We are open for Personal Training and Outdoor Classes.

The Catalyst Fitness Team

Meet the Team that is Dedicated to Your Success

our founder

Chris Cooper


The Catalyst concept was born from a simple diet plan. The short version of the story: clients were working out hard, but receiving little nutritional guidance. They needed help. Chris came up with a simple ‘block’ diet based off caloric intake. It worked.

We opened in 2005 in a small office space above a greeting-card store. We painted the wallpaper bright green, brought in more weight than was probably safe, and started writing training plans that were based on science – making them unlike anything else available in Sault Ste. Marie. Our clientele grew rapidly. We could have stayed there, but we didn’t.

A year later, we leased 5x the space. We started coaching groups, and doing stuff that no one had seen before. Starting with the basics (as we still do), we taught athletes to squat, and clean, and jump. We went from two trainers to four, and then added specialists in a huge variety of programs. We made a lot of noise, gained a lot of fans, and were having a great time.


In 2007, we wondered how we could help people even more, and started testing our program: were our workouts too easy? Too hard? What if they changed every single day? Those variables, and dozens more. Our clients started doing their homework, and getting fitter than ever before. We were now miles away from everyone else in town, had raving fans, and were having a riot. We could have stayed there, but we didn’t.

In the constant pursuit of a better workout, a higher level of fitness for our clients, we found CrossFit in 2008. We were skeptical at first, and each of our coaches tested the workouts on their own. Then we tried it with small groups of volunteers. Nearly six years later, almost every member of those original groups still do CrossFit. That’s something. We opened our gym in Industrial Park, and kept our Queen St. location. We had a working system, clients who were blowing away their friends, and a great view of the Santa Claus Parade. We could have stayed there. We didn’t.


We moved everything to the Industrial Park, because the experience was better for clients. Then we expanded, to give people more access; we added a classroom, lifting platforms, a library, and acres of mat space; we went running outside; we started the Catalyst Games; we sent our coaches everywhere to learn, learn, learn; we launched the internationally-acclaimed Ignite program. And we were named one of the Top Ten Gyms in North America in 2012!

There’s always a better way, and we’ll find it. We could stay the same, but we won’t.

Ours is not the easy way: you won’t see the food pyramid, or elliptical trainers, or televisions at Catalyst, because those things don’t help you. There are no mirrors, no dress code, no smoothie bar, because those things won’t help you either. You need fewer distractions, not more.

Clients who come to Catalyst are coached. As a coaching organization, we don’t waste time, energy or money on things that won’t help our clients; if something WILL help, we bring in the best. Less chrome, more knowledge. That’s where the relentless pursuit of excellence means. That’s Catalyst.

Chris Cooper

our coaches

Catalyst Fitness Coach

Miranda Stadnisky Mayhew

Head Coach

Crossfit Level 1 Trainer (CF-L1), CF Weightlifting Certificate, Crossfit Kids Certification
Two-Brain Nutrition Coaching Certificate

Miranda is one of the most positive people in Sault Ste. Marie, and an inspiration to professional working moms. A bootcamp instructor for over a decade, Miranda found Catalyst years ago and never looked back. Now she competes in CrossFit and leads the Powerlifting program, provides personal training and nutrition coaching, and her lifetime goal is to inspire every person and child to take action and start or continue a lifelong journey to deep health!

Catalyst Fitness Coach

Jamie Stadnisky


CrossFit Level 1 Certification (CFL1)

Jamie came to Catalyst as a client and quickly realized what an amazing group of people Catalyst is. Jamie comes from a background of Sales/Marketing and Management. Knowing that he became involved in the day to day operations becoming Catalyst’s General Manager in 2018. Shortly after that Jamie became a certified coach and continues to provide the top level coaching at Catalyst that inspired him to make fitness a routine.

Catalyst Fitness Coach

Jess Sally

Nutrition Coach/Online Specialist

CrossFit Level 2 (CFL2) Two Brain Nutrition Certification

Jess is a homegrown talent. She started her fitness journey over a decade ago at Catalyst fitness. Her client story is in the archives, but this is her coaching story.

Several years ago, Jess faced unexpected changes, which led her to consider a career change. Despite finding success at her job, she wanted to do more to help people find fitness and health. She took advantage of the Advanced Theory course and internship Catalyst held at that time. She used it as the first step to coaching. To increase her ability to share her knowledge, she took the USAW sports and conditioning course, CrossFit L1, CrossFit Gymnastics and CrossFit L2. Since nutrition changes brought her from sickness to wellness to fitness, she also completed Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

Jess still has a hunger for knowledge. She can absorb abstract concepts and high-level knowledge quickly and apply that science immediately. Her empathy and ability to relate to clients keeps her motivated to help people and leaves no room for judgement. She’s been there, she knows what it takes, and she can help people make their lives better. She shines at one on one coaching and is focusing on online coaching to help as many people as possible.

Catalyst Fitness Coach

Mike Watson


Two Brain Coaching Mentor

Mike has been here since the beginning and active in the Catalyst Family in varying capacities ever since. He holds a four year Kinesiology degree and has completed the Crossfit Endurance certification.

