Christopher Bell - Ed.D, CSCS, USAW, CrossFit-L3
OWNER AND DIRECTOR OF PERFORMANCE TRAINING
Chris earned his Bachelors degree in Exercise Science from the University of Wisconsin-Superior, his Masters degree in Exercise Physiology from The College of St. Scholastica in 2003, and his Doctorate degree in Sports Management with an emphasis in Sports Health and Fitness from the United States Sports Academy in 2018.
Chris is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, certified by USA Weightlifting as a Club Coach (USAW), and is a CrossFit Level 3 Trainer.
In addition to working with hundreds of local high school and college athletes, Chris has served as the Strength and Conditioning Coach as well as Assistant Coach for the University of Wisconsin-Superior Men’s Hockey team. He currently serves as a lecturer for the Health and Human Performance Department at UW-Superior.
In 2003, Chris worked for the United States Olympic Committee at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York and trained athletes from both winter and summer sports. In addition to Olympic athletes, Chris has trained athletes from a variety of professional sports, and has served as a lecturer and strength coach for USA Hockey.
Prior to starting IST, Chris served for two years as Co-Director of Strength and Conditioning at PerformanceONE Athletic Development in Columbus, Ohio, as well as Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Columbus Destroyers of the Arena Football League (AFL).
Chris played hockey for four years at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, which included three Frozen Four appearances from 1997-2001.
Chris currently lives in Duluth with his wife Melissa, and sons, Nathan (2005), Peter (2008), and James (2012).
Brendan Willis - MS, CSCS, USAW, CrossFit-L3
STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING COACH, RECREATIONAL THERAPIST
Brendan is a strength and conditioning coach, recreational therapist and personal trainer at IST. He brings a wealth of athletic and training experience and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Wisconsin-Superior in 2012 with a degree in Exercise Science and a minor in Coaching. Brendan also earned Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the College of St. Scholastica in 2014. Brendan is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), a USA Weightlifiting Level 1 Sport Performance Coach, as well as a CrossFit Level 3 trainer. Brendan qualified for CrossFit Regionals in 2016 and 2017.
Since joining IST in the summer of 2011, Brendan has been the driving force behind our expansion into several local high schools with on-site team training programs. In addition to high school programs, Brendan has also trained the UW-Superior and Fond Du Lac Tribal and Community College baseball teams.
Brendan played 4 years of baseball at UW-Superior and was named captain during his senior year. In addition to playing collegiate baseball, he also played hockey and football throughout his high school career in Thunder Bay, Ontario. In the summer of 2011, he was the Assistant Coach of the Northwest Slam travel baseball team in Thunder Bay.
Alex Taray - MS, CSCS, USAW, CrossFit-L2, USAPL-CC
STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING COACH
Alex is a strength and conditioning coach and personal trainer at IST. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Concordia University St. Paul with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science. Alex also earned his Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the College of St. Scholastica in 2014. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), USA Weightlifting Level 1 Sport Performance Coach, CrossFit Level 2 Trainer, and a USAPL Club Coach.
Alex grew up in Meadowlands, MN and attended high school in Floodwood, MN. He played football and track and field. During his time in high school, Alex was very interested in weightlifting and sports performance. He started training at IST as an athlete his senior year of high school as he prepared to play division II football at Concordia St. Paul. Alex has since finished his career as an athlete and has transferred his passion into coaching.
Alex holds Minnesota state records for the Squat, Deadlift, and Total in the USA Powerlifting federation. Alex competed in his last powerlifting meet in May 2016 and now he competes in CrossFit.
Joe Gonrowski- MS, CSCS, CrossFit-L1
STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING COACH
Joe is a strength and conditioning coach at IST and a Level 1 CrossFit Trainer. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). Joe earned his Masters in Exercise Physiology from St. Scholastica in 2019.
Joe is from Elk River, Minnesota and went to The College of Saint Scholastica where he majored in Exercise Physiology and minored in Psychology. At St. Scholastica , he was a member of the baseball team and worked in Residential Life as an RA for two years. He also played two summers for the Duluth Huskies.