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ACE Fit Expert Contributor Profiles


Julz Arney

Julz Arney

Julz Arney embodies all-out energy and motivation! As an ACE-certified Group Fitness Instructor with 22 years in the fitness business, she initially carved out her unique space as a dance-exercise expert, choreographing and staring in dozens of DVD programs. Today she’s evolved to be the Education Programs Director and Lead Master Trainer for Schwinn® Cycling, a master trainer for Indo-Row™ and BOSU®, a Gatorade G Series FIT™ trainer, a die-hard student of yoga, and an AFAA-certified instructor. Her newest adventure is tackling the sport of competitive running and she’s having a blast bringing home hardware in her age group as she learns.


Lawrence Biscontini

Lawrence Biscontini, M.A.

Lawrence Biscontini, M.A., creates award-winning group fitness and personal training programming at an international level for clubs and spas, including Equinox, 24 Hour Fitness, Gold's Gym International, Bally and Golden Door Spas. As Nutritional Counselor, Biscontini has created complete nutritional menus for spas from Manhattan to Mykonos. He regularly contributes to fitness industry publications, such as AFAA's American Fitness Magazine, IDEA Fitness Journal and Spa Asia. His books include, Cream Rises: Excellence in Private & Group Education, and he dedicates a percentage of his website sales charity, as well as to inspire career wellness development. As a movement specialist, Biscontini trains celebrity clients, including cast members of ABC TV's soap opera "General Hospital," and has made appearances on CNN Headline News and LIVE! With Regis and Kelly.


Cedric Bryant

Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D., FACSM--Chief Science Officer

Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D., FACSM, is Chief Science Officer for the American Council on Exercise and represents ACE as a national and international lecturer, writer and expert source. Bryant has written more than 250 articles or columns in fitness trade magazines, as well sports medicine and exercise science journals, and authored, co-authored or edited 30 books. He can often be found as an authoritative resource for fitness and nutrition articles in a variety of respected national outlets including USA Today, Washington Post, The New York Times, Parade, Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, Reader’s Digest, Consumer Reports, Fox News, CNN Headline News and more. Bryant has held a position on the exercise science faculties at several prestigious institutions, including the United States Military Academy at West Point and Pennsylvania State University, and earned both his doctorate in physiology and master’s degree in exercise science from Pennsylvania State University.


Gina Crome

Gina Crome

Gina M. Crome, M.S., M.P.H., R.D. Gina Crome is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise. She holds a dual Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology as well as a Masters in Public Health Nutrition from Loma Linda University whereby she received the Selma Andrews Award for Excellence and Professionalism. Over the past 20 years, Gina’s mission has focused on guiding individuals towards gaining a better quality of life. She has previously struggled with her own weight issues and has since lost a total of 172 pounds, driving her passion home to promote healthier lifestyles. Gina is available for media interviews and community appearances and she is the author of various online nutrition and fitness columns.


Natalie Digate Muth

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD, is a community pediatrician in Vista, CA, and Senior Health Strategist for the American Council on Exercise. She is a registered dietitian and Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD), an ACE-certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor. She holds additional certifications with ACSM and NSCA. Dr.Muth is the author of “Eat Your Vegetables! And Other Mistakes Parents Make: Redefining How to Raise Healthy Eaters,” and has also written of over 75 articles and book chapters.


Shannon Fable

Shannon Fable

Shannon Fable, 2009 & 2012 IDEA Instructor of the Year Finalist and 2006 ACE Instructor of the Year, is the founder of SFR, a consulting firm for aspiring fitness educators, manufacturers and managers, as well as the owner of Balletone® and GroupEx Pro®. Shannon is a 15 year fitness veteran, freelance writer, as well as an international presenter for Schwinn®, BOSU, ACE and Power Systems. She serves on the ACE Industry Advisory Panel, has helped author portions of the ACE and ACSM Group Fitness manuals, and has starred in over 25 fitness videos. Currently, she is the senior director for APD’s and presenters for Powder Blue Productions and serves as the primary consultant on small group exercise programming for Anytime Fitness.


Chris Freytag

Chris Freytag

Chris Freytag is a nationally recognized health and fitness expert, blogger, author and motivational speaker and is an ACE-certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness instructor and Health Coach. She is the contributing fitness editor for Prevention Magazine; the fitness contributor for the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis; and Senior Consultant- Health and Fitness for the American Council on Exercise. She also has authored 5 books and dozens of fitness DVD's including the ACE HIIT series.


