Tori Hope

Tori is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and first moved to Florida just before high school. Since then, she's been a bit of a nomad, both with and without her family. She's moved states or cities 8 or 9 times since 2004, most recently landing here in Jax to attend UNF. Besides being a student Tori works in Human Resources for an engineering firm. Outside of that she's just a crazy dog lady, a wine lover, an aspiring home cook, and a wanna be photographer. 

Who got you started doing CrossFit? 

Kinda of just wander in to a box by myself a couple years ago. I use to work out in a big box gym with my Dad, which I loved, because it gave us time together. But as I got older, that past time slipped away. When I was ready to go back to the gym, I knew I did not want another globo gym. So, I tried Crossfit, and we've had an on/off relationship ever since.  

What were your initial feelings about the program?

I loved that everything was programed. No need to think/plan my own workout. However, I hated how it blatantly exposed how unfit I had become. 

You come very regularly to class and have even been coming early/staying after to work on personal goals. Where do you find the motivation to be so diligent? 

Rather than finding the motivation, I ran out of excuses as to why not. I got sick of constantly being at the same level due to inconsistency and lack of effort. So I committed to myself to go at least 4 days a week, no matter how or when I had to make it happen. I'm very goal oriented, so I asked Ruben for some help with goal setting, and what to do to work towards those goals regularly. I started celebrating the mini victories, even if it's just 1 second faster, or one more rep. Lastly, I'm just stubborn and competitive. 

Do you have any favorite quotes that you live your life by or resonate with you?

"Change begins at the end of your comfort zone."
"If your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough."

(No idea who actually said either of those) 

What are some career or life goals you have outside the gym?

My main goal right now is to finish school and become a Registered Dietitian. I hope to one day help prevent and treat chronic disease with nutrition and lifestyle changes. 

Zack Morris or A.C. Slater?

A.C. Slater, hands down. 

What are some things you really enjoy about the gym?

Our growing community is pretty awesome! The more I started leaning in to the gym and the community the more I started getting out of it. Which, in turn makes me want to lean in even more. In recent months many of the Bold City members have become not only friends but, the closet thing I have to family here in Jax. I'm incredibly grateful for them, the gym, and our community. Whether they are pushing me in a WOD, offering to run extra with me, or just reminding me to work on mobility, I wouldn't be as far as I am with out their support. I also love the strength work we've been doing on Tuesday and Thursdays.  

Thank you for being you! We hope to have 100 members like you and are really proud of all the effort and energy you bring to class everyday. Do you have any closing thoughts or comments?

I can't really thank you and Ruben enough! It's obvious how much you guys pour into your athletes, and all you request in return is that we show up and work hard. I'm excited to see where SoFit is headed, and I'm looking forward to growing with y'all. 

Isabella Horning

Sports have always been a huge part of Isabella's life. She lettered in three sports in high school (basketball, volleyball, and softball) and also loves to play Beach Volleyball. Isabella attended Bishop Kenny High School and recently graduated on May 20! She received a Falcon Scholarship from the Air Force Academy and will be attending New Mexico Military Institute for a year of prep school before going to the Air Force Academy. Isabella has always wanted to serve her country and after some back and forth between the Army and Air Force is happy with her decision and what the future has in store for her.


How did you find out about Bold City CrossFit and what made you want to join?
I just looked up CrossFit gyms near me and Bold City CrossFit was one of the ones that came up. It stood out to me because there was a picture of all the military flags hanging in the gym. 

What were some of your goals coming into the program?
I was coming back from a bad concussion and needed to get back in shape. I wanted to be in the best shape I could be in when I went to the Air Force Academy.

You seemed a little shy initially coming into the gym but lately we've noticed you've been much more out going. Are you having a least a little fun when you come in?
It always takes a little time for me to warm up and come out of my shell. I love CrossFit and going to the classes. It's the best part of my day!

For being so young you're very motivated, where do you think that comes from?
Being motivated to me is just part of being an athlete. In any sport or exercise I tried I wanted to be the best. I think my motivation also comes from wanting to achieve my dreams. Once I knew I wanted to go to a Service Academy I pushed myself to the best I could be. 


What are some goals you have for school and down the road?
My goal is to graduate from the United States Air Force Academy and be commissioned as an Air Force Officer.

If you had to give some advice to someone interested in becoming a member of our gym, what would you say?
Join! Don't have any hesitations because I wish I had joined sooner. Also just go in and do your best every workout and don't hesitate to try new things.

