Fitness Staff - Rancho La Puerta

Fitness Staff

  • Barry Shingle

    Barry is the Director of Guest Relations and Programming at Rancho La Puerta and greatly enjoys his experiences with the guests and staff. Most guests would say his specialty is Bingo. Barry has taught fitness classes for over 20 years and has been at the Ranch since 1999.  He enjoys being a father to his daughter, staying active and interacting with people.

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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

    Coco has been teaching Aerobics with Soul, Cardio Bootcamp, Circuit Training, Core Training, Cycling, Fit Check, Fitball, Healthy Backs, LAB, Sculpt, Stretch and Relax since 1997.  She loves working at the Ranch because in addition to the beautiful environment and the amazing staff, the wonderful guests teach her something new every week.

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  • Kym Hoy

    Kym was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. During her successful career in musical theatre, Kym was introduced to ballet barre workouts and discovered a passion for teaching.  Now with ten years of teaching and over 5000 group classes under her belt, Kym is thrilled to be part of the Rancho La Puerta Team.  Kym worked as a trainer and National Evaluator for The Bar Method Franchise. She has also been featured in The Bar Method online videos. Kym has taught in boutique studios in LA, has private clients ranging from beginners to athletes,  and has taught in pop-up fitness events across the country, most recently at Sundance Film Festival. She loves connecting individually with each student and helping them along on their fitness journey.  She believes in constantly learning and expanding.  Previous to her experience as a fitness instructor, Kym graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. She toured for two years with the 2nd National Broadway company of Miss Saigon performing the lead role of “Kim”. Her versatile singing has taken her all over the world in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to Disneyland, to singing the National Anthem at Dodger Stadium. She also does voice-over work and acts. TV appearances include Guest Stars on NCIS, CSI: NY, SCRUBS, LOVE, and a recurring role on GENERAL HOSPITAL. And she can still be caught singing around town! She’s the proud mommy of a Chihuahua, a Bunny, and a King Pigeon.

  • 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, Hula Hoop, 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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  • 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 has been teaching classes such as African Dance Workout, Cardio Hip Hop, Aerobics with Soul, Cycling, Trekking, Super X, Cardio Bootcamp, Cardio Box, Par Cour, Body Bar, Sculpt, Circuit, Abs, Legs, Foam Roller, Core Training, Balance and Coordination, Stretch and Relax, Restorative Yoga and Meditation since 1995.  Her hobbies include baking chocolate (and eating it!), the cinema, mac gadgets, reading, practicing gratefulness and laughing out loud.

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  • 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!

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  • Paula Nascimento David

    Paula Nascimento David, International Movement Specialist (shoulders, pelvic and spine) in Brazil, USA, and Mexico.

    Paula was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She was raised in an environment rich in Brazilian festivities and grew up dancing, sparking a passion that initiated her first steps in the world of dance, which developed into her professional career.

    In 1999, Paula began her studies at Center of Movement and Arts -Angel Vianna Dance School in Rio de Janeiro. She Studied Classic Ballet, Laban, Contemporary Dance, Corporal Expression, anatomy, vocal expression, music, Brazilian Popular Dance, Theatrical Techniques, Kinesiology, Modern dance, Dance History, Laban/Bartenieff, Alexander Technique, Feldenkraiss, Zen Shiatsu, Kinesiology and neurophysiology.

    In 2002, She met the neurologist Dr. Maria Jose who introduced her to the Motor Rehabilitation center and in the same year, she graduated from the same school in Motor Rehabilitation, movement Therapy in Pilates, Gyrotonic, and Gyrokinesis.

    In 2004, Paula decided to deepen her knowledge of the human body and began her professional certification coursework in Godelieve Denys-Struyf, a French technique commonly known as GDS at Ivaldo Bertazzo School in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

    In 2007, she moved to Chicago and soon after, obtained her certifications in Pre and Post Natal and Spinal Conditions.

