Meet the Team

“We are not interested in being like everyone else. We are here to wake up and shake up the world of endurance sports”-  BJ, Triathlon Coach and YogiTriathlete Co-Founder


BJ Gumkowski
Coaching philosophy: A little bit. Every day. Over a long period of time. Don’t overthink your way out of achieving your goals. Give yourself a chance by choosing to do something today. Do not delay your dreams.

Coach “Beej” has a zeal for life that is infectious and a deep passion for serving others to achieve their greatest dreams. He works one-on-one with his athletes to empower them to be active participants in their process of physical and mental growth. When he’s not swimming, biking, or running, he’s found in the yoga studio standing on his head, making room to answer life’s epic questions.

BJ is an 19x Ironman triathlete, Ironman Kona and 70.3 World Championship Qualifier, Boston Marathon qualifier, and triathlon coach with major street cred. He finished 3rd overall in his first ultra-marathon race in 2022. He is a 200-hr Live Love Teach trained yoga instructor and certified in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.

Jess Gumkowski
Coaching philosophy: Peak performance and athletic potential are found in the present moment. By way of mental training as its own discipline, athletes learn to sift through the clutter of their mind, deepen their relationship with presence and meet their potential with ease.

Jess is the co-founder of YogiTriathlete and the creator of Awake Athlete, where her services can be found. She has 18 years of experience working with athletes on body/mind mastery. She is a well-respected mindset coach within the endurance and ultra-endurance sports community. Jess has worked with Ironman and Ultraman Champions, doctors, lawyers, and high-performers across the board.

She is a long-time endurance athlete, podcast host, Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator and Live Love Teach trained yoga instructor.

Jess is the author of the YogiTriathlete Cookbook: High Vibe Recipes for the Athlete Appetite and High Vibe Pie: Pizza Night Finally Done Right.

She has been featured in Triathlete Magazine, Men’s Journal, Elephant Journal, Massage Magazine, and TriZone, as well as many blogs and podcasts for her expertise in holistic health and nutrition.

Melissa Gansz
Coaching philosophy: I am intent on pushing the boundaries we draw for ourselves and stepping past resistance.

Melissa is a nature-loving certified herbalist, 70.3 World Championship qualified triathlete, and long-distance runner. She has been an avid runner for 10 + years, with more recently focusing on marathon, ultra, and Olympic to 70.3 triathlon distances.

Melissa is centered around helping people reach their potential in health, mindset, and endurance sport. Melissa’s coaching surrounds triathlon and running in addition to strength training, cross-training, mobility,
and herbal medicine support.

She is focused on whole-body wellness and can offer her athletes the option to incorporate herbs into their training program for optimal human performance. Melissa is currently finishing up her Masters in Clinical Herbal Medicine at the Maryland University of Integrated Health.

Lynda Layng Tama

Lynda Layng Tama is a whole food plant-based chef, recipe developer, food editor and certified health coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Passionate about whole food plant-based nutrition, fitness and mindfulness. Lynda’s has been in the vegan publishing and recipe development space for over ten years. And has had the pleasure of working on cookbooks, such as The Plant Powered Way by Rich Roll & Julie Piatt, Self Magazine Drop 10 Cookbook, Dining at the Ravens, treasured recipes from The Stanford Inn Vegan Resort and The YogiTriathlete Cookbook. Her most recent work includes No Meat Athlete, Health Made Simple Meal Plan and Mississippi Vegan’s YouTube Cooking Channel and website.

Lynda grew up in a small town outside of Hartford, Connecticut, eating the standard American diet of white bread, processed snacks and way too much diet soda. While she was in college, her mom was beginning to battle breast cancer. She passed away in June of 2001 and her care and treatment made Lynda question a few things about the connection between diet, nutrition, health and disease. She didn’t have much time to grieve, because only twenty days later she discovered her dad had suffered a massive stroke, and eventually passed away due to complications of heart disease. Now parentless and grieving, Lynda tried to move forward and slowly began to make a better life for herself. Ditching a job she hated and slowly finding her way into a healthier space. Now years later, she considers her parents passing, as their parting gift to her. A course correction towards health in her youth, that led her in a new direction. A clean eating, plant focused path to not only a healthier body and mind, but also a true vocation, and a passion to serve and help others.

Lynda is passionate about helping people take charge of their health, teaching you how to create simple, satisfying meals and experiencing all the beautiful benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. Today she is blessed to teach, cook, write and share in her community of Cranford, NJ and the New York City metro area.

About the Founders
Jess and BJ are co-founders of YogiTriathlete and lead coaches for Team YogiTriathlete. They combine tried and true endurance training philosophy with a what they consider to be the real mindset training.

They are proof that when we train the mind we can live a life beyond limits. YogiTriathlete is on a mission to create a better world and Jess and BJ live what they coach every single day.

In 2016, Jess and BJ sold their dream home, got rid of most of their material possessions and hit the road to raise awareness that living a more vibrant life is within reach for all.