Head Trainer & Owner
Mallee Sato owns CrossFit Imperial Valley because she is passionate about CrossFit and believes in the efficacy of the program and it’s ability to improve lives both inside and outside of the gym.
Within the gym, Mallee enjoys working with athletes of various skill levels. For the past three years, she has spent countless hours programming each workout that has been completed at CrossFit Imperial Valley and the former CrossFit Amundson and posted on the website. Her unique ability to create workouts and keen attention to detail is the backbone and structure of the fitness program at CrossFit Imperial Valley. Mallee’s greatest joy comes from watching her athletes gain strength, grow more fit, increase their health, and ultimately change the way they live their lives. This is the primary reason she teaches CrossFit.
Mallee also works for the CrossFit Headquarters Seminar & Training Department as the Department Assistant & Travel Coordinator.
“I did not grow up playing team sports or being overly athletic. However, I was always interested in the physical demands associated with challenging the body through physical activity. I ran mostly, surfed a little and swam in the ocean. I took dance lessons and even spent a few years learning Thai Kickboxing. It was not until I started CrossFitting in 2007 that I felt like I had truly found a sport that I could continue to do for the rest of my life because it was fun as well as challenging both physically and mentally. We are all athletes and CrossFit was what I needed to bring this out in me.”
In 2012, at the age of 16, my mom “strongly encouraged” me to give CrossFit a try. I was overweight, lacking motivation, and despised any form of physical activity. I honestly didn’t enjoy going to CrossFit at first and clearly remember my mom waking me up before school to make me get out of bed and go to the gym. However, after working out for a few months, I began to see results and started to look forward to going to the gym. Being a competitive person, I feel in love with the daily challenges that CrossFit presented and the opportunity to not only “compete” against others, but to also “compete” against myself.
I decided to get my Level 1 CrossFit certificate in 2014 after I graduated high school because I thought that coaching would be a fun part time job while attending college. After completing my Freshman year at Texas Christian University and finding a new gym family at CrossFit Iron Horse, I worked up the courage to ask the owner if I could be a coaching intern. That decision turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life as I quickly fell in love with coaching CrossFit classes and helping people achieve their goals. Over the next three or so years I progressed from being a part time coach at CFIH while I was still at TCU, to taking on a full-time coaching/management position after I graduated. I will be forever grateful to my mentors and peers at CFIH for teaching me how to be a coach and pushing me to perform at the best of my abilities. While residing in the great state of Texas I also received my Level 2 CrossFit certificate, as well as, my USAW Level 1 Certificate.
I am blessed to have the opportunity to coach at the same gym I started at in 2012. I am excited to meet you and help y’all achieve your goals. I especially enjoy teaching Olympic lifts and gymnastics movements, but feel free to ask me questions about anything fitness related, and I will do my best to assist you!
It was a super small group of us, maybe 5 of us outside Mallee’s garage. I remember we were warming up on the street and I kept thinking what the heck was I doing here! I was the only girl and definitely intimidated at first. Mallee took us through our movements, briefed the workout and after completing my first CF WOD I felt exhausted but great at the same time! I never stopped after that!
Brianna worked at the CrossFit Imperial Valley front desk for a few years before she decided she wanted to be a CrossFit trainer. The healthy lifestyle that CrossFit had lead her to adopt was a way of living that she wanted to teach and share with others.
I’m a trainer because I truly love it. I love the way it makes me feel when I can help someone accomplish a goal, especially the goal to live a healthier lifestyle.
Since becoming a trainer, Brianna has taken over the Fundamentals program at the gym, teaching all the beginner athletes who join the gym. In addition, she is instrumental in CFIV’s Nutrition Challenges, helping to organize the Challenges as well as serving as an expert advisor to her athletes.
I had always been curious about CrossFit after seeing my friend Brian Burgun’s pictures and hearing his stories about the crazy workouts they did, but I didn’t think I could do it. He finally talked me into going to a free community workout in January 2011. I remember looking at the WOD that consisted of deadlifts with a dowel, pushups, and squats, and I thought “That’s it? They must make it easy for the visitors.” That day, I was humbled by a dowel and movements that I thought I knew how to do. I remember mid-workout my partner who was a current member of the gym was pushing me and encouraging me to finish the WOD, and I was thinking “Oh my gosh, what am I doing here? I’m never coming back!” As soon as I finished and walked out of the box, I had the best workout high I had ever felt. I was so sore the next day, I could barely walk, and I fell in love. I signed up the next week, and haven’t stopped since. As a member at CFIV, the coaches taught me to push beyond what I had previously thought was my physical and mental limit. And as a result, I now appreciate that everyone is capable of accomplishing so much more than they think possible.
In the middle of college and needing a job, I decided to sign up for the CrossFit Level 1 Certificate Course in June, 2012. I was so excited to gain more knowledge on CrossFit and living a healthy lifestyle. I started interning at CFIV shortly after, and have been teaching classes since October, 2012. I love teaching others about CrossFit and will continue my education in CrossFit, health, and fitness for years to come. What I love most about CrossFit is the unique supportive community that you can find no matter where you go. I also love the concept of relative intensity and that any grueling WOD can be scaled to each individual’s skill and ability level. That is the beauty of CrossFit.
The summer of 2014 was the first time a shy pre teen walked into CrossFit Imperial Valley to do his first 6am teen class. His first workout had box dips and a class that was filled with teens that could move well. He was very nervous but the trainer and athletes made him
feel welcomed. The pre teen performed the workout then went to school afterwards. The next morning there was a feeling of soreness that he had never felt before. From that moment on he was hooked on CrossFit. That preteen’s name is Melaky Martinez.
I have always wanted to do something that made me good at almost everything. CrossFit was the solution. CrossFit had me climbing ropes, jumping over walls, doing pull-ups, lifting weights, and even walking on my hands. I did not think CrossFit could be any more fun than what it was at that moment. However, that opinion changed in the middle of my Junior year of High School when the owner of CrossFit Imperial Valley (Mallee) asked me if I would like to start working in the CrossFit Kids program. I agreed with enthusiasm because kids are super fun to train. After some time of helping and watching Mallee do the Kids class, I started teaching some of them. I received my CrossFit Kids certificate in 2018. By the end of that year I also received my CrossFit Level 1 which enabled me to start teaching CrossFit to adults. I have learned so much from all the staff at CrossFit Imperial Valley on how to be not just an ok trainer, but, on how to be the best trainer that I can possibly be. Many people say that they don’t enjoy their job. I tell them, well, I not only enjoy my job but I love my job as a CrossFit trainer. CrossFit has changed my life for the better. Five years of CrossFit down, 80 more to go.