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PERSONAL TRAINING STAFF

Keith Gitten, Director of Personal Training
Certifications: AFAA, Pre/Post-Natal, Kick Boxing
Keith hails from England (born & raised) and played semi-professional soccer for Arsenal & Chelsea starting at age 13. Twenty years ago, Keith made the move stateside, spending the first four in investment banking, and the last sixteen in the fitness field, where his soccer and aerobic kickboxing experiences make him a unique trainer. Jack LaLanne remains his inspiration, reminding Keith of 3 things that keep him going; (1) Age is just a number. (2) If you eat, you should exercise. (3) Healthy body, healthy mind.  VIDEO:  MEET KEITH.

 

Steven Benitez
Certification: American Academy of Personal Training, DotFit, NASM.
Steven has been involved in sports and fitness ever since youth. He dedicated his high school years to playing football, soccer and weightlifting competitions. He now dedicates his life to learning and teaching the importance of exercise and nutrition to everyone he meets. His passion for fitness has taken him far in his career of personal training, having graduated from the American Academy of Personal Training, Well known for his intense calisthenics and sports training, Steven has taken his clients to another level of fitness and healthy lifestyle choices.

 

Claudia Brown
Certification: M.Ed., LMT, MVP, Kettlebell Instructor, Advanced MELT Instructor
Claudia originally trained as a professional ballet dancer at American Ballet Theatre. She was recruited into the fitness world by Jane Fonda to teach at the first JF Workout studio. That led to a career designing fitness programs, training teachers, and doing publicity for clubs all over the world. Since returning to US, Claudia's ongoing studies have included The Stretch Process, Pilates, Gravity, Lotte Burke, the Zena Rommett Floor-Barre and MELT Length and Strength. She combines her knowledge of different healing modalities with a nuanced focus on alignment and the deep intrinsic muscles that provide true stability and freedom in the body. Her extensive background enables her to teach people in all walks of life, from coaching a 14 year old competition winning boy ballet dancer, to strengthening a 92 year old woman for her first trek in Vietnam. Most of all, she loves to help people experience the joy of their own healthy personal best!

 

Travis Brown
Certification: CHEK, Z-Health, ELDOA, MELT
Travis jumped, spun and rolled into the fitness field in 1996, following a dual-sport university career. Since then he has created tailored programs for seniors, mothers, athletes, rehab clients and everyone in between. Through continual study and understanding of joint dynamics, myofascial techniques and the neural system, Travis creates and applies specific drills to alleviate pain and improve function across all areas of physical performance; oftentimes within the span of a single session. Travis also offers small group training for those who may find the camaraderie of working alongside others a better match than individual training. Outside of helping JCC members move and feel better, Travis is a middle-school and varsity wrestling coach.  VIDEO:  MEET TRAVIS.

 

Dorit Bloom
Certification: Reiki Practitioner, Yoga Instructor, MELT Method Certified, Soma Trainer: ELDOA 1, 2 & MFS, Z-Health R-Phase, Lotus Palm Thai Yoga, Kettlebell Concepts
Since 1995, Dorit has been a yoga instructor and Reiki Master practicing in both Israel and New York City. In 2006, she continued her professional development by becoming a Holistic Health Counselor and Personal Trainer. Most recently Dorit has been studying the fascial system with world renowned osteopath Guy Voyer, MD. Dorit is also learning how to activate the nervous system's neuroplasticity through deliberate practice using novel stimulus. Integrating all these skills in her unique mind, body and soul approach to personalized training sessions allows her to address her client’s overall well being.Dorit provides her clients with invigorating, goal-orientated workouts as well as individualized nutritional planning and counseling.  VIDEO:  MEET DORIT.

 

Casey Castro
Certification: NASM, Schwinn Indoor Cycling, M.P.H.
Casey is a native New Yorker and sports enthusiast. After studying anatomy and physiology in undergrad, Casey went on to receive a Masters in Public Health from Columbia University. His work as a personal trainer is guided by the belief that health and wellness is an ongoing journey that changes as we progress through life. Casey enjoys working with clients of varying age and fitness levels to achieve their health goals.

