Clelia Stefanini: “The Way Forward”

Clelia Stefanini: “The Way Forward”

Like many other OPEX CCP coaches, Clelia Stefanini started out by drinking the CrossFit Kool Aid. Hard. 

But after a number of years both coaching group classes and participating in group classes, she found herself burnt out, both as a coach and an athlete.

  • “I was frustrated and burnt out and just so annoyed because I wasn’t getting the results I wanted (from group classes) and also didn’t feel like I was recovered,” said Stefanini, who lives in Nashville, TN. 
  • “And on a professional level, I was like, ‘I don’t understand how any of this makes sense. What does the career path look like?’”

Along the way, she had slowly been learning about OPEX principles and the OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP) from the owner of her gym, and the principles “just made sense,” said 30-year-old Stefanini, who signed up for and completed the CCP in 2019. Today, she works with her own growing book of individual program design clients, some of which are remote clients. 

“It just felt like the natural transition,” she said of the CCP.

Stefanini was not disappointed.

The two biggest CCP takeaways for Stefanini were learning about the importance of taking care of herself first, and the importance of having difficult conversations with her clients, she explained. 

  • “The concept of always taking care of yourself first and making sure you’re always working on yourself so you can be as whole and balanced as you can really stuck with me,” she said. This also led her to look into her own why—into her intention of being a coach: Through some soul searching she realized she never had great coaches when she was a young aspiring figure skater, until she turned 14, but by then it was too late, she explained. Realizing this helped her to understand her desire and intention to be the best coach she possibly can be for her clients. It means I’m “more aligned and connected with my clients,” she added. 
  • Stefanini also learned that in order to truly help her clients long term, she needed to be more willing to have “difficult conversations,” she said, and start “questioning belief systems and our biases.”

Ongoing support

Though she completed the CCP nearly one year ago, Stefanini said the real value is having the continued support from the OPEX community.

  • “I feel like OPEX is constantly inspiring me and encouraging me,” she said. “James (FitzGerald) always said if we had questions, email him. And I emailed him and he responded right away. I was surprised.”

But now she realizes this is the OPEX way: “All the folks at OPEX HQ, they’re open to ongoing communication. They don’t hide once you have finished the CCP,” she said. “There’s an ongoing dialogue and commitment to better the field of coaching, which I think we have to do,” she added. 

It’s this ongoing dialogue, and constant search to be better, that has also given her the confidence to know she is making the right decision by going down the individual program design career path, she explained. 

Stefanini’s ultimate goal

“My dream is to work at HQ. I want to become as good of a coach as I can be, and then I’d love to just be closer to the mother ship and be able to be a pillar to spread these ideas, concepts and principles,” she said. 


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