Perry began the Northampton Athletic Club 32 years ago with his wife, Judy. He enjoys being able to work and live within the Northampton community. Perry is also the head coach of the Girls Basketball Team at Northampton High School. He has coached basketball for over 30 years and lead several Massachusetts State Championship teams. When he is not at the Club or coaching, Perry enjoys running, traveling with his family and volunteering as a board member of the Northampton High School Booster Club.
Judy grew up in Ontario, Cananda and moved to Massachusetts when she married Perry Messer and started the Northampton Athletic Club together. She was an International Water Ski competitor for twenty years and became a 2-time World Champion. She has 3 wonderful children and now enjoys challenging herself with running, cycling and traveling (when she can). Judy and Perry are also board members of the Northampton Athletic Booster Club for Northampton High School and volunteer at many community events.
Len, a Northampton native, graduated from Keene State College with a B.S. in Health/Fitness and earned a M.A. in Exercise Physiology and Performance from East Tennessee State University, where he also served as a strength and conditioning coach. As a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the NSCA he has worked with young aspiring athletes to college, Olympic and professional athletes. Len also serves as adjunct faculty and Clinical Educator for Westfield State University’s, Movement Science Department. Len works with all ages (6-76yo) and abilities (youth fitness to multi-joint replacement recipients to professional athletes and everyone in between).
Andy began his career at the Northampton Athletic Club in 2002 after graduating from Springfield College. He has a strong background in strength training and a great knowledge of overall fitness. He enjoys working with all groups and levels, from the beginner novice to trained weight lifter.
Andy is also a Subaru WRX car enthusiast and enjoys wrenching on his high powered cars as well as anything else mechanical. He can often be found working on or performing general maintenance on the machines here at the NAC. His other interest include indoor rockclimbing, hiking, or any outdoor activity that will tire out his two Jack Russells.
I’ve been a personal trainer in the Valley for thirteen years. I also worked at Canyon Ranch as a fitness instructor. I presently teach TRX, P90X, and bootcamp classes at the NAC. I also train clients with free weights, body weight training, TRX, boxing, kick boxing, kettlebells, bosu, stability ball, and speed and agility drills. My specialty is boxing as well as weight loss, toning, and helping clients to achieve overall muscularity.
I have also taught several clients to stand on the stability ball.
“I have been practicing different styles of Yoga for over a decade, but my practice deepened when I took an “Introduction to Ashtanga Yoga” class in 2013 at Miami Life Center where I learned the physically challenging aspect of the practice but also the spiritual and etheric side – I knew at instant “I was hooked”. I have had the good fortune of practicing under dedicated teachers who have a deep knowledge and respect for the teaching.
The practice of Yoga has shown me patience and given me inner strength. It has proven its power by naturally removing long-held bad habits and negative thought patterns. I very much enjoy helping others discover the power that the practice can bring them.
I completed my Vinyasa Teacher Training with teachers who also understood and practiced Ashtanga Yoga. I immediately started teaching Vinyasa Yoga classes and apprenticed under qualified Ashtanga Yoga teachers who graciously passed down their knowledge and was able to learn hands on adjustments during Mysore-style and led Ashtanga classes.
I continue a regular Ashtanga home-practice and enjoy teaching Vinyasa Yoga classes with an emphasis on the breath, core strength and flexibility.”
Jeremy was born and raised in Western, MA. While attending Westfield State University he interned at Strides Human Performance Institute where he developed a passion for training aspiring youth athletes. Since graduating in 2009, he has been training middle school, high school, collegiate and adult athletes to achieve their athletic and fitness goals in a safe educational environment.
He’s helped individuals recover from mild and severe injuries through a Return to Play program. He specializes in injuries of the knee, shoulder and back to get those hurt back to feeling pain free.
For 2 years he found time to work in the Professional Exercise Program (PEP) at the Northampton Athletic Club. This is a program designed for individuals with chronic diseases that need close supervision where he developed and supervised individualized programs for all members. In some cases, members were able to reduce or stop their medications all together.
Judy has empowered and strengthened over a thousand Smith College students with kickboxing training, instructed selective classes in Yoga, ‘Walk & Box’, and Pilates for Smith students faculty and staff as well as offered personal fitness training to the Smith College community in the Smith Olin Fitness center. Judy has trained individuals on the Pilates performer in her home studio. In addition she instructs group fitness classes for students, faculty and staff at Mount Holyoke College. For 9 years she has strengthened, and “de-stressed” numerous women in transitions with integrated yoga therapies, and Thai Yoga body work. Judy assists in healing and managing stress as a Reiki Master for the Cancer connection and personal clients. She has been trained and taught for 12 years in karate, and became a Sensei.
Judy specializes in assisting females of all ages to attain energy health. “We will get to the heart of the matter of weight management, personal strength, and peace to embrace & celebrate your most powerful, truest self. I have, and continue to train in many modalities, which allows me to design productive and fun personal training plans that will make your works-outs very challenging but always fitness smart and attainable.”
Johnna Paulsen has been a student and lover of dance since she was a child, studying ballet, modern, jazz, tap, African, Latin, and ballroom dancing. She has been dancing for almost 30 years, performed here in the Valley and in New York City with a local company, and choreographed for local theater productions.
She graduated from Smith College with a BA in Dance in 2005 and shortly thereafter, received her Personal Trainer Certification from the American College of Sports Medicine. She later became licensed to teach dance fitness through Zumba, and senior fitness through Zumba Gold and Silver Sneakers. As a dance instructor, Johnna taught dance locally in the school and studio settings before devoting her career to fitness in 2009.
Her passion for dance, movement, and fitness brought her to Northampton and Hampshire Athletic Clubs in 2012, offering personal training and teaching dance-inspired group fitness classes. Johnna draws upon her dance background and knowledge of kinesiology to bring a special focus to proper form and a well-rounded workout. “I get the joy of passing on my love of movement and the positive benefits of exercise to others. I love my job!”
Johnna enjoys working one-on-one with members through personal training, as well as in the group setting, teaching classes such as Zumba, Zumba Gold, and Barre Body. She works with all ages, but one of her special areas of experience is in working with seniors.
Rosalie is an RN, Certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor with 20 + years of experience. She is a Registered 200 hour Yoga teacher, Certified in Personal Training by NSCA, Certified in Pilates Matwork, P90X and PiYo. Rosalie has worked at NAC for 22 years and has helped develop our extensive group fitness programming.
Rosalie is also adjunct faculty at Smith College and teaches both credit and non-credit courses for Exercise and Sport Studies and Athletic Departments at Smith College.
Joannie’s career has primarily consisted of work with Critical Care nursing, including ICU, CCU, and Emergency Room.
She presently works part time at Stoneleigh-Burnham School for Girls.
Joannie has been personal training at NAC since 1997 including developing personalized workout programs, cardio conditioning guidelines, dietary assistance and stretching/flexibility guidance.
“I love working with all age groups. My medical background blends well with training clients that have health related issues as well as post physical therapy patients. Helping people stay healthy is much easier than caring for them in a clinical setting when they become ill or begin to suffer health issues. Exercise can improve these issues if not alleviate them given the right devotion, accountability and motivation.”
My classes integrate steady attention on the breath with yogic philosophy, meditation, and carefully articulated guidance. I offer an alignment-focused class that maintains a balance between effort and ease.
In 2000 I began practicing “Power Yoga” at a gym in MA, within weeks of discovering yoga I began to attune to the subtle energies and started studying chakras and how the energetic body manifests itself in the physical, mental, and emotional bodies. Over the past 15 years I have studied and practiced many forms of yoga including Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Classical Hatha, Kundalini, Restorative, as well as Meditation and Mindfulness practices.
After a short career in costume design for film and TV I became aware that I wasn’t contributing to the world in any kind of significant way. I took a look at my life questioning what was really important to me and realized that no matter where I had lived or who I had loved or what type of work I was doing, the one constant in my life had always been yoga. It was then that I decided to dedicate my time to teaching and serving the world in this capacity. In 2009 I began teaching fulltime in both studios and gyms, but also in alternative spaces such as community centers, offices, classrooms, hospital settings, parks, empty warehouses and private residences.
I have taught 1,000’s of kids in the NYC public schools through Bent On Learning, a non-profit that brings yoga and meditation to NYC schools, and Sonima Foundation- a growing enterprise that is bringing mindfulness practices to city schools across the country. For 6 years I was a lead instructor and YTT mentor with Bent On Learning.
