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Our team





  • Natalie Knutson - Director of Wellness, Coach, & Personal Trainer

    CF-L1 Trainer

    Group Fitness Certification

    B.S. Exercise Science & Physical Education

    NSCA - Certified Personal Trainer

    NSCA - Special Populations Specialist

    My ultimate goal in life is to inspire individuals to be their best and to promote a healthy lifestyle of exercise, nutrition, and a calm mind. My journey began when I had a moment in college that pushed me into the fitness industry and led me to my passion. During my sophomore year in college I went through a phase when I didn't realize how important my life, health, and well-being were and, through a combination of stress and homesickness, I gained nearly 20 pounds in a 6-month period. I ate my worries away and exercise was no longer part of my routine. While playing a pick-up game of basketball, I ended up tearing my ACL for the second time. During my recovery I was determined to get back on track. I lost about 30 pounds and was amazed at how my body transformed, but more important, how much better I felt about myself. I graduated from UND with a degree in physical education and exercise science with a minor in health education. I have been teaching group fitness and personal training since 2007 and have been employed at Lake Region Healthcare since 2008.

    "Natalie maintains an excellent balance of encouragement and direction. She clearly wants what's best for you as an individual." - CFFF Athlete

  • Karoline Gustafson - Head Coach & Personal Trainer

    CF-L1 Trainer

    B.S. Health Promotions (Exercise Science)

    NSCA - Certified Personal Trainer

    NSCA - Certified Special Populations Specialist

    As a former athlete, I cannot remember a time in my life where I have not been interested in sport, training, and exercise. Following my athletic career I needed something to satisfy my need of movement. At the time, running and competing in local races was my go to while doing some lifting on the side. It wasn't until LRH gave us the go-ahead to bring CrossFit to Fergus Falls that I became involved in that style of training. Getting back to Olympic lifting and high intensity movements has completely filled my competitive gap. I have been personal training and teaching group fitness classes at Lake Region Healthcare since 2008. Overall health and wellness is a passion of mine that I thoroughly enjoy passing along to others.

    "She is awesome at meeting people where they are and helping them on a personal level while maintaining the movements intended." - CFFF Athlete


  • Doug Newby - Coach

    CF-L1 Trainer

    CrossFit Kids

    My fitness journey started later in life as I did not grow up athletic or involved in sports and always struggled with weight. My day job of sitting in front of a computer for a bank only adds to the normal sedentary lifestyle. I reached a point where I knew I would either choose to get worse by doing nothing or choose to get better by doing something. I started with running and even joined a gym but it wasn’t until starting CrossFit in 2017 that I felt at home. Community is infused in the DNA of CrossFit and relationships are what I am invested in. Functional fitness and proper nutrition with the support of others is the key and it is a passion of mine for people of all ages to experience it. Over the course of 10 years I have lost 60lbs with 30 of them being lost in the past two years. I feel better and stronger than I did when I was in my twenties. I am motivated by the example of my Savior and encouraged by my wife and four kids.

    "We are excited to have Doug on our team. He has a clear passion for CrossFit and the athletes at CrossFit Fergus Falls. His excitement for fitness and wellness is contagious." - Karoline

  • Joel Pettigrew - Coach

    CF-L1 Trainer

    I’ve been CrossFitting at CFFF since its inception in early 2016, and coaching since fall of that year. I’ve always had an interest in keeping myself healthy, and pursued several various fitness avenues throughout the years, but it wasn’t until my son was born in 2015 that I realized that the standard American gym routine was insufficient to stay as healthy as I needed to be for my young family. The turning point for me was when I realized that being strong was not the same as being fit, or even being healthy. With it’s emphasis on both functional fitness and nutrition, CrossFit opened the door for me to be the healthiest I’ve ever been, and I am truly passionate about passing on these gifts to anyone who walks through the doors of our Box.

    "Joel has great tips and ability to adjust your form just enough to make a huge difference in the lift. I can say that it was Joel's coaching that helped me break through some of the more difficult moves and master them!" - CFFF Athlete

  • Kary Sytsma

    Kary Sytsma - Wellness Coach

    Registered Nutrition & Dietetic Technician

    Certified Wellness Coach

    “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free” is one of my favorite quotes by Michelangelo. It has always inspired me to look beyond what you see on the outside and examine the possibilities of who we are inside, just waiting to get out. As a Nutrition and Dietetic Technician, Registered, and a Certified Health and Wellness Coach I love that I get the opportunity to help my clients develop and achieve health goals they never thought were possible. Not only do we get to focus on fueling your body well with quality nutrition, but we also explore all components of wellness. The most satisfying part of my job is being able to witness my clients’ joy and renewed sense of hope when they start to reap the benefits of treating themselves well.

    "Having Kary a part of our team demonstrates our dedication to all aspects of health. She is a wonderful asset to have available to our athletes and community." - Natalie


  • Kristen Anderson - Coach

    CF-L1 Trainer

    I started CrossFit in January of 2017 to get back in shape, assuming I would eventually quit after two or three months like I did with other gym memberships. However, CrossFit Fergus Falls is different; it’s your fellow workout partners that quickly turn into friends, the amazing staff, and the camaraderie that make you want to keep coming back day after day. I encourage you to give it a try; CrossFit is for everyone, no matter your skill level, fitness background, or what your experience is.

    I’m currently employed as the administrative assistant for my Dad at Anderson Coin. In my free time I can usually be found in the barn, where I have my two Quarter Horses, Freddie and Unser, with my Frenchie, Rogue, or at my family’s lake cabin on Jewett Lake in Fergus Falls.

    In the end, my goal is to make everyone feel welcome and help you achieve your goals!

    "Kristen's CrossFit journey is not unlike many other's journeys. She came, she participated, she loves it, now she's coaching! We are fortunate to have Kristen on our team of coaches." - Karoline

  • Madison Dorn - Personal Trainer

    B.S. Biokinetics (Exercise Science)

    During my high school years I was a three-sport athlete; following high school I attended Bethel University and pursued studies in Biokinetics. I have always been intrigued by how the body works, and interested in helping people become the healthiest possible version of themselves. Dealing with my own share of health concerns (as well as those of close family and friends) I know firsthand the challenges of not feeling your healthiest self and not being entirely sure how to get to a better place. This has fostered in me the desire to help others in an individualized way. I truly believe that when it comes to health there is no one size fits all; we are all unique and what works for one person may not work for another.

    One thing I love about my current position is seeing and being a part of my clients’ progress every step along the way. I have always enjoyed activities in which I can see measurable progress: mowing the lawn, painting, shoveling snow, etc. Being able to move forward with my clients from wherever they start to find progress and reward along the way is one of the most fulfilling things about my job.

    I believe in holistic health and healing of not just the physical but also mental and emotional being as well. So I strive to understand each client’s unique needs and situation in order to offer personalized care and guidance that will help them reach their goals and regain control of their health and well-being.

    "Madison does a great job working with individuals at all levels. Her knowledge is impeccable and she has excitement in helping people achieve wellness." - Natalie

  • Renae Sell-Lindgren - Coach & Personal Trainer

    CF-L1 Trainer

    Although I was active in athletics during High School, I struggled post college and into my early corporate career to find a healthy lifestyle balance. I turned to running in my mid 20's and it filled the void of stress-reliever and fitness for many years. By my mid 30's, I added some fitness classes into my routine which eventually led to me getting my Group Fitness Certification and teaching classes for Phatty Nattie's in the Fall of 2011. As I became more interested in wellness, I made a bold move to quit my nearly 25 year corporate career to become a personal trainer in 2014. I took my first CrossFit class in January 2016 and earned my L1-CF certification in October 2016. It is so fulfilling to me to be a part of the wellness and fitness journey of others!

    "She's excellent at calling us on form if we are being too aggressive on ourselves. She places tremendous emphasis on SAFETY, which is important for those of us who sometimes want to go 100 miles an hour." - CFFF Athlete

  • Ryan Hintz - Coach

    CF-L1 Trainer


    I grew up in the Fergus Falls area and graduated from Fergus Falls High School class of 1999. I obtained my BS in Accounting from Minnesota State University Moorhead and work at Social Security Administration during the day.

    My background is in Powerlifting and have competed in several Powerlifting competitions. In April 2016 I completed my first WODs at Crossfit Fergus Falls and in 2017 I became a CF-L1 instructor. In general I give credit to fitness for many areas of success in my life.

    I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter every chance I get. We spend a lot of time outdoors either at home or at the lakes with friends and family.

    "Very technical instructor with a lot of helpful feedback. He pays attention to detail and pushes each athlete to do their best." - CFFF Athlete

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