August 16, 2008

INSTRUCTORS & STAFF

Ryan Griffith

ryan picture

  • Founder/Owner & Lead Instructor
  • 2nd Degree Martial Arts Black Belt
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt with two stripes
  • Mentor: Fabio Araujo

Ryan is known by the kids as “SabunimG”. He has over a 20 years of teaching experience and of martial arts training. Ryan has earned a second degree black belt in a mixed martial arts style and is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt with two stripes under Fabio Araujo. Of his many accomplishments, in and out of the ring, Ryan is most proud of his role as “Dad” to his 11 year old daughter Yasmine. Ryan takes great pride in working to help people of all ages and abilities achieve their goals. Ryan is respected in the community and has earned a great amount of trust and admiration. He always has a great time working with the children, and is happy to have the opportunity to spread the amazing benefits of martial arts, fitness, and fun.

Megan Polizzo

  • Manager & Lead Instructormegan

“My name is Megan Polizzo and I have a passion for physical education and food. I have a degree in exercise science with a minor in health. I’ve been a part of A1 for as long as I can remember. I have been practicing Martial Arts since I was five and received my black belt from Ryan. Over the years I have tried numerous sports and activities, but none have ever stuck the way martial arts has. I love to smash the bags and get crazy in kickboxing too. The rush I get from the classes is what keeps me coming back. If you ever need help with your technique or just want to chat about a restaurant recommendation feel free to ask!”

Kate Mascia

  •  Instructor: Zumba

“Hi! My name is Kate Mascia! I have been teaching Zumba™ for 5 years.  I believe in teaching fitness classes that are enthusiastic, safe, effective and accessible to all fitness levels.  I am licensed to teach Zumba, Zumba Toning, Zumba Sentao and STRONG by Zumba™.  In addition to a M.S. in Exercise Science, as well as CPR and AED certification, I am also certified by the Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) as a group exercise instructor.  I have participated in many different group exercise professional development activities which have earned me many additional certifications in Jani Robert’s Red Warrior™, Jillian Michaels Bodyshred™, Zumba Toning Boosts, and Zumba Proskills. Come and take a class with me and let me show you how working out can be fun!”

Gabrielle Waterman

  • Instructor: Cardio-Kickboxing
  • Mentor: Ulyssus Bayona, a.k.a “Uly-Bay”

“Hey! My name is Gabrielle, but feel free to call me Gaby. I love exploring new music and am passionate about the arts. Which translates in both my work as a graphic designer and my diverse playlist during workouts. I have been at A1 for over a year, but my love for combat sports stems from childhood. I’m an advocate for physical fitness and self defense as they both can empower. I appreciate kickboxing, because it gives me the opportunity to free my mind. During class, I aim to give a killer workout, help improve technique and have fun. I am free to; music suggestions, what to work on next class, or just to talk about life!”

Maria Penedo- Warren

  • Instructor: PiYomaria photo
  • Integrative Nutrition Health and Fitness Coach

“Hi, my name is Maria Penedo-Warren, I am a wife and mother of two children. I offer my coaching skills in nutrition, fitness, personal growth and development with a holistic approach. I am a PIYO LIVE, P90X LIVE, ZUMBA, and STRONG by Zumba Instructor. I absolutely love to teach! You will feel my energy and passion when you attend one of my classes and be sure to leave the room with some sparkle! I am honored to be a part of the A1 Fitness Family and help change many more lives.”

Sal DelCollo

  • Instructor: Kids Martial ArtsSDelCollo Picture
“My name is Sal DelCollo and I am an instructor for the Little Dragons and the Kids Martial Arts classes. Currently attending UNH, I am passionate about computers and learning in general. I love coaching kids martial arts because it teaches them discipline, control, and how to defend themselves. I want to teach them the same values and lessons I’ve learned from Ryan since I was six years old. My goal is to help them carry these lessons throughout their lives. I’m thankful A-1 Fitness Center has given me the chance to do so.”

Monica Garcia

  • Instructor: Zumba

“Hi guys! My name is Monica Garcia! I’ve been teaching Zumba for about a One and a half years and I’ve been at A-1 for about a year. My passion is the 6:00am class!!! I love my girls! I am licensed for regular Zumba, Zumba Toning and Zumba Step!! I love the Latin music! I am also a really happy person!! I love dancing because, it really makes me happy, I really enjoy teaching Zumba because I know the people like it just by seeing their faces after the class is over and I know that it is very rewarding for everyone and I wish teach for long long time!”

