly.  

In 2009 I was invited to a training session with Atomic Athlete, a performance based Strength and Conditioning gym in Austin. It was here that I was inspired by the elite level of training and high quality of coaching. I loved it so much, I decided to become a Strength and Conditioning coach through Military Athlete, an elite level professional training facility in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This facility trains, locally and remotely, soldiers, industrial athletes, and professional mountain athletes from all over the world.

After studying and training for 6 months for the 3 day test and certification, I travelled to Wyoming, and alongside a Navy Seal and a Recon Marine, became the 3rd female in the world to earn the title of Military Athlete Strength and Conditioning Coach.  It will remain one of the highlight accomplishments of my life.  It was very intense and very rewarding.  

I then became a certified coach at Atomic Athlete and in 6 months was promoted to lead coach. Out of my vision for connecting this empowering kind of training to women who'd never experienced it and were too intimidated by it, I developed the women’s only Strength and Conditioning training program. It was such a FUN and successful program, some of the women who still train with me at GRIT.  While at Atomic, I developed performance based training programs for sport specific athletes and mission specific special military forces.  I earned my stripes as an elite level coach, working hard in a high intensity, high volume, fast paced gym, over the 5 years I coached with Atomic Athlete. I will always be grateful for my time there and the coaches who invested in me and my craft.

I came to a cross roads in my personal life in 2014 and experienced the opportunity to make a choice to either stay in the industry or shift careers.  After clarifying what my values were, the life I wanted to live and the kind of passion and vision I wanted to live it with (and with a loving and forceful nudge over the edge by my mentor Rob Shaul, owner of Military Athlete), I chose to take the leap and open up the doors of GRIT.  I've been so grateful for that decision every day since.

Why the name?  It took me 30 seconds to choose "GRIT."  It's pithy and reflects exactly what this gym is all about.  It is one of the values I've decided to live my life with.  This value is continuously cultivated in the context of my training in the gym.  Intense, full of suffering, high volume, pushed to the absolute edges of what I PERCEIVE I am capable of and forcefully pushing past those boundaries...THIS requires grit.  This, in turn, makes me STRONG in body, mind and spirit.  Which equips me to walk through my everyday life feeling confident, durable and empowered to thrive in all the other aspects of my life. 

My vision, in it's simplest form, is to share this empowering and intentional cultivation of grit in every athlete that walks through our doors, young and old, experienced and brand new, able-bodied and injured, wealthy and poor.  

My vision starts here, anchored locally, affecting change one person at a time.  In the future, this vision will extend far beyond the reaches of these walls, nationally and globally.  My athletes jokingly call this "Spreading the #gritgospel."  

To further my education, I am currently working on completing my CCP Coaching Certification with OPEX.  OPEX has a holistic, integrative approach to fitness, combining principles from the disciplines of nutrition, lifestyle behavior, assessment and program design.  I'm super pumped about this year long course that is adding value, by the day, to what we offer all of our athletes, local and online. 

Have questions or want to contact me?  Email me at steph@grit.training.

Meet My Badass Team of Coaches

Aaron Dozier

Growing up in rural Australia, sport became an escape for the class room. Mostly playing rugby and getting involved with anything that I could compete in, became more than a hobby but rather a way of life. This involved being part of several strength and conditioning programs, camps and facilities. It was when an ACL rupture put a hold on my athletic endeavors that my interest became piqued by clinical rehabilitation. This led me down a path to complete a Bachelors in Sport & Exercise Science/Human Movement & Post Graduate Degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology. 

This in turn created a passion for helping people and providing them with the knowledge and opportunity to create the healthiest, most humble & resilient person they can be. This passion in turn drives most of what I do every day, whether it be coaching in the gym at GRIT or doing soft tissue rehabilitation during the day.

“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” – Buddha 

Annie Holmes Doyle

Always the adventurous one, I have never shied away from activity or excitement. After joining a local Austin box gym in 2009, activity and excitement were among the many positive things I found.  Add in my desire to be healthy and strong, and I immediately became devoted to the highly motivating atmosphere of the gym community and culture. I felt accomplished and empowered by the hard work, discipline, knowledge and training, and this inspired me to help others.

The journey started with my CrossFit certification, which lead me to the world of Strength and Conditioning. Soon after, I became certified by NASM CPT (National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainier,) obtained the FNS (Fitness Nutrition Specialist) certification and the Mountain/Military Athlete Programming Certification in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. My background before the fitness industry includes a BBA in Marketing, followed by a career in healthcare as an account executive in both hospice and blood banking. 