Plamen Ratchev

Plamen was born and grew up in a small town near the mountain areas of Bulgaria (it may be difficult to spot on the map, look North of Greece). It is a place of extreme heat and cold weather with good snowfall in the winter. Growing up he had two passions: school and sports. Math and reading/writing were his favorite subjects in school. He played and competed in variety of sports: soccer, chess, orienteering, cross country skiing (the sport he enjoyed most), and biathlon. Computers became his passion in high school and that shaped his professional life. He met his better half Val on a bus ride to his home town. Ironically, they lived very close in a small town, her cousin being his best friend, and they never met until college. He started a software consulting and development company 17 years ago and has been very fortunate to work with some very bright and talented people. His passion for computers allowed him to meet technology leaders, present at conferences, and write articles and books.

I believe Nate and Mina said you were the 1st official member to Bold City CrossFit. How did you find out about CrossFit back then?

I was practicing Krav Maga at the karate center where our twin boys Dante and Tristan were having taekwondo classes. Our instructor Erik had a passion for fitness and was torturing us with these conditioning exercises he said were the base of something called CrossFit. Burpees, running, box jumps, pull ups, and more burpees… What can I say, very exciting! I started looking for a CrossFit gym nearby and the closest location I could find was Bold City CrossFit. The only problem was that they were opening the following week… I survived.

What are some things that keep you motivated and consistent after being a member for so long?

Most definitely the people at the gym. Both coaches and athletes. Seeing people to go from struggling to do their first pull up to stringing muscle ups, or not being able to do a squat with a PVC pipe to lifting heavy weights overhead, and all that regardless of age or physical condition, what can be more motivational! The variety of exercises is also a big factor. There is always something new to learn, being a new skill or a better way of to perform a movement. When it starts getting boring there are always coaches around to challenge us (or to entertain us).

I think your son is a fan favorite in the gym, does he currently out squat you?

Funny you should point that out! Pavel most definitely is getting to the point of squatting more than me. I am not sure if I am getting old or there has been somebody coaching him behind my back at the gym… But forget squatting, his favorite movement by far is burpees! That is when somebody else does them (he always laughs at people doing burpees).

Do you have any montras or words of wisdom you live by?

Balance and patience in everything, and always find reasons to laugh! And a glass of wine.

After being a CrossFitter for so long, do you have any words of wisdom for newer people or anybody interested in trying it out?

Here are the simple rules to enjoy CrossFit: read the words on the front door mat when walking into the gym; listen to your coaches, they say things for a reason; it is usually heavier or higher than you think, go lighter or lower until you get better; cheer others; laugh at yourself when you fail, then try harder; have patience, unless you are one of those genetically gifted athletes it takes time to get better; never give up, failures are the road to success; most important - have fun, at the end of the day the numbers on the board do not matter, it matters how you feel.

Are there any accomplishments you've done in your life that you look back on that really make you proud, or any memories of really defining moments in your life?

Perhaps the most defining moment in my life is meeting Val. She is that person that will always help you to be the best that you can be. Supporting me in difficult moments, pushing me when I need pushing, being the best cheerleader, and telling me the truth in the face even if it hurts. I am proud to be her best friend and dad of our kids!

Thank you for being such a long and consistent member to Bold City CrossFit, we really enjoy having you around and hope to have you around for another 5 years! Do you have any closing thoughts or comments you'd like to add?

Only another 5 years? What do you mean, there will be no Bold City CrossFit after 5 years, or you plan to enforce some age limit for members?!Thank you Ryan and Ruben!!! Keep doing what you are doing. Your coaching, patience, and encouragement makes us all better, one WOD at a time!


Joanne (JoJo) Perrotti

JoJo is from a small town in NE Ohio on a farm with her 50+ first cousins. She's from a large family that routinely spent a lot of time together. From getting together on Sunday's for church to hanging out at the farm and eating trays of Grandma's Cinnamon Buns, family was a big part of her childhood. With all these kids, naturally the family was very active in sports. Her family built an ice hockey rink in her back yard fully equipped with  goals and everything. They also had a basketball court, did gymnastics in the barn, water skied in the summer, you name it.

