Fitness Staff

  • Kristin Granillo

    Kristin is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, Institute of Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, and Fitness Manager for Rancho La Puerta. She began her profession in fitness teaching strength and cardio classes, such as cycle and running, and transitioned to Fitness Manager early in her career.  Quickly in this new role, Kristin discovered what her true passion is: leading people. She enjoys coaching and developing her team members to grow not only as instructors and teachers, but as individuals, as well. She is a lifelong learner, extremely passionate about holistic wellness, and helping others become the best versions of themselves. In her spare time, she loves cooking, being active outdoors, and spending time with her 2 dogs and husband in San Diego.

  • Barry Shingle

    Barry is the Director of Guest Experience at The Ranch.  He started his Ranch career in 1999, over the years he has taught classes, hosted evening events, presented for our Voices of The Ranch and currently oversees several guest-interacting departments. Barry enjoys connecting with Ranch guests and staff.  He believes in the healthy lifestyle that The Ranch promotes, feeding our bodies, our minds, and our spiritual beings with nourishing and positive experiences.  Barry enjoys humor and believes it is vitally important to our health. When not at The Ranch, he enjoys his home in San Diego, music and maintaining a close relationship with his daughter.

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  • Marcos Landavazo

    Marcos has been teaching tennis as well as Cardio Boxing, Cardio Challenge, Sculpt & Strengthen, Circuit Training and Aqua Plus since 1986.  What he loves most about The Ranch is meeting a wide variety of people and the opportunity to inspire someone to start or jumpstart their exercise career.  His hobbies include going to the beach with his family.

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  • Coco Bennett

    I’m a Chicago native, a Marquette University graduate and a Certified Fitness professional for over 40 fun years.  I’m proud to hold certification with the American College of Sports Medicine, which is one of the most highly regarded certifications in the industry.

    At Rancho La Puerta, it’s my pleasure to create tough and effective total body workouts for our guests to enjoy.  In addition to my health and fitness career, my latest passion is training small therapy dogs to help people with ADHD and Anxiety.

    In the early 90’s, my twin Sister Connie and I traveled  throughout Europe, conducting fitness instructor workshops and designing fitness programs for various clubs.  Upon my return to the States in 1994, I worked at the Golden Door.  Then, in 1995, I made the decision to join the Ranch fitness team and that choice still engages my Soul to this day.

    I attribute my longevity at Rancho La Puerta to the beautiful environment, the amazing staff, and the wonderful guests who share their lives and teach me something new every week!

  • Alejandro Valencia

    Alejandro has been in the fitness industry since 2003 teaching classes such as step aerobics, cycling, Tae Bo, and Zumba. He is also a Less Mills certified instructor in body combat, body step and international certified in CXWORX (core training). Alejandro has been at The Ranch since 2012, teaching most of the cardio and strength classes.

    He studied law in Tijuana Mexico and practiced law for about 7 years. Yes, he’s a lawyer! “I used to work all day every day, I was too stressed. I decided to give myself a break when I found The Ranch. I love Rancho La Puerta, it makes me happy!”

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  • Hazel Stricker

    Hazel has been teaching classes such as Yoga, Meditation, Stretch, Fitball, Body Bar and Foam Roller since 2006.  She has been a fitness instructor since 2000.  “I love nature and anything that takes me there – from walking or playing Frisbee at the beach to hooping on the grass.”

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  • Andrew Short

    With close to 15 years of coaching in the gymnastics world, Andrew has an eye for movement and has developed a clear and effective communication style to help athletes make corrections, prevent injuries, and have success in attaining their goals.

    He spent five years in the nonprofit world working with an international NGO coordinating fundraising events and humanitarian trips to support educational programs, community aid, as well as part-time and full-time care for vulnerable children in Mexico, Romania, and Nicaragua.

    Andrew’s empathetic approach makes others feel secure, and he is always looking for the best solutions for those whom he serves. He is passionate about seeing others develop to their full potential and has a high value for collaboration.

    When he isn’t training with clients, Andrew loves spending quality time with his wife Jana, and playing with their rescue pups: Bubulubu and Chimi. They currently reside in Tecate, México.

