I was born in Orlando, but moved at a young age and claim Canton, GA as home – where I did most of my growing up. At the age of 13, I began getting involved in fitness when my brother and I would wake up at 4 AM to go to the gym with my father before work. Through high school, I played sports recreationally. I would regularly play basketball, flag football, swim and run. At this time I expressed my fitness (besides training) mainly through my favorite hobbies: skateboarding and wakeboarding.
in 2009, I enrolled at Auburn University and pursued a degree in Business Management. I had ambitions of being an entrepreneur one day like my father, who had created and owned multiple businesses for over 25 years. On the first day of my first class at Auburn, I had to introduce myself to the class and share my career goal. Completely unprepared, I stood up and said “My name is Sebastian, I am from Canton, GA, and I want to own a gym.” At the time I really had no idea, and the thought went to the back of my head for years afterwards.
When I was 18 years old, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Obviously, at this age it came as a huge surprise. I was fit (so I thought), training regularly, and did OKAY in regards to nutrition. As far as I know, my diagnosis wasn’t a result of my lifestyle though. At first I was angry and I was scared, but that diagnosis ended up being an enormous blessing, and the most pivotal moment in my life.
I made the decision to manage my condition the best I could through my lifestyle. Through exercise and limiting sugars/crap food, I was able to reduce the insulin I needed to manage my condition. I was taking absolutely no fast acting insulin throughout the day and my blood sugar readings were consistently in a “non-diabetic” range. I became obsessed with managing my condition the best I could, and extremely excited that I was doing so through my lifestyle and avoiding excess medication. I recorded everything I would eat, my blood sugar readings, when I would exercise, etc. and brought 30 days’ worth of research to my doctor to show him what I was doing. To my disappointment, my doctor was only concerned with going over by blood work, and prescribing more medication. After several similar experiences (with multiple doctors), I lost faith in the medical system and continued to manage my condition on my own. My A1C (average blood sugar over three months) has stayed below 6.0 (6.0 begins the “pre-diabetic” range) since then. I did not take a single fast-acting insulin injection for seven years.
I experienced a broken medical system where doctors do not have the available time or commitment to help individuals prevent or manage disease through lifestyle (exercise and nutrition), beyond the general recommendations. Western medicine is fantastic at treating symptoms, not necessarily preventing them, or finding and fixing the reason they are occurring (usually lifestyle related).
Later in my college career I received an assignment to write up a five year plan for my life. I credit this assignment for bringing much needed clarity to my life. I had become passionate about not only fitness – but health and wellness as a whole. Through this passion, my experience and the knowledge I had gained; I found purpose in being able to help others. I made it my five year goal to own a gym, and we opened up CrossFit Manta Ray one year later.
I fell in love with CrossFit specifically for many reasons. Number one being the community. There is nothing else like the CrossFit community when it comes to supporting one another. The community, camaraderie, and positive energy within the box largely contributes to the success of the athletes. I also love the physical and mental challenge that is unique to CrossFit. The opportunity to constantly test yourself for growth, and fuel the competitive fire we all have within us. CrossFit teaches you not just how to become more fit, but how to be a better human. It does not matter where you start, as our method is infinitely scalable. We can help the out-of-shape beginner lose 50 pounds, the seventy-year old stay active and healthy, as well as build elite performance/strength in a more experienced athlete – and I enjoy each venture equally.
With CrossFit comes an entire lifestyle, which makes it the perfect outlet to change lives. At the time of writing this, CrossFit Manta Ray has been open for five years and changed many lives, including my own. I am grateful for the blessings in my life, and the opportunity to execute on my passion of helping others become healthier, stronger, and better versions of themselves.
CrossFit Level One
CrossFit Level Two
Coach Tommy was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. Playing sports and being part of a team has been a part of his life for as long as he can remember. Youth Wrestling and Football eventually lead to Mixed Martial Arts and Rugby. Tommy graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BSBA in Finance, served his country as an Intelligence Analyst in the United States Army Reserves, and has over a decade of experience coaching all aspects of health and fitness.
Over the years, Tommy has built and managed two gyms and has owned and managed a few successful gyms of his own. With a long list of certifications, Tommy is a lifetime student of health and fitness. He has an intense passion for coaching and excels at building a stronger more confident individual.
National Academy of Sports Medicine – Certified Personal Trainer
National Academy of Sports Medicine – Corrective Exercise Specialist
Opex Program Design
Opex Life Coaching
Sports Performance Coach Level 1 from USAW
CrossFit Level 1
CrossFit Level 2
CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting
Modern Army Combatives Instructor Program – Level 2
Cory (Quads) Small
Cory was born and raised in Concordia, Missouri. He has been active with fitness his whole life playing football, track, and rugby. Cory graduated from the University of Central Missouri with a degree in Physical Education in 2013. He then got certified as a personal trainer through NSCA in 2014. A back injury in 2014 introduced me to Chiropractic care where the DC recognized his passion for fitness, decided to hire him as a Head Functional Fitness Coach for their wellness program.
In October 2015 Cory discovered CrossFit when a fellow personal trainer recommended it to him. After the first class he was hooked. The community, competitiveness, and the coaching was all it took. In May of 2016 he obtained his CFL1 and has been coaching ever since. Since obtaining his CFL1, Cory is also USAW certified in Olympic weightlifting as a Sports Performance Coach.
CrossFit Level One
NSCA Personal Trainer
USAW Olympic Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach
Kids Coach/Nutrition Coach
Alisha is originally from Schoolcraft, Michigan. She has always had a passion for athletics and competed in gymnastics, figure skating, and weightlifting throughout her childhood. In high school, volleyball became her focus, and she earned all-state honors her sophomore through senior year and led her team to their first-ever state championship title in 2008. Alisha continued her athletic career at the collegiate level, earning two varsity letters from the University of Georgia and two from Grand Valley State University. She graduated from GVSU in 2014 with a B.S. in Clinical Exercise Science prior to continuing her education at the graduate level at Duke University. Alisha earned her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Duke in 2017. She is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, USA Weightlifting Level 1 Sports Performance Coach, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, and certified Precision Nutrition Level 1 coach. Alisha is passionate about injury prevention and helping others improve their movement quality to allow for lifelong participation in sports and physical activity.
Alisha Peters, PT, DPT, CSCS, USAW-L1SP, CF-L1
Growing up my parents were in the Air Force and we moved around, but I call Florida my home. I started dancing at a young age and did cheerleading through high school. I graduated from the University of Florida and moved to Tampa to start a job Sports Broadcast television production. I have since left TV Production and found my way to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium as a volunteer where I met people who were involved in CrossFit and Yoga. I was truly inspired by what they had accomplished and I thought I would give it a try. I soon became obsessed!
I joined Manta Ray in August of 2015 and it has become a new outlet for me. After joining I lost a total of 40 pounds and have come a long way from where I started. Being around other like-minded people has been an encouragement and teaches me that I always have things to learn. In the summer of 2016 I received my YogaFit Level One certification and January 2018 I completed the CF-L1 Trainer Certification. My next steps are working toward a nutrition and weightlifting certification!
CrossFit Level One