fitness instructors


Debbie Brown

Debbie has been teaching water aerobics at the YWCA for several years and is also a YWCA Lifeguard. Debbie holds certifications in Water Art Water Fitness and American Red Cross Lifeguarding/First Aid/CPR/AED.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Leadership from Western Carolina University. After working in Textile Management for 25 years, she enjoys being back in the fitness field and truly enjoys working with people and encouraging them to have fun while becoming more fit.

"Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can." - John Wesley


Mary Lou Buck

Mary Lou Buck, BS, Physical Education and Recreation, UNCG, 500-hour certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher, has taught yoga over 35 years. Her career has evolved from a personal practice and love of yoga which began in the early 1970s. She created and owned Yoga for Life in Dilworth, 1998- 2009. She enjoys sharing a practice that has wonderfully changed her life and hopefully can enrich the lives of others.

Mary Lou was Director of Health and Physical Education and directed summer day camp for the Baltimore YWCA, 1959-63. She moved to Charlotte in 1963, taught swimming part-time for Charlotte YWCA for 30 years, beginning in the Trade St. building. She also taught "Swimnastics" and pre-school gym. She currently enjoys swimming in the YWCA pool one-half mile, two days a week.

"Yoga is for every body!"


Shawn Caldwell  

Shawn has been teaching group exercise for over 20 years and loves seeing the motivation each person has for doing their workouts. She is certified to teach group exercise, spin and senior adult fitness. Shawn has three grown sons. Besides teaching group exercise, she also walks dogs and pet sits. In her free time she volunteers at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Shelter helping dogs and people find each other. 


"Your attitude makes your altitude."  

   Julianna Canfield 

Julianna has been a fitness instructor since 2002. She has experience in spin, Tabata, cardio strength, yoga, senior fitness, and Pilates. Julianna also serves as the Director of Fitness at the YWCA and enjoys the relationships built among the staff and members. She believes the YWCA is a special place and considers it a true privilege to be a part of people's weekly routines. Julianna lives in Tega Cay, SC with her husband, Matthew, and identical twin boys, Parker and Gregory. 

"You have not truly lived until you've done something for someone that can't repay you."

"If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you." 


Trinity Cho

Trinity began at the YWCA as a volunteer with the YW Run Club, and moved on to become an instructor in 2013.  Trinity is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer as well as ACE Group Fitness Instructor, and is also certified in Spin through AFAA G.E.A.R.  She teaches a variety of classes, including cardio, strength/toning, spin, and bootcamp. When Trinity is not working at the YW, she is a stay-at-home mother, member of the Tennessee Air National Guard Band of the South, personal trainer, and avid distance runner.  Her favorite aspect of teaching fitness is seeing not only the physical but also the mental and emotional transformations an individual makes when he or she finds their own strength.

Emily Elder

Emily has been practicing yoga for more than 10 years and teaching since 2009. "Yoga has brought me great joy and transformed me from a state of depression and loneliness to a peaceful, happy place.  I try to relay that to my clients and to create a fun, vigorous practice that combines the physical with breath work and a bit of yoga philosophy."  She was born and raised in Cincinnati, OH and lived 13 years in DC area before coming to Charlotte in 2006.  She works full time as a Risk Manager at a large construction company.  When not practicing or teaching yoga, she's caring for feral cat colonies and her cat brood at home, or is reading or traveling.


Lisa Farnick

Lisa teaches swim lessons and swim clinics. She is WSI and CPR certified. She loves instructing to watch the achievement, confidence and joy it brings to others. The smiles are addicting.

"Perfection is unattainable. But if we persue perfection, we can achieve greatness." -Vince Lombardi. 


Jody Frazier

Jody has been teaching fitness classes and doing Personal Training for over a decade. She is one of the coaches of the YDub Tri Club (Triathlon training group) and also teaches kickboxing, cardio strength, body sculpt, athletic conditioning, spin and bootcamps. She is a USA Triathlon Certified Coach,  a certified Personal Trainer, a Golf Conditioning Specialist, and is certified in Pre/Post Natal fitness training.

Jody enjoys teaching because she likes to see women get stronger, first physically, and then mentally as their confidence builds. Jody hopes to at least change one person's outlook on exercise by making it fun but challenging.

"The average woman is an athlete, she just doesn't know it yet."


Jodi Gorman

Jodi has been in the fitness industry teaching group exercise, personal training, and small group training for over 25 years. She enjoys working with people and thrives on the success of others. Jodi is a member of IDEA and The Health and Fitness Provider Network, with certifications in NASM, AFAA, Sharecare, Spinning and Schwinn.  

 "It is truly rewarding to facilitate the success of another human being and to see that individual empowered in all areas of life." 


Debi Hawkins, E-RYT®

Debi earned her first yoga instructor certification from the Asheville Yoga Center in 2003, where she studied several styles of yoga. During that year, she attended her first Anusara Yoga workshop and fell in love with the Anusara method. The combination of precise alignment principles with the uplifting philosophy that supports the practice resonate deeply in her heart.  Debi holds certifications in Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga and in Itsy Bitsy Yoga® for babies and tots. She started teaching mommy and me classes in 2004 and has combined baby yoga and massage with postnatal yoga in a unique program called Wee OnesTM Yoga.