 

Rachel Cohen
Certification: NASM, MELT, Pre and Post Natal, BFA (Dance)
Rachel hails from Chicago, and has been dancing classical and contemporary styles since her youth. She received her NASM degree in 2000.  Her love for the art brought her to the East Coast, where she earned her BFA Degree from LIU.  It was a strong commitment to dance that helped her overcome weight issues in her youth, and she now brings this same energy and focus to her clients. Those training with Rachel benefit from the combined disciplines of dance and pilates. She is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and enjoys working with seniors. When she isn't in the gym, Rachel works with independent Contemporary Dance Companies.  Her motivation and focus on clients achieving their personal goals allows them to achieve positive results.

 

Jamar Culbreath
Certification: NASM. TRX, C.H.E.K. Institute. Holistic Lifestyle Coach.
Jamar comes to the JCC with an extensive background in health and fitness. As an athlete and a model, Jamar chose to turn his passion from fitness into a profession. He is a certified C.H.E.K. Holistic Lifestyle Coach, and is certified by the National Academy of Sports. Medicine. He enjoys working with clients of all ages, from teenagers through seniors, and works as hard as possible to help people achieve their fitness goals.

 

Amy Dressendorfer
Certifications: NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Senior Fitness Specialist, Pilates Mat, Spin, Z-Health EEP, E.L.D.O.A., M.F.S.
Growing up in chilly Edmonton, Canada, Amy spent every extra second she had dancing, exercising and learning about the body. Along with personal training, Amy is currently a professional modern dancer at LeeSaar The Company where she choreographs, teaches and performs regularly. Amy has a detailed and thoughtful approach to each client she works with and her main objective is to efficiently advance her clients to their goals, provide them with the information necessary to maintain their fitness growth and encourage them to continue learning. Amy specializes in senior fitness, weight loss, stretching, core, balance, and function training.  VIDEO:  MEET AMY.

 

Tito Dudley
Certification: NASM, C.H.E.K. Holistic Lifestyle Coach 1 & 2, Crossfit Level 1, M.E.L.T. Hands & Feet, ELDOA, Z-Health EEP, Natural Food Chef Culinary Degree
Tito Dudley is a Natural Food Chef, Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, and Natural Bodybuilder. Tito is a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Culinary School. He enjoys cooking healthy meals for his clients, along with obtaining the right fitness and nutritional goals through a variety of specific functional movements and nutritional tips. Being a Cancer Survivor has influenced his journey in the culinary and fitness world. His fitness story was told in a short Documentary film he created titled, The United States of Atrophy, which won best Director and Audience Choice award at the First Glance Film Festival in May 2012. He has also created a cooking series on YouTube, which he independently produces, titled Simple Eats with Chef T, which was picked up by New Media Film Festival in June 2013. Since then he has recently been a featured Chef on Arise Entertainment 360 (December 2013), in 2014 he became a Johnsonville sponsored Chef for BET.com. He was also a finalist on Spike TV's new show titled, Frankenfood, where he won 2nd place. Being a 10 year veteran in the business, Tito has become an award winning natural bodybuilder and has also written articles for bodybuilding magazines on health & nutrition.

 

Jana Dufort
Certification: AAFA-Group Fitness, ASFA-Personal Training, LMFT
Driven by an enthusiasm for both physical and mental wellness, Jana has become passionate about physical fitness through personal training and teaching fitness classes. Being a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist she is able to provide effective guidance and support to help clients achieve their goals physically. With a Bachelors of Science degree is Dance from SUNY Brockport and a Masters of Science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Iona College, Jana has diverse knowledge of how to live a healthy and happy lifestyle. She is a certified group fitness instructor through American Aerobic and Fitness Association of America and a certified personal trainer through American Sport and Fitness Association. Her mission in fitness is to help people to better understand their bodies so that they attain maximum health and accomplish the results they are looking for.

