Our Founders

DEFCON
FORT Fitness team
chief executive officer

Matthew Gencarella

Matthew, aka “Sarge,” has an extensive background serving in the US Army (currently 20 years) along with a decade in the fitness industry. He joined the Army in 2001 as a Diesel Mechanic. After 9/11, he was accepted to a Special Operations Regiment (Task Force 160th SOAR) in which he served for the next 4 years, including numerous deployments to the Middle East. He attended Drill Sergeant School and wore the hat for the next 8 years. He is currently a Senior Maintenance Inspector and the PT NCOIC out of March Air Force Base.

In conjunction with the Reserves, he pursued his interests in other civilian lines of service including Police, Fire, and Urban Search & Rescue. Due to his passion for teaching others, he found his calling within the fitness realm. Blending his unique skill sets and style of training, he has become an icon in Orange County as a Group Trainer, Personal Trainer, and for leading and developing Trainers. He recently served as the Director of Trainer Development for 2 years for a nationally recognized boutique studio company based out of Orange County. He created a two-week training program for instructors who were aiming to become part of their team or simply wanted to advance their ability to train large groups with precision, intention, and understanding of emotional intelligence. He received an invitation to present 3 years in a row at the Mindbody BOLD Conference, one of the largest fitness conferences in the nation. He recently received the honor of being named the Favorite Fitness Pro in Costa Mesa.

As CEO of Fort Fitness, Matthew will infuse years of advanced leadership schooling he has received through the Army, along with the values of honor, courage, integrity, and a high standard of ethics to lead the company.

FORT Fitness team
chief executive officer

Matthew Gencarella

Matthew, aka “Sarge”, has an extensive background serving in the US Army (currently 20 years) along with a decade in the fitness industry. He joined the Army in 2001 as a Diesel Mechanic. After 9/11 he was accepted to a Special Operations Regiment (Task Force 160th SOAR) in which he served for the next 4 years, including numerous deployments to the Middle East. He attended Drill Sergeant School and wore the hat for the next 8 years. He is currently a Senior Maintenance Inspector and the PT NCOIC out of March Air Force Base.

In conjunction with the Reserves, he pursued his interests in other civilian lines of service including Police, Fire, and Urban Search & Rescue. Due to his passion for teaching others, he found his calling within the fitness realm. Blending his unique skill sets and style of training, he has become an icon in Orange County as a Group Trainer, Personal Trainer, and for leading and developing Trainers. He recently served as the Director of Trainer Development for 2 years for a nationally recognized boutique studio company based out of Orange County. He created a two-week training program for instructors who were aiming to become part of their team or simply wanted to advance their ability to train large groups with precision, intention, and understanding of emotional intelligence. He received an invitation to present 3 years in a row at the Mindbody BOLD Conference, one of the largest fitness conferences in the nation. He recently received the honor of being named the Favorite Fitness Pro in Costa Mesa.

As CEO of Fort Fitness, Matthew will infuse years of advanced leadership schooling he has received through the Army, along with the values of honor, courage, integrity, and a high standard of ethics to lead the company.

FORT Fitness team
CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER

TRICIA GENCARELLA

Tricia has 2 decades of experience in the fitness industry, including 9 years in management, 19 years as a group trainer, and 13 years as a personal trainer. She has an extensive understanding of large gym operations from her time at 24 Hour Fitness and Equinox. She has also developed and operated Pilates programs for a wellness center and conducted outdoor boot camps.

Most recently, she helped build a nationally recognized boutique studio company from the ground up by developing teams, providing ongoing training for the Group Trainers, designed studio spaces for their 4 locations, curated workout programming, planned events, recruited talent, completed hiring and onboarding and various other administrative duties to help with the overall efficiency of operations. One of the proudest moments in her time as Director was the planning and execution of a large community workout event in which they were able to present the National Breast Cancer Foundation with a check for over $58,000 in donations, noted as the NBCF’s second-largest donor of the year.

