TRAINERS

@mrswestisinthebuilding

MARISSA


Marissa is the founder / creator of WKS! She grew up and went to school in Northern VA. Her love for fitness started young (competitive gymnast + dance team member!) She moved to Charlotte in 2011, after making the Carolina Panthers TopCats + is a CPT and nutrition specialist through ACE. She focuses her fitness studies on cardio/interval training, resistance training, ballet barre, and Pilates.

Marissa experimented with these different fitness genres and developed the signature/Trademarked WKS methodology, incorporating cardio, strength training, and Pilates into one dynamic workout! She’s been featured as a fitness expert in major publications like Men's Health, Popsugar, + Cooking Light Magazine (Check out our Press Page here!) Marissa’s DMX voice + natural hype energy is something you must experience – once you work out with her, you’ll never want to work out anywhere else!

@darienneshae

DARIENNE


Our Director of Training, Darienne, grew up in Palmyra, VA and attended Virginia Tech (GO HOKIES)! Growing up she played soccer, did gymnastics & figure skating, and musical theater, but really fell in love with cheerleading. She cheered for both competitive & varsity teams in high school + her first year in college. She also had (and still has) a love for music, becoming a member of her college acapella group! Moving to CLT in 2015, Darienne became a member of the Carolina Panthers’ Topcats; an NFL Cheerleading team. Her 3-year tenure on the team continued to inspire her love for fitness and an overall healthy lifestyle.

Darienne currently works at Bank of America and is NASM CPT & GPT certified; she has lost over 30 pounds and 10% body fat and hopes to inspire others to reach their goals. She wants to show you how your mental health can improve through fitness, just as much as physical health. For her, it’s not just about looking good, but how it makes you feel! With her positive and bubbly personality, and copious amount of dad jokes, you should definitely be working out with her weekly!

@sweattalk

ELISE


Elise hails from St. Louis, but went to college in NC at Wake Forest! She’s a foodie, loves to travel and try all the good restaurants, sing, dance, read and relax with an informative podcast! After graduating, she moved to Nashville only knowing a few people. While she can be shy, she had to learn how to make new friends and build a community, so she turned to group fitness and fell in love.

When moving to Charlotte in 2018 with her boyfriend and pup, she met a few of the WKS trainers through group classes and knew it was a place she wanted to call home (lucky us!) When she’s not on the mic, she works in social media and digital marketing at a local marketing agency! Elise will bring the most fire playlists to keep you upbeat throughout the entire class – get into her class now and jam out while you sweat!

@lakenmichee

LAKEN


Laken is our Southern Belle and has brains, booty, and is all business! In addition to crushing her full-time outside sales gig, until 2020, she danced for the Charlotte Hornets Honeybees for 6 seasons! Laken has been featured in a Sports Illustrated photoshoot + was once named SI’s Cheerleader of the Week (OOOK!) She is wife to Tucker and a Type A, old school rock music lovin’ babe!

She is a NASM CPT, certified in CrossFit CF-L1 and says our full body workout makes an hour fly by + has your arms and abs slayin’ by the end. We’re thankful she’s been following us since Marissa helped her prep for TopCats auditions in 2012 (of course she made it!) and now is a part of our squad! If you need some wild, sassy energy in your work out of the day, Laken has you covered! Come thrive in her class ASAP!

@maddogg1290

MADISON


Madison was born and raised in SC and is a Clemson tiger! We met her when she moved to CLT and was looking for a new workout; she loves that you always feel mentally + physically challenged at WKS, as well as, being a part of our positive + uplifting fitness community! We've been loving watching her crush her bride bod goals, as her and fiancé Nick tie the knot in February 2021 and will be official parents to their labradoodle, Maggie!

Madison is sharp, outgoing, and beyond FUN – she will keep you laughing all class long! Madison is a PA in emergency medicine and whether she's saving lives in the ER or kicking ass in the WKS studio, she always brings.the.HEAT. We can’t wait to see you in her class soon!

@staffordjbraxton

STAFFORD


Stafford grew up in Richmond, VA, and attended Johnson & Wales University here in Charlotte, NC (but is a South Carolina Gamecocks fan at heart)! Growing up, he swam competitively and played basketball. Sports has always been Stafford's passion - after graduating, he took his talents to Colorado Springs, CO to work with USA Swimming and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee through the 2016 Rio and 2018 Pyeonchang Olympic and Paralympic Games. In an effort to meet new people, he began taking spin classes, and BOOM, 3 months later, he was a certified spin instructor! He lost over 50 pounds in six months and hopes to inspire others to reach their goals!

