The Holy City Fitness Story

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Katy Prefontaine owner of Holy City Fitness

Katy Prefontaine

I started CrossFit in 2015, right after the birth of my third child. I had tried some different workout programs in the past, and had most recently had a friend I used to go to the YMCA with and workout, but it had been A WHILE. Once I started CrossFit, I was hooked almost instantly. After a few years decided I wanted to coach as well, so I could hopefully help people change their lives the way mine was. Eventually I worked through a few different positions in my gym, right up until it closed during the pandemic. I couldn’t deny the itch to get back into being more than a member at the, and with some work experience I had over the intervening two years, I decided I wanted to take a shot at running one of my own. Through a series of serendipitous events and coincidence I met Jess, the amazing former owner of Holy City, and we agreed this would be a perfect time for me to take over and take care of the community she built and fostered over the past four years here.

Our coaches

Brooke Albea coach at Holy City Fitness

Brooke Albea

Coach + Personal Trainer

Before Brooke made varsity volleyball in high school, she never did much exercising. After falling in love with volleyball, she realized she could be even better if she got into the gym. She was introduced to CrossFit as a way of training for anything and was hooked – to the crazy results, the barbell, and the amazing community that she is forever thankful for. Brooke obtained her Level 1 in 2015 so she could start spreading the CrossFit love. After 5 years of coaching CrossFit, Brooke spent some time focusing on a powerlifting approach (and she’s got the quads to prove it). You can now find her at Holy City coaching CrossFit classes, helping our members grow their glutes sizably, and doing personal training for those who want a very specific approach.

Favorite food: (vegan) tacos, anything brunch, Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy “Tonight Dough” ice cream.
Favorite move in the gym: squat, hip thrust, hang power cleans & double unders.
When not at HCCF: traveling with my boyfriend, playing with our pet tortoise, and watching The Office.
Certs: CF-L1, NASM Personal Trainer

Sarah MacDonald coach at Holy City Fitness

Sarah MacDonald

Coach & Flaunt Fitness Dance Instructor

Although it’s questionable when Sarah actually began CrossFit, we estimate it’s been about 3.5 years and she’s loved every minute of it (even the thrusters). She CrossFitted for almost three years before getting her L1 certificate, after much hounding from Jess, who knew she’d make a badass coach. She started coaching at Holy City in May 2019. Before starting CrossFit, Sarah had been searching for the right balance in a workout to help calm her anxiety and keep her interested. After attempting to train on her own for several years (with very little success) she stumbled upon her first CrossFit gym and never looked back. She loves the blend of functional and intentional movement, community focus, and varied workouts. She’s grateful to have found a community that values her strength and grit, and pushes her beyond what she thinks is possible. When Sarah isn’t at the gym she’s a passionate school counselor for the best kids in the world, and a dance teacher/performer with the Charleston Bad Girl’s Club and Flaunt Fitness at Holy City Fitness. You can also find her dancing during any of her CrossFit classes, and she keeps our members moving with her killer playlists!

Favorite move in the gym: dumbbell snatches, hang cleans, toes to bar.
Favorite foods: sushi, pizza, brownies and coffee.
Certs: CF-L1

Hailey Ninness coach at Holy City Fitness

Hailey Ninness

Coach

Hailey has lived in five different states (ME, MI, KY, TN, and now SC – no, she’s not a vagabond!) and has been a part of a variety of sports teams in order to acclimate to new environments. Although she loved every sport she participated in – swim, track, soccer, softball, and tennis- none of them held her attention for very long. That all changed when Hailey joined a CrossFit gym at the age of fourteen, with the hope of gaining strength, confidence, and friends. She immediately fell in love with the constant mental and physical challenges that accompany constantly varied workouts and, more importantly, the incredibly supportive community. Hailey is forever thankful to have grown up and to continue to be a part of a community that values long-term health, body positivity, and mental strength.

Favorite move: Squat Snatches, Muscle Ups, GHDs.
Favorite Food: Coffee, Seafood, Brunch, Cake.
When not at HCCF: Hanging out at the beach or studying for an exam (most likely at the beach).
Certs: CF-L1

Jackson Derrick coach at Holy City Fitness

Jackson Derrick

Coach

I am originally from Chapin SC, and have lived in SC my whole life. I went to the College of Charleston, which is how I found myself in Charleston, and am now in the dental school at MUSC. I started CrossFit my sophomore year of college at HCCF (before it was HCCF) and have been with the gym ever since. Prior to college, I had played baseball my whole life so when I got to college I soon realized I needed an active community to satisfy that competitive nature I had come to know as normal from all those years playing baseball. After my first CrossFit class I knew there was no turning back. What I love about CrossFit is that it proves to you time and time again just how much the body and mind are capable of. Because of CrossFit, not only do I believe that I have improved physically but also mentally. My goal as a coach is help people fall in love with CrossFit just as my coaches helped me fall in love with it all those years ago and still to this day.

When not at gym I am most likely surfing on FollY Beach, reading, or out downtown!

Favorite food: Chick-Fil-A.
Favorite movements: handstand push ups, double-unders, & DB snatches.

Jillian (Jill) Polk

Coach
Jillian (Jill) was born and raised in Lexington, South Carolina. She moved down to Charleston in April 2020 to attend PA school at MUSC and is now a recent graduate of the program. She grew up playing sports, dancing competitively and tried out multiple different types of group fitness classes, but always felt like something was missing from her fitness routine. She joined Holy City Fitness as a member in January 2021 after searching for more of a community based fitness environment that offered challenging workouts, individual growth, and accountability. She was immediately hooked and drawn in by the supportive community that crossfit offers. She was later encouraged to get her L1 certification and just recently started coaching here at HCCF. Her goal as a coach is to help people find enjoyment in functional fitness as much as she has over the last couple of years through crossfit.When not at crossfit, she’s most likely studying, at the beach, on a walk, or sipping on an iced coffee.

Fav movements: power cleans, deadlifts, DUs

Fav food: tacos, brunch, coffee, brownies & ice cream

Certs: CF-L1

Jesalyn Johnson

Jesalyn was born and raised in Wisconsin. She and her family moved here to South Carolina in July of 2022, to start a new adventure in their life! She has more than 15 years of experience in the fitness industry. After graduating from Carroll University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science, she became a certified personal trainer, running coach, and group fitness instructor. She has been an athlete most of her life, competing at the college level in the 400m dash. In 2015 she was introduced to CrossFit, instantly falling in love with the sport and the community it brings. She currently is a certified CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, ASFA Certified Personal Trainer, and a Certified Nutrition Coach from Working Against Gravity. When she is not doing CrossFit or coaching, she is enjoying life to the fullest, with her three kids, husband, and dog. She considers herself an “athlete at heart”, using CrossFit and fitness as an opportunity to compete with herself, by learning more and becoming the best version of herself physically and mentally. She personally knows the struggles of what it’s like to be a busy mom, working full time, running a household, and balancing everything in life. Along with her training and personal experience, her passion for nutrition and fitness runs deep, helping individuals improve their quality of life physically and mentally. Her focus as a coach is to get her clients excited about fitness, achieving their goals, and back to feeling like their best selves when it comes to their overall health and performance.

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