In 2011, I partnered on Makara, a small yoga studio in Brooklyn NY. Along with my business partner we built a community of dedicated practitioners and held space for healing modalities and community events.
I have found my greatest teachers within my students who bring me endless inquiry and inspiration. It has been through teaching that I have learned about anatomy, modifications, and articulated guidance. As a teacher I am known for my consistency, precision, creativity and warm humor. It is with great love and respect that I offer these teachings to anyone who is interested in learning.
Andrew graduated from Keene State College in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training. Throughout school he gained experience preventing, evaluating, treating and rehabilitating orthopedic injuries in the student athlete population at Keene State. In addition to working on campus he also had the opportunity to work with athletes at Northfield Mount Hermon and Vermont Academy. It was while he was in school that he developed the philosophy that exercise is the best way to prevent, treat, and rehabilitate injuries and gained a passion for functional rehabilitation. Since functional rehab transitions into strength training he decided to take course work to enhance my knowledge in this area which motivated him to get his Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist credential after graduation. Combining the knowledge that Andrew has gained from these different, but related fields allows individuals to become healthier and stronger while treating or preventing injury.
Keegan has been around physical fitness his entire life (literally, his mother taught pre-natal exercise classes prior to, during, and after she carried him to term and continues to teach Senior fitness to this day) and comes from two very active and athletic families (his grandfather on his father’s side was a semi professional football and baseball player and his grandmother on his mother’s side is a multiple time Gold medalist in the sport of Badminton in the Senior Olympic Games) where physical activity and fitness were highly prioritized and encouraged.
When it came time to choose a career path, the science of fitness and helping others to experience the benefits of a healthy active lifestyle was the obvious choice. Keegan completed his Associates degree in Exercise Science in 2005 and also earned his Certification in Personal Training and Exercise Counseling at Holyoke Community College.
While at HCC Keegan also was introduced to Shihan (Master) Walt Lysak Jr. and Shihan Charlie Lysak, who would become his Martial Arts instructors and surrogate big brothers. Keegan had always been interested in practical Martial Arts, but had previously been unsatisfied with the other Martial Arts that he had been exposed to. Finally he had found a Martial Art firmly planted in reality. 10 years after beginning to train with Walt and Charlie Keegan earned his Black Belt in Lysak’s Sento Method/LSM. Since then he has also earned a Black Belt in Ninjutsu (under Grandmaster James “Sabum” Rosenbach), iCAT Martial Arts (under Grandmasters Walt Lysak Jr. and Richard Ryan), and Superfoot Systems Black Belt (under the great Bill “Superfoot” Wallace). Keegan now runs a LSM/iCAT branch school out of the Strides building behind NAC and continues to train regularly with Shihan Walt in LSM and iCAT. He has also recently become a Kore BJJ affiliate under Professor Luigi Mondelli of American Top Team Connecticut (BJJ coach to UFC lightheavyweight Glover Texiera).
Keegan continues to strive for excellence in not only his own training, but also his work as a trainer and coach to his students. He is constantly researching, experimenting with and implementing new and better training methods to attempt to stay on the cutting edge and maximize his and his clients’/students’ results.
“Yoga for Your Life means the practice fits you, not the other way around. I’m Anusara trained, having achieved a certificate as an teacher in 2011, and though I am no longer affiliated with the school, I love the method. That training means that my classes will always have a theme, perhaps drawn from my own life, sometimes events around us, seasons, holidays, Indian festivals, ancient texts and stories—infinite possibilities, and always linked to whatever we’re working on in class that day. Classes will also always focus intensively on very particular physical alignment principles as a way to get closer to the soul.
I began practicing yoga in 1976 and have studied with several great teachers, foremost with Lynn Kingston, a brilliant teacher who showed me a path to originality. I taught with her at her studio in Haydenville for two years.
I retired after 24 years as an editor and writer for the Daily Hampshire Gazette. I write a blog, Walking the Beat, for the Gazette website and occasionally tweet @elliecookwalks.
Lately I derive inspiration from many sources, including (besides my husband and family) the wisdom of University of Rochester professor Douglas Brooks and the great texts of the yoga tradition. At the tender age of 68, I feel that I am just scratching the surface.”
Jen has been instructing fitness classes at NAC for close to a decade. She became a certified personal trainer in 2008 with a specialization in women’s health and fitness.
Whether you’re looking for increased strength and balance, ways to slow the effects of aging with focused postural and core work or just wanting to make the most of your time at the gym, Jen will work with you to find your wellness balance.
Jen will design a training program that fits your lifestyle and is custom made to help you meet and maintain your specific fitness goals. Fun, of course, is key to sustaining an exercise routine, and regular exercise has been proven to lead to a long life of good times.
Lilly recently graduated from Northampton High School in the spring and will be attending Holyoke Community College in the fall. “I have been working in the childcare for about 4 years and love it!”
For over a decade Makani has trained in hard style martial arts, studied various styles of Qigong and Tai Chi and added yoga to his repertoire of movement practices. He has taught adult and youth martial arts and self-defense. Makani teaches Qigong and Tai Chi in many venues and for four years co-taught with one of his Qigong/Tai Chi teachers at Kripalu. He also teaches beginner Salsa.
Makani’s teachings draw from ancient traditions making them relevant to modern life. Among the goals of Makani’s instructions are: healing, growth, opening, connecting, working towards embodied wholeness and relaxation, while feeling grounded & centered. He brings a focus on learning to be individuals in community as well as honoring one’s own spiritual journey, attaining joy & peace, and fostering presence through compassionate (self) discovery. Ambient music is carefully selected to enhance the practice and experience.
Rashel teaches Restorative Yoga classes and Gentle Yoga at Northampton Athletic Club. These classes are ideal for stress relief, quieting the mind, and for those who are healing injuries or illness.
B.K.S. Iyengar started practicing yoga in his teens. He was not in good health, malaria, typhoid, and tuberculosis had weakened his body. His own teacher assumed that he was “not destined for yoga.” (Iyengar, 2012)
Still, Iyengar “embarked on the practice of asana as a man might set off to sail the world in a craft he could barely handle.” “Although I knew that others had sailed the world before me, I did not have their maps. It was a voyage of discovery.” (Iyengar, 2005)
A voyage that that went on and on, even at age 93 Iyengar practiced for hours every day. And he proved his teachers wrong: He became one of the most influential yoga teachers of our time, the Lion of Pune (the location of his yoga school).
“Yoga can become for you what you seek. Need a daily practice? I can help you with that. Need it to just loosen your hamstrings because of all that biking you do? We can work on that. Need a great injury prevention regime? You got it. Need to be more flexible because you want to improve your dance moves? Sure. You will get out of my classes what you put in.
For me yoga works. I have had a love affair with it from the first class I took. (And as in any love affair I also know how tough it can be at times… Trust me.)
I have studied intensely with some senior teachers, such as Richard Freeman, Barbara Benagh, John Schumacher, and Ana Forrest. (I got my yoga teacher certification from the Yoga Center Amherst.) I had a chance to learn some Mohiniyattam (a form of Indian Dance) and Bhangra. I also studied Body Mind Centering and various meditation practices.
My current regular classes at NAC are Vinyasa Yoga classes, partly because I like to help you to maintain or develop endurance, strength, and flexibility. I think of vinyasa yoga as a form of moving meditation. You might just enjoy doing some really nice sun salutes with a great group of people.
See you in class! And as they say, namaste”
Heather is an ACE certified group fitness instructor and personal trainer with over 20 years experience in the exercise industry. She graduated from UMASS Amherst in 1996 with a BFA in Dance, moved to NYC and attended the Alvin Ailey Summer Dance intensive. Heather then became more involved in teaching fitness classes and personal training in order to make a living. After a brief move out to Boston, teaching and training out there, she found her roots back here in the Pioneer Valley. She has been at NAC since 2000.
Heather’s passion is fitness and moving the body. She enjoys working with people, making them feel good about themselves and helping them to realize that exercise can be fun! Her goal for each of her classes is to put a smile on every participants face, and to have them leave wanting more.
Heather enjoys being outside. She loves cycling–especially hills! Highlights from this past year include: the Berkshire/Highlands Pentathalon, the Great Hyannis Half Marathon, and the Mount Washington Auto Road Hillclimb– where she won her age group! Heather believes in setting goals for herself to keep her motivated and to give her something to work toward.
When Heather is not teaching or training, she keeps busy with her 4 children, Luke, Ava, Cody and Joey. She bakes every Sunday night, enjoys her dark chocolate just about every day, and can often be found at the Woodstar or Bueno y Sano.
Beth is a native of Northampton. She graduated from Northampton High school in 1976 and UMASS Amherst in 1981. She works for her family business in Hatfield.
“I have been working at NAC since dinosaurs walked the earth. I have also been employed as a Mom since 2001. I have two daughters who assure me I’m due for a raise soon! I love to walk and hike and mow my lawn, but being a group fitness instructor at NAC is one of the most fun, gratifying jobs I know!”
“I am a mom, special education teacher, and group exercise instructor. Teaching is my passion! Whether I am working with elementary school children or teaching adults in my Cycle classes, I thrive on the opportunity to motivate others as they work toward meeting their personal goals. I believe that an atmosphere of FUN combined with great music and great energy is integral to a successful class. Come join us!!”
Jenny has been working at the NAC since December 2013. She is thinking about going to Graduate School for Sports Psychology or Social Work. She hopes wherever she ends up that it will involve working with children.
A lifelong resident of Northampton, Josh has been working at the NAC since August of 2008.
“My love is sports. My passion is coaching. Growing up I played basketball and baseball for my town. In high school I played varsity football, basketball and golf. In college I played football. I have dedicated myself to try to help youth athletes reach their athletic goals. I am Junior Varsity Boys Basketball Coach and the Assistant Varsity Coach at Northampton High School. I believe that if you set your mind to something you can accomplish anything!”
Joey is about to began her senior year at Northampton High School. She has been working at NAC for about three years. “Working in the childcare has provided me with a great first-job experience and allowed me to meet and interact with some great kids!”
Caleb is a long time gym member that started working in January of 2014.
John is part of our great Rock Wall staff and has 11 years of rock climbing experience. He enjoys traveling, cooking, juggling, and reading for fun.
Jamie began working at NAC in 2006 as part of the childcare staff. She is now a versatile member of the NAC team working not only at the front desk, but as an event coordinator for the indoor rock wall and as our social media coordinator as well.
Originally, Jamie received her Bachelors in Biology from University of Massachusetts in Amherst and then went on to receive a degree in Dental Hygiene from the University of New Haven in Connecticut. She is now a Registered Dental Hygienist, licensed in MA.
While Jamie is not working at NAC, she enjoys taking the Club’s workout classes and living a very active lifestyle. She has recently become certified to teach Spinning classes and will begin instructing in August of 2015!
A Northampton native, Kelly began working the front desk at the NAC in 2007. Graduating from University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth in 2011 with a B.S. in Marketing, Kelly currently is an Interactive Marketing Consultant at a Fortune 500 company as well as working part time at the NAC. In her spare time, she enjoys working out, traveling and spending time with her family and friends.
Rock Wall Staff
Kai has been rock climbing nearly six days a week for the past four years. Since his first time climbing, he has been dedicated to climbing both indoors and outdoors, competitively and recreationally. Kai has done well at all levels of competition and has won several climbing competitions. Through outdoor climbing, Kai is a sponsored athlete, and manages to climb all over the world from New Hampshire to Tennessee to Switzerland.
Apart from climbing, Kai is a full-time student studying Environmental Science. He also runs a media production company, Kai Webler Productions, which produces content for clients including newenglandbouldering.com and the Western Mass Climbers Coalition.
In 1990, while a student at UMass, Andrea began teaching aerobics. Four years later, in 1994, after completing Rosalie Peri’s Fitness Instructor Training program, she became an AFAA certified group fitness instructor and began teaching classes at Northampton Athletic Club.
Ali specializes in working with athletes, students and beginners. She recently published a chapter called “Stress and Yoga” in a college textbook and has developed specialized programs ranging from mindfulness in the classroom to “dorm room” yoga for college students. In 2015, she founded OhmStyle Living, which connect practitioners with the tools they need to build a customized yoga practice . Learn more about Ali at www.ohmstyleliving.com or facebook.com/alicookyoga.