Meet the Women: Team CrossFit Central

The women of CrossFit Central’s Team Downtown Black define the essence of the double-C’s, a ‘fit community.’

Meet Lisa Thiel, Ingrid Kantola and Chelsea McKinney, three ladies who have been a part of the CrossFit Central family for many years.

While they are representing our crew in Carson as part of a new team of six individuals this year, they are no strangers to the competition floor. All three have been to Regionals more than once, and Lisa has actually been to the Games three times (twice as an individual, and once with the team).

While you may have seen them around the gym, cheered them on at Regionals, or perhaps even had them coach one of your classes before, get to know a little bit more on your leading ladies.


Lisa Thiel
 Hometown: North Carolina

CrossFit Story: I went to a free community workout in 2007. I was dating someone at the time who actually knew Jeremy and Carey, and brought me to the workout. The first workout I remember was Angie—jumping pull-ups, and afterwards, I went on a 7-mile run.

 Athletic Background: I’ve always been the active one in my family. I’ve played volleyball, ran track, dabbled in soccer, participated in triathlon and distance running

 Competition Experience: Team (South Central Regional-2012, Games-2014), Individual (South Central Regional-2011, 2013)

A few words to describe the role you play on the team: “Experience. Focused. ‘The hug’ (bring all the little details, like food, together).”

Favorite Workout: Amanda, Diane (Handstand push-up workouts)

Favorite Healthy Food/Specialty You Make: Spaghetti Squash Casserole Bake (it tastes like it has cheese in it, it could be pizza…but it’s not!)

 When you are not CrossFitting you are…?: Spending time with my son Jacob (20-months) and husband Jeremy (Thiel)

As a kid did you want to be when you grew up?: A doctor

If you could have dinner or workout with anyone, who would it be?: Gaby Reese (volley ball player)—she’s awesome! I love her philosophy in life.


Chelsea McKinney
Hometown: Houston/Spring, Texas (I have moved a ton though! Alaska, Scotland, Venezuela, Dallas, Chicago, Hawaii and Houston!)

CrossFit Story: Jeff (McKinney) told me about CrossFit. When we started dating, he would tell me more and more about it, and we would do it in globo-gyms like 24-hour fitness. I loved the long 30-40 minute workouts, like Filthy Fifty. We would watch videos on YouTube of the CrossFit Central athletes and say, ‘that’s awesome’, so one day we decided to check out CC and started coaching there soon after.

 Athletic Background: Gymnastics most of my life, and cheerleading at the University of Houston during my senior year of highschool and the University of Hawaii during college

 Competition Experience: Team (South Central Regional-2012), Individual (South Central Regional-2013)

 A few words to describe the role you play on the team: “Keep it fun.”

 Favorite Workout: Diane (3:01), Fran (2:57)

Favorite Healthy Food/Specialty: Kale, chicken sausage and eggs in coconut oil

 When you are not CrossFitting you are…?: Coaching CrossFit or napping

As a kid did you want to be when you grew up?: A gymnast

If you could have dinner or workout with anyone, who would it be?: Will Smith.

What inspires you: My drive to be the best I can! And music gets me fired up.


Ingrid Kantola
Hometown: Sacramento, California

CrossFit Story: I first heard about it during college from a friend, but was busy with pole-vaulting and track/field stuff. Then after college, I started to get bored. What do I do?! In 2008, I decided to check out CrossFit East Sacramento. I was home for Thanksgiving and tried it out. I loved it! When I went back to L.A., I check out CrossFit L.A. in the spring (2009), and then signed up for the SoCal Regional in 2009 (you could just sign up at the time). I got 8th or 9th that year. I have been competing ever since. I worked there at CrossFit L.A. until I moved to Austin in 2010 for grad school in Sports Management. I instantly found CrossFit Central when I moved.

 Athletic Background: I was a collegiate heptathlete and pole vaulter at UCLA. I was also a swimmer and water polo player in high school. I dabbled in rugby post-collegiately.

 Competition Experience: Team (Games-2014), Individual (SoCal Regional-2009, SoCal Regional-2010, South Central Regional-2011, 2012, 2013)

 A few words to describe the role you play on the team: Organization.

 Favorite Workout: Amanda (a little over 4-minutes). I also like workouts with gymnasty things, like rope climbs, pull-ups.

Favorite Healthy Food/Specialty: Green chile pork I make in the crockpot! It’s delicious and super easy.

 When you are not CrossFitting you are…?: Planning a wedding (getting married to Michael Winchester)

As a kid did you want to be when you grew up?: An Olympic athlete. In anything. It didn’t matter the sport really. Whatever the sport was of the season. I went to the Olympic trials for pole-vaulting in 2008. I got close to last place but it was so fun and such a satisfying experience!

If you could have dinner or workout with anyone, who would it be?: Gwen Stefani

 Things that you find inspirational: Breathe Fire (book), Blonde popstar music, Seeing others compete and do it well.

Nicole Hughes