As a GRIT Coach, I desire to help athletes of all different fitness levels and abilities, push past insecurities, stereotypes, and fear, to reach their fullest potential, inside and outside the gym. My vision is to bring people together who support and encourage one another, who work hard together, and who challenge both their minds and their bodies. I believe that every athlete’s value lies in their attitude, work ethic, and tenacity, not on gym performance or numbers. Just as I experienced a complete life transformation by lifting heavy and getting stronger, I want to empower others to experience the life altering reality of greater physical and mental strength through training in the gym. 

When I’m not at GRIT, I enjoy spending time with my husband, our girls, my family and friends. I love nature, outdoor activities, and am always up for traveling, or hitting up Austin’s adventure scene.

Training and proper nutrition are very important to me, and I continue to further my knowledge on fueling the body and improving its function. If I’m not reading or listening to audiobooks, you can find me attempting new wholesome recipes or roaming around town hiking, trail running, kayaking, cycling, stretching or trying most anything that gets my blood pumping.

Most importantly, I feel there is no better joy to be found than helping others learn, grow, exceed their expectations and reach their personal goals. 

“Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind and the heart.  There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back.”

From The Iron and the Soul - by Henry Rollins

Email Coach Doyle at annie@grit.training if you are interested in joining the Women's Only Training, or if you are interested in one-on-one coaching.

Brittany Stephenson

For me, fitness has always been a way to escape outside stressors. It’s just the body and brain working together and working hard, that can lead to beautiful realizations. One day in elementary school, I took off on a run, fell in love and never looked back. As soon as I was old enough, I started running on the track and cross country team and experimented with different kinds of sports, later gaining an insatiable interest in nutrition and general health and wellness. As the years have gone by, I have done a little bit of everything from spin and kickboxing to Pilates and kettlebell training.

Five years ago, I decided to get certified as a coach via CrossFit. I have always enjoyed teaching and training friends so it was an “about time” move for me. Before moving to Austin, I was coaching at a CrossFit box, and after moving I coached as well as managed a locally-owned strength and conditioning gym. I had a strong gut feeling that I needed to be at GRIT and could almost feel something pulling me here; my instincts were right. I love the work ethic and diligence demonstrated by the athletes and coaches alike. There is a true lion-hearted attitude and empowerment that charges the air.

I've obtained my NASM CPT, FNS, and Mountain/Military Athlete Programming certifications. I also hold an Associates’ of Business degree and have been a licensed cosmetologist since 2003. When I’m not training, you can find me behind the chair in the salon, hiking the greenbelt with my husband Casey, and two dogs, Paisley and Dapper. I love a good novel, I’m a podcast junkie for nutrition and fitness, and equally a junkie for being outside in the sun. I’m a major foodie and kettlebells are my jam. HARD physical work is better for my soul than I can put into words. One thing that I have found that stays true and never waivers: People are my passion.

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been” – George Eliot

Email Coach Stephenson at brittany@grit.training if you are interested in joining the Women's Only Training, or if you are interested in one-on-one coaching.

brianasanaSM.jpg

Brian Henderson

I found my way into my first yoga class at a big box gym as a teenager exploring ways to train for the upcoming high school baseball season.  I enjoyed how it complemented my weight and cardio training and helped me to become stronger and more flexible in my pitching delivery.  I kept up a yoga practice during the following ten years of a competitive Division I collegiate and professional baseball career.  I never missed any significant time for an injury or surgery and attribute this success and durability to the nontraditional athletic methods found in yoga.  

I love how yoga promotes an internal space of peace and calm during all times and in all conditions, a space where one can operate the body and mind efficiently, effectively, and powerfully.  I pitched in front of 20,000+ passionate Venezuelan fans held back by riot police and dogs; during a collegiate championship at the University of Houston, two minor league championships (back-to-back) in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, one more in the Arizona Fall League sandwiched in between with Cubs World Series MVP Ben Zobrist playing shortstop, made one California League All-Star team that included Cy-Young winner Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners, went to Costa Rica twice in one offseason after being released from affiliated baseball to learn to surf and study yoga and movement therapy and came back for one more championship with the Somerset Patriots in the Atlantic League with Cy-Young winning manager Sparky Lyle.  I once got four outs on four pitches (a rare feat), once wore the team's mascot head to prank teammates, regularly played hackysack with Red Sox Cy-Young winner David Price, loved listening to the Rolling Stones "Can't you hear me knocking" while I warmed up to pitch, loves ping-pong, long-toss, hitting with a wood bat, and being an athlete.  