Tricia achieved a Bachelor’s in Business Management, a Bachelor’s in Marketing and a Minor in Dance from Whitworth University. She is certified as a Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a Tactical Strength & Conditioning Facilitator (TSAC-F) through the National Strength & Conditioning Association, a Fitness & Nutrition Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and various other training credentials including kettlebells, cycling, yoga, suspension trainers, ViPRs, rowing, and even water aerobics.

As COO of Fort Fitness, Tricia brings a wealth of industry knowledge and experience that she is eager to build within the company and to witness the impact it will have on the community.

FORT Fitness team
Chief Advising Officer

Scott Knode

Scott has always been driven to be active. Born and raised in southern California provided Scott the opportunity to get outside hiking and backpacking while playing various sports, both on organized teams or just with friends. As an adolescent and now as an adult in his 50s, Scott has consistently recognized that you have to stay in good physical shape to do the active things you love… but more importantly, to keep doing the things you love no matter your age.  Scott’s passion for surfing locally and around the world continues to drive him to stay in top physical condition.

Scott has always wanted to own a fitness center but went down the path of business, investments, and transactions as a real estate broker.  So this facility is truly a lifelong dream come true.  However, it’s not about the physical location for Scott; and it’s all about the people that will get the opportunity to improve their physical and mental outlook by walking through the doors of Fort Fitness.

As CAO for Fort Fitness, Scott is on a mission to create an environment that offers a premier customer experience, opportunity for personal growth, and the satisfaction of knowing lives are being changed as a result of the contributions from Fort Fitness. 

FORT Fitness team
Chief Culture Officer

Melissa Knode

Melissa had a life-changing experience when she decided to do a fitness challenge with a friend, but the outcome was unexpected. After dedicating herself to eating right and exercising for a period, she was shocked at just how much better she felt. She expected the physical and aesthetic changes, but she wasn’t prepared for the cognitive impact on her brain and overall mindset. The results of her fitness challenge had extended way beyond the gym; it changed her entire life.

During the fitness challenge, Melissa met her trainers Tricia and Matthew “Sarge” Gencarella. When she saw the synergy between the duo’s mentality, experience, and knowledge, she knew this was an opportunity to further her passion for making an impact and strengthening people’s lives.

Melissa loves sharing her time and the knowledge she acquired while earning her degree from the University of Southern California volunteering with various charities. One charity she holds incredibly close to her heart is Harvesters, which benefits nutritionally deprived families in Orange County by raising awareness and funds for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County.

As the CCO of Fort Fitness, Melissa is in charge of leading and managing the individuals who work with her. Leading by example, she is always ready for a new challenge. With an eye on detail and attention to quality, Melissa loves building relationships with members and guests alike.

FORT Fitness team
chief executive officer

Matthew Gencarella

Matthew, aka “Sarge”, has an extensive background serving in the US Army (currently 20 years) along with a decade in the fitness industry. He joined the Army in 2001 as a Diesel Mechanic. After 9/11 he was accepted to a Special Operations Regiment (Task Force 160th SOAR) in which he served for the next 4 years, including numerous deployments to the Middle East. He attended Drill Sergeant School and wore the hat for the next 8 years. He is currently a Senior Maintenance Inspector and the PT NCOIC out of March Air Force Base.

In conjunction with the Reserves, he pursued his interests in other civilian lines of service including Police, Fire, and Urban Search & Rescue. Due to his passion for teaching others, he found his calling within the fitness realm. Blending his unique skill sets and style of training, he has become an icon in Orange County as a Group Trainer, Personal Trainer, and for leading and developing Trainers. He recently served as the Director of Trainer Development for 2 years for a nationally recognized boutique studio company based out of Orange County. He created a two-week training program for instructors who were aiming to become part of their team or simply wanted to advance their ability to train large groups with precision, intention, and understanding of emotional intelligence. He received an invitation to present 3 years in a row at the Mindbody BOLD Conference, one of the largest fitness conferences in the nation. He recently received the honor of being named the Favorite Fitness Pro in Costa Mesa.