When he’s not at WKS, Stafford can be found working for the Charlotte Hornets as a Marketing Analyst! His #1 priority is making sure clients understand that being healthy comes in all shapes and sizes and that it is a multi-faceted concept - mental and physical - when you feel good on the inside, you'll feel and look great on the outside. Whether he's cracking (sometimes funny) jokes on the mic or keeping you fired up with his perfectly curated playlist, he's sure to keep you sweating and pushing yourself!

@aroseinthecity

AMANDA


A long way from home, Amanda relocated to CLT almost 10 years ago from New York. She made the move to CLT to attend UNC Charlotte where she earned both her Bachelors and Masters degrees in elementary education. After 5 years as an elementary school teacher, she took a break to pursue her passion for fitness -.

She’s the definition of work hard, play hard and brings the energy wherever she goes. Amanda tried her first workout at West Kept Secret a little over a year ago and fell in love with the high energy and fire playlists before finally taking the leap to join our team. Don’t be fooled — while she’s a sweetheart, she’ll always be serving up advancements (and no mercy) on the training floor!

@ariellee_fit

ARIEL


Ariel grew up in Raleigh, NC, and made the move to Charlotte after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her love for fitness began at a young age while growing up in the theater, dancing in pre-professional programs, and cheering on the sidelines at her school football games. Once she went to college, she missed all of the cheer practices and dance rehearsals and had to figure out "how to workout" between her part-time jobs and full-time studies in marketing. She soon started her journey as a fitness professional at a local barre studio and quickly fell in love with the energy in the room of a group class, and went on to earn her Certification in Personal Training and Nutrition Coaching from NASM.

Ariel has been both a PT client and a founding member at WKS, but is now thrilled to be living the dream as a WKS Trainer and promises to bring alllllll of the advancements, energy, and bomb music to the studio, she can't wait to see you in class soon!

@masoncallahan

MASON


​​Mason was raised in Cary, NC where she was an avid dancer training in Jazz, Contemporary, Ballet, Hip-Hop, and Pom. During high school, she attended Joffrey Ballet School in NYC in 2010 and 2011 for their Jazz and Contemporary programs and was the captain of the dance team her junior and senior years. She continued her education and love of dance at Appalachian State University where she was a member of the ASU Elite Dance Team and performed at all football, basketball, and wrestling matches (yes, we danced at wrestling matches). In her senior year at App State, she tried out for the Carolina Panther's TopCats and made the team that brought her to the Queen City.

After 3 amazing years as a Professional NFL Cheerleader, Mason put down the poms and picked up the weights as she dived into group fitness classes to stay active. When she's not dancing or working out, you can find her hanging out with her sweet pitbull Kado or reading a book. She loves all things spooky and spicy, so be ready for all the ~vibes when you take her class.

@_daphfit

DAPHNE


Born and raised a Jersey girl, Daphne brings high energy (and all the best throwback jams) to every class! She grew up as a competitive dancer and spent her college years on the nationally ranked University of Delaware dance team. She then went on to become an assistant coach for the team as well as an instructor for Universal Dance Association. In 2020, Daphne and her husband moved to Charlotte for a change of scenery, but she quickly realized she missed being part of a team. Having always loved group workouts and training, Daphne decided to pursue her GFI and Personal Training certification through ACE.

She is so excited to have found a new community through fitness and a new family here at WKS! Whether she is teaching her fourth graders in the classroom or teaching clients in the studio, she is sure to push and inspire you (and of course have some fun along the way)!

@positively.patience

PATIENCE


​​Patience grew up in Waynesville, NC and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her law degree and Master's degree from Campbell University. She was a dancer, cheerleader and soccer player in high school, but her love of fitness really started when she was living in Austin, TX. She fell in love with running and cardio dance and earned her first fitness certification to teach cardo dance in 2014. She is a NASM certified personal trainer, AFAA certified group fitness instructor, and L1 certified through Precision Nutrition. Patience works full time in the financial services industry and loves spending time with her husband and puppy.

After living in Las Vegas and Austin, Patience relocated to Charlotte in 2016. She searched high and low for the right fitness community and workout and finally found it in 2018 with WKS. She immediately fell in love with the workout, but more importantly the people behind the workout and knew she wanted to be part of the WKS family. After being both a group fitness class taker and personal training client, Patience took the leap and became a WKS trainer in 2022. Her number one goal is to make you feel strong and empowered with every class. She believes fitness should be fun and brings that energy to her class. Her class is sure to make you break a sweat and laugh along the way!