it's about the people

Y instructors and staff you should know

We believe our staff play an enormous role in your Y experience. At the La Jolla YMCA these dedicated professionals make it their priority to ensure your workout is great, your equipment is functioning properly, and to provide you with the help and support you need to reach your wellness goals.

We would like to introduce our wellness team who exemplify the Y's mission and bring a skill set that truly benefits our members.


Wellness Engagement Director and Personal Trainer

Training Philosophy/Specialties: I work with all abilities from the athlete to the first time exerciser. I believe having good range of motion when you exercise is an important part of your training program. I use functional training in all aspects of my programs. In addition, I enjoy working specifically with first time triathletes and runners. Whether you seek to improve your athletic performance, strength, flexibility, or health and wellness, I can help you achieve your goals.

Jen has a Bachelor's Degree in Therapeutic Recreation from The University of Tennessee, and a degree in Gerontology from Sonoma State University. She is also an AFA Certified Personal Trainer, and a Cancer Exercise Specialist.


Group Exercise Instructor

Training Philosophy/specialties: I specialize in working with older active adults but have experience training every age group and fitness level. Functional and balance training is incorporated in all of my training sessions. I enjoy helping clients get stronger for their everyday activities. I have over 30 years of experience in the fitness field.

Dana is certified in ACE Group Exercise, BOSU, as well as Gravity.


Wellness Director and Personal Trainer

Training Philosophy/Specialties: I greatly enjoy working with a variety of different people from post-physical therapy to individuals trying to obtain a healthier lifestyle. I administer exercise programs that include strength training, cardio, flexibility, balance, and stability.

I use a wide variety of equipment and resources some of which include TRX, Gravity, Sand bells, Kinesis, and much more.

Melissa has a Bachelor's Degree in Health Science as well as a Fitness Specialist Certification from City College.


Personal Trainer and LIVESTRONG at the YMCA Instructor

Born and raised in Denmark and now back living in California after 7 years abroad, I am very happy to back at the La Jolla YMCA. I bring 15 years of experience working with people at all levels of fitness and really enjoy seeing clients achieve things they didn’t believe they were capable of. I help my clients by establishing a baseline, setting goals and putting together a realistic plan to work towards those goals. See you in the gym!

Rikke is Certified Fitness Specialist and a Certified Yoga Teacher - Yoga Alliance


Wellness Coach and Personal Trainer

I specialize in helping clients maximize fat loss, build muscle and recover from injury through a balanced approach of nutrition, training and recovery. In the gym, time-efficient and challenging workouts backed by periodic testing keep clients on track. Time outside the gym will be guided by calculating metabolic-rate calorie targets and real-world circuit training routines designed for the busy lifestyle. I'm always available to talk to clients and help them in any way I can on their path to optimal health and fitness.

Bryan is a certified NCSF Certified Personal Trainer, a Kali Institute Massage Therapist, as well as a Clinical Nutritionist.


Wellness Coach and Group Exercise Instructor

I believe the way to health and wellness is to start with a mental commitment and to meet yourself where you are. As a wellness coach, I strive to help those ready to make a lifestyle change, regardless of current fitness level...to get moving, to properly fuel the body to KEEP moving, and to be patient with the process.I began my group ex instructor journey leading unit physical training for our US troops. I currently enjoy leading challenging, safe and fun training sessions that include strength and cardio conditioning for their families and retirees.

Gayle has a AFAA Group Exercise Certification, San Diego Community College - Fitness Specialist and Schwinn Cycling Certification


Wellness Coach and Personal Trainer

I believe exercise and fitness should be individualized, challenging, and fun.
Individualized because everyone has different goals, needs, strengths, and weaknesses, challenging because the body adapts fast and must be continually pushed in order to change, and fun because it’s easier to make a part of your daily routine if it’s something you enjoy. This philosophy has helped me to lose a tremendous amount of weight while gaining strength and confidence and completely turning my health around. I have seen the change that exercise has had in my life, and I strive to help others achieve the change they seek in theirs!

Justin has a Bachelor's Degree in Media Communications as well as a certification in ACE Personal Training.


Therapeutic Massage Therapist

I specialize in various massage techniques to rebalance muscle length and restore muscle function. I find it most effective to combine visual posture assessment with years of direct hands-on experience to address the source of chronic pain and related muscle discomfort.

I work closely with our Y fitness coaches to assist you in regaining muscle strength, improving posture and achieving a healthy and well balanced body.

Kathy has a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering (Pre-Medical), is a certified Massage Therapist with the California Massage Therapy Council and the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Body Work.


Pilates Instructor and Personal Trainer

I specialize in Postural rehab, core strengthening and all Pilates principals.

I enjoy using the Reformer to increase my clients flexibility while correcting postural inconsistencies. My goal is to motivate and educate my clients for optimum heath, vitality and well-being.

