Naka Coaches and Professionals

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Carl Paoli, Head Coach and Founder

Carl was born in the U.S. to Swedish parents and grew up in Spain, where even as a kid his passion for physical activity and desire for sport lead him to delve into action sports such as snow boarding, skiing, wake boarding, water skiing, and karate. It was his love for gymnastics, however, that shape his discipline for hard work, determination, and now his professional career.

Carl soon became an elite gymnast in Spain during his years as a young adult where he trained and competed in the national circuit for over fifteen years. Throughout his gymnastics career he received numerous accolades including a National Gold Medal for Vault. Aside from training, Carl also studied Environmental Science at Universidad Miguel Hernandez and specialized in Genetic Engineering and Coral Reef Ecology. After university, Carl returned to the U.S. to pursue his career in marine biology.

Even though Carl found work that was relevant to his studies, his mind was never far from his love for sport and fitness. He reentered the world of gymnastics in 2004 in San Francisco, where he now lives and works as a Strength and Conditioning Coach and runs his own practice, Naka Athletics, in collaboration with San Francisco CrossFit and AcroSports. Naka specializes in the physical preparation and representation of action sports athletes of all levels, and Carl has been fortunate enough to work with some of the best and brightest athletes from all over the world.

In late 2010, Carl and his team at Naka Athletics launched, currently the largest online resource for gymnastics-movement training and conditioning for CrossFit coaches and athletes. Since the launch of GmynasticsWOD, Carl has virtually and physically coached thousands of athletes around the world through the website and by way of his Freestyle Connections seminars. In 2011, Carl was also fortunate enough to be part of the coaching team for Annie Thorisdottir.  With Carl's coaching, support, and supervision, Annie went on to win the 2011 CrossFit Games and was crowned the Fittest Woman in the World.

School is never out for Carl as he has many certifications surrounding health and fitness and is in constant collaboration with several international athletic programs. It is his consistency in his professional, personal and family life that allows him to continue the pursuit for success.


Kelly Starrett, PT

Coach Kelly Starrett founded San Francisco CrosSFit with his wife and fellow athlete Juliet. Since opening its doors in 2005 as one of the first 50 CrossFit Affiliates, this athletic training center has become the prime coaching resource for reigning Olympians, national and world champions, tri-athletes, runners, and recreational athletes alike. Kelly's focused coaching and warm personality brings his professional training as a strength coach and a doctor of physical therapy to life for brilliant coaching in a positive environment. Kelly is an inspiration to nearly everyone he meets, causing even superior athletes to re-examine their physical capacities and reach higher levels, and motivating beginners to believe in their natural ability to excel.

Kelly received his Doctor of Physical Therapy in 2007 from Samuel Merritt College in Oakland, California. Before starting his own physical therapy practice at San Francisco CrosSFit, he practiced performance-based physical therapy at the world-renowned Stone Clinic. In current practice, Kelly continues to focus on performance-based Orthopedic Sports Medicine with an emphasis on returning athletes to elite level sport and performance. His clients see exceptional results from his progressive blend of manual physical therapy and strength training. Kelly's clients have included Olympic gold-medalists, world-class extreme skiers and X-Games medalists, dancers with Smuin, San Francisco, and Sacramento Ballet Companies, military personnel, and competitive age-division athletes.

Kelly has also served as the strength and conditioning coach for the Marin Rowing Association high school rowing program where he helped lead the varsity girls to a national title in 2008. He is also proud to have served as strength coach to reigning rowing Olympic gold medalist Erin Cafaro, in preparation for her success in the 2008 Beijing Olympiad.

Kelly's background as an athlete and coach includes paddling whitewater slalom canoe on the US Canoe and Kayak Teams, and leading the Men's Whitewater Rafting Team to two national titles and competition in two World Championships. In his free time Kelly enjoys spending time with his two daughters, Georgia and Caroline, surfing, paddling, Olympic lifting, and dancing.