Mike currently coaches several of our Crossfit groups, as well as running and biking groups. He has recently taken on a new role and is the first smiling face you’ll encounter when you decide to find out what we can offer you at Catalyst.

Catalyst Fitness Coach

Denis Paradis


CrossFit Level 1 Course (CFL1) Scaling Course,Judges Course

Experienced and Certified Instructor – Canadian Armed Forces Aerospace & Telecommunications Support Squadron
Intermediate Level Hockey Canada (Old System)

A retired Sergeant, Denis was always active throughout his military days but found himself in a place where he was stagnate, overweight and unhappy. In 2015, he took it upon himself to start his journey to wellness, attending a local gym and running. After a while the routine became monotonous and dull which led to declining participation and falling fitness levels. Having previously enrolled his son at Catalyst to support his rep hockey program, Denis felt that Catalyst and its fun environment may be what he needed to get back to where he wanted to be fitness wise. The main reason he chose Catalyst was because he had recalled how much fun everyone seemed to have. In Sept 2016 Denis became part of the Catalyst family and hasn’t looked back since.

Starting slowly and steadily increasing the number of visits Denis knew he had found a place that not only provided the physical challenges he seemed but also a community that supported him without question. He found the benefits of Catalyst allowed him to participate in many other activities. Denis soon was participating in 5km runs, Spartan races, Duathlons and had become an avid cyclist. Having coached hockey and baseball for many years, Denis felt that he would like to try his hand at coaching fitness to help others with their journey to wellness. In May of 2019, Denis received his Level 1 Certificate and has been coaching both groups and personal training since.

“Being able to help someone on their road to wellness and to see them accomplish things they never thought they could is the biggest thrill I can get as a coach.”

Catalyst Fitness Coach

Jaelyn Slagel


Two Brain 1st Degree Coaching Certificate, NCCP technical course for Gymnastics Foundations, Certified level 1 Gymnastics Coach

Currently in my first year of Fitness and Health promotion at Sault college.

What I love about coaching:

I have been an athlete for a very long time. Before coming to Catalyst I was a Competitive gymnast for 6 years. I have always understood how important having a good coach is. When in gymnastics I remember having a good or bad coach was one of the biggest differences in whether I had a good or bad season. Not only that it made a big difference in my mental health.

Some of the best coaches I’ve had whether it was at Catalyst or in gymnastics not only made a huge difference in my sport and health but also in my life, and have made life lasting impact on me.
Now I am old enough to coach and train athletes I want to do the same for them. I love helping, encouraging and watching people grow not only as an athlete but as a person. A lot of people think that the most exciting thing for a coach is to see an athlete lift a crazy amount of weight or get a new big skill like a muscle up. I find seeing the small successes and small improvements in my athletes just as much if not more exciting! Whether it’s getting a new PR, learning how to keep their weight in their heels in a squat, or just a change in their Attitude. It is all very exciting to me and is one of the main reasons I love Coaching!

Catalyst Fitness Coach

Blair Headrick


CrossFit Level 1 Trainer (CF-L1), BrandX Method Kids Course Certificate, TwoBrain Business: First Degree Coach Certificate, First Aid & CPR C with AED

Blair is currently in her fourth year of the Honours Bachelor of Kinesiology and Physical Education program with a Psychology minor at Wilfrid Laurier University. Blair has a diverse background in sport, as she grew up figure skating, playing basketball, and competing in track & field. She first started her journey at Catalyst taking one-on-one personal training to further develop strength for her competitive figure skating. Blair continued skating into university and currently competes for Laurier’s Varsity figure skating team. She also furthered her education in fitness and has been coaching at Catalyst since May 2018. Coaching allows Blair to share her passion for health and fitness, while helping others achieve their personal goals, both inside and outside of the gym!

Catalyst Fitness Coach Jake

Jake Doan


Certified Registered Health and Exercise Practitioner, Certified Group Fitness Instructor, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Resistance Trainer, Certified 3rd Age Trainer (FPAO/OFC), Clean Health Fitness Institute-Performance Nutrition Coach-Level 1, Coaching Athletes with a Disabilities Certification, CF-L1 Certification (2013)(2020)

The above credentials were gathered over Jake’s 15 years of personal training experience as he became a certified personal trainer in 2008 and has spent much of his training career working as a basketball strength & conditioning and skills development coach.

Jake has had the privilege to work with several University and college athletics programs in Ontario including Sault College (Men’s Basketball), AlgomaU (Men’s & Women’s Basketball) and Lakehead University (Men’s Basketball & Men’s Hockey).

Jake opportunities didn’t end at the university level he continued on this path to work with basketballs highest caliber athletes in the NBADL and NBA. Having the experience of training in Portland Maine with the Redclaws and with the Boston Celtics.

Jake then decided to continue his education and studied abroad graduating in 2016 from the University Of Wales Trinity Saint David with a BSc in Sports and Exercise Sciences.

Since graduating Jake has continued developing his training company and clothing brand Show Muscle Go Muscle Training which has allowed him to continue to make a difference in the mental and physical health of everyone he comes in contact with.