Todd Galati

Todd Galati, M.A.

Todd Galati, M.A., is the Director of Credentialing for the American Council on Exercise. He holds a master’s degree in kinesiology, a bachelor’s degree in athletic training, and all four ACE certifications. Galati’s experience includes directing youth fitness programs focused on reducing obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, teaching courses in biomechanics, applied kinesiology, and anatomy at Cal State San Marcos and San Diego State University, conducting human performance studies as a research physiologist with the U.S. Navy, personal training in medical, nonprofit, and commercial facilities, and coaching endurance athletes to state and national championships and other goals once felt to be out of reach.


Michael Mantell

Dr. Michael Mantell

Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D., the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for ACE, earned his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania after completing his M.S. degree in clinical psychology at Hahnemnann Medical College where he wrote his thesis on the psychological aspects of obesity. He has served as Chief Psychologist for San Diego's Children's Hospital and Health Center and the San Diego Police Department and has been on the clinical faculty of UCSD's Department of Psychiatry. He is a Behavior Science coach for fitness trainers, health coaches, world-class athletes and fitness enthusaists for mental and behavioral performance enhancement. He has taught for the Equinox Fitness Training Institute, is an Ambassador for PHIT America, serves on the expert panel for greatist.com, is a weekly contributor to Fox 5 News, writes monthly for IHRSA, and is a member of the Sports Medicine Team at the Sporting Club of San Diego specializing in fitness behavioral science. Dr. Mantell has written two best-selling books and regularly provides opinion, commentary and analysis in print and broadcast media throughout the world.


Jessica Matthews

Jessica Matthews, MS, E-RYT

Jessica is an Exercise Physiologist for the American Council on Exercise and a fitness blogger, writing Weight Watchers, Fitbie and SHAPE. She is an adjunct professor at MiraCosta College, teaching courses in the Department of Kinesiology, Health and Nutrition. She holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education teacher education from Coastal Carolina University and a master’s degree in physical education from Canisius College, as well as two ACE certifications (Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer); she’s also an experienced registered yoga teacher (E-RYT) through Yoga Alliance. Prior to her role at ACE, Matthews was the aquatics director for Conway Medical Wellness and Fitness Center, a hospital-based wellness center. She has also designed curriculum for health and physical education, grades K-12. As an ACE spokesperson and blogger, Matthews has been featured as a fitness expert on CNN and has been quoted in various publications including USA Today and O, The Oprah Magazine.


Chris McGrath

Chris McGrath

Chris is a personal trainer, fitness educator and consultant in New York City who has enjoyed 20 successful years in the health and fitness industry. Through comprehensive fitness and wellness programs, Chris creates personalized solutions to meet health and fitness goals of all levels. With a focus on quality movement and a balanced, healthy lifestyle, Chris emphasizes and teaches realistic actions to maximize potential and enhance overall quality of life.


Sabrena Merrill

Sabrena Merrill

Sabrena Merrill has been actively involved in the fitness industry since 1987 focusing on teaching group exercise, owning and operating her own personal training business, and managing fitness departments in commercial fitness facilities. Sabrena is a former full-time faculty member in the Kinesiology and Physical Education Department at California State University, Long Beach. She has a bachelor of science (BS) degree in physical education (sport science) as well as a master of science (MS) degree in physical education/biomechanics from the University of Kansas, and has numerous certifications in exercise instruction: ACE PT and ACE GFI. Sabrena has a passion for educating others about current industry topics through speaking engagements at national conferences, as well as through educational videos. Additionally, she enjoys writing for fitness-related publications and has authored several textbook chapters on topics such as the physiology of training, anatomy, exercise and the older


The Nutrition Twins

The Nutrition Twins

Tammy Lakatos Shames and Elysse ("Lyssie") Lakatos, The Nutrition Twins®, share a passion to teach people how to eat healthfully and exercise so they'll have energy to live happy lives. The twins have been featured as nutrition experts on shows such as Good Morning America Health, The Discovery Health channel, Fox News Channel, NBC, Bravo, CBS, The Learning Channel, FitTV, Oxygen Network, and Fox & Friends. The twins co-authored Fire Up Your Metabolism: 9 Proven Principles for Burning Fat and Losing Weight Forever and The Secret to Skinny: How Salt Makes You Fat and the 4-Week Plan to Drop A Size & Get Healthier with Simple Low Sodium Swaps. Tammy and Lyssie are ACE CPTs, members of the American Dietetic Association and active members of the following Dietetic Practice Groups: Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN), Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine DPG (DIFM), Nutrition Entrepreneurs (NE), Dietitians in Business and Communications (DBC).


