Born in Istanbul in 1983, Ertan Balaban attended Ball State University in Indiana, USA, after having completed his high school studies. He became a member of USA Karate and Kickboxing Academy in Indiana and won 3 PKC state championships. He gave an early start to his career as a trainer when his coach made him an assistant. Besides practising karate, he did kickboxing matches in local tournaments such as King of the Ring, Warriors Quest and Danger Zone with varying degrees of success. After a couple of years, he started practising the sport of MMA and decided to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which is one of the key building blocks of the sport. He concentrated his career on BJJ and went on to become the No-Gi Michigan Great Lake champion in 2005. He founded the ‘‘Mixed Martial Arts’’ club at Ball State University and started offering classes the same year. After graduating from the business administration department of Ball State’s Miller College of Business in 2006, he opened his own gym on campus marking his first entrepreneurship experience. Upon his return to Turkey in 2007, he decided to contribute to the development of these disciplines in Turkey and went on to train people at various locations. In 2011, he signed a contract with WFC, a leading MMA organization in Europe, and won his first match by forcing his opponent into submission with a ‘Mata Leon’ choke at the 50 second mark. He founded Mata Leon Kimonos, a BJJ apparel company, and exported to 27 countries. He concluded his career in 2013 after fighting at the Glory World Series, one of the biggest global organizations, with a 6-2-0 record and proposing to his now wife at the end of his final match. Considering his personal needs as well as the needs of his team, Balaban adopted the idea of opening a strength and conditioning centre and proceeded to dedicate separate parts of the facilities he established to martial arts and CrossFit, the most effective strength and conditioning program in the world, bearing in mind the interplay between different disciplines. CrossFit Balaban opened the doors of its first location in Ataşehir in 2013 and continued its growth with its second branch in 4. Levent, thus becoming the first affiliate with locations on both sides of Istanbul. Ertan Balaban, the founder of CrossFit Balaban, holds a black belt at Atos Jiu-Jitsu under Andrea Galvao and actively continues his competitive sports career.
Sarpasan was born in Istanbul in 1976. He received a BA in business administration as well as an MBA degree from Koaceli University. He later went on to study Labour Economics at the Open Education University and graduate from Türvak Radio Cinema and Television department. He started playing tennis at Taç Spor during his secondary school education and followed that with basketball at Tekel Spor and Kick Boxing under Hayri Camadan. He picked up bodybuilding as a sport in 1993 and worked out at different gyms. He currently pursues his athletic career as a CrossFit coach at CrossFit Balaban. Certificates: IFBB Bodybuilding and Fitness Level 2, CrossFit Level 1 Course, CrossFit Mobility Course, AHDER First Aid Certificate, Functional Resistance Training, PT Applications Workshop Training and Communication Skills, Functional Cardio Training Anatomy, Biomechanics Postural Analysis Workshop, Group Cardio Trainer, Group & PT Functional Training, BOSU International Trainer, TRX International Trainer.
Öztürk was born in Istanbul in 1991. He completed his undergraduate studies at the Recreation Department of the School of Physical Education and Sports at Haliç University. He has been involved in different sports disciplines since the age of 7 and went on to focus on basketball given his talent for the sport. He played as a point guard at Tofaş Basketball School and its youth roster and later at Geleceğin Yıldızları (Stars of the Future) Basketball Club. His days playing basketball came to a compulsory end due to an injury after which he pursued his career with Fitness and Bodybuilding. In 2011, he worked as a Fitness Consultant at Ağaoğlu My Club, a leading sports facility. Over the years, he received various certificates and courses across a wide variety of subject matters such as Level 1 Trainer in Bodybuilding and Fitness, Sports and General Masseur Skills, 1 Star Scuba Diving, Innovative Fitness Academy Personal Trainer Course, Power Plate Level 1 Course, Kinesis Functional Training Course and TRX Suspension Training Course. He currently continues his career as a coach as part of the CrossFit Balaban family since December 2013.
Celayir was born in Istanbul in 1993. She picked up sailing in 2001 and made her way onto the national sailing team starting from 2006. She gravitated towards sports during her high school years and went on to study Sport Management at Istanbul University’s School of Physical Education and Sports. She was later admitted into the double major program and graduated from the departments of Sport Management and Coaching in 2015. During her undergraduate years, she took an interest in tennis, swimming, volleyball and futsal while continuing to compete in sailing under the national team. She discovered CrossFit in February 2014. She qualified for and participated in the finals of the 2014 & 2015 Battle of Bosphorus as well as the 2016 Turkish Throwdown. She has been a part of the CrossFit Balaban team since August 2015 and is currently pursuing her career as a CrossFit trainer.
