THE Flying Fortress CrossFit STORY

Kara Listowski owner of Flying Fortress CrossFit

Kara Listowski - OWNER

The first time I looked into CrossFit was in late 2012; I immediately knew it was something I had to be apart of. Before I even did my first WOD, before I set foot in a box, I was already hooked and of course I was talking non-stop about it to my friends and family. Lucky for me, I got my chance to join a box in early 2013. I quickly realized the power of the CrossFit community and fell in love. Within a year I received my L1 and started coaching. Over the next few years I learned so much about myself. I found that I loved helping people better themselves and reach their goals.

Finally after lots of encouragement from family and friends, I decided it was time to start planning to open my own box. I feel that owning a gym is an honor and it’s an honor to have the trust of everyone that walks into our facility. CrossFit has changed my life and I want to share that experience with others. Becoming a mother has made owning a gym even more special. I love that she is growing up in a place surrounded by strong, motivated individuals and families.


Personal Trainer
CrossFit Kids
CF L2 Trainer
USAW Level 1

OUR coaches

Layken Cole


What led you to CrossFit?

- Growing up I was never the in-shape kid. I loved sports and fitness, but I never understood it very well and never was able to find my place. Then my grandmother started doing CrossFit at a local box. She got my dad into it, and he got me into it. I fell in love immediately! I felt like I had finally found what fitness is supposed to be like, and everything clicked for me. The rest is history!

When did you become a coach?

– I became a coach in 2013 where I coached at CrossFit GetSome 365 until 2016. From there I opened my own gym, CrossFit Asteria. I owned that gym for 2 years before I finally moved to Galveston which led me to Flying Fortress CrossFit!

What’s your favorite hero or benchmark workout?

– Fran! I love it because it is a classic benchmark! It’s fast and it hurts!

What’s in your gym locker?

– I don’t currently have a locker, I prefer my gym bag right now! In there I have my lifting shoes, weight belt, wrist wraps, sweat bands (Texas Life!), mobility tools, tape, and probably many other things that I am forgetting!

What’s your favorite kind of music to work out to?

– Hip hop all the way!!

What are your hobbies (aside from CrossFit)?

– Hanging with my dogs! I have 2 amazing French Bulldogs that I love to death! And spending time with my family. I don’t have any actual hobbies outside of that!

Why do you coach at FFCF?

– Coaching is my passion. I love to help people improve their health and fitness because that it is a gateway to living your best possible life. And FFCF has become my family over the years. They were welcoming when I first started going there (which is not always the case when going to new gyms), they have the same views as I do which is really important, and they genuinely care about their members and every single person that walks into the gym! They will always be my family!

Sam Morin coach at Flying Fortress CrossFit

Sam Morin


What led you to CrossFit?

I played soccer in college and quickly realized I needed a new outlet for my competitiveness once I hung up my cleats. Enter CrossFit. I love the combination of endurance, strength, speed, and technical movements. It has been a fun challenge trying to acquire some of the skills/movements that CrossFit incorporates!
When did you become a coach?
I got my L1 with Coach Jess and Coach Katie in November 2019 and began coaching at FFCF right away!

What’s your favorite benchmark or hero workout? Or movements?

Call me crazy, but I really enjoy Karen!

What’s in your gym bag/locker?
Nothing out of the ordinary as far as gym lockers go. I have: a pair of lifters, 2 pairs of wrist wraps, tape, knee sleeves, 2 pairs of trainers, a belt, grips, an extra pair of socks, and some Spark! If you’re ever wondering which locker is mine, just look for the corn on the cob keychain hanging on the outside…thanks Katie!!

What’s your favorite type of music to workout to?

Honestly, as long as it’s LOUD I don’t have a strong preference for the type of music. I can jam out to just about anything. Rock, pop, hip-hop, emo music, country…just turn it up and I’m good to go!

What are your hobbies (aside from CF)?
I enjoy reading, spending time with my pup, exploring this beautiful island, and spending time with my friends.

Why do you coach at FFCF?
I moved down here for grad school (I’m an Occupational Therapist now, woo!) and didn’t know a single person! During welcome weekend at UTMB, there was a business fair that FFCF had a booth at, and I was able to chat with Kara about joining the gym. I dropped into a few classes, and I immediately felt welcomed by the community-and that’s what has kept me hanging around for the past 3 years! I started coaching here because I wanted to connect with our members and help them reach their goals!

