LRH Wellness Staff
Natalie Knutson - Director of Wellness, Coach, & Personal Trainer
Group Fitness Certification
B.S. Exercise Science & Physical Education
NSCA - Certified Personal Trainer
NSCA - Special Populations Specialist
My ultimate goal in life is to inspire individuals to be their best and to promote a healthy lifestyle of exercise, nutrition, and a calm mind. My journey began when I had a moment in college that pushed me into the fitness industry and led me to my passion. During my sophomore year in college I went through a phase when I didn't realize how important my life, health, and well-being were and, through a combination of stress and homesickness, I gained nearly 20 pounds in a 6-month period. I ate my worries away and exercise was no longer part of my routine. While playing a pick-up game of basketball, I ended up tearing my ACL for the second time. During my recovery I was determined to get back on track. I lost about 30 pounds and was amazed at how my body transformed, but more important, how much better I felt about myself. I graduated from UND with a degree in physical education and exercise science with a minor in health education. I have been teaching group fitness and personal training since 2007 and have been employed at Lake Region Healthcare since 2008.
"Natalie maintains an excellent balance of encouragement and direction. She clearly wants what's best for you as an individual." - CFFF Athlete
Karoline Gustafson - Head Coach & Personal Trainer
USA Weightlifting Level 1
B.S. Health Promotions (Exercise Science)
NSCA - Certified Personal Trainer
NSCA - Certified Special Populations Specialist
As a former athlete, I cannot remember a time in my life where I have not been interested in sport, training, and exercise. Following my athletic career I needed something to satisfy my need of movement. At the time, running and competing in local races was my go to while doing some lifting on the side. It wasn't until LRH gave us the go-ahead to bring CrossFit to Fergus Falls that I became involved in that style of training. Getting back to Olympic lifting and high intensity movements has completely filled my competitive gap. I have been personal training and teaching group fitness classes at Lake Region Healthcare since 2008. Overall health and wellness is a passion of mine that I thoroughly enjoy passing along to others.
"She is awesome at meeting people where they are and helping them on a personal level while maintaining the movements intended." - CFFF Athlete
Alisha Haugen - Fitness Instructor
NETA Certified Group Fitness Instructor
My journey began in July 2010, it started because a coworker/friend invited me to go to a new workout class she had heard about from another friend. I started working out and taking a class here and there, and before I knew it I was hooked and found myself going to multiple classes consistently every week. Working out helped me to feel more confident about myself, I also felt stronger and healthier. As I continued to take classes month after month, I wanted to challenge myself more and more, and signed up for my first 5k in June 2012. Fast forward to 2018, where I found myself wanting to continue my health and wellness journey and expand to helping others in their health and wellness journeys. I decided to take the next step and obtained my group fitness certification. Since becoming group fitness certified, I have enjoyed teaching a wide range of classes to help everyone no matter their fitness level. I have also made many great personal connections that turned into friendships.
Doug Newby - Coach
My fitness journey started later in life as I did not grow up athletic or involved in sports and always struggled with weight. My day job of sitting in front of a computer for a bank only adds to the normal sedentary lifestyle. I reached a point where I knew I would either choose to get worse by doing nothing or choose to get better by doing something. I started with running and even joined a gym but it wasn’t until starting CrossFit in 2017 that I felt at home. Community is infused in the DNA of CrossFit and relationships are what I am invested in. Functional fitness and proper nutrition with the support of others is the key and it is a passion of mine for people of all ages to experience it. Over the course of 10 years I have lost 60lbs with 30 of them being lost in the past two years. I feel better and stronger than I did when I was in my twenties. I am motivated by the example of my Savior and encouraged by my wife and four kids.