As CEO of Fort Fitness, Matthew will infuse years of advanced leadership schooling he has received through the Army, along with the values of honor, courage, integrity, and a high standard of ethics to lead the company.

FORT Fitness team
CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER

TRICIA GENCARELLA

Tricia has 2 decades of experience in the fitness industry, including 9 years in management, 19 years as a group trainer, and 13 years as a personal trainer. She has an extensive understanding of large gym operations from her time at 24 Hour Fitness and Equinox. She has also developed and operated Pilates programs for a wellness center and conducted outdoor boot camps.

Most recently, she helped build a nationally recognized boutique studio company from the ground up by developing teams, providing ongoing training for the Group Trainers, designed studio spaces for their 4 locations, curated workout programming, planned events, recruited talent, completed hiring and onboarding and various other administrative duties to help with the overall efficiency of operations. One of the proudest moments in her time as Director was the planning and execution of a large community workout event in which they were able to present the National Breast Cancer Foundation with a check for over $58,000 in donations, noted as the NBCF’s second-largest donor of the year.

Tricia achieved a Bachelor’s in Business Management, a Bachelor’s in Marketing and a Minor in Dance from Whitworth University. She is certified as a Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a Tactical Strength & Conditioning Facilitator (TSAC-F) through the National Strength & Conditioning Association, a Fitness & Nutrition Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and various other training credentials including kettlebells, cycling, yoga, suspension trainers, ViPRs, rowing, and even water aerobics.

As COO of Fort Fitness, Tricia brings a wealth of industry knowledge and experience that she is eager to build within the company and to witness the impact it will have on the community.

FORT Fitness team
Chief Advising Officer

Scott Knode

Scott has always been driven to be active. Born and raised in southern California provided Scott the opportunity to get outside hiking and backpacking while playing various sports, both on organized teams or just with friends. As an adolescent and now as an adult in his 50s, Scott has consistently recognized that you have to stay in good physical shape to do the active things you love… but more importantly, to keep doing the things you love no matter your age.  Scott’s passion for surfing locally and around the world continues to drive him to stay in top physical condition.

Scott has always wanted to own a fitness center but went down the path of business, investments, and transactions as a real estate broker.  So this facility is truly a lifelong dream come true.  However, it’s not about the physical location for Scott; and it’s all about the people that will get the opportunity to improve their physical and mental outlook by walking through the doors of Fort Fitness.

As CAO for Fort Fitness, Scott is on a mission to create an environment that offers a premier customer experience, opportunity for personal growth, and the satisfaction of knowing lives are being changed as a result of the contributions from Fort Fitness. 

FORT Fitness team
Chief Culture Officer

Melissa Knode

Melissa had a life-changing experience when she decided to do a fitness challenge with a friend, but going into it did not realize what the actual outcome would ultimately be. After dedicating herself to eating right and exercising for a period of 3 months, she was shocked at how much better she felt. She expected physical and aesthetic changes, but she could not have imagined the positive cognitive impact and change in overall mindset. The results of her fitness challenge had extended way beyond physical results; it changed her entire life.

During the fitness challenge, Melissa met her trainers Tricia and Matthew “Sarge” Gencarella. When she saw the synergy between the duo’s mentality, experience, and knowledge, she knew this was an opportunity to further her passion for making an impact and strengthening other people’s lives.

Melissa loves sharing her time and the knowledge she acquired while both earning her degree from the University of Southern California and volunteering for various charities. One charity she holds incredibly close to her heart is Harvesters, which benefits nutritionally deprived families in Orange County by raising awareness and funds for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County.

As the CCO of Fort Fitness, Melissa is in charge of leading and managing the individuals who work with her. Leading by example, she is always ready for a new challenge. With an eye on detail and attention to quality, Melissa loves building relationships with members and guests alike.

Tricia has 2 decades of experience in the fitness industry, including 9 years in management, 19 years as a group trainer, and 13 years as a personal trainer. She has an extensive understanding of large gym operations from her time at 24 Hour Fitness and Equinox. She has also developed and operated Pilates programs for a wellness center and conducted outdoor boot camps.