Kim Kaufman

  • Instructor: Zumba

“Hi! My name is Kim Kaufman. I have been teaching Zumba for about a year now and I am licensed in Zumba and Zumba Toning. I began teaching because I had been taking Zumba for about 5 years and I fell in love with the dancing, the energy and the happiness that it brings to myself and to others. When I heard that first song the instructor played I knew that I was going to love Zumba! I smiled the entire class and that never happened when I worked out.  I am thankful Zumba for making it always feel like a dance party and less like a workout that I would get bored of and quit… Did I mention how much fun I have when I teach Zumba classes? Guess what I still smile the entire class after all these years you will too! Come and try a class with me and let me show you how exciting working out can be!”

Rachel Bradeen

  • Instructor: Zumba

“Hi! My name is Rachel Bradeen and I am a student at Western Connecticut State University. I am pursuing a career in Nursing with a minor in Psychology. I have been teaching Zumba since 2013 and have been at A1 for 2 years now! My passion is making people realize that working out can be fun! I am licensed in Zumba, but I also teach Zumba for Kids, and Zumba Gold. I love teaching Zumba because it has really changed my life and it has given me a sense of confidence! When I am not at A1 my favorite place to be is Cape Cod, I love the sun and the sand! Come and try one of my classes, I promise you’ll have a blast!”

April Reynolds

  • Instructor: Zumba

“Hi! My name is April Reynolds. I have been a licensed Zumba Instructor since 2011. I am licesnsed to teach in Zumba Basic, STRONG, Kids & Kids JR., and Zumba Sentao. A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to go to a Zumba class with her in 2009. I said “What’s Zumba?” Well I went that night and I hooked ever since. Elisa Kingsley inspired me to start teaching at that time called Zumbatomics (which was designed for kids), I really enjoyed working with kids. Then a woman named Sucheta (Suchie) Pal stopped me after a Sat. morning class and asked if I was an Intrusctor. I responded… “Yes… Kinda haven’t really started teaching yet” She responded with, “Well I have 3 places I want you to go with me to and I want you to instruct a song or two.” These two women have brought me to where I am today in my Zumba journey and I will be forever grateful to both Elisa and Sucheta for believing in me and giving me the courage, to stand up in front of a class and do what I love.
I have to say my favorite dance / song or type of Choreography (if I had to choose) would be Hip Hop, although I love all types of Zumba music and dance. My playlist is usually a little of everything but maybe a few more Hip Hop Songs. I am a lover of dance, music and fun! Zumba is all these things wrapped into one. Zumba is a release, an effective way to unwind and decompress from the stresses of work, the day, life, etc. Zumba is a postive and healthy way to dance your way to fir. My goal is that when people finish my class they are revived not only physically by, mentally and emotionally ready for anything. I want everyone leaving happy and smiling and of course I want them to laugh!”

Natalie Kikkenborg

  •  Instructor: Zumba

“Hi! My name is Natalie Kikkenborg. WEPA! Like many instructors, I started out as a Zumba student 4 years ago, where I quickly became a Zumba Addict and in February 2015 got licensed to teach! I am liscensed in Zumba Basic, Toning, Gold and STRONG. I tell everyone about A1 because it’s such a special place. We are a Family. Not only do we sweat together but we laugh together, care for one another and our friendships extend beyond the studio. As a lifelong lover of Latin Dance I have always felt at home with Latin music and its rhythms, so finding Zumba has allowed me to inspire and encourage my students to not only keep dancing, but to live a fit lifestyle and strengthen while doing so. I enjoy teaching a class that consits of a balanced mix of Latin rhythms, Hip Hop and Pop radio favorites and I’m known for always smiling! I smile because I LOVE seeing all of my students jamming out and enjoying themselves on the dance floor! When Natalie is not at A1 you will find her, singing professionally, running her voice and piano lesson business and teaching improv acting, musical theater fitness classes during the summers at Yale University.”