"We are excited to have Doug on our team. He has a clear passion for CrossFit and the athletes at CrossFit Fergus Falls. His excitement for fitness and wellness is contagious." - Karoline
Jess Drake - Wellness Trainer
B.S. Nutrition & Food Science
NASM Certified Nutrition Coach
Tai Ji Quan Certification
As I have grown up sports have always been a constant in my life, from playing backyard sports with my family, to elementary school leagues, high school athletics, and eventually college intramurals. I first started at The HUB as a high school athlete going through summer training and absolutely loved my experience here! That was the first time I started to think about personal training as a career path. At Colorado State University I majored in Food Science and Human Nutrition. I knew I still wanted the exercise component in my career, as this is a passion of mine, but wasn't sure how it would fit in. Concentrating in Nutrition & Fitness is the best of both worlds! I interned here at the Health & Wellness Hub during the summer of 2020 and then started as a Wellness Trainer in March of 2021! Now I strive each day to help people reach their goals through fueling and performing to reach that next level – whatever that may be!
Joel Pettigrew - Coach
I’ve been CrossFitting at CFFF since its inception in early 2016, and coaching since fall of that year. I’ve always had an interest in keeping myself healthy, and pursued several various fitness avenues throughout the years, but it wasn’t until my son was born in 2015 that I realized that the standard American gym routine was insufficient to stay as healthy as I needed to be for my young family. The turning point for me was when I realized that being strong was not the same as being fit, or even being healthy. With it’s emphasis on both functional fitness and nutrition, CrossFit opened the door for me to be the healthiest I’ve ever been, and I am truly passionate about passing on these gifts to anyone who walks through the doors of our Box.
"Joel has great tips and ability to adjust your form just enough to make a huge difference in the lift. I can say that it was Joel's coaching that helped me break through some of the more difficult moves and master them!" - CFFF Athlete
Kristen Anderson - Coach
I started CrossFit in January of 2017 to get back in shape, assuming I would eventually quit after two or three months like I did with other gym memberships. However, CrossFit Fergus Falls is different; it’s your fellow workout partners that quickly turn into friends, the amazing staff, and the camaraderie that make you want to keep coming back day after day. I encourage you to give it a try; CrossFit is for everyone, no matter your skill level, fitness background, or what your experience is.
I’m currently employed as the administrative assistant for my Dad at Anderson Coin. In my free time I can usually be found in the barn, where I have my two Quarter Horses, Freddie and Unser, with my Frenchie, Rogue, or at my family’s lake cabin on Jewett Lake in Fergus Falls.
In the end, my goal is to make everyone feel welcome and help you achieve your goals!
"Kristen's CrossFit journey is not unlike many other's journeys. She came, she participated, she loves it, now she's coaching! We are fortunate to have Kristen on our team of coaches." - Karoline
Michelle Hoen - Fitness Instructor
Certified Zumba Instructor
I didn't realize how important fitness was in my life until I stumbled into Zumba. My journey began when I won a free pass to a Zumba class in Fargo, North Dakota and I have been hooked ever since! I would drive over an hour each way, through ice and snow storms to get my Zumba fix. At the time, our area had nothing to offer for Zumba classes, so I decided to get certified to teach Zumba and inspire as many people as I could and that was in March of 2011. I am so blessed to have found my passion! We have changed our name to Dance Fitness as we incorporate so much more into our classes! I also got certified to teach STRONG by Zumba in February of 2017. It is a revolutionary high-intensity workout led by music to motivate you to crush your ultimate fitness goals! We are enjoying finding new ways to have fun workouts and burn calories and you get a total-body workout at our dance parties! We encourage you to come try out our classes.
Missy Hexum - Fitness Instructor
Certified Zumba Instructor
Through my life, I have been devoted to fitness and enjoyed the excitement of new activities. After found out we were expecting triplets, our lives changed, priorities changed. Trying to find time to fit in exercise was difficult and it had to be scheduled. Then, in 2010, I was told about a Zumba class at the Underwood School. It didn’t take long for me to want share my love for dance fitness. I became a certified Zumba Instructor in 2011 and continued my training by getting my Zumba Toning in 2012. These classes have evolved to a Dance Fitness class which allows us to incorporate different moves and music variety to class. I truly love to be apart of the and gaining energy from others in class! Most recently, I attended the Strong by Zumba training and so happy that I did. If you haven’t tried this class yet, you are missing out!! It’s a High Intensity Interval Training set to music, every move has a beat.