Jill is certified in Stott Pilates Reformer, Group Gravity, Gravity Pilates, UCSD Fitness Instruction and Health Management, as well as a Holistic Health Practitioner.


Wellness Coach and Personal Trainer

I help people regenerate themselves physically, mentally and emotionally through simple techniques like deep breathing, good posture, and personally designed exercise routines designed to reduce stress, build or tone muscle and improve body functions. A healthy state of mind and exercise can generate the kind of energy a person needs to deal with life’s stresses in a healthy way. These three things can transform a person’s life, and I am here to help make that happen.

Kyle received his certification in Fitness Training and Exercise Science at the University of California San Diego and from the American Council on Exercise.


Aqua and Fitness Personal Trainer, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA Instructor

I specialize in working with a diverse set of clients. Some of whom suffered disabilities from stroke, arthritis, Parkinson's disease, fibromyalgia, knee & hip replacements and some who share my life-long challenge: weight management.

I believe doing physical work is important to keep the body functioning as well as it can with connection to our mind and spirit. For me each client is an individual with personal needs and a unique set of goals, and with this in mind, I tailor-make each client’s program.

Danna has a Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology from SDSU, is a certified Personal Fitness Trainer, as well as a Hydrotherapist.


Wellness Coach, Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor

I participated in intercollegiate athletics as a Division 1 competitive swimmer. My main area of expertise was short distance races such as the 50 and 100 yard freestyle, as well as the 100 yard backstroke, but I also greatly enjoyed taking part in relay races.

Although I have retired from competitive swimming I really enjoy staying active and trying out different forms of exercise, as well as teaching children and adults alike about water safety and the joys of water sports. During my free time I enjoy all things art and hanging out with family and friends!

Sofia has a Bachelor's Degree from University of Hawaii in Family Resource Management and Studio Art.


Reiki Therapist

I believe the more positive, beautiful universal source energy we bring into our body, thoughts and heart – free of fear, stress and negativity – the more peace, love, light and joy will be manifested in our daily existence.
I specialize in accelerating the body’s self-healing abilities by alleviating stress, anxiety and depression. Also, treatments help to lessen pain and suffering caused by acute injuries
and chronic mental and physical problems. Other benefits include an increased mental clarity and a feeling of well-being; aids in creating more restful sleep patterns; and, increases vitality and helps postpone the aging process.

Lanie is a Certified Reiki Master.


Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor

I believe that clients will enjoy a constantly changing array of exercises to keep the body “guessing” what’s next. I have a military background and I like to challenge my clients body’s in every capacity.

My training motto is “Take control of your life- Let’s meet your fitness goals”.

Sam has a NFPT Master Trainer Certification and Gravity Personal Trainer Certification


Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor

I believe that exercise should be looked at as a hobby rather than a chore. I know that everyone can find something they love to do and incorporate it into their workout routine. I feel that once clients see how great physical activity makes their body feel, they will be more willing to participate regularly. I have experience in many forms of training ranging from (but not limited to) yoga, gravity, TRX, R.I.P.P.E.D, HIIT, hula hooping, rock climbing, sport specific training, Pilates, and body Barre. I like to combine elements of these different styles to create fun, innovative and challenging workouts for my clients.

Mariya is a ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, California State Certified Massage Therapist, California Board Licensed Acupuncturist and has a Bachelors of Science in Exercise Physiology.


Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach

I believe exercise is medicine for the mind, body, and spirit. I specialize in General Strength & Conditioning, Sports Performance, and Corrective Exercises. I enjoy working with clients who are willing to push themselves to the next level and those who strive each and every day to become the best version of
themselves mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Michael is NSCA Certified, TRX Certified and has attended the National Personal Training Institute


Wellness Coach

I’m excited to bring a lifelong passion for fitness and exercise to the Y. I’ve played competitive sports all of my life, and most recently, I served in the Army, where I was one of the primary physical training instructors for my unit. I have experience in a variety of fitness techniques and procedures, from dynamic stretching to power lifting.

I’ve worked with a wide variety of people, and have dealt firsthand with both the physical and mental obstacles that many people face as they try to improve their fitness. I look forward to the opportunity to share my enthusiasm for exercise and well-being with members of all fitness levels.


Personal Trainer, Wellness Coach and Group Exercise Instructor

I grew up very over weight and felt like I was trapped and didn’t know how to get where I wanted to be mentally and physically. After years of research and then pursuing a degree in Exercise Science, I dropped 100 pounds. As a trainer I want to aid you in finding the areas of fitness and health that you enjoy to help you remove the barriers we place on ourselves. I understand what an enormous struggle changing your level of fitness can be and I want to take the guess work and myths our of the equation. I currently work in a rehab facility aiding seniors in maintaining a healthy life post physical therapy, and have worked for a hospital as a Wellness Coordinator. I have a passion for injury prevention, teaching you “why” behind exercises, and continually challenging you. I believe all things should be fun and enjoyed, exercise should be no different.