In 2006, Debi began to share the benefits of restorative yoga (a quiet, settled practice using yoga props to fully support the body) with clients and in workshops. She started a regular practice in ball release therapy, using exercise balls ranging in size from 1" to 10" to release and work muscles using one's own body weight. Debi has also studied Thai Yoga Therapy. In 2011, she attended Grounded Yoga teacher training, a yoga program for kids, teens and families to round out her training for all ages.

Debi practices yoga to keeps her centered amidst all the busyness of life. She teaches yoga because she believes it is a celebration of life, and wants to make that accessible to all ages, sizes, and levels of ability. Yoga meets us wherever we are.


Erin White Heydorn

Erin has been a spinning certified instructor since 2004. She began taking classes as part of a New Year's resolution while in grad school in Ohio and decided to become an instructor before moving to Charlotte in 2005. Erin enjoys participating in many different group exercise classes around Charlotte. She works full time at Carolinas Health Care System as a project manager, and lives just five minutes from the YWCA with her husband, Russ, young son, Charlie, and German Shorthaired Pointer, Cooper. 

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Jane Hoagland

Jane found her way to teaching Core Ball and Deep Stretch through her need to find fitness with back issues. "Core strength, flexibility and fun - blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape!"


Meredith Jolly

Meredith, a Wake Forest graduate, has been teaching spin for two years and is certified by AFAA. Meredith loves teaching because she loves getting to know the members.


 Kathleen Lunsford

 Kathleen is a Registered Nurse at Levine Cancer Institute (Breast Clinic). She is an AFAA Certified Group Exercise Instructor, AFAA Certified in Senior Fitness, a Schwinn Certified Spin Cycle Instructor, an ACE Certified Kettlebell Instructor and BLS Certified. 

 She has taught Zumba (and is a Zumba Toning Licensed Instructor), is an ACSM Personal Trainer and CNA for Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehab in Gastonia. 



Drew McClain

Drew graduated from UNC Charlotte with a BS  in Exercise Science. He is an ACSM certified Exercise Physiologist, and an IFTA certified group exercise instructor. Drew has won awards for sparring and skill demonstrations at the regional CACMA Queens Cup martial arts tournament held annually at UNC Charlotte as well as awards at the national USKSF tournaments in Baltimore, Maryland. Drew likes to incorporate variance, martial application and terrible puns into his workouts.  

  Cynthia Osborne

Cynthia joined the YW March 2016 as an aquatic fitness professional. he is the Fitness Director and owner of CJOSMILES Aquatics. The company (started in June 2009) is based on this belief: Simple Moves Increase Longevity and Energy. Cynthia served on the 2015 Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA) Advisory Committee and received the 2016 AEA Award of Appreciation acknowledging the years of dedication and support to AEA. Cynthia is certified by the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA), Arthritis Foundation Exercise and Aquatic Program Leader and Arthritis Foundation Walk With Ease (WWE), Hydro Pilates, Red Cross Life Guard, Star Fish Aquatics Water Safety Instructor, Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED. She is a native to Charlotte; married with two sons and two granddaughters. 

“I bring fun, motivation, and music with choreography to each workout. My skill to modify allows me to focus on individual needs in a multilevel group.”

“I love the pool at the YWCA. It is so refreshing to exercise and swim in warm water. Everyone should take the plunge and make a big splash in the pool. ‘Get Wet and Sweat!”


Chatham Ripple

Chatham is a 200-hour certified yoga teacher and has been teaching yoga for several years. She is also a licensed mental health counselor and incorporates knowledge and skills from this field into her practice. For instance, Chatham encourages students to accept where they are now in order to move forward with their practices. It is about becoming aware of your physical body, thoughts and emotions and developing compassion for them. "Yoga helps keep me centered, grateful and open minded." Chatham enjoys teaching all levels of yoga and especially prenatal yoga. 


"Be who you are, and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss 


Yael Powell

Yael  is an ACE certified personal trainer. She is a RYT 200 yoga instructor and holds a black belt in Full Contact Karate. Physical fitness has always been a part of her life, and she loves working and helping people reach their goals. 

"Enlightenment is when the wave realizes it is the ocean." 
  Diane Wiegel

After tearing her left ACL skiing and having a baby at 43, Diane decided to dive back into fitness and make it part of her daily life. She is an AFAA Certified Group Exercise Instructor and a Two Star Certified Spinning/Cycle Instructor through Mad Dogg Athletics. Diane has been teaching since 2012 and loves helping people work hard and feel good about themselves. Diane has a 23 year old son and a 10 year old daughter with special needs. Besides teaching group exercise, she helps her daughter, keeps her family active, hikes, draws, writes and loves the music scene. 


"Don't quit because the road is hard, good things come from hard work."

"If you can dream it, you can achieve it."  


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