Meet Our Coaches
Glenn Perra, Jr. - Head Coach - Owner
I have always been a sports and fitness enthusiast. In my early years, I enjoyed playing many sports, but had a true love of football. At age 15, I started training with weights and have not stopped! I also spent some time as a competitive amateur bodybuilder and I enjoyed training others. My passion for health, fitness and helping others led me to the medical field. In 1995, I graduated from nursing school as a Licensed Practical Nurse. During my 15 years in the medical field, I continued my fitness interests and became a Certified Personal Trainer. In 2007, I was introduced to CrossFit by my lifetime friend and current business partner, Merle McKenzie.
I quickly realized that CrossFit was the perfect vehicle for me to express my passion for health and fitness. In 2009, I left the medical field to pursue my dream and opened my first CrossFit affiliate. I am currently the co-owner of five CrossFit locations across the state.
I enjoy working with and programming for our competitive athletes and we have produced CrossFit Regional and Games level athletes. In addition, I have helped many athletes improve in sports outside of CrossFit. Over the past several years, I have also coached youth football, baseball and softball. The most rewarding aspect for me has been the life changing effects I have been able to help so many individuals achieve. Watching kids gain self-confidence, seeing individuals shed pounds, improve blood-work, rid themselves of medications and ultimately returning to a healthy, vigorous lifestyle is about as good as it gets!
• Licensed Practical Nurse 1995
• CrossFit Kids
• W.I.T.S. Certified Personal Training
• Hybrid Athletics Strongman
• CrossFit Level 1
• CrossFit Nutrition
• CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting
• CrossFit Powerlifting
• CrossFit Gymnastics
• Carl Paoli Freestyle Gymnastics
• CrossFit Mobility
Merle McKenzie - Head Coach, Owner
*I graduated from Massage Therapy School (CCMT) in 1997. I spent seven years practicing Massage Therapy while also working as a personal trainer,
*I worked in 2 of the best known fitness programs in the state prior to becoming a CrossFit coach. I spent a total of 10 years working for these gyms ( Big Sky Fitness in Newington and the Fitness Edge in Fairfield).
* While working for these gyms I acquired several certifications including NASM, APEX and RTS level 1.
* As good as I thought I was during those 10 years I realized something was missing. Then I discovered CrossFit.
* My 10th year as a personal trainer is when I discovered CrossFit ( 2007). After months of experimenting on myself and introducing it to my clients I went to get certified as a CrossFit Level 1 coach. I fell in love with the program and within months of receiving my certification I open the 1st CrossFit gym in Central Ct. ( CrossFit USA).
* Knowing that my education was still far from complete I spent years traveling the country getting certified in numerous components of CrossFit training. These certifications include.
* CrossFit level 1
* Kettlebell with Anthony Delusio
*Starting Strength (powerlifting) by Mark Rippitoe
* Louie Simmons (powerlifting) Westside Barbell methodology
* Gymnastics with Jeff Tucker
*CrossFit Nutrition . Barry Sears guest lecturer
* CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting with Mike Burgener
* CrossFit Strongman with Rob Orlando
* CrossFit Kids with Jeff and Mikki Martin
* CrossFit Mobility with Kelly Strarrett
* Gym Jones level 1 with Rob McDonald
* other seminars include movement with Carl Paoli and a Masters seminar run by T’J’s gym in San Jose California.
As central Connecticut’s most experienced CrossFit coach and one of the longest running operators of CrossFit gyms in the state ( 6 years and owner of 3 CrossFit gyms) I have helped literally thousands of people through the power of CrossFit.
We have produced 1 CrossFit Games team in 2010, 1 CrossFit Games Masters athlete in 2011 and 2 CrossFit Games Masters athletes in 2012.
As proud as I am of those accomplishments it means less to me than restoring a person to a vital and vigorous life. I am much prouder of helping my 40-50-60 year old clients squat without pain, lose dozens of pounds and get off expensive and poisonous medications. I’m more interested in helping a stay home mom get her first real pull up than producing Games level athletes. As much fun as that has been.
My passion is helping people realize their true potential. I coach by one over riding principal. It’s not what I can do personally, what matters most is what I can coach you to do as an athlete.
Mandi Swan - Nutrition Coach
Mandi Swan is a nurse practitioner and holistic health coach who brings over 10 years of experience in health and wellness to the Relentless Nation, providing health coaching and nutrition guidance to all members.
Mandi is a graduate of Bates College, Yale University School of Nursing, and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She was a high school and college athlete (soccer, ice hockey) and has been an avid crossfitter since 2013. Mandi has has facilitated her own health transformation thanks to smart training and clean eating and loves guiding others to the same. She is committed to helping people heal and thrive through nutrition and understands that each individual has his or her own unique needs when it comes to diet and lifestyle choices.
More Coach Bios Coming Soon!