West Cook YMCA

personal Training


Interested in Personal Training? Let us know: Healthyliving@westcookymca.org


AnesiAmy Anesi
Fitness Instructor

Teaching at the Y since October of 2004. I have always been a Y member, and when I moved to River Forest, the Y was the only place that offered Indoor Cycling at 6AM on several mornings. I love the Y members, and helping folks get a good "sweat on” to begin their day.

Certifications: YMCA Certified Spin and Group Exercise Instructor



BennettAlex Bennett
Personal Trainer

I've been a trainer at the Y since 2015, though I'm also a former lifeguard, swim instructor, and skating instructor. I came to the Y for the sense of community here: that's why I knew I wanted to work here, too---to give back to that community. I love coaching and working with clients to achieve their goals because it's so rewarding to see them making progress, and because we have fun together doing it!

I'm currently working toward my Corrective Exercise Specialist certification (NASM) and my Precision Nutrition Level 1 certification. I'm also a triathlete and 2-time Ironman finisher, with #3 planned for the future.

Certifications: ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, Livestrong Instructor



BertramsSam Bertrams
Personal Trainer/Fitness Instructor

I began working at the West Cook YMCA as a personal trainer and fitness instructor in May of 2016. The best part about the Y is the strong sense of community we have here.  I have met so many amazing people in my time training and teaching classes here.  My greatest passion is helping people live a healthier lifestyle and achieve a greater sense of well-being.  To me, fitness is not just a hobby or an interest, it is a way of life.  My goal is to help all of my clients and participants become healthier so they can live life to the fullest and feel better than they ever have before.

Certifications: ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE certified Group Fitness Instructor, Enhance Fitness Instructor, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA Certified Instructor, Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Coach



BridgeKatie Bridge

I have been teaching since October 2016, but have been exercising my entire life and I've been a YMCA member since 2012. After a few years of being a member, some fellow fitness instructors encouraged me to join the team. I was excited for this opportunity because I believe in the YMCA's great mission and it has been a wonderful community and value for myself and my family. My philosophy is that exercise should be fun and goal oriented. People have different exercise related goals: weight loss, heart health, balance and coordination, athletic competition, stress relief, socialization, or recreation to name a few. Identifying that goal and enjoying the process is what keeps us coming back to nurture this healthy habit!

Certifications: Certified Group Exercise Instructor from the Athletics and Fitness Association of America, Strength Train Together Certified Instructor



DavisGrant Davis
Personal Trainer

I have been at the West Cook YMCA since the fall of 2016, starting as an intern and now a personal trainer as of December 2016. I recently graduated from Concordia University Chicago with a Sports Management degree and a minor in Exercise Science. I am currently working towards my MBA while finishing my last year of baseball. I have always been passionate about sports and fitness so I am very glad I get to work with others on improving themselves and their knowledge. I have really enjoyed my time at the Y because of the sense of community, family, and the members’ desire to work towards their goals.

Certifications: ACSM Personal Trainer



DreverNiki Drever

I have been a fitness instructor at the YMCA for over 10 years. My family and I joined the YMCA almost 20 years ago and I regularly attended classes. I got started teaching through a former instructor asking if I’d be interested. I enjoy the challenge of teaching, challenging my body & mind to push myself to different levels. I thoroughly enjoy the integration with music, both creating my own playlists as well as learning choreography to music that is provided. Continuing challenging myself physically and mentally is overall positive in all aspects of my life.

Certifications: Certified Cycling and Group Exercise, Spinning™ Certification



FahndersNicholas Fahnders
Personal Trainer/Fitness Instructor

Nick has been leading Zumba classes at the YMCA since November 2015. He first experienced Zumba during graduate school in 2012. After a couple-year hiatus from over ten years of dancing, it was the outlet and energizer he needed for work-life balance. After moving to Oak Park in the summer of 2015, Nick became a YMCA member. Less than a month after joining, the strong community at the Y motivated him to lead classes. “I love everyone’s loyalty to the Y, and the constant support between first-time and regular Zumba participants. There’s no pressure, or need, to have any dancing background. People show up to shake off stress, and exercise without any equipment but themselves. It’s awesome, and it’s why I get excited to show up every week and move to great music with great people.”

Certifications: ZUMBA®️ Fitness



FosterMegan Foster
Personal Trainer/Fitness Instructor

I began working out at the YMCA 7 years ago when I began private boxing lessons. This led to my love of all types of exercise and a passion for helping others achieve their goals. I have come to know so many people in the Y community and am proud to be a part of it!

Certifications: Ace Certified personal trainer



FosterLarisa Huhman
Fitness Instructor

Moved from St. Petersburg, Russia to Oak Park in 2002, that same year I became a member at the West Cook YMCA.