Katie Schaefer coach at Flying Fortress CrossFit

Katie Schaefer


What led you to CrossFit?

Back in 2017, my mom and I started doing CrossFit together after my sister and brother in law recommended it to us. We both wanted to make positive, long lasting and sustainable lifestyle changes and while we were nervous to start something new, we immediately felt welcomed and accepted by the CrossFit community. I love how no matter where you are in your fitness journey, CrossFit can be the outlet that works for you.

When did you become a coach? 

I became a CrossFit coach and started coaching at Flying Fortress CrossFit in November 2019 What’s your favorite hero or benchmark workout? Helen! It was the first benchmark workout I was able to RX 

What’s in your gym locker? 

What’s NOT in my gym locker is the better question! I’ve got 2 pairs of olympic lifting shoes, 1 pair of Nike Metcons, knee sleeves, wrist wraps, two different types of gymnastic grips, lifting straps, jump rope, thumb tape, weight belt, magnetic phone stand, and the occasional snack stashed in there. 

What’s your favorite kind of music to work out to? 

Fast paced and excessively loud Pop/Rap/Hip-hop 

What are your hobbies (aside from CrossFit)? 

I love to swim, read, travel, and just be around my people. 

Why do you coach at FFCF? 

I enjoy helping others find their potential and seeing them grow. The members and coaches here are truly like a second family to me!


Cooper Stevenson

USAW Level 1, CF L1 Trainer

What led you to weightlifting?

I started focusing exclusively on weightlifting after doing CrossFit for 5 years, and liked how you focus super intently on two movements.

When did you become a coach?

I became a coach in February 2022 after taking my USAW L1 course.

What’s your favorite hero or benchmark workout?
Favorite benchmark “workout” would have to be the competition lifts, or just the snatch and clean and jerk.

What’s in your gym locker?
My gym locker has my 4 pairs of lifters and my gym bag.

What’s your favorite kind of music to lift to?
Country Music!

What are your hobbies (aside from weightlifting)?
Outside of weightlifting I love to cook, but right now medical school is taking up most of my time!

Why do you coach at FFCF?
I coach at FFCF because of the community they have, and because they have the only USAW club in Galveston.

Ava Cares coach at Flying Fortress CrossFit

Ava Cares


What led you to CrossFit?

I began doing CrossFit in 2016 after tearing my right quadricep a month prior playing college lacrosse. One of my family friends had just opened his own CrossFit gym and came up with programming to help me rehab my muscle before starting to play lacrosse again for fall season. I am naturally competitive, so I easily began to love the camaraderie and workouts in the gym. After I stopped playing lacrosse, I still wanted a fun way to stay in shape and stuck with CrossFit!

When did you become a coach?

I became a coach at Flying Fortress CrossFit in November of 2020! I wanted to become a coach because I loved how this gym changed my own life. Every day when I walk in the door, I know there is a smiling face waiting to encourage me to be the best I can be. I wanted to be that person for other members and help them unlock their potential!

What’s your favorite hero or benchmark workout?

My favorite hero wod is Glen (30 Clean & Jerks, 1 mile run, 10 rope climbs, 1 mile run, 100 burpees). There’s something about a heavy barbell, skill work, cardio and a long daunting workout that I enjoy! Workouts that I can put my head down and sweat for a while are my favorite!

What’s in your gym locker?

The essentials are always in my gym locker! Jumprope, lifters, weight belt, knee sleeves, etc.
You name it, it’s probably in there!

What’s your favorite kind of music to work out to?

Any fast paced, loud music is my favorite to listen to during workouts! Oftentimes, I forget what is even playing!

What are your hobbies (aside from CrossFit)?

Aside from CrossFit, I enjoy running or playing with my dog, Jax, or any type of watersport! Swimming, wakeboarding, surfing, fishing, sailing, etc. if it relates to the water, I’ll be doing it!

Why do you coach at FFCF?

I coach at FFCF because I want to help members live a happier and healthier lifestyle. I hope that our hour long class is the best hour of our members’ day and can leave them ready to tackle whatever else life has in store for them. We truly have the best members and I am so thankful to be part of an amazing community!

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