    In 2009, she worked and trained at Chicago Northshore Gyrotonic with the Master trainer Alissa Getz Waller, who introduced Paula to GYROTONIC®. Since then, she has expanded her knowledge in specialized training including:  GYROTONIC® Level 1 Foundation Course 3/1/2009 -Alissa Getz Waller; GYROTONIC® Level 1 Final Certificate Course 11/7/2010 -Miriam Barbosa; GYROTONIC®  Level 2 Pre-Training Course (legacy) 1/6/2012 -Alissa Getz Waller;  GYROTONIC®  Applications for the pelvic Girdle 6/8/2012 -Uwe Herbstreit;  GYROTONIC®  Leg Extension Unit Course 10/1/2014 – Erika Hassan; GYROTONIC®  Applications For Dancers Level 1 10/24/2014 -Miriam Barbosa; GYROTONIC®  Applications for the Shoulder Girdle 6/8/2015 -Uwe Herbstreit; GYROTONIC® Psoas Principles 7/10/2015 – Juergen Bamberger;  GYROTONIC®  Archway Level 1 Course 10/16/2015 -Erika Hassan; GYROTONIC®  Jumping-Stretching Board Course 2/21/2016 -Davi Edlebeck;   GYROTONIC®  Level 1 Update Course 2/21/2016- Davi Edlebeck;  GYROTONIC®  Applications for Scoliosis 10/16/2016 -Uwe Herbstreit;  lately she updated her level I – GYROTONIC®  Level 1 update course 10/22/2017 – Irene Pulli; GYROTONIC® TRILOGY application for Pelvic Girdle, shoulder girdle and scoliosis 06/12/2018 – Uwe Herbstreit; GYROKINESIS® Juergen Bamberger 2019.

    Paula loves to learn and pass on her knowledge to her clients helping them to work on their process of healing from injury and instability and nourish their growth through movement.

    This involves organizing, connecting, attuning and finding efficiencies within each person with the ultimate goal to inspire self awareness and create smart movers.

  • 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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  • Aileen Sheron

    Aileen Sheron is President of Good Natured Products Inc. and the inventor of the patented OmniBall®.  She has been an innovator and fitness entrepreneur since 1979 and has trained thousands of instructors. A top IDEA presenter for 28 years, Aileen specializes in equipment-based resistance programming, choreography, myofascial release, and much more!  She writes for fitness publications and has starred in several high profile exercise videos, including the Positive Pre- and Postanal series for the makers of Similac baby formula.  Her Weight Watchers Low Impact Aerobics Workout was rated #1 by Consumer Reports. She consults on product and program development for some of the biggest names in fitness and posts weekly on social media. You can find her at www.aileensheron.com.

  • Adam Gallo

    Adam began his fitness career teaching Martial Arts and group fitness to adults at just 13 years of age. Under the strict tutelage of his teacher, Jose Calasanz Martinez, Adam graduated to private personal training two years later. Since then, Adam has been a disciplined practitioner and teacher of various modalities, ranging from meditation techniques, bouldering, gymnastics, barre, functional mobility, myofascial release techniques, fascial strength training, circuit training/ HIIT and most recently Evolutionary Yoga, under the watchful eye of it’s creators; his West-coast parents and former Ranch Full-timers (now special guests), Paul Gould and Jenni Fox.

    Adam is honored to join the esteemed roster of talented polymath practitioners at Rancho La Puerta.

    In his spare time, Adam takes great pleasure in reading & writing, podcasting, quiet meditation and of course, expanding his base of knowledge and abilities to better serve your needs at The Ranch.

  • DeRahn Johnson

    DeRahn Johnson has been an active member of the professional fitness community for over 15 years. A former resident of New York. His area of expertise is corrective exercise and strength training. He enjoys helping individuals of all ages and fitness levels reach their desired health goals.  His hobbies and interest are widely varied, and include: beach volleyball, guitar, reading, and cycling.

  • Regina Montalvo M.S.. L.Ac.

    Regina Montalvo MS, LAc is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Functional Medicine Practitioner. She has been active in the healing arts for over 20 years, and practices Traditional Chinese Medicine, Herbal Medicine, Holistic Lifestyle Coaching, and Ayurvedic Medicine. Treating the core of the imbalance in the body is the essence of Regina’s work. Her approach is holistic; she considers her patients’ diets, relaxation habits, exercise regimens, and emotional states. Regina educates her patients so that they can take charge of their own health.

    Regina is a graduate of Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, is licensed by the California State Acupuncture Board, and is also recognized as a Diplomate in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). She received certification as a Holistic Lifestyle Coach and Exercise Coach from the CHEK Institute, and became a certified Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist at Maharishi Ayurvedic University.

