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About Us

Our Philosophy

At Brightside Barbell we are working to create a gym where folks can walk in and feel at home, like our space is a place where they can show up to train and be unapologetically themselves. 


The fitness industry as we know it is problematic and even abusive at times. We are constantly bombarded with images and rhetoric that serve to tell people that they are not *enough* and that they need to change. We are committed to creating a more inclusive space where misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, racism, body shaming, and diet culture are not casually accepted as the norm. 


Whether your aim is to PR your Clean and Jerk, learn a new skill, relieve joint pain, celebrate or improve your relationship with your body, or just show up and hang out with your friends, we aim to provide incredible coaching and programming to help you have a good experience and reach your goals. 


We’re not perfect, but we’re committed to continuously questioning the status quo, pushing the fitness industry and community to be better, and unlearning the societal B.S. we’ve all been taught. We strive to build a community of people that share our values and want to get stronger physically and otherwise, without the toxicity that is often so ubiquitous in fitness spaces. 


Will you join us?

Meet the Team

Coach Brooks, Founder & Head Coach

Coach Brooks (they/them) has over a decade of experience in fitness coaching including CrossFit, Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting, personal training, corrective exercise, and nutrition. Coach Brooks holds a CrossFit Level 2 certification and a USA Weightlifting Level 1 certification. In addition to coaching, Brooks has worked in PT clinics and adaptive athletics programs around the San Francisco Bay Area.

Coach Brooks graduated Magna Cum Laude from San Francisco State University with a B.S. in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Therapeutic Exercise and Neuromuscular Science.

Emily, Co-Founder & Business Manager

Emily (she/they) is a Bay Area native who has lived in and around Oakland for the last decade. She spent her youth as a competitive swimmer but spent most of her 20s living a sedentary life. Seven years ago, she finally joined a local CrossFit gym and met Coach Brooks. The variety, the camaraderie, and the friendly competition kept her motivated in a way no other "dry land" workout experience ever had before. You may see Emily around the gym as a regular class member or hunched over the desk making sure bills get paid. Emily holds a BA in Physical Anthropology from UC Santa Cruz and an MBA from Mills College.

Coach Jake

Jake (he/him) began CrossFit in 2008 as a strength and conditioning program for volleyball and quickly fell in love with it. He continued pursuing it throughout his collegiate volleyball career, got his level 1 certificate in 2014, and began coaching in 2015. Jake quickly discovered a passion for coaching and obtained his level 2 certificate just a few years later in 2017. Given his background with CrossFit as it relates to sport, he is always eager to chat about how the things we do in the gym can be applied to our favorite game, sport, or just life in general. Whether it's kicking into a handstand, hitting that weightlifting goal, or even just picking yourself up off the ground, Jake loves helping people achieve things they never thought their body would be capable of doing and wants to help you build a healthy, long lasting relationship with movement and fitness.


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Coach Kristen

Kristen (she/her) loves fitness, especially CrossFit, and is excited to coach others and share her skills and passion.  Unlike most, Kristen’s fitness journey has been a bit unconventional.  While she played several sports throughout her youth, Kristen’s love for fitness & health didn’t really begin until her early twenties when she decided to quit smoking and run her first marathon.  At SFSU, she acquired a BS in Hospitality Management and a degree in Culinary Arts. She has since spent over a decade in the Food & Beverage Industry but during this time fitness still played a big role in her life, as she ran more marathons, raced in a Tough Mudder, climbed Half Dome and has continued to experiment with different workout trends at a variety of gyms.  For most of that time she felt stuck or got bored with the standards of working out that many women are pushed towards; weight loss. When her 6am workout partner (gym wife) sent her videos of the 2017 CrossFit Games, she saw a community of people that encouraged and elevated strong women.  She stopped stepping on a scale and had a completely new (and never-ending) set of fitness goals that she is still striving for. These goals have transcended into her personal and professional life as well where she has started her own business and became a parent.  She lives in Oakland with her wife, son, and dog.

Coach Isa

Isa (she/her/they/them) has been coaching CrossFit since 2017. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and abilities reach their fitness goals, whether those goals are general health, athletic performance, or just to have fun. As a teen, Isa discovered sports and fitness as a tool to help her overcome negative body image and improve her health, eventually becoming a nationally ranked junior tennis player and qualifying for USA Weightlifting’s National Under 25 Championships. While Isa spends most of her time these days working toward becoming a touring professional tennis player, the friendships and community she enjoys through CrossFit has always kept her coming back to the gym.

Isa is a CrossFit Level 1 Certified Trainer, and she holds a B.S. in Nutritional Sciences: Physiology and Metabolism, and a Master of Information and Data Science, both from UC Berkeley.


Coach Olivia

Olivia (she/her) started developing a passion for athletics in middle school, playing practically every sport offered year round. In high school she started training and eventually teaching martial arts, while also developing a love for softball. It was her connection to team and community through athletics that first drew her to CrossFit- that and watching incredibly strong women sledgehammer a 115lb brick across the floor. She sent the video to Kristen, her gym wife (and fellow Brightside coach!) and they have both been hooked ever since. Olivia is passionate about helping people connect with their bodies, get stronger, and fighting every system that has ever told her (or anybody else) to be smaller. Olivia lives in Pleasant Hill with her wife and their Puppy Finley.

Coach Dave

Dave (he/him) has been doing CrossFit for close to 10 years with over 5 of them also as a level 1 coach. In addition to CrossFit, Dave holds a level 1 certificate in Precision Nutrition Coaching and is currently pursuing a certificate in Sleep, Stress Management, and Recovery. When he’s not Crossfitting, Dave likes to test his fitness through various challenges including Spartan races, Ninja Warrior, and Hyrox to name a few. His ultimate passion however is making ice cream. Go ahead and challenge him to make any flavor you want: dairy or non-dairy!


Dave earned a B.S in Mechanical Engineering from Rutgers University, a M.S in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Texas A&M University.


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