JoJo was a great athlete herself and dabbled with Softball, Gymnastics (placing 10th in Junior Nationals), ran the 800m in track and even took Jazz and Tap dancing on the side. Fast forward to today, JoJo has a family of her own with four tremendous kids. She moved to Jacksonville in 1995 and that's where she met the love of her life, Paul F. Perrotti whom she says is "the most amazing and generous man she has ever known."

The coaches have really noticed a difference in the way you're training lately. You seem to be determined to get better everyday. What's been motivating that?


I have to give credit to my brother in law, Danny Perrotti, for introducing me to CrossFit. I didn't even know what a barbell was and here I am 1 and a half years later! Last year I signed up for the 2016 CrossFit Open and was satisfied just being able to complete all the scaled workouts. This year my goal was to do better than last year and I was happy to do just that. When I joined Bold City it was like becoming a part of a family. I enjoy the friendships and there's a comfort in working out with others who share your pain (a.k.a Old City CrossFit). 

Who is someone in your life that inspires you?

My mother is my biggest inspiration. We experienced some of the same struggles at similar ages. Her drive to always push through whatever difficulty in life she was experiencing gives me strength to see the light at the end of the tunnel. She sets specific goals and is persistent in achieving them. She has this magical presence about herself that motivates others to achieve more in life.

What are some things you enjoy outside the gym?

Spending time with my family and friends. I also enjoy attending sporting events and traveling.

If you owned a billboard on I95, what would you want it so say?

"Thank you Jax for welcoming my family to yours, wrapping your arms around me, and supporting the growth of my children. I couldn't have done it so well without all of you. Thank you, my friends."

What are some future goals you have regarding your fitness?

I just want to keep improving me endurance and strength. I'd like to strengthen the muscles needed to do a pull up. When I pass the series seven securities exam this year, I'd like to start learning more about nutrition. I may even try the Barbell Club so I can hang out with Yee and John. 

What's something in your life that you're most proud of?

I am so very proud of the success of my children. They light up my life, exceed my expectations and continue to amaze me. We have so much fun when we get together. They're good kids and they're proud of me too.

Thanks for letting us do this piece on you. Do you have any closing comments or thoughts you'd like to share?

Ryan and Ruben, keep doing what you're doing. I love you guys!

Shaun Hayes

Shaun was born in LA but he grew up in Cocoa and Palm Bay. He has a twin brother and when he was younger he even played in a band. After that faded away Shaun realized it was time to get a real job and he's been a workaholic ever since. Shaun has held various positions from managing a Panera Bread, Managing the Apple store in the Town Center and is now the manager of a new company Carvana which is changing the way people buy cars.

It's obvious that Shaun is an entrepreneur and when asked why he's made so many career changes in the past few years he said "I'm always looking for an opportunity that will provide professional development. Each change I've made has provided growth in an area I felt I was lacking." One of Shaun's ideal career's would be to mentor people on how to manage people, build their own careers and develop talent. Throughout his career Shaun used one simple statement to gauge his impact on the teams he's lead "those teams that are the most successful, are those that are brilliant with the basics." I think this really applies to life and even CrossFit. Let's get to know Shaun a little more through a few questions we wanted to ask him.

There's a rumor that you have a world record sized Dachshund, can you tell us about that and your buddy J-Mo?
Jameson may also have the record for being the sleepiest and easiest dog ever. Jameson gets a lot of attention when we go places, so one time at a Beer Festival some friends thought it would be funny to tell people he was a world record sized Dachshund (which he's not). Some people believe us and other people know we were lying pretty instantly. 

You've been really consistent with both the group classes and following the barbell club. What is different now than previous times where coming to the gym in general was tough to do consistently?
Like most people, I was pretty unsure about CrossFit in the beginning. I have a lot of friends that have been into it for a while. When I took a year off in 2016, I felt a pretty quick drop in how active I was as well as my eating habits. From there I decided that I wouldn’t choose what work outs I felt good about and what ones I did not. This has caused me to improve in areas that I found intimidating or frustrating. Its tough to figure out a schedule that works, but its possible!

What have you enjoyed the most about Barbell Club so far?
The barbell club has helped me understand the basics and the impact good foundation can have on the lifts. Yee and John are great.

What physical goals do you have at the gym that you'd like to accomplish in the next year?
My goal this year is to compete at "Rep Your Box" as long as my job will allow it!

It's been really nice to see you so consistent in the gym and to even hear your hard work has paid off with PR's in both of the Olympic Lifts! Thanks for taking some time to answer our questions and let everybody get to know you a little better!