Catching Up with Justin Cotler
O2 Blog

Catching Up with Justin Cotler

Gym Owner and Coach of O2 Athlete and CrossFit Games Finalist Kari Pearce

Justin Cotler has had a big year so far: the shut-down of his gym, the birth of a child, preparing for the CrossFit Games and moving cross country. The highs and lows would sideline most. But when you train some of the best CrossFit athletes around, Kari Pearce among others, you don’t have time to stand still. Like many New Yorkers, Justin’s 2020 story is about pivoting and pushing forward.

Team O2: “Justin, what’s it like for you being a gym owner and coach in NY this year? Wait, hold on, don’t you live in Las Vegas? What is the story there?”

Justin: “Well, that’s a crazy story. I own a gym in Astoria, New York, called CrossFit Dynamix. We’ve been in Astoria for many years. As you know, NY was hit the worst in the pandemic and the gym community, with the shutdowns and the guidelines, has taken a hit enormously.”

Justin knew by the summer that, with 5-figure monthly losses, the only way to save the gym was to change his personal cost of living. He and his family picked up and moved to Vegas. Kari went too, and she’s training with him there. He left Dynamix in good hands, but he misses it.

“Dynamix is an amazing place. It’s like Apollo Creed’s gym [cue music] frills and the vibe is so cool. People go there to do work and get fit, but it’s also a safe haven for people. We are a family.” He added with a laugh, “We’ve had a lot of Dynamix weddings over the years.” #community

CrossFit Dynamix was closed for 9 months and just opened in September. “We can only operate at 33% capacity and we can’t run classes. But, I’m confident we’ll survive this. We’ll persevere. I know that a lot of people can’t afford to come back, but I also know we have a lot of loyal family members.” #strongertogether

The Dynamix family pulled together for the spring give-back campaigns, and he really appreciated it. “Anything that supports gyms is a noble effort.” He knows his members are participating in the Fall 50/50 Pledge. And of course, as long-time O2 fans, they’re filling their shopping carts with cases of O2.

With Kari’s Top 5 finish in Stage 1, she and Justin are preparing for the CrossFit Games Finals. We’re betting the next chapter in Justin’s 2020 story will be a good one.

Justin told us that the pandemic has not held Kari back. “Kari will always find a way to navigate and endure a difficult situation. She has had a great year, with only a small wrist injury, and really peaked for the first round.” Even though the events in the Finals will be grueling, he’s not worried. “She is incredibly mentally tough...the tougher the situation, the better she is. No doubt she will maximize her program and effort.”

Kari is a really focused athlete, incorporates feedback and continuously works to improve. “Afterward, we always break down events and talk about what we could have done differently.” He believes, “She’s the most underrated CrossFitter of all time...she’s so humble and just puts her head down and works hard. I’m really lucky and thankful I get to coach her.”

At O2, we are so proud to support CrossFit athletes and coaches like Kari and Justin. Tune in from your couch and watch Reebok’s 2020 CrossFit Games, October 23-25.