Perry and Judy Messer became the owners of the Hampshire Athletic Club in the fall of 2007. They have owned and ran HAC’s sister facility, Northampton Athletic Club since 1982. Perry and Judy feel very fortunate to be a part of both the Amherst and Northampton community.
When they are not at the Clubs Perry and Judy enjoy running together, traveling with their three children and volunteering as board members of the Northampton High School Booster Club.
“I’ve had an interest in health & fitness since I was a teenager. I noticed that lifestyle mattered and played a huge role in how we feel and how we age. I also saw how adding healthy habits in your life can change your life at any age. Exercise is like a fountain of youth! I worked in a stressful professional office for over 30 years, and I saw the struggles my co-workers were having with working, raising children and trying to balance their lives. It was taking a toll on their energy and overall health. Most were over weight and had poor eating habits. Although I worked in an office, I always dreamed of being a personal trainer, so I could help others to reach their fitness potential, as well as enrich their lives with good health. I made up my mind that it was time to change careers and start doing what I love.”
“I’ve studied qigong with numerous masters since 1995. I offer an eclectic mix, a variety that includes some martial applications, but primarily forms and methods for centering, relaxation, strength, and learning to move qi, methods to maintain and improve health. Qigong is a graceful, easy practice, the forms millions of Chinese do in the parks in the early morning.”
Eric’s practice and teaching unite the physical alignment details of Iyengar Yoga with the breathing and dynamic movement of Ashtanga Vinyasa and the emotional attentiveness of Kripalu Yoga. He is a deeply knowledgeable teacher with an excellent understanding of sequencing that has developed over many years. He presents a strong, slow flow class that promises to take you deeply into the classical and modern yoga postures, following the rhythm of your natural breathing. Eric’s teaching creates an atmosphere of exploration, reverence and self-respect.
Michael Dalton, former Broadway dancer, is a certified Kripalu yoga teