Meet THE ACF TEAM

Coaches Broder McNeill and Duncan McNeill have owned and operated Alchemy Community Fitness since 2009. You can meet the brothers—and the rest of the ACF coaches—in Hamilton, Brantford, and online.

Duncan McNeill, Co-owner / Coach

I was training for obstacle races and realized my workouts shouldn’t be about looking good but rather should focus on getting more work done in less time. I found CrossFit and the next day I spent way too long going through the WOD Angie (100 pull ups 100 push ups 100 sit ups and 100 squats) and never looked back.

What gets me ‘jacked up’ about coaching:

Helping people get to the next level. Whether it is gaining a new skill, lifting more than they ever have, or getting through a full day without their back hurting, I love being part of little (or big) wins.

Duncan McNeill…

  • Loves to sound like a scientist as often as he can
  • Frequently binge eats
  • Excessively happy 100% of the time

Broder McNeill, Co-owner / Coach

I thought I was excelling at fitness doing my regular beach body workouts, I could not have been more wrong! Joining CrossFit allowed me to push my level of fitness in every aspect. I have become stronger, more athletic, and increased my endurance. After losing my competitive fire from sports after school, CrossFit has brought it back and I love coming into the gym every day and competing with all our great athletes.

What gets me ‘jacked up’ about coaching:

Nothing makes me more happy with seeing people accomplish something they would not have thought possible only months before. Everything from getting a benchmark PR, or being able to do a pushup without their knees. Seeing our Alchemists getting better is the best part of my day!!

Broder McNeill…

  • Hate to run long distances
  • Enjoys the competitive side to CrossFit
  • Loves the social aspect of Alchemy and chatting with all the members

Craig Latendresse, Head Coach
Hamilton

Alchemy CrossFit was suggested to me by a friend. I was only going to try for a month max. Years later, I am head coaching.

What gets me ‘jacked up’ about coaching:

Seeing the reaction of someone who just got a PR. Helping people reach their goals and see them be happy with their achievements. Meeting someone who comes in extremely eager to jump right in (a sponge for learning!).

Craig …

  • Has medaled at provincial Powerlifting meets
  • Runs an awesome charity event each year for Children’s Wish
  • Wishes he could grow more (but this is simply wishful thinking)

Mia Harris, Coach
Hamilton + Brantford

  • Was a competitive dancer and soccer player
  • Amatuer weightlifter
  • Been doing crossfit for about a year


What gets me ‘jacked up’ about coaching:

Seeing someone accomplish something that they think they cant do… Someone lifting more weight then they did last time.

Mia…

  • More flexible and bendy than your average person
  • Cat mom
  • Holds her pen weird but still has the neatest writing

Deanna Balberman, Coach
Brantford

I joined CrossFit during University because I missed my competitive dance family.  CrossFit soon become my second home.  As I progressed in the sport, my confidence skyrocketed! I wanted to foster this experience for others who were too nervous to enter the weight room.  I love how lifting takes the focus away from how your body looks and transfers it to what your body can DO.

What gets me ‘jacked up’ about coaching:

I love watching the surprise on members’ faces when they accomplish something they didn’t ever think they could.

Dea…

  • Her favourite thing to do is travel this beautiful world

  • She is an Advanced Open Water Scuba diver

  • Owns Vitamin Dea nutrition business/podcast

Anita Bliss, Head of Administration
Hamilton + Brantford

Growing up not playing sports or interested in fitness, it wasn’t until after I had my kids that I realized how out of shape I really was. After a few months of weekly personal training sessions, I was introduced to CrossFit. As nervous and scared as I was I decided to give it a try. Today, it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. CrossFit truly changed my life.

What gets me ‘jacked up’ about coaching:

I love being part of a class where people of different backgrounds, abilities and ages are all working the hardest they can toward their health and fitness goals at the same time encouraging and supporting each other.

Anita…

  • Could not do 1 burpee when she started training (“I laid on the floor and couldn’t get back up”)
  • Loves Overhead Squats
  • Is still searching for her “love of running”

Janet Ratcliff, Coach
Hamilton

Although I have been active all my life, I started CrossFit in 2007 and it changed everything. I joined Alchemy as one of the original members in 2009 and started coaching in 2011. I used to love the competitive aspect of CrossFit, now I just love that I am healthy and happy and functional in all aspects of life.

What gets me ‘jacked up’ about coaching:

I love seeing people accomplish goals and activities that they never thought possible. I love that people can enjoy life much more when they feel healthier.

Janet…

  • Went to australia 32 years ago and brought home her aussie souvenir David, and has been married for 30 years.
  • Competed twice for team Alchemy at the CrossFit regionals.
  • Has a fierce battle cry when she works out!

Kasey Maguire, Coach
Hamilton

My CrossFit story is, sadly, not the least bit exciting. I’d been having a hard time getting back into a movement routine after my daughter was born. I couldn’t find anything that was at a time that worked for me as a mother and was consistent. Randomly, my brother-in-law mentioned a CrossFit gym that he was a member at held 5:30am classes every week day. I emailed Alchemy the next day, did my first CrossFit workout (Baseline) the day after that and the rest, as they say, is history.

What gets me ‘jacked up’ about coaching:

Getting people moving just for the love the of moving and feeling good in their own bodies. PRs are great but they aren’t the every day. I want people to relish in the every day movement.

Kasey…

  • Lived in the Canadian Arctic for six months.
  • The initials of her first and middle name (K and C) make up her actual first name, Kasey.
  • Has a PhD (ABD) in Science and Technology Studies.

Matt Taylor, Coach
Hamilton

I played sports in school and then got into running after becoming a parent.  After dropping them off at activities I would run while I waited for them. With three kids it was all I could make time for. 3 years ago I came to Alchemy with the idea to use CrossFit to help my running out.  Now if you were to ask me I would consider myself a CrossFit-er.

What gets me ‘jacked up’ about coaching:

The joy on peoples faces when their bodies work as they should. When they’re able to jump or squat or lift overhead the way the body was designed.

Matt Taylor…

  • Married his highschool sweetheart
  • Adopted three children
  • His oldest just got her driver’s license and his heart rate has never been higher!

Anthony Morden, Coach
Hamilton

I was going to a big box gym for years and was looking for a change, I did some research and decided to give CrossFit a try. I went to highschool with the owners so I decided to give Alchemy a shot. After the first couple of workouts I was hooked and drank the CrossFit “Kool-aid” by the gallon!

What gets me ‘jacked up’ about coaching:

I love when members tell me stories of how CrossFit has improved their lives. I feel extremely satisfied when our members increase their self confidence.

Anthony…

  • Loves to cook. Pizza is his specialty!

  • He’s a major nerd; video games, super heroes, star wars, DnD, he does it all

  • Travelled all over Asia and Europe for 3 months with his wife.

Maryam Marashi, Coach
Hamilton

I’ve been doing CrossFit for roughly 7 years. I was fortunate enough to have been introduced to it at the age of 16. Inspired by the strength and stature of the female athletes in the sport, I immediately began training CrossFit-style at my conventional gym until my membership expired. I then began training at my local box and never looked back! I trained competitively for about 4 years. During that period, I sat among the top 100 fittest women in the Canada East Region 2 years in a row and earned a handful of qualified spots at international events. Coming from a strong background in sports from a young age, the athletic and competitive nature of CrossFit training has kept me excited and inspired to better myself every day that I walk through the gym doors. These days I train more as a “casual exerciser” than a competitive athlete and am grateful to have the opportunity to extend my passion for exercise and training to the awesome members at Alchemy.

What gets me ‘jacked up’ about coaching:

I love meeting new people and hearing the stories that inspired them to begin their fitness journey. I also love being a part of the victories and battles faced by our members each week as they grow and develop as athletes. My number one favourite part about coaching is watching a person’s confidence inside (and outside) the gym increase over time.

Maryam

  • Eats at least one dessert food every day of her life (Cookies and cupcakes are her fav!)

  • Her favourite exercise to practice is the snatch

  • She was a competitive Irish Dancer for 10 years (6 years old – 16 years old)