Certifications: YMCA wellness coach and group exercise instructor 2010-2015, Hatha Yoga training 2014-2015. Certified Yoga instructor RYT200 from 04/2015, Yoga teacher at West Cook YMCA 2014-present



JellinekAlyssa Jelinek
Fitness Instructor

Fitness instructor at Y for 5 years. I started taking a few classes at the Y and loved the community and positive atmosphere. I decided to become an instructor and you can find me here almost every day. I am passionate about healthy living and fitness and enjoy sharing that passion with the wonderful Y community! I have made great friendships here and the Y is one my favorite places!

Certifications: ACE Group Fitness Instructor



MillerSherry Miller

I have taught at the West Cook YMCA since July 2004. My experience at this YMCA began when I won a one-year family membership. We have been members ever since. Basketball and swimming were good programs for my sons. I attended group exercise classes for three years before I was enticed by an instructor to become one myself.

I swam competitively in high school and for a period of time in college. Post-graduation, as a social activity, I joined a huge cycling club in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This group inspired me to participate in cycle racing, triathlons, and competitive running. Although these sports are individual, I have always enjoyed the group or team workouts — the comradery and shared knowledge. Staying healthy through physical activity and good eating habits developed in this early period of my life and I have reaped the benefits throughout the years. I know it is a lifestyle choice that works for me and I like to share this outlook with others.

Certifications: Cycling and Group Exercise Instructor, Certified Active Together Instructor



PagniLila Pagni
Fitness Instructor

Exercise? Not me. I wasn't much into sports or exercise while growing but I always loved riding my bike, and I wouldn't have learned to swim without my lessons at the Lakeview YMCA in Chicago. But it was through the influence of my husband that I began taking Tae Kwon Do and became a Registered 2nd Degree Black Belt in my 50s that I learned to enjoy exercise and working out. We returned to the Chicago area and sought a place to exercise that was economical and had a sense of community. West Cook YMCA offered both and I began to participate in the Fit Over 50 classes. After I began to substitute teach if necessary, I was encouraged to become a Silver Sneakers instructor. I have been teaching those classes for the past 4 years and enjoy the participants who make my day!

Besides the Wellness activities, the YMCA offers so much more. I am proud and privileged to have been a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the activities and work that was accomplished.

Certifications: Silver Sneakers Classic (Range of Motion & Muscle Strengthening); Circuit; Yoga; Splash, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA Certified Instructor



PenaJaime Pena

I have been teaching since July of 2016. My passion for health and nutrition brought me to the Y in March of 2016 looking to become a Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Coach. Little did I know that I would start teaching classes and become a fitness instructor. My philosophy around teaching is more about the person who comes to the class. I want each member to leave with the mindset of having achieved another step toward a healthier and happier lifestyle, and add some Latino twist to it to make it fun.

Certifications: Certified Holistic Health Coach by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Diabetes Self-Management Program Certification by Standford University, Chronic Disease Self-Management Program Certification by Standford University, Tomando control de su Salud (Take Charge of your Health) and Tomando control de su Diabetes (Take Charge of your Diabetes) Certifications by Standford University, Certified Active Together Instructor by MOSSA



PerezSergio Perez
Personal Trainer/Fitness Instructor

I have been a certified personal trainer since 2007. The sense of family and community drew me to the YMCA organization. I get the most enjoyment being able to teach clients/members about physical fitness and how to customize their workouts according to their needs.

Certifications: ACE Personal Trainer, ACE Group Fitness Instructor, RKC (Russian Kettlebell Certified), Battle ropes Certified (John Brookfield), Functional Movement Screen Certified, Selective Functional Movement Assessment, Y-Balance Test Certified, HKC (Hard style Kettlebell Certified), Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Coach, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA Certified Instructor, Enhance Fitness Instructor



PetersenAbby Petersen

This is my first time ever training Group Exercise! We recently moved to Oak Park but had been members at other Ys before and loved it so we were happy to try out a new facility. My philosophy is to make every class I teach fun and safe for every participant, regardless of their skill level or ability.

Certifications: Certified Active Together Instructor



PieartNicki Pieart

I have been a certified athletic trainer for 11 years and teaching classes at the YMCA for 1.5 years. I moved to the area 9 years ago. I was looking for a gym where the focus was on community. The Y fit the bill perfectly. I enjoy all of the people at the Y, from the front desk staff to the class members to the residents. I have enjoyed having the Y as a part of my daily routine. I started at the Y as a member and quickly felt at home. I was challenged by the classes and made many fitness friends who were pushing me to reach new fitness goals. As I got more ingrained in the WCY, I decided I wanted to contribute to others success! So I started teaching group ex classes and have loved taking my class participants on their fitness journeys.