After my last season of playing baseball, I decided to move into a healthier balance and sold my car, bought a bike, and moved to Austin to study natural, plant-based cookingat the Natural Epicurean Culinary Academy and finish up my bachelors business degree online.  I keep up a regular yoga practice, love swimming laps in Barton Springs Pool, interned at Uchi, volunteered at esteemed macrobiotic kitchen Casa de Luz, worked at raw foods stop Beets Cafe, teach Ayurvedic cooking classes, earned my yoga teaching certification from Yoga Illumined, finished my college degree, and got a job working for the state of Texas.  

I love the coaching at GRIT and am so excited to be designing classes in conjunction with the advanced programming found here.  My yoga classes at GRIT are calm, challenging and designed for the beginner and for the dedicated GRIT athlete alike.  I believe yoga is about self-discovery and feeling good in the body in every moment, regardless of age, flexibility or skill.  I look forward to meeting you on the mat.    

JESSE RUIZ

Sports have been a huge part of my life, from tee ball and football, all the way through my senior year. That passion continued into college, having explored everything from tennis, volleyball, racquetball, spin, and softball.  Name a sport and more than likely, I’ve played it. (I’m still waiting for the opportunity to play Cricket.)    

My actual  journey begin in the late 90's.  While playing football I suffered a spinal cord injury that left me paralyzed from the neck down for 30 minutes.  Thankfully, I was able to walk away from that injury, but my career path was carved out for me that night.  In 2007 I suffered a torn ACL and medial meniscus.  Once my insurance ran out, I was tasked with rehabbing my knee and relied heavily on techniques such as acupuncture and my own devices.    

While at Texas State, I began working as an advisor to over 30 club teams and 500 athletes, with collegiate club athletes in the Sport Clubs office .  I became exposed to sports such as lacrosse, rugby, soccer and ultimate disc, just to name a few.   I eventually began traveling with the men's and women's club soccer teams, training the men's and women's rugby teams, and using friends as PT guinea pigs.     

In 2010,  my professional journey began as an intern at CrossFit San Marcos. At that time, I received a CrossFit Olympic lifting certification from the great Coach Mike Burgener, commonly known as the godfather of US Olympic weightlifting.  From there, I landed my first job at a medical exercise/fitness facility in Kyle, Texas.  There I taught boot camps, oversaw semi-private group sessions, and was given the training to perform post-op rehab prescriptions, working with everything from hip and knee replacements to individuals with varying autoimmune disorders.  I then became the head trainer at a boutique gym in New Braunfels and during that time began working with the Kinesis and the Real Ryder, two highly regarded, free range motion machines, and I also became obsessed with treating and maintaining my old injuries and restrictions. 

I then became familiar with Kelly Starrett and began teaching myself how to become a "supple leopard" as he describes.  That obsession with eliminating the pain in my own movement has slowly evolved into my passion of teaching others to move, pain free.

After New Braunfels, I decided to move back into Austin, in 2013-2014, to further pursue my fitness journey/career. At that point, I dove head first into the Austin fitness scene, receiving programming from Coach Twohey, regularly attending weekend workouts at Atomic Athlete, and becoming a student of all things movement based.  At that point, I rediscovered my love for yoga and began practicing 2-3 times/week and began infusing more yoga inspired and movement based modalities into my own personal workouts, as well as my clients prescriptions.

In late 2014, I began teaching at Ignite Fitnez and within 3 months became the Group Exercise Director there, overseeing 15 instructors and over 50 classes a week, while teaching mobility classes to the City of Austin employees.  I have since jumped on the gymnastics based movement scene, received break dance lessons, and love trail running and competing in any way possible, including the AFM FITTEST, having gone from 80th to 27th place in 3 short years.  My goal for 2017 is to WIN THE WHOLE THING!    

As a K-Star disciple, it's our right and privilege to be able to maintain our own bodies on a daily basis.  Movement is medicine but PAIN free movement is PURE BLISS!  My personal mission with the GRIT Move-Nat Class is to help individuals reclaim their bodies through moving naturally... a body that is supposed to last 100 years, as research is now showing.  

Outside of that,  I oversee a nonprofit in San Marcos, delivering hot turkey meals to the homeless, elderly, and less fortunate on Thanksgiving Day, invest daily into my Christian faith, compete in local or regional events, trail or road racing, and am always seeking to become a better Christian, person, and coach.  

Take care of your body, it's the only place you have to live.

Credentials

  • BS in Exercise and Sports Science/Applied Sociology  from Texas State 2010
  • Program Manager for Operation Turkey San Marcos/ Public servant to the State of Texas
  • Crossfit Olympic Lifting 2011
  • ASFA Cycling 2014
  • AFAA Group Exercise 2016
  • Primary Movement Specialist 2016 (Using the Primal7 trainer