  • Manuel Velazquez

    Manuel is an international health and wellness continuing education provider and presenter on fitness educational conferences around the world. His versatility and multifaceted approach leading land-strength and land-dance, aquatic and mind/body training programs have won him recognition as a Presenter of the Year and All-Around International Presenter of the Year presenting at fitness conferences worldwide for almost three decades. He is a proud Faculty Member for SCW Fitness Education and Creator Designer & National Trainer for their WATERinMOTION®Platinum Instructor program for the “Active Agers”.   Manuel is a continuing education faculty member for SCW, ACE, AFAA, ACSM, AEA, and stars in over 70 Fitness Instructor Training Videos, including AFAA’s online yoga certification program “Sunrise Yoga”.  Former Lead Instructor at Puerto Rico’s exclusive Golden Door Spa now is a head instructor at Rancho La Puerta Wellness Resort & Spa.

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  • Connie Bennett

    Connie Bennett is a graduate of Marquette University and a 40 year Fitness Industry veteran.   She is committed to excellence in the exercise profession and is certified through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM); ACSM is one of the most highly recognized certifications in the industry and is considered gold standard.In the early 90’s, Connie enjoyed the opportunity to travel throughout Europe as a Master Trainer educating Instructors.

    Upon her return to the States in 1995, Connie joined the Rancho La Puerta fitness team.. Among her favorite formats to teach are Hiit and Strength Training.  Strength Training in particular as she strongly believes (pun intended) that greater muscle power equals greater ease and enthusiasm in life, especially as we age.

    Connie is a twin and fun fact, her twin sister works at the Ranch as well.

    She continually feels blessed and honored to be working with the motivated, positive, forward thinking Rancho La Puerta Guests

  • David de la Paz

    David de la Paz is an international presenter and instructor trainer for Yoga and Pilates. His approach towards a slow, mindful practice focuses on quality versus quantity. David often refers to his work as “finding the balance between minimum effort and maximum outcome.”

    After exploring the fields of dance, fitness, yoga, meditation and philosophy for over 30 years, his commitment to contribute to the betterment of life and humanity is now stronger than ever, and Rancho La Puerta is the perfect platform for that.

  • Jennifer De Marco

    Jennifer DeMarco, Fitness Instructor at Rancho La Puerta, inspires guests to reach their running and fitness goals. Jennifer’s teaching philosophy combines safe fitness practices, proper nutrition, and behavioral changes. She holds a MS in Health Education, BS in Physical Education, and a BS in Exercise Physiology. Jennifer has an extensive teaching career: she is a college professor in Exercise Science and Wellness, group exercise instructor, and has 15 years of experience coaching cross country and track. Jennifer has been nationally ranked for the Half IRONMAN Triathlon distance, is a two time All-American in Cross Country (trail running), has completed 26 full length marathons, and is consistently ranked top in her age group at 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathons in San Diego, California.
    Jennifer is the proud mother of two, and as a cancer survivor she celebrates each-and-every step!

  • Manuel Hernandez

    Manuel has been teaching Hiking, Circuit Training, Super Cross Training, Strength Training and Healthy Backs since 1987.  In 1997 he spent eight days living and hiking in Mexico’s Copper Canyon north of Chihuahua with the Tarahumaras Indians.  In 1999 he paddled for six days from mainland Mexico and the Sea of Cortez to the Baja Peninsula in a kayak.  In 2004 he competed in a Rodeo winning 1st place in the Baja State Championship Team Roping event and going on to win 2nd place at The Mexican National Championship Team Roping Event.

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  • CeCe Simms

    CeCe began teaching Zumba fitness in 2010. Music and dance were her passions, and, using the inspiration of movement through world rhythms, she fit right in and danced her way through the Zumba community for ten years. Originally from Seattle, CeCe made her way to San Diego in 2017, working through fitness clubs and adding Water X Instructor, Cycle, and Strong by Zumba to her resume. Through hard work, she caught the attention of San Diego Magazine and became San Diego’s best Zumba instructor of 2019. CeCe is currently at The Ranch to gain more fitness expertise and study yoga.