İrem İrdem was born in Istanbul in 1989. She started her sports journey with basketball at the age of 10. She played basketball in youth divisions of various clubs for 9 years. She graduated from Robert College and went on to study Philosophy at Boğaziçi University. İrdem is currently continuing her graduate degree at the Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention department of the University of California, Pennsylvania. She discovered Pilates during her university years, completed Balanced Body University training series and started working as a trainer. After her first contact with CrossFit in 2013, İrdem attended a CrossFit L1 seminar in August 2014 in the United States and successfully received her L1 certificate. In February 2015, she attended an L2 seminar and became a CrossFit Level 2 trainer. She continued to expand her collection of training certificates by attending the CrossFit Weightlifting Course in February 2015 in Switzerland, the CrossFit Mobility Course in May in Germany and the CrossFit Gymnastics Course in October in Russia. She has been working as a CrossFit coach at CrossFit Balaban Levent since October 2014.
Alican Umay was born on 24 May 1991 in Istanbul. He attended İlhami Ahmet Örnekal primary school, the German School of Istanbul and Istanbul University respectively. He discovered CrossFit in 2012. After a certain period of regularly working out, he attended the CrossFit Level 1 seminar on 9 March 2014 in Brussels and got his trainer certificate. He started working as a coach at CrossFit Balaban Levent on 20 October 2014. In order to further improve his coaching skills, he went on to attend the CrossFit Weightlifting Trainer Course and the CrossFit Gymnastics Trainer Course in Zurich and Kallithea in 2015, thus officially becoming a Crossfit Weightlifting Trainer and Crossfit Gymnastics Trainer. Along with his teammate Konuralp Koçoğlu, he competed at the teams final of the 2015 Battle of Bosphorus on 16 May. The duo came in 3rd. He got his first individual competition experience at the Istanbul Throwdown finals. Alican Umay currently pursues his coaching career as part of the CrossFit Balaban family.
Salova was born in Antalya in 1992. He graduated from the School of Physical Education and Sports of Haliç University. He took a keen interest in sports very early on and started sailing as a licensed athlete during his secondary school years. Over his multiple-year career in the sport of sailing, he podiumed several times in competitions in the Mediterranean region and participated in Turkish championships. In addition to sailing, he played amateur football at Kemer Spor and had varying degrees of success across multiple tournaments as a member of his middle school and high school football teams. During his undergraduate years, Salova took an interest in the sports of tennis and scuba diving and he obtained a 1-star diver’s badge after completing a scuba program. He fulfilled his compulsory military service after graduating from university and kick-started his career in fitness at Sports International. He currently pursues his career at CrossFit Balaban, which he joined in March 2016.
Tiraki was born in Istanbul in 1987. He studied computer programming at Selçuk University. He made his sports debut by picking up football during primary school and kept at it over the course of his high school and university years. He worked at Garanti Bank from 2010 to 2015. In the meantime, he pursued the sports of fitness, Dragon boat, rowing, marathon, kick box and gymnastics at amateur level. Fatih, who also holds a CMAS Diving license, had his first CrossFit experience during his military service in Diyarbakır. He has been a CrossFit coach at CrossFit Balaban’s Levent branch since September 2016.
Çelik was born in Rize in 1994. He started his sports career with fitness in Istanbul. He pursued this branch for 5 years and improved his knowledge base by attending various seminars. He then obtained his Level 1 Assistant Trainer Certificate from the Turkish Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation. He went on to attend the Instructor 7 Certificate Workshop by Yeditepe Sports. In 2014, he got his first CrossFit competition experience by completing the qualifiers for the Battle of Bosphorus Challenge. Hakan is currently a 3rd year student at the Coaching Department of the School of Physical Education and Sports of Haliç University and he has been a CrossFit coach at CrossFit Balaban’s Levent branch since October 2016.
Ünal was born in 1989. He graduated from the Department of Management Information Systems of Işık University. He discovered CrossFit while doing his masters on Fashion Management at Instituto Marangoni and got his Level 1 certificate in Italy shortly after. Ünal has participated in 25 different CrossFit competitions over the course of his 4 years in the sport. He currently pursues his coaching career at CrossFit Balaban’s Suadiye branch.
Özbek was born in İçel/Mersin in 1987. He started his sports career with swimming at a young age. Motivated by his father, who is a former basketball player, he made the youth division of Galatasaray basketball team. He continued his basketball career at Türkmen and Toros Colleges in Mersin and Doğuş College in Hatay until his high school years. He studied at Eskişehir Anadolu University, Department of Sculpture and played with Anadolu Rangers American football team at university and professional league levels. He served as the 1st defensive captain of the team over the course of the 2009-2011 seasons. In the meantime, he worked as coach/head coach at various gyms in Eskişehir for 3 years. He received the Ace (American Council on Exercise), EHFA (European Health and Fitness), Mac Academy Personal Training certificates and TRX Suspension Certificate and Training. He worked at Uniq Maslak Macfit, Istanbul for 1 year as a personal trainer. He has been pursuing his active coaching career at CrossFit Balaban since 2016.