Certifications: MSEd--Exercise Physiology, Certified and Licensed Athletic Trainer



ValdiviaKathy Valdivia

I’m very happy to be part of the YMCA family and to be able to offer my knowledge and experiences as a Zumba Instructor. I have just joined this great family, but I am sure it will be a great start to plans and programs for the service of the community

I’m Peruvian and been a Folkloric Dance teacher for 30 years, I have a ton of experience in the dance stages because I belonged to a dance group for many years back in Peru and here in the United States.

I decided to train as a Zumba instructor 2 years ago with the intention of approaching people who like to dance and enjoy music. My purpose is to guide them towards a basic development of easy steps and movements for them to enjoy a fun and relaxing class. My experience as a dancer has led me to understand that it is not necessary to be a professional or expert in difficult steps to live and feel the music. It’s the inner feeling that comes out to express itself in a way that brings life from the music and makes one happy.

Certifications: Professor of Art in Folklore Dance, Zumba ZIN MEMBER Instructor



SegoviaJorge Segovia

The YMCA has afforded me a vast amount of opportunities to explore health and fitness and work with those who are hoping to make long-lasting lifestyle changes. What drew my attention to the YMCA, is the environment this facility has created allowing members and its employees to feel welcomed and valued.

Certifications: ACE Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Group Exercise Instructor, Certified Strength Train Together Instructor, Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Coach, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA Certified Instructor, Enhance Fitness Instructor, Facilitator for Healthy Weight and Your Child



SimoMelissa Simo

Melissa Simo has a love of what fuels, enlightens, and deepens our connection to ourselves. She holds a BA in dance from Columbia College Chicago, and is a certified Feldenkrais teacher as well as a Yoga teacher. She is influenced by her studies in both Ashtanga and Iyengar yoga, functional anatomy and biomechanics, and her playful dancing spirit. Humility, passion, adventure, gratitude, curiosity, love and patience have been teachers which continually guide her into her practice and teaching. These gifts keep on giving!



StelzerJenny Jocks Stelzer
Personal Trainer/Fitness Instructor

Group Fit Instructor since October 2014. Personal Trainer since February 2015. I grew up swimming at my hometown YMCA in Saginaw, MI. So, when I found my home in Oak Park, I found my Y, too. I love helping people find the joy in working to be their best.

Certifications: AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer



Suarez-AbrihamAnthony Suarez-Abraham
Fitness Instructor

I have been training as a road cyclist for over two decades. It has become a source of deep joy for me to now apply this knowledge as a Certified Spinning Instructor. We have been members of the Y for about eight years. I believe in the mission of the Y to work towards the betterment of the common good. As such I couldn’t think of a better place to continue building a culture of strong and healthy minds, bodies, and spirits. I am intensely passionate about training/teaching! Why? Because trainers/teachers have been—and continue to be—among the most influential persons in my life. Inspired by their generosity and greatness, I cherish the sacred opportunity to help shape the dreams of those interested in personal growth and development in the area of fitness.

Certifications: Certified Spinning Instructor (Level 3); Certified Spin Power Instructor



TreeseErik Treese
Personal Trainer/Fitness Instructor

I grew up in a YMCA on the south side of Chicago so becoming a part of the West Cook family felt like coming home! I was a new father and wanted a place to exercise as well as find fun things for my kids to do. I was also 80 lbs. over weight and needed a supportive environment to get my health under control. The WCY helped me change my life!

My mission is to create a safe and healthy world by leading consciously and the fitness business is the perfect place for me to live my mission! I have been leading group fitness classes and personal training at WCY since 2011 and in 2012 I was recognized as the West Cook YMCA Employee of the Year!

Certifications: NASM CPT, AFAA Group Fitness, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA Certified Instructor, Diabetes Prevention Program



UlmanClaire Ulman

I have worked out consistently for 3 years, since having my right hip replaced, and off and on for the past several years. I Love it! I have been training for couple of months to lead a "Strength Train Together" class. Was looking for a gym that was relatively close to my home that had an environment I liked. There are a few close-by.  But, I liked the "feel" of the Y environment, the staff who worked here and the people who were working-out here.  Not a lot of hype or froo-froo & very family friendly.  A pool, a nice area with free weights, several fitness classes, and a few perks of a "spa" ... all of which I was looking for. It's important, I think, to have fitness classes be challenging as well as be fun, or people won't continue.  Consistency is the key to staying healthy and getting stronger, so helping each person find the right kind of work-out is key.  Offering encouragement is essential to keeping people motivated and excited to come back for more! My certification is the blood, sweat and tears earned over many years of working out often!

Certifications: ACE Group Fitness Instructor (In Progress)



WeissLinda Weiss
Personal Trainer

I have been training for over 10 years. I came to work at the Y because I like what it stands for, the Y is unique. I love being a trainer because I help people accomplish their goals. Generally my clients become good friends and they stay with me a long time.

Certifications: Certified Personal Trainer through the National Federation of Personal Trainers



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