James Plata

James Plata

Owner / Coach

Rowing: 6:48 min 2,000 meter test
Snatch: 160 lbs
Clean: 215 lbs
Split Jerk: 200 lbs
DT: 4:11
Grace: 1:37

About Desiree

After retiring from my rowing career, I decided to try crossfit on a whim. Coming to LPCF, rowing already had a huge following and when the former rowing coach moved out of state, I was happy to take over the weekly class.

Athletic Background

I am a graduate of the University of Virginia where I was named All American for two of those years. I then competed with the U23 United States Women’s Rowing Team in Prague and then, Belarus. In college, I was awarded the Coach’s Award for Outstanding Athlete in 2010, the same year that the University of Virginia won their first ever NCAA Division I Championship for Rowing.

Turning Point

After taking time off from my training and moving to Chicago, I joined LA Fitness where I cut out all lifting and just did cardio. I lost all of my strength in about a year. When I decided to join crossfit, I could hardly do a push-up. In four years time I went from scaling most workouts to now completing workouts at RX or RX+. I continue to see my lifts and gymnastics skills getting better as I focus more and more on them. It’s exciting to see these little triumphs as you grow as an athlete.


CrossFit has allowed me to showcase my natural strength and has been the perfect transition from rowing. Coaching Rowing at LPCF has allowed me to share my love of the erg and its unique ability to target not just one muscle group but the entire body in an all-over workout. I enjoy encouraging each and every gym member to reach their full potential in a fun but competitive setting.


My motivation stems from competing with some of the best athletes in the world during my national team experience. I then would say, watching the regionals and games athletes is inspirational. It takes a lot of work and dedication to get to that level and it really is amazing to see. What holds me back is my stubbornness and sometimes laziness. If I am bad at a movement (gymnastics) it is very hard for me to motivate myself to work on these movements in my own time. It is something I try to conquer every week and will continue to do so until I am comfortable with all movements.

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