Most recently, she helped build a nationally recognized boutique studio company from the ground up by developing teams, providing ongoing training for the Group Trainers, designing studio spaces for their 4 locations, curated workout programming, planned events, recruited talent, completed hiring and onboarding and various other administrative duties to help with the overall efficiency of operations. One of the proudest moments in her time as Director was the planning and execution of a large community workout event in which they were able to present the National Breast Cancer Foundation with a check for over $58,000 in donations, noted as the NBCF’s second-largest donor of the year.

Tricia achieved a Bachelor’s in Business Management, a Bachelor’s in Marketing, and a Minor in Dance from Whitworth University. She is certified as a Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a Tactical Strength & Conditioning Facilitator (TSAC-F) through the National Strength & Conditioning Association, a Fitness & Nutrition Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and various other training credentials including kettlebells, cycling, yoga, suspension trainers, ViPRs, rowing, and even water aerobics.

As COO of Fort Fitness, Tricia brings a wealth of industry knowledge and experience that she is eager to build within the company and to witness the impact it will have on the community.

FORT Fitness team
CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER

TRICIA GENCARELLA

FORT Fitness team
Chief Advising Officer

Scott Knode

Scott has always been driven to be active. Born and raised in southern California provided Scott the opportunity to get outside hiking and backpacking while playing various sports, both on organized teams or just with friends. As an adolescent and now as an adult in his 50s, Scott has consistently recognized that you have to stay in good physical shape to do the active things you love… but more importantly, to keep doing the things you love no matter your age.  Scott’s passion for surfing locally and around the world continues to drive him to stay in top physical condition.

Scott has always wanted to own a fitness center but went down the path of business, investments, and transactions as a real estate broker.  So this facility is truly a lifelong dream come true.  However, it’s not about the physical location for Scott; and it’s all about the people that will get the opportunity to improve their physical and mental outlook by walking through the doors of Fort Fitness.

As CAO for Fort Fitness, Scott is on a mission to create an environment that offers a premier customer experience, opportunity for personal growth, and the satisfaction of knowing lives are being changed as a result of the contributions from Fort Fitness. 

Melissa had a life-changing experience when she decided to do a fitness challenge with a friend, but going into it did not realize what the actual outcome would ultimately be. After dedicating herself to eating right and exercising for a period of 3 months, she was shocked at how much better she felt. She expected physical and aesthetic changes, but she could not have imagined the positive cognitive impact and change in overall mindset. The results of her fitness challenge had extended way beyond physical results; it changed her entire life.

During the fitness challenge, Melissa met her trainers Tricia and Matthew “Sarge” Gencarella. When she saw the synergy between the duo’s mentality, experience, and knowledge, she knew this was an opportunity to further her passion for making an impact and strengthening other people’s lives.

Melissa loves sharing her time and the knowledge she acquired while both earning her degree from the University of Southern California and volunteering for various charities. One charity she holds incredibly close to her heart is Harvesters, which benefits nutritionally deprived families in Orange County by raising awareness and funds for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County.

As the CCO of Fort Fitness, Melissa is in charge of leading and managing the individuals who work with her. Leading by example, she is always ready for a new challenge. With an eye on detail and attention to quality, Melissa loves building relationships with members and guests alike.

FORT Fitness team
Chief Culture Officer

Melissa Knode

THE TRAINING GROUND FOR EVERYDAY SOLDIERS

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Estimated opening is Spring 2022.

Fort Fitness is a training ground that empowers mental and physical growth.

Offering tactical strength and conditioning workouts that will demand teamwork, develop resiliency, and cultivate leadership, arming each member of our community with the tenacity to excel in all aspects of life.

Contact Information

Email us:
info@fortfitnessusa.com

Call Us:
949-524-2529

Address:
25252 McIntyre St Suite A, Laguna Hills, CA 92653

Veteran Owned

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949-667-8601