Trainer Bios

Gene DeNota

Training & Exercise Director

Gene has spent the better part of the last 20 years in the health and fitness industry, helping people create healthy lifestyles. He has worked as a fitness instructor, personal trainer, in member services, and fitness management throughout many area health clubs. Gene has also worked in the fitness equipment retail sales industry where he set up and installed home gyms in lower Fairfield County, CT.

Too many people struggle with daily life activities, and never achieve their goals because of lack of exercise and poor health choices. Gene has seen and experienced all of this first hand, and is dedicated to helping people put an end to these bad habits. He has successfully helped transform many clients (as well as himself) through proper exercise and nutrition choices.

Gene specializes in strength, cardiovascular, and endurance training, as well as stretching to help increase flexibility. In addition to one-on-one small group training, he also teaches group classes which include; kettlebells, extreme conditioning boot camps, and group weight training. Along with his passion for training, Gene has a passion for the world of bodybuilding, and actively participates in competitions on a regular basis.

His philosophy is simple: walk before you run. It is so important to first build a strong and stable foundation. Start with the basics. Then, with proper guidance of exercise and nutrition, you will be able to create your fortress of  solitude. Gene feels that if you set realistic goals for yourself, both short-term and long-term, and stick with it, you will see results. Gene constantly reminds his clients of one very important thing: if this (exercise) was easy, everybody would be doing it, and they would all be in shape!

Jermaine Morgan 2Jermaine Morgan

Jermaine believes that “the gym” should be a great place to have fun, get excited about your goals, and release tension and frustration from your body. Jermaine’s previous and current clientele can tell you that working with him involves core strength training, improvement in posture, intense cardiovascular workouts, upper and lower body strength training, target weight loss, and increased flexibility. For the past 7 years, Jermaine has been working with clients as young as 13, to clients as old as 75. He loves being a personal trainer and watching people transform their lives. Jermaine’s ultimate goal as a trainer is to motivate and educate his clients towards a healthier lifestyle.

At the age of 17, Jermaine started to compete in body building competitions. From these competitions, he has learned how to drop body fat, and obtain lean muscle. Jermaine graduated from Norwalk Community College with an Associate of Science in Exercise Science and Sports Studies. Jermaine is a certified Personal Trainer through the American Council of Exercise (ACE), the   International Fitness Professionals Association (IFPA), APEX, and RENEGADE. He is also CPR certified. Jermaine’s training tools include; TRX, kettlebells, weight lifting, velocity ropes, and the basic machines and cables. Jermaine’s personal approach to training will help you reach your physical goals, improve your nutritional health, and achieve the body of your dreams!

Beverly WagnerBeverly Wagner

Beverly has over 15 years of experiences in the fitness industry and has been teaching at the Darien YMCA for over 15 years. She is a Certified Personal Trainer and teaches spinning and TRX.

Beverly trains a wide range of individuals; some of whom want to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle, while others are looking to compete in their first 5K race. Whatever your goal is, Beverly will assess your strengths and weaknesses and help you achieve it. Beverly uses various tools to make your workouts both functional and fun!

When she is not working, Beverly can be found directing her passion for fitness towards her own physical pursuits. She often competes in running and cycling races, as well as triathlons. More often than not, you will find Bev running or cycling around Darien, training for her next race with her Darien YMCA buddies!


Eleni KaufmanEleni Kaufman

Eleni’s interest in the health field first began through her own struggle with weight loss. After defeating the battle of the bulge and losing an incredible 90 pounds, she developed a deep passion for wellness and a desire to use her experiences to motivate and inspire others. She has since dedicated her career to helping people reach their own personal potential for optimal health.
As a Certified Personal Trainer, Eleni utilizes her expertise to get others into shape by offering guidance, motivation, and support for a healthier lifestyle. She also plays a key role as a Certified Cancer Exercise Specialist (CES) for the Darien YMCA’s Revive Cancer Rehabilitation program. In addition to helping others return to fitness at the gym, Eleni dedicates a majority of her time working with Physical Therapy patients in outpatient orthopedic, pediatric, and aquatic therapy settings, including the Darien YMCA’s Aquatic Exercise Program. Eleni is currently working as a Physical Therapist Assistant for the Ahlbin Rehabilitation Center in Bridgeport, CT.