 

CJ Eldred
Certifcations: NASM, BFA Musical theatre
CJ Eldred started his pursuit of fitness at the age of 16; combining weight training, sports specific training, rock climbing, martial arts, snowboarding, and dance. CJ is NASM certified and dedicated to helping clients achieve their goals whether they be mobility, weight loss, balance, strength training, or overall fitness. CJ was born and raised in Seattle and recently moved to NYC after playing Elder Price in the national tour of Book Of Mormon. Proud Graduate of the University of Michigan.

 

Joe Esposito
Certification: NASM
Joe is a mainstay at the JCC, loyally training here since opening day. His passion for fitness started at the age of thirteen. Since then, personal training became his career. With years of experience, Joe trains people of all ages. He specializes in strength training, endurance, body conditioning, balance and flexibility. Making life's everyday functions easy. Joe strives to help his clients achieve there fitness goals.

 

Jessica Foster
Certification: Z-Health EEP & R-Phase, Balanced Body Pilates Mat & Apparatus
Jessica is a professional performer, originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. As an actor/singer/dancer, Jessica has learned to use a range of mind-body techniques to keep her “instrument” in peak performing condition. Jessica also uses these techniques to help her clients reach their own performance goals; whether that is eliminating pain, reaching a fitness goal, or training the body and brain to master a special skill.  VIDEO:  MEET JESSICA.

 

Sarah Hodges
Certifcations: NASM, ELDOA 1, SomaTrainer: Segmental Strengthening, PRI Myokinematics, Z-Health -EEP
Sarah Hodges is not your average trainer. Growing up, she had no natural love for exercise or healthy eating, but after struggling with obesity for many years, Sarah decided she wanted more out of life. Slowly and steadily, changing one tiny habit at a time, she lost 90 lbs, and transformed her life both inside and out. Motivated by this change, Sarah is now passionate about helping others reach their personal goals while also having a lot of fun in the process! So, don't be surprised if Sarah starts spontaneously singing or playing a game on the fitness floor! And as a life-long learner who is vigorously seeking out opportunities for progressive education in exercise science, you can be sure that Sarah always has a method to her madness.

 

Geoff Janssen
Certification: NASM, ELDOA, Z-Health EEP, Z-Health R-Phase, Spinning
Geoff was born into an active, competitive family. "Our parents were always keeping us moving. Tennis, swim team, skiing, wake boarding; you name it, chances are we played it." In college, he chose to study Psychology and Philosophy instead of following his family's footsteps into medicine. Geoff became interested in personal training after using techniques taught at the JCC to relieve his hand, shoulder, neck, and back pains, and he now works with others to do the same. When he is not exercising here, Geoff can be found playing (or teaching) guitar, ukulele, or saxophone, and he enjoys attending all types of artistic performances that New York has to offer.

 

Migdalia Jimenez
Certification CPT-NSCA, Pre & Post-Natal Care, Post Rehabilitation, Kettlebell Training
Level 1

Migdalia Jimenez has been an independent fitness trainer for over a decade. She comes to JCC from Equinox, where she was a high-level, Top-Tier trainer. She has extensive experience in Strength, Balance, Stability, Cardiovascular training and is certified for Post Rehabilitative Training. She has a great deal of experience working with special populations, including the elderly population. Migdalia has always had a passion for health and fitness. She further developed her passion in fitness by helping those close to her set and reach personal fitness goals. It is her quality-focused and results-driven approach that sets Migdalia apart from the crowd. Fitness and health should improve quality of life, and her holistic focus on form, safety, and lifestyle ensures better results and reduction of risk. Migdalia is able to train in English, Spanish and French.


Deb Killmon
Certification: MS PT, CPT
As a physical therapist and personal trainer for nearly 18 years, Deb Killmon has a long history of helping others achieve their health and fitness goals. Deb began her career at New York Presbyterian Hospital in 1994 as an Acute Care Physical Therapist. She was quickly promoted to Assistant Supervisor of the Rehab Unit, and her five-year service gave her invaluable exposure to the evaluation and treatment of patients with cardiopulmonary, neurological and orthopedic diagnoses. In 1998 Deb segued into the fitness industry and began working at Equinox Fitness Club as a personal trainer. She became the Fitness Manager within six months of joining the company, and helped many members achieve their greatest physical potential in her four-year service. Deb continues to train many of her clients in the Upper West Side, and is committed to the highest levels of personal and professional excellence. She has been a member of the American Council on Exercise, the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Presently, she is studying to become an ACE Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach to help fight the obesity epidemic.