Jonathan Ross

Jonathan Ross

Jonathan Ross is the two-time recipient of Personal Trainer of the Year awards (2010 IDEA & 2006 ACE), has served as Discovery Health Fitness Expert and hosted the Discovery Health series “Everyday Fitness.” His book, Abs Revealed, delivers a modern, intelligent approach to ab training, and his business, Aion Fitness, delivers exceptional fitness training,speaking, and writing services. Ross is a master trainer for TRX and has shared his renowned thought-leadership philosophy at many conferences and in the media.


Len Saunders

Len Saunders

Len Saunders is a P.E. teacher in New Jersey. Saunders has been distinguished as a leader in the field of children's health, fitness, and wellness for almost 30 years. He has won awards at the local, state, and national levels for all his efforts to reduce childhood obesity. He has teamed up with the President's Council and the American Heart Association on various projects through the years. Len is best known for creating Project ACES (All Children Exercise Simultaneously), an internationally recognized program that literally has millions of children from all 50 states and over 50 countries exercise in unison during the first Wednesday in May. He has created dozens more nationally recognized programs that teach children about leading a healthy lifestyle. Len is also an accomplished author of five books, with his most recent, "Keeping Kids Fit," available at amazon.com. He can be reached at www.lensaunders.com.


Beth Shepard

Beth Shepard

Beth Shepard, M.S., ACE-PT, ACSM-RCEP, Wellcoaches Certified Wellness Coach is a clinical exercise physiologist, health promotion consultant, and educator with more than 20 years of experience in hospital-based exercise and educational programming, wellness coaching and population health management. She is certified by ACE, ACSM, and Wellcoaches Corporation, a volunteer course reviewer for Desert Southwest Fitness, and works with corporate and individual clients to deliver sustainable health behavior change solutions.


Mary Saph Tanaka

Mary Saph Tanaka

Mary Saph Tanaka, MD, MS, developed her love for cooking at a young age, with fond memories of planting and cooking vegetables from the garden with her mother. She regularly utilizes locally grown ingredients and her knowledge of nutrition and herbs to prepare nutritious meals for family and friends. She is completing her pediatrics training at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital as part of the Community Health and Advocacy Training program. She developed the recipes for the recently released book “’Eat Your Vegetables’ and Other Mistakes Parents Make: Redefining How to Raise Healthy Eaters” written by Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD (Healthy Learning, 2012).


Stephanie Thielen

Stephanie Thielen

Stephanie Thielen, BS, has a fitness career that spans over 24 years with experience in group fitness training and management in the community, corporate and collegiate setting. As an ACE Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer, two-time IDEA Presenter, NETA trainer, AEA Trainer, and Master Educator with Stages Indoor Cycling, Stephanie provides land and aquatic workshops that teach logical methods for class construction, providing the “tools of the trade” to assist fitness professionals develop their teaching skills. Find Stephanie on Facebook at Stephanie Thielen Fitness, LLC.


Anthony Wall

Anthony Wall

Anthony Wall, M.S., is the Director of Professional Education for the American Council on Exercise with more than 20 years’ experience in the fitness industry. Prior to joining ACE, he served as Program Director for Les Mills BOOTCAMP®, Les Mills LOOK BETTER NAKED® and Les Mills SPARTAN™. During his tenure with Les Mills New Zealand, he was responsible for the development and training of their personal trainers and “Team Training” instructors, and was instrumental in implementing small group training programs across the country. Anthony earned his master’s degree in exercise physiology from San Diego State University, and holds C.H.E.K. Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach (level 1), TRX STC and IKFF CKT Kettle Bell Certifications. He has worked in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Asia, and currently presents on topics in fitness and personal branding.

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  • American Council on Exercise (ACE) is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA)
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