Eleni offers a unique mind-body approach, designed to improve cardiovascular fitness, strength, and mental acuity. “Whether I’m training a client one-on-one, teaching a room full of sweaty cyclists, or helping someone overcome a serious physical obstacle, I love being able to share my knowledge and experiences with others. It is incredibly rewarding for me to be able to provide the genuine inspiration, motivation and physical guidance that can positively change a person’s life!”


Herman WalkerHerman Walker

A fixture of the Fairfield County fitness scene, Herman Walker is a certified fitness professional and exercise innovator. He strives to provide his clients with fun, challenging workouts that focus on strengthening, reshaping, and beautifying muscle groups.

Whether he’s teaching a class or working one-on-one with a client, Herman is constantly striving to deliver intensity with flavor.  He has changed countless bodies and even more lives through his inspiring, contagious passion for fitness.



Jacek SJacek Stryjewski

Jacek joined the Darien YMCA in 2005 after 15 years of military service in Poland, when he decided to focus on helping people achieve their goals, and feel better. Jacek joined the Y as a lifeguard and swim instructor where he taught all levels of swimmers, special needs, and future Ironman athletes.

Jacek graduated from the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy in 2012, so he could pursue his goal of helping others. He is a Licensed Massage Therapist, a member of the American Massage Therapy Association, as well as a Certified Medical Massage Practitioner, and Oncology Massage Therapist. Jacek is part of the massage therapy team at the Darien YMCA, specializing in sports and rehabilitation massage. Most recently, Jacek completed his certification as a  Cancer Exercise Specialist in 2014. He is part of the Revive team at the Darien YMCA, a three-month progressive health and fitness program designed to give cancer patients plenty of stamina to transition from treatment to day-to-day living.

Jacek’s other interests include music and triathlons. He has been an active triathlete for over 10 years and participated in the 2014 Ironman in Lake Placid, NY.

Tamara PardoTamara Pardo

As a fitness professional, Tamara believes that fitness and good nutrition are the keys to wellness and vitality, and exercise is a means to an end. She believes we should work out to feel our best in everyday life, to prevent injuries, and to maximize the quality of life as we age.  Tamara knows, firsthand, how exercise can change your body and your spirit.

Tamara brings her passion for fitness and wellness to her clients through both personal training and group fitness instruction. She strives to help each client achieve his or her fitness goals. Her approach is personalized and hands-on for each client, as she incorporates a strong base of knowledge and experience with encouragement and humor.

Her pride lies in others when she witnesses them discover how strong they really are. “It’s great to watch a client make real, measurable progress and gain confidence along the way. I love helping people realize their own potential,” Tamara says.

Tamara Pardo has been a certified Spinning instructor since 2006. She uses her dance background of 15+ years & a love of music, to choreograph calorie-torching rides that bring the burn and the endorphins. In 2011, Tamara became an AFAA certified personal trainer. She also earned her certification for TRX in 2011, and kettlebell instruction in 2014. She holds a B.S. in Mass Communication and    Public Relations from Boston University.

As a resident of Darien, wife, and mother of 2 children, this fitness buff loves working with kettlebells, taking a wide range of fitness and dance classes, and she has also competed in several 10Ks, half marathons, and sprint distance triathlons.

Sally GehringSally Gehring

Sally has been training clients in gyms and in-home settings in CT and LA for over 30 years and finds great satisfaction in the work she does. She considers herself a teacher and life-coach of fitness, stressing the importance of form and technique in all movements, while somehow making it interesting and fun!

Sally has a colorful and successful history in the world of bodybuilding and powerlifting. She has entered and placed in many competitions. Sally also has extensive experience with nutrition, and as a result, her knowledge of the fitness industry is very well rounded. Sally is able to work with clients of all ages and abilities and can adapt to anyone’s fitness needs and goals. If you just want to keep up with the kids, lose those winter pounds, increase your athletic performance, or train for an event, Sally can get you there!