 

Rizel Lederhouse
CERTIFICATIONS: Personal Training Certification - MarMount College, AFAA, NASM, Pre/Post Natal – Reebok Sports Club, Z-Health Performance – EEP
Rizel comes from a corporate background, having worked for law firms in NYC. With a passion for health and fitness Rizel received her certification from Marymount College. She has been training for 15 years with experience in weight loss, weight maintenance, strength training and overall wellness. Rizel utilizes her extensive fitness background to help members achieve a more healthy and productive lifestyle through her personal training. She truly enjoys helping people achieve their fitness goals and feel better about themselves. She strive to give 110% to each individual making sure they walk out of their session (The JCC) feeling excellent. I believe in my clients when they are feeling at their lowest and do not believe in themselves. SO TO HEALTH AND FITNESS, MAY WE ALL LIVE LONGER. LET’S TRAIN. "CAN’T" IS NOT IN MY VOCABULARY.
 

Paul Mann
Certification:  KettleX®, AFAA & TRX, Bachelor's in Financial Services, Berkeley College

PaulPaul Mann is a Master Instructor and a walking example of Kettlebell Academy workouts. Besides excelling as a caring, supportive and knowledgeable instructor, Paul is an accomplished Parkour athlete, gymnast, model and actor. He is a former enlisted officer in US Army, where he completed several military trainings including Ranger school, Special Forces Selection, Airborne school and overseas deployment. A life-long fitness buff, Paul also enjoys Martial Arts (Judo, Kickboxing, Wrestling, Karate, Wing Chung), Horseback riding, Fencing, Free Running, Dancing, Swimming, Skiing, Rollerblading, Bouldering, Rock Climbing, Running, Sprinting and Stunt work, just to name a few. In addition to working closely with Lorna Kleidman, creator of Kettlebell Academy for the JCC.

 

Dan Marks
Certification: M.Ed., LMT, MVP, Kettlebell Instructor, Advanced MELT Instructor
Dan Marks, M.Ed., is a personal trainer, Advanced MELT Instructor, MVP Kettlebell Instructor, Crossfit Level 1 Trainer, and Licensed Massage Therapist (NY) living and working in Manhattan. Over his 20 year fitness career, Dan has evolved a unique system - assessment based functional exercise – that dramatically improves client outcomes ranging from general fitness to relief of common pains to body shaping to health risk reduction to elite sport performance.  VIDEO:  MEET DAN.

 

Joseph Masi
Certification: ACE
Joseph Masi has been personal training in and around Manhattan for over 15 years. As a trainer and Holistic Life Coach, clients working with Joseph will be addressing health, wellness and fitness as a lifestyle change not just something you do when you come to the gym. Not only do clients benefit from his expertise in training techniques, they will also benefit from his ability to assist in the development and implementation strategies to reach client-identified goals of enhanced performance and personal satisfaction. Joseph’s overall approach utilizes personal strategic planning, values clarification, brainstorming, motivational counseling, and other counseling techniques that can facilitate the formation of new and positive fitness and exercise habits.

 

Maria Mason
Certification: NASM, Z-Health Movement, USAT Triathlon Coach, Red Cross Swim Coach, Allied Health Team for Parkinson’s Professionals
Maria grew up in Maryland and spent 4 years of her childhood in Santiago, Chile.  Always in motion during her youth, Maria swam competitively, performed in cheerleading competitions and pursued various sports such as basketball, tennis, gymnastics and dance. Earning a BA in Communication from Florida State University, Maria worked in the film and theatre industry for 14 years.  She moved to New York to sharpen her production and performance skills.  Maria has worked on such films as The Silence of the Lambs, Miami Blues, and License to Kill. Her love for movement led Maria to a fitness career that began as a swim and aquatic exercise instructor.  She established a children's junior swim team and a beginner's triathlon program at various fitness gyms. She then became a NASM certified personal trainer in 2002 and continues to seek out further education that focuses onbio mechanical and neurological based therapies.  Her personal rehabilitation from 2 ACL replacements allowed her to compete in several triathlons, open water swims and a marathon injury free.  VIDEO:  MEET MARIA.