Dawn Astram

  • Instructor: Zumba

“Hi! My name is Dawn Astram. I’ve been teaching Zumba classes for 5 years.
The music, fitness and dance of Zumba inspire me everyday. I’ve participated in group fitness and athletics my entire adult life. In addition, I bring a background of dance training.
Zumba fitness brought these two passions together. I am licensed in Zumba, Zumba Toning, Zumba Toning Boost and Zumba Sentao. I am CPR certified and AED certified. One of my main goals is teaching my students to build their confidence while having a ton of fun. When I’m not at A1 you can find me at the beach with friends and family, or down at the Yacht club. I love the sand, the water and the sunlight! Come workout with me – take the hour and focus on your goals while having fun.”

Michael Oxley

  • Instructor: ZumbaMICHAEL FINAL
  • Mentor: John Layseca

“Growing up, I have admired my music idols of my generation such as, Michael Jackson, Usher, and Beyonce. Since birth, singing has been the number one passion in my life. However, after high school my passion has taken a turn towards the dance floor. Finding the love of dance I have decided to teach others and hopefully help them grasp the same desire that I have grown to love. Teaching Hip Hop for three years has brought me to another program that swung my way. The Zumba program was the craze of the state, and I wanted to check it out. Actually, I was forced to take the class from my Zumba mentor John Layseca. He has inspired me to become a Zumba instructor. From then until now, I love the art and technique of this program. Furthermore, I love to make a difference in people’s lives who want to change them. This inspires me every time I press play.”

 

Elizabeth Draper

  • Instructor: Pound Fitness

Hey! My name is Elizabeth Draper and I work for North East Beverage selling Snapple and various pick-me-ups. I have recently just graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a focus in Business Management and marketing. I have been Zumba Certified since 2011, I have certifications in Zumba Kids and Regular Zumba. I have just recently brought POUND FIT to A1. I have recently just been CPR Certified!
I have a love for cats and I am known as a “crazy cat lady” (But in a good way of course ha-ha). I also have a passion for Comic-con and I love attending the events that are held all over the place. When I am not at A1 I enjoy hanging out with my friends! I hope to see you all at a POUND FIT class!”

Dean Moccia

  • Instructor: Kids Martial Arts
  • Black Belt Instructor

“Hi! My name is Dean! I’ve been participating in martial arts here for 8 years, and I’ve been teaching at A1 for the last 3 years. Taking on this role has been an amazing experience and I’ve grown as a person from it. When I am not at A1, you can find me indulging myself in a new Scientific theory, or finding something new to research. Due to my love for science and helping kids grow and find their potential, I want to find a Career that involves medicine and being around others who are just as passionate as I am.”

Seneca Schultz

  • Desk Assistant

“Hi, my name is Seneca Schultz, I am a recent graduate of the University of Hartford, and I studied Psychology with a focus in the way people behave. I have been working at A1 for a couple months now, but I used to take the Kickboxing class many years ago, I also really love the Zumba classes that we offer, and I can’t wait to try out some of the other classes. Ryan taught me motivation and determination through working out, he also taught me that I am the person who is in control, and I am the person who can make myself stronger and better. When I’m not at A1, you can find me going for hikes or trying to find new places to Adventure to! If you ever have any questions, feel free to come up to the desk and ask me!”

Sandy MacPherson

  • Desk Assistant

“Hi! I’m Sandy MacPherson. I’ve been an employee at A1 Fitness for nearly 3 years. I work the front desk in the mornings during the week. I have the best boss in the world (Ryan) and love each and every one of the members. The staff is also awesome. As I always say, “I absolutely love my Zumba Fam!!” In addition to working at A1, I am also a hairdresser and own my salon.”

Rosa DiVirgilio

  • Birthday Party Host

“Hi! My name is Rosa DiVirgilio. I’ve been working at A1 Fitness Center for 3 years. I am a graduate of Albertus Magnus College where I majored in Psychology. I work with special needs children during the week. I have a strong passion for helping others. I’m a very active, friendly, and enthusiastic person. I’m a Zumba addict as well and I’ve been taking classes for 6 years. I love working with Ryan and being a part in making each child’s birthday party special. Some other things I really enjoy are going out to eat, Disney, and cheering on the Dallas Cowboys.”