My husband, John and I live near Underwood and are proud parents to our 3 girls. I am an VP, Wealth Advisory with Bell Investments. During the day, I help people plan for financial growth and after work I am lucky enough to help people with their health goals. Life can be very busy. Make sure to carve out some time for yourself.
Renae Sell-Lindgren - Coach & Personal Trainer
Certified Fitness Instructor
Certified Kettlebell Instructor
Certified Personal Trainer
Although I was active in athletics during High School, I struggled post college and into my early corporate career to find a healthy lifestyle balance. I turned to running in my mid 20's and it filled the void of stress-reliever and fitness for many years. By my mid 30's, I added some fitness classes into my routine which eventually led to me getting my Group Fitness Certification and teaching classes for Phatty Nattie's in the Fall of 2011. As I became more interested in wellness, I made a bold move to quit my nearly 25 year corporate career to become a personal trainer in 2014. I took my first CrossFit class in January 2016 and earned my L1-CF certification in October 2016. It is so fulfilling to me to be a part of the wellness and fitness journey of others!
"She's excellent at calling us on form if we are being too aggressive on ourselves. She places tremendous emphasis on SAFETY, which is important for those of us who sometimes want to go 100 miles an hour." - CFFF Athlete
Ryan Hintz - Coach
I grew up in the Fergus Falls area and graduated from Fergus Falls High School class of 1999. I obtained my BS in Accounting from Minnesota State University Moorhead and work in Social Security Administration during the day.
My background is in Powerlifting and have competed in several Powerlifting competitions. In April 2016 I completed my first WODs at Crossfit Fergus Falls and in 2017 I became a CF-L1 instructor. In general I give credit to fitness for many areas of success in my life.
I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter every chance I get. We spend a lot of time outdoors either at home or at the lakes with friends and family.
"Very technical instructor with a lot of helpful feedback. He pays attention to detail and pushes each athlete to do their best." - CFFF Athlete
Tom Rufer - Spin Coach
Les Mills RPM Cycling
Tom has been an avid cyclist, both indoor and outdoor, since 2016. He bikes year-round on his road and fat tire bikes, but comes indoors occasionally during months with less daylight to crush out awesome indoor cycling classes. Tom earned his Les Mills RPM cycling instructor certification in April of 2018, but has his own unique style that you are guaranteed to love. See you on the bike!
- "Tom's classes are THE BEST! You will love giving it all you've got while having an awesome time. He's like an energy drink!" - Greg LeMond
Wendy Billie - Yoga
Master Yoga Teacher + Spirit & Life Coach
Guided by higher her knowing, Wendy kicked off of her expensive high-healed shoes and walked away from a 15 year vocational path as a Director of Leadership Development for a prestigious global company. With bare feet and an exposed soul, she heeded the guidance of mother earth and returned to her indigenous self. The love of nature drew her to the Himalayan mountains of India where she studied Yoga & Ayurvedic medicine with a yoga philosopher and Swami and it was there her talents as a yoga teacher & holistic healer unfolded. Couple with yoga, her shamanic practice began when she was sought out by a shaman named Eddy. He stated Wendy knew "The Way." Humbled and once completely afraid; she now fully embraces her true voice as she speaks & teaches globally. As a master yoga teacher & Shamanic Practitioner, she helps you access the truth that lies within and all around. She helps people near and far connect deeply with their body, mind, & soul as they embark on a healthy life of authenticity. Wendy is also the creator and voice behind the podcast: Speak Your Truth with Wendy Billie.
Wendy resides in Ottertail, and when not traveling, she loves sharing her gifts of teaching, leading spiritual wellness workshops and offering private healing & life coaching. Her students say "Wendy has a gift of reading each person's unique energy" and you'll soon find her light filled presence penetrating. When not on her mat, her gypsy soul roams near & far but you may cross her path frolicking in nature with her dog, Nina, drumming in her tipi, or burrowed in a coffee shop reading. You can find her full bio at www.wendybillie.com.