 

Stacey Menchel
Certifications: NASM, MELT, TRX, Kettlebell, Pre-Post Natal
Stacey Menchel creates dynamic workouts for any athletic level that address weight loss, toning, flexibility, coordination, and balance. Her workouts fuse dance, yoga, and Pilates exercises with traditional strength training and calisthenics. Trained in classical ballet, modern dance, and circus arts Stacey danced professionally in both New York and Europe. She was certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) in 2006, and is educated in the MELT Method, TRX Suspension Training, Kettlebell weightlifting, Corrective Exercise, and Pre-Post Natal Fitness. Stacey has an M.A. in European Studies from New York University and a B.A. in English from Emory University. When she is not in the gym, she works as a journalist and filmmaker.


Theresia Merkle
Certification:  NASM CPT, NASM CES, TRX Suspension and Rip Trainer, Annette Lang Pre/Post Natal, Z Health R, I, S, T and 9S Structure, Strength and Suppleness, Sustenance and Spirit

ThereisaTheresia graduated from St. John's University with a degree in Accounting and Master's in Taxation.  After working for PricewaterhouseCoopers for 6 months, she realized her passion for health and wellness took priority.  She focuses on working out smarter and having fun to accomplish goals.  Every athlete's program is individualized to suit their particular needs.  Theresia practices Z Health which focuses on the athlete's nervous system to enhance performance and prevent/rehab injuries.  

 

Brett Neichin
Certification: NASM
A native of Connecticut, Brett graduated from Baruch College, excelling in his dual major of philosophy and literature. A high school and college athlete, Brett has an extensive background in Sambo, Judo, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. His training style implements functional exercises into tailor-made fitness routines, with an emphasis on strength training. Brett finds time between sessions to continue his creative writing career.

 

Aubrey Sibanyoni
Certification: AFAA, ACE and ASFA
Aubrey has been in the fitness industry for over 20 years. His fitness career spans from working for notable fitness clubs such as Equinox Fitness Club, Reebok Sports Club, Clay Health Club and currently JCC. His expertise range from personal training, cross training and group exercise. He also has done fitness videos, notably with Kathy Smith. Aubrey is also a former world-class professional fighter for over 15 years. He is also a Wall Street veteran, having worked for investment banking and private equity firms for over 10 years. Other than fitness he is an avid golfer with single digit handicap.
 

Daryl Stewart
Certification: NASM, Pre/Post Natal, M.E.L.T.
Daryl comes to personal training from an extensive background in sports competition. An award-winning gymnastics career commenced by age 7, yet by high school football became an enduring passion. A dedicated and aspiring athlete in his own right, Daryl nonetheless adapts to recent mothers, high school athletes and adults of various ages equally well. In addition, those looking for sports/circuit training programs are well advised to seek his services.

 

Cedric Strewart
Certification: NASM, MES, Pre/Post Natal
Cedric began gymnastics at age 6, and evolved into a HS football and track star. He attained his personal training certification after helping neighbors get more fit and active. Early on his focus was split between training and his own aspirations as a professional quarterback, playing many semi-professional seasons. Now a 10-year fitness veteran, he maintains that his greatest enjoyment is getting to know his clients while promoting positive changes.

 

Tal Tenzer
Certifications: NASM, Pre and Post Natal, NASM Corrective Exercises, ACE, YOGAFIT, Spinning, TRX, Aquatics, Myofacial Stretching
Tal Tenzer holds a BS in Biotech, served as a combat medic in the Israeli Army, and her love and compassion for Animals led her to work as a Nurse Technician in a medically advanced Animal Hospital in South Florida for many years before professionally entering the world of fitness. Tal grew up as a competitive swimmer who enjoys training and participating in triathlons and mountain biking. She offers a cross training experience on land and in water and teaches a variety of group fitness classes. Tal is fluent in English and Hebrew.  VIDEO:  MEET TAL.