    Regina is a founding board member of the Native Wellness Institute, which was established in 2000. She is widely sought after as a presenter bringing her knowledge to Native communities across the United States. Regina works with groups and individuals of all ages to promote healthy lifestyles for the mind, body, and spirit. Her formal training and years of experience as a wellness consultant provide her with wisdom and integrity that is invaluable to her patients.

  • Neil Mallinson

    Neil Mallinson is a fitness professional here at Rancho La Puerta.  His experience includes 20+ years in the fitness industry as a trainer, fitness manager, group exercise instructor, boot camp instructor and  International Presenter for companies such as Total Gym and TRX.  As a Master Trainer for TRX Training, Neil brings a wealth of knowledge focusing on human movement specifically mobility, balance, flexibility and overall strength which are essential to  creating a foundation of long term durability and overall health.  The body knows movement, not muscle. If I can help someone move better, their entire life will improve.

    Neil believes Rancho la Puerta is both a place restore and to build healthy habits to improve every part of a person’s well being.  There is a magical component to the ranch that cannot be described with words.  There is a true feeling of peace and harmony that attracts people to the ranch.  The staff, the grounds and the mountain all play a vital role in every guests experience. Neil is happy to serve here at the ranch in order to deliver a fantastic experience to all who visit.  I look forward to making a positive impact to all I encounter here at the ranch.

  • Cathleen Murakami

    Cathleen Murakami currently is the department head of Pilates and GYROTONIC® at Rancho La Puerta.  She brings with her over 20 years experience in Pilates and over 30 years working within the fitness industry.  Initially an aerobic instructor and personal trainer in the 80’s, Cathleen certified in Pilates through Alan Herdman Studio in London, Marie Jose Blom (Long Beach Dance Conditioning)  and Physicalmind.  She worked at The Ranch from 1992-1996 to assist in creating the initial Pilates program. Upon leaving, she went on to own Synergy Systems® Fitness Studio in Encinitas, CA where she taught clients privately as well as conducted numerous instructor certification courses.

    Certified in GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS®, Cathleen has produced numberous instructional DVD’s, is a featured instructor on Pilates Anytime, a web-based instructional site, has authored Morning Pilates Workouts, teaches at fitness and Pilates conventions annually, and leads outings to Italy combining Pilates and culinary experiences.

    In her spare time, Cathleen loves to read, travel, bond with her two cats, and work on expanding her consciousness of energy and the world around her.

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  • Denise Dobrzenski

    Denise started working at the Ranch in 1994 and teaches All Pilates Mat and Reformer classes, Pilates Private Sessions, Water Works, Aqua Plus, Stretch, Circuit, Fitball and  Hiking. “I enjoy teaching any class to a person or group that is excited about exercise!”  Denise’s education includes STOTT Pilates Full Certification and American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) – Health Fitness Instructor among many others.  Her hobbies include nature (the more trees, the better!), hiking in the woods, animals, Lake Superior, reading and recycling!

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  • Phyllis Pilgrim

    Phyllis has been teaching Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Stretch, Stretch & Relax, T’ai chi and Qigong, Hikes, Meditation Walks, Inner Journey, Labyrinth, Breathing & Heart Rate Lectures and Nature Walks since 1981.  She was Fitness Director for the Ranch from 1983 to 2002.  What she loves most about Rancho la Puerta is her “Ranch” family.  Phyllis loves the continuing encouragement to evolve and create interesting programs for guests as well as the beauty of the gardens and mountains, the delightful staff, and meeting wonderful guests.

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  • 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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  • Jill Thiry

    Jill started her first career in recreation – teaching swimming, skiing, aerobic dance and starting a travel group for the YWCA in Madison WI. Her journey then included international travel, an MBA, and a fun-filled 20 year stint in high tech magazine publishing. Visiting the Ranch after a tough year in 2002 instantly re-ignited her love of fitness and community and love of the great outdoors. In 2013 she tired of down-sizing traditional print magazines, and was ready for a midlife journey change, so she “loaded up her truck and moved to Mexico”.  She discovered that coordinating valuable content for like-minded audiences transfers well from publishing to the magic of the Ranch experience. She now utilizes those skills in the fitness office crafting the schedule and helping to coordinate content and publishing it for guests and staff.  She is passionate about creating sustainable change in one’s life and finds the Ranch Mantra of “Siempre Mejor” a wonderful life philosophy.  She loves to lead or assist with hiking, swimming, chanting, meditating and leading tours, orientations and Take The Ranch Home classes. She is falling into deep like with her new San Diego and Baja territory.

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