Trainers

MEET OUR COACHES

GET TO KNOW THE TEAM

The coaches at CrossFit Kokua excel at teaching. From performing movements as safely and effectively as possible, to improving your ability, to transforming your body, we are here to help you move forward.

Joe Donar image

Joe Donar

Owner

Joe Donar

Owner

Joe was introduced to CrossFit in 2006 while he was serving overseas as an Army Infantryman. It was then that he found his passion for fitness, human movement, and the mental game. After he honorably served in the Army for 4 years, Joe went on to obtain his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Kinesiology and Exercise Physiology and even teaches those subjects as a professor at Elmhurst College. With his education and experience, he strives to help those whose path crosses his in moving better, becoming fitter, and living more fulfilling lives

Certifications

  • CrossFit L-2 Trainer
  • Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
  • USA, Sports Performance Specialist (USAW-L1)
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM-CPT)
  • Certified CrossFit Judge (2017)
  • National Association of Speed & Explosion Specialist (NASE)
  • Intrinsic Biomechanics Trainer (ITS)
  • First Aid/CPR/AED (American Red Cross)
  • M.S. Exercise Science, Sports Psychology – California University of Pennsylvania
  • B.A. Exercise Science – Elmhurst College
  • Exercise Physiology Professor – Elmhurst College
Vanessa Stack Image

Vanessa Stack

Head Coach

Vanessa Stack

Head Coach

Coach Vanessa Stack has been CrossFitting for six years. Helping humans discover kinesthetic awareness and body control through gymnastic work has always been her strong point. “My favorite thing about coaching is seeing someone’s growth as an athlete unfold over time and inspiring them to tackle life as they would a WOD,” she says. “I enjoy trying to instill that every day is a chance to get better and we never have bad days, just character-building days.”

Vanessa didn’t play sports growing up, and she initially started her fitness journey with Western-style boxing after losing her eyesight in a bar fight. She became a kickboxing instructor, which introduced her to circuit training. She became a personal trainer, started implementing CrossFit methods into her clients’ programming, and, as she says “The rest is history.”

Her favorite quote is “’There are no shortcuts to any place worth going’ which reminds me to do what is hard and take the path of most resistance – don’t take easy street. The reward is greater for those who work for it,” she says.

Certifications

  • CrossFit L-1 Trainer
  • CrossFit Kids
  • ACE Group Fitness and Personal Trainer certification
  • USAW Sports Performance Coach
  • Continued Education Coursework in Sports Conditioning and Powerlifting
Hector Garcia Image

Hector Garcia

Coach

Hector Garcia

Coach

Coach Hector Garcia loves tacos and beer as much as he likes CrossFit. “Balance,” he calls it. He’s been CrossFitting for more than five years, and he’s passionate about learning and growing as a person and a coach. “Helping others achieve their fitness goals and break barriers fires me up like no other,” he says.

The thing he loves most about coaching is the look on members’ faces when they hit a PR, accomplish a goal, or do something they didn’t think they could do. “And the connections and relationships that build from being a coach I’m truly grateful for,” he says. “They inspire ME just as much as I hope to inspire and motivate them.”

Hector wrestled and played soccer as a kid and found CrossFit when his instructor at NPTI exposed him to it. But it wasn’t until he met Vanessa, who offered a deeper insight into CrossFit, that he became truly hooked. He’s also loves for hot yoga and running.

His favorite quote is “‘Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor” – Alexis Carrel

Certifications

  • CrossFit L-1 Trainer
Goy

Emigdio Garcia

Coach

Emigdio Garcia

Coach

I have been doing CrossFit since 2012 but before CrossFit I played soccer, wrestled, and played volleyball since junior high. In high school my main focus was Volleyball but I always knew I would be enlisting in the military so I quickly began a strength and cardio based training program. Shortly after I discovered CrossFit which offered me an all in one approach to prepare myself for what I would be facing in the near future. 

Today, CrossFit still keeps me prepared for anything I may face in my daily life. Seeing myself progress in my fitness is extremely satisfying but helping others achieve the same feeling is far superior. To be given the trust and opportunity from my members to better their skill, strength, and mindset truly makes me feel honored. I have learned that serving others on their goals make me feel complete because I do it with 100% purpose and 100% effort. Outside of the box I enjoy being outdoors under the sun. If I have the opportunity to go somewhere I've never been or do an activity I've never done you can count me in. If I am not spending some quality time with my dog then there is a good chance I am surrounded with quality people.

Certifications

  • CrossFit L-2 Trainer
  • Functional Mobility Screen (L-1)
  • PTA Global Certified Personal Trainer
  • Action Certified Personal Trainer
Eric

Eric O'Loughlin

Coach

Eric O'Loughlin

Coach

I’ve been doing CrossFit for 2 years and before CrossFit I was a former baseball player, looking for something to fill time and have the competitive spirit of sports. I tried bodybuilding then fell in love after CrossFit hero workout "Roy"

To me, the best part of coaching is seeing people accomplish something they never pictured themselves ever doing. Building both their bodies but also their confidence. That look of accomplishment and happiness is the best!

Favorite things outside of CrossFit is video games and practicing new dance moves. 

Certifications

  • CrossFit L-1 Trainer
  • Currently pursuing bachelors in kinesiology at NIU

TODAY IS THE DAY!