Introducing the Defy Functional Fitness team

Meet the fitness experts that are here to help you achieve your goals

Darren owner of Defy Functional Fitness
Our founder


Functional fitness prepared Darren to excel as a Royal Marines Commando in the British Military. He fell in love with competitive fitness and left the military to pursue his ambitions. Darren has competed all over the world, gaining lots of knowledge from his personal endeavors. Darren has been in the fitness industry for almost a decade and thrives by helping others achieve their goals. He is meticulous in his approach and has worked with almost every type of client and helped them achieve their highest levels of fitness. Darren is constantly looking to improve his knowledge base to keep raising the bar. He is excited to continue to build the strong community at Defy and give his clients the experience they deserve.


  • Two-Brain Coaching Nutrition Coach
  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
  • CrossFit Gymnastics Coach
  • CrossFit Strongman Coach
  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • Personal Trainer Level 3
  • British Weightlifting Level 1 Coach
  • OPEX CCP Level 1 Modules
Michelle coach at Defy Functional Fitness
Our founder


Michelle has been a Family Physician in Toronto for the past 10+ years, working in emergency medicine, obstetrics, medical education and general practice. She is an Assistant Professor with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. She has special interests in physician health and wellness and sports medicine.

Michelle’s passion for personal fitness has been lifelong starting in her father’s garage gym in rural Newfoundland at the age of 5. Michelle found Functional Fitness in 2012 when some gym friends signed up for a team competition. There was an instant connection and she has never looked back. She was a Regionals Team Athlete in 2017 and an Individual Atlas Games Competitor in the same year. Michelle is realizing a dream by combining her love for fitness and passion for medicine & health together at Defy.

Our coaches

Chris coach at Defy Functional Fitness


Ops Manager & Director of Youth Programs

Chris has been dabbling in fitness and Martial arts for 20+ years, starting with Taekwondo and Fitness Kickboxing, then Kettlebells and Strength Training, until finally finding functional fitness several years ago. Challenging himself physically and mentally has become an outlet for Chris to balance out his busy lifestyle, making him a better dad, husband, coach and athlete. In 2020 Chris took the leap, stepping out from behind the desk as a Logistics Manager and into the fitness field full time where he can make more of a difference in people’s lives. Chris’ passion for fitness drove him to become a personal trainer so he could help others improve their life through movement and wellness. Coaching group classes for the last 8 years has enabled him to expand his reach beyond 1 on 1 sessions and help more people reach their full potential. One of the things that brings him an immense amount of satisfaction is taking a client that has never touched a barbell or kettlebell (may even be a little scared) to becoming comfortable, proficient, and stronger than they ever imagined. On his quest to find a new gym to take his training and career to the next level and be part of a tribe of like-minded, strong, passionate individuals, he found Defy. He looks forward to continuing his fitness journey and helping as many people as possible Get Better At Life.


  • Brand X Professional Youth Coaching Certification
  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • Agatsu Inc Kettlebell Instructor Certification Level 1
  • Agatsu Inc Kettlebell Instructor Certification Level 2
  • CanFit Pro Certified Personal Training Specialist
  • FightFit Certified Fitness Kickboxing Instructor
Stephane coach at Defy Functional Fitness



A lifelong health and fitness enthusiast, Stéphane has always believed in being physically active, eating well, and taking care of his health. After many years trying different types of workouts, he discovered functional fitness and high intensity interval training and never looked back. What really drew him to functional fitness is the constantly varied workouts, the multitude of skills to learn and develop, and the sense of community and camaraderie that inevitably forms between members of a gym. But what actually kept him going, were the impressive results he got, as for once he was getting noticeably stronger and fitter. Eventually, Stéphane realized that he also really enjoyed sharing his experience and knowledge with new members, and decided to get his training certificate and become a coach. An avid reader, he also strives to always keep learning about health and fitness in general, and to further expand his knowledge base. As such, he attended the highly recognized and respected Power Monkey Fitness Camp, where he got the opportunity to learn from and train with some of the best, world-class trainers in the fitness world. Recognizing the major role that nutrition plays in achieving and maintaining good health, Stéphane is also currently working on a nutritional certification. Stephane likes to say that joining Defy as a coach was one of the best decisions he ever made, and he is very grateful for the opportunity to coach and help the amazing community of members at Defy reach their health and fitness goals. Stephane also enjoys various sports and activities, such as running, cycling, downhill skiing, soccer and hockey.


  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • Precision Nutrition Level 1
Xochil coach at Defy Functional Fitness



Growing up playing sports was a large part of Xochil’s childhood. Her competitive spirit always helped her push harder and have the courage to take on new challenges. Many of those attributes lead her towards fitness and with it grew a passion to live a healthy lifestyle and to help others find that same passion. Xochil believes everyone deserves to live a life in which you have confidence in your body, not just aesthetically but physically. From chasing after your children to hiking to the top of a mountain or simply putting on that bathing suit you’ve had in your closet for 5 years. Xochil has been in the fitness industry for over 10 years and found fitness is not only about losing weight or building muscle, but what really keeps people coming back and falling in love with the hard workouts is the community. The bond you share, in what can seem a very intimidating place like the gym, is such a crucial aspect to staying consistent which makes achieving our goals that much easier.


  • Fitness and Lifestyle Management, George Brown College
  • CrossFit level 1
  • Poloquin BioSignature
  • Holistic lifestyle management level 1
  • Adaptive Body Work (AB)

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