Her interests outside the gym are very diverse. Sally life-coaches many into emotional balance and wellness through many channels. In her spare time, Sally is a volunteer firefighter with the Glenbrook FD in Stamford and has been an Emergency Medical Technician. She also enjoys fishing, motorcycle riding, writing, and all of the arts.

Marysa FioritaMarysa Fiorita

Born and raised in Stamford, CT, Marysa attended the University of  Connecticut where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. After spending over four years as a Property Accountant with Property Group Partners, LLC, she decided to pursue her passion for fitness. In July of 2011, she committed to the change and enrolled in the National Personal Training Institute where she excelled at learning the hands-on application of fitness and nutrition. Marysa is highly motivated when it comes to teaching clients new techniques and tips about fitness health. Her passions in the fitness world are Pilates and yoga; the balance and core stabilization exercises are her favorite.

Over the past four years, she has exposed herself to many facets of the fitness industry. She has spent her time enjoying yoga, Pilates, Bar Method, boxing and kickboxing, TRX, spinning, and competing in CrossFit. Balance is the key to Marysa’s life, and she is committed to promoting that kind of lifestyle to all of her clients. She has certifications from The National Personal Training Institute (NPTI), The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and The Kane School.

Linda Parentice

Linda Parentice

Linda has been in the fitness industry for over 20 years. Her athletic
background is diverse and includes participation in intercollegiate sports at the competitive NCAA level. Linda was a Division I scholarship diver at Louisiana State University and is currently a master trainer in a variety of traditional and adventure sports.

Linda brings creativity to her style of training for youth, older adults, and professional athletes. She brings a passion for personal training and instruction in multiple sports including swimming, biking, and running, and enjoys inspiring her clients in fun and exciting ways. She has competed in a multitude of marathons, biathlons and triathlons locally, nationally, and internationally with her Fitness Inspired Travel company where fitness inspired fun is the main focus while engaged in adventure travel worldwide.

Linda’s expertise in strength and cardio conditioning for sport-specific training will elevate your training to new heights.  She has been working as a
fitness instructor and personal trainer since 2003. All of her programs emphasizes a healthy lifestyle balance through proper nutrition, fitness, and sports. She will devise specific exercise programs and track your progression for success while having fun achieving it.

Linda’s current certifications include: Master Personal Trainer, AAA/ISMA; AFFA certified PT & Group Fitness Instructor; Triathalon/Biathlon Coach & Instructor, Certified in TRX, Kettlebell, Kaiser Spin Instructor, Group Power Instructor, Group Fight Instructor, Speed & Strength Coach, Core Instructor.


Dale Rowley

Dale Rowley

Dale has been teaching group fitness at the YMCA since 2009 and has been in the fitness industry since 2006. She is a yoga, TRX, and kettlebell instructor, as well as a personal trainer.

Dale’s clients range in ages as well as fitness goals. Some clients are trying to stay active and flexible, some want to lose fat and add lean muscle, and a couple has worked towards running their first obstacle race! Whatever your goal is, Dale will help you attain it in a safe and fun way.

When she is not working, Dale can be found taking group exercise and yoga classes, hiking, and training for an obstacle race. When Dale is not working out she likes to go to the beach, museums, concerts, and hang out with friends.


Nick Scopoletti

Nick Scopoletti can be seen around the Y teaching the Light & Easy class and training his clients. He has a B.S. in Applied Science from Springfield College.  Nick is CSCS  certified (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist).

Nick was a summer intern with the strength and conditioning department at the University of Missouri, working with both football and volleyball teams. Nick also spent two years as the Head Group Exercise Instructor at the Westport Senior Center for activities.

Nick was also a strength coach at competitive Edge Sports Performance.  He has worked with athletes and teams of all ages as well as boot camp instructor for adults.  He has competed in bodybuilding and powerlifting.


Cynthia Lazzara

Cynthia Lazzara

I am a licensed Physical Therapist.  I enjoy using my thorough understanding of anatomy and my love of movement analysis to customize training sessions; honing in on what you need.  I also look at the whole picture, helping you include fitness in your schedule.  Training sessions with me are focused and targeted to compliment your favorite activities.   My goal is your goal PLUS keeping you healthy and strong.  That way you can continue to do what you love when you want, wherever you want.