  • Mike Bee

    Mike has been teaching at The Ranch and Golden Door since 1980.  He returned to Rancho La Puerta has a full time instructor in 2007.  His classes include Hiking, Fit Check, Body Bar, Sculpt, Circuit, Stretch, Country Western Line Dancing, Cardio Drum Dance, Water Works, Cardio Boxing, Super Cross Training, Trekking, Release & Mobilize, L.A.B. Circuit, Par Course, Balance and Coordination, Volleyball, Fitball and Foam Roller.  His speciality? “Anything I teach must have valuable information, be a lot of fun, and loaded with sarcasm!”  His hobbies include rescuing, fostering & finding homes for dogs and cats as well as taking care of The Ranch cats.

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  • Aileen Sheron

    One of three 2020, 2021, and 2022 finalists for IDEA’s Fitness Instructor of the Year award. Aileen is an entrepreneur and innovator across most facets of the fitness industry. She is an international presenter, inventor, program developer, content creator, writer, mentor, business owner, and social media personality, while still maintaining her passion for teaching her students every single week for over forty years. A continuing education provider for decades, she has trained thousands of instructors in a variety of specialties. She has been a mentor and life coach to many of today’s industry leaders and provides proprietary choreography to align with their personal brands. Aileen is a master trainer, and has starred in hundreds of online and on demand fitness videos for Silver&Fit and Active&Fit brands for American Specialty Health.  She is the Talent Scout for world renowned Rancho La Puerta. Aileen is also president of Good Natured Products, Inc., makers of her invention, the Omniball, and other fitness products.

  • Jill Thiry

    Jill Thiry, MBA, RYT500, brings 10 years of Ranch guest experience, 10 years of Staff experience, 20 years of publishing/business management experience, and five years of Club Change leadership and coaching experience to her classes.  She was a recreation director and ski instructor right after college and thoroughly enjoys her return to teaching.  You’ll find her in intention setting, mindfulness, sound healing, chant, hiking, hiking poles and water classes, or working with the docents! Locally she has created a bedside singing group “Sonidos de Sanacion” and is on the board for a local non profit “One Story at a Time” helping people at the border.    Jill found new “yes’s” before at and during her Ranch times, and now enjoys sharing her eight-step process with guests and Club Change members. One Kind Step at a time, one practice at a time, Being present with all of yourself never gets old!

  • Milagros

    Milagros was born in La Paz, Mexico, where from a young age, she was most at home in the pool and playing sports. With the state team of Baja California Sur, Milagros got to travel to many water polo national championships all around Mexico. It was then that she discovered how much she enjoyed traveling and meeting new people. Milagros decided to formalize her passion to serve others by attending the university in her hometown, focusing on physical fitness and sports. Surrounded by great mentors and teachers, Milagros became a Water Polo National team coach, traveling to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Peru. Her team took 3rd place at the youth Pan American games, qualifying them for the Tokyo Olympics.

    Her volunteer work with Fundación la Puerta led her to the Ranch, where she enjoys being in nature and enjoying the beautiful labyrinths of Mount Kuchuma. At Rancho La Puerta, you can find her teaching water polo on the noodle, teaching high energy classes, and leading early morning mountain hikes. She enjoys serving the guests and helping them to become their best. She is a firm believer in “Siempre Mejor.”

  • David Wicker

    David Wicker, known as “Ranch Dave,” joined our fitness team full time in 2024. With a background rooted in Hawaii, his company ran fitness operations for major resort brands like Marriott and Starwood. Over three decades, Dave has guided over 250,000 students through his unique programs. These include “Healthy Shoulder and Rotator Cuff Secrets,” “Healthy Lower Back Secrets,” “White Tiger Yoga,” and “Secrets to Better Pickleball” — he’s a gold medalist and a certified Pickleball coach.  Dave’s expertise ranges from strength training to meditation with more info online at RanchDave.com.  For fun he plays guitar and trades stocks.  Dave currently resides on property and in San Diego.
  • Tom Naples

    Tom has been teaching fitness and mindfulness classes such as Yoga and Meditation since 2021 and joined the Ranch family in 2023. He is originally from New York and is a graduate of Cornell University. A former middle school English teacher, he has a passion for educating and empowering others to be their best. He believes that when we connect with others and with nature, we can form deeper and more meaningful connections with ourselves.