Cecelia Ticktin
Certifications:  National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) CPT and NASM CES, TRX Rip Trainer and TRX Suspension Trainer, Z Health R Phase, I Phase, S Phase, T Phase, and 9S

CeceliaGrowing up with the intention of pursuing a Broadway career, Cecelia was entering into her second semester as a Musical Theater Major at Penn State University when a car accident and a subsequent botched surgery changed the course of her life and career, and ushered her into the world of corrective exercise and pain management. Since then, Cecelia has trained under and along-side world-class coaches and athletes. After beginning her coaching career as a personal trainer and injury rehabilitation specialist at Crunch Gym in New York City, she spent some time focusing on her education and training clients in Tempe, Arizona before settling down here at the JCC. You can learn more about Cecelia's training programs here
 

Andrew Torres
Certifcations: NASM, C.H.E.K. Institute Exercise Coach and Holistic Lifestyle Coach, FMS I and II, CrossFit Level 1, IKFF Kettelbells I, Z-Health EEP
Andrew, a native New Yorker, was first inspired by the world of weight lifting at the age of 14. He immediately fell in love with the sport and found ways to challenge his strength. After more than a decade of traditional lifting, he achieved his desired goals in back squats, seated shoulder presses, bench presses, and deadlifts. This sparked Andrew's curiosity and desire to expand his understanding on functional movement. Andrew was introduced to the C.H.E.K. Institute, where he became certified as a Holistic Life Style and Exercise Coach. Being certified through C.H.E.K. has taught Andrew the importance of incorporating proper posture, balance and assessments into all his workouts. Between his challenging CrossFit style workouts and rehabilitating exercises, Andrew can accommodate to a vast majority of client's needs.

Toure Vakaramoko
Certifications: NASM, AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor, Z-Health EEP, Time Out New York (Jan 2009 ed.) – Top Trainer, ECA World Fitness Miami 2010 – BOSU MVP
Born in Guinea and raised in the Cote D'Ivoire, Toure played soccer throughout his youth, soon discovering a strong natural affinity for coaching. His competitive boxing experience as an adult hit home the importance of staying fit, and helped him become a top JCC instructor. Toure's positive attitude, challenging workout regimens, and his ability to lead by example is creating a growing list of motivated clients who get results.

 

William VerEecke
Certifications: N.C.S.A. , A.C.E. , Reactive Neuromuscular Trainer
William VerEecke has been a personal fitness trainer since 1995, starting his career at the West Side YMCA and has completed well over 15,000 hours of one-on-one training in that time as-well-as hundreds of hours of group fitness classes. After 3 years at the YMCA, William worked exclusively for Equinox and over the next 7 years became one of the top trainers in the company. Since leaving Equinox he has been self-employed and has acquired extensive experience working with all age groups. His clients range from 12 to 92 years of age. He has completed hundreds of hours of continuing education courses and is capable of training all levels of clients from competitive athlete to pre + post surgical re-hab. William has been a certified personal trainer with A.C.E., N.C.S.A. and completed the Reactive Neuromuscular Training course.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

 

What are the best exercises for my lower body?

Resistance training is a proven method to improve your strength and muscle tone. Body weight exercises such as squats, lunges, and step-ups will help target your lower body problem areas.

How do I flatten my stomach?

Getting a flat stomach is a combination of abdominal exercises and cardiovascular activity. Abdominal exercises such as crunches and leg raises will help strengthen your core. However, one must incorporate at least three, 20 minute sessions of cardiovascular training into your routine to decrease body fat.

Are weights going to make me 'bulky'?

No.  Getting "bulky" is a combination of very heavy weight training and a nutrition plan specifically designed to increase muscle mass.

How many times a week should I be doing cardio and for how long?

It is recommended for an individual of average health to incorporate at least 20 minutes, three times a week into their workout routine. However, it is important to remember this a minimum recommendation.

What about carbs?  Is it true that if I stop eating them, I'll lose weight?

Low-carb diets can reduce body weight and decrease body fat. However, to sustain long term results it is recommended that one eat a balanced diet.

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jccmanhattan.org [192.168.26.82]