I graduated from Colby College in Waterville, ME and then attended the University of Southern California where I received my Masters in Physical Therapy. After many years of working in a variety of hospital and outpatient orthopedic settings, I taught anatomy and biomechanics at NY Medical College in Valhalla NY.  While there, I ran the orthopedic section of the curriculum. Now, I’m very excited to be a member of the YMCA Team helping folks Live Longer Stronger.

For years I swam competitively and in graduate school began participating in triathlons.  I also played tons of beach volleyball. (What else does one do when one lives at the beach in Southern California?)  I continue to dabble in the triathlon sports; even offering the 1:1 Runner’s Clinic here at the Y.  Although I’ve always been a relational skier, in the last few years skiing has become a passion for me.  So much so that I set a goal of getting my instructor certifications; I’m currently a PSIA Level 1 and Children Specialist Level 1 ski instructor at OKEMO Mountain in Ludlow VT. Plus I am the Ski PT (

Suzie AndersonSuzie Anderson

Suzie Anderson began her passion for Health and Wellness through her personal accomplishments and interests in dance, running, martial arts and body conditioning. As a New York City resident in her 20’s, the energy and fitness thrill of NYC encouraged Suzie to convert her passion into instructing. After completing a certification through Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, her focus was geared towards kickboxing and body conditioning, leading her to receive a Boxing certification through the International Sports and Conditioning Association. In addition, her special certification from Powerstrike, and her expertise in Savat Kickboxing and Jeet Kune Do make for a popular and unique type of training here at the Y.

Suzie has been a resident of Darien since 2014, a working mom of two young kids and understands firsthand the challenge for busy clients to feel satisfied with their limited gym time. Suzie’s focus is to make sure her clients have a fun session, all while receiving an efficient and energetic workout. A session with Suzie will help you reach your health and wellness goals, leave you feeling refreshed and inspired to keep up your gym time.


Nancy RussoNancy Russo

A Stamford native, Nancy has enjoyed successful careers in both local fitness and financial industries. She is A-CPT Certified, AAFA Kickboxing Certified, CPR/AED Certified, and received her education at the National Personal Training Institute, (NPTI). Through her own passion for fitness, Nancy is focused on motivating and empowering people of all ages to be active and enthusiastic participants in their lives – attaining their goals while creating balance, and enjoying healthy lifestyles.

After overcoming her own personal struggles and losing 40 pounds, Nancy became obsessed with fitness, healthy eating, and the gym. Her newfound passion led her back into the classroom to become a certified personal trainer. As a personal trainer, Nancy can now help others work through their own challenges and find enjoyment in exercising and getting healthy. On her own time, she enjoys strength training, cooking (eating!), and painting.



Gina Bocchetta

Gina grew up in the fitness industry with her mother as a personal trainer and the gym as her “second playground.” She graduated early from Xavier University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and worked in publishing and marketing for several years before turning to her passion for fitness.

A barre enthusiast, Spartan Racerunner, and aspiring Iron Man triathlete, Gina is an AFAA-certified personal trainer and NASM/exhale-certified barre teacher. She is currently working towards additional NASM certifications, including fitness nutrition specialist, certified personal trainer, resistance training, and bodybuilding.



Chris Vitrano

Chris was born and raised in the town on Massapequa on Long Island. It was there that Chris developed his love for all sports, especially with football. Chris started playing football at the age of 10 and continued to play through high school for Massapequa High School where Chris was selected to the All-County Team for Nassau County as well as being elected team captain. Chris went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College in History with a focus on Education. While attending Ithaca College, Chris played 4 years of football for the Ithaca College Bombers playing Offensive Line. After graduation, Chris took his passion for the weight room and fitness as well as his schooling in Education and became a personal trainer. Chris trained for over two years at a gym on Long Island before making his way to Norwalk CT where he went on to graduate top of his class at the National Personal Training Institute. At the Institute Chris gained valuable knowledge in exercise theory, application, as well as nutrition. Chris has worked with both young athletes ranging from Middle School to Collegiate ages as well as elementary school children teaching basics in running techniques and overall fitness. Chris has also worked with everyday clients of all ages in one on one settings as well as small group sessions.