About Us

As junior officers stationed at SEAL Team One Kaj Larsen and Carter Gaffney discovered CrossFit. With one pull up bar in an alley behind their shared house, they made up CrossFit workouts to prepare them for the rigors of serving their country overseas during wartime. CrossFit became a way to steel their bodies for deployments, but it also trained them mentally for long nights, tough training, and the challenges life throws at you. After leaving active duty and attending graduate school at Harvard, Kaj and Carter dreamed of opening a facility in order to train and inspire others in living a healthy life. In 2014 CrossFit Santa Monica opened its doors.

Our cadre of instructors are experts in helping our members achieve peak physical performance. With a wide range of athletic backgrounds from CrossFit to water polo to gymnastics, our trainers use the best and most effective techniques from the fitness universe. Group classes are hard, fun, sweaty, and leave you looking good and feeling even better. 

There is a home for everyone at CrossFit Santa Monica and we welcome you to our community of members.

Kaj Larsen - Co-Founder

A Navy SEAL and long time CrossFitter, Kaj grew up in Santa Cruz and started CrossFit at the original CrossFit box under CrossFit founder Greg Glassman. Kaj was an NCAA Division I water polo player and two-time national champion rescue swimmer. He has swam the Escape from Alcatraz race three times placing 3rd in 2010. With a masters degree in public policy from Harvard Kennedy School, Kaj is currently a Vice News correspondent covering conflict zones around the world.

Josh Gonzalez - Coach

Josh went to Cal State Northridge where he majored in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise Science. The idea was to go back to grad school and master in Athletic Training, but soon after graduation he found CrossFit and never looked back. His passion and drive for what he does led him to amazing opportunities, such as living and coaching in Shenzhen, China, then followed by moving to Dubai.

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Carter Gaffney - Co-Founder

Carter is a former Navy SEAL and long time CrossFitter. Carter began CrossFit in the early 2000’s along with other members of the SEAL community and has been a CrossFit athlete and coach in Los Angeles since 2011. Carter is a regular at Southern California CrossFit competitions and competed for the Brick Republic team at CrossFit Games SoCal Regionals in 2013. Carter has his MBA from Harvard and is the Chief Operations Officer at a Dallas based startup.

Adam Pedecini - Coach

Born and raised in Australia, Adam has traveled the world, both for work (as a professional dancer) and seeking adventures as an avid whitewater kayaker. Adam has has learned early on the importance of living a healthy life from riding along side his mom on her early morning runs, when he was a child. It was through Adam’s love of being healthy and living an adventurous life that his passion for fitness has grown into a path of helping others become mentally and physically fit.

Jackson Day - Head Coach

Jackson has a formal education in International Business from Cuesta College and and has been a strength & conditioning coach focusing on athletic performance for all sports. In 2013, a co-worker invited Jackson to try a CrossFit class and he was all-in from the start. Jackson loves working with athletes which blends well into his CrossFit career. Through his passion for food and coffee, Jackson started the Coffee Club at CFSM to encourage a sense of community.

Emily Decker - Assistant Coach

Emily fell in love with CrossFit in 2014 after her first workout at CrossFit Santa Monica. She has been a long distance runner and racer since the age of 15. she holds a masters degree in social work with a concentration in mental health from USC, and she is a vocal advocate for the destigmatization of mental illness. Emily hopes to encourage others, especially those with mental health issues, to find the welcoming community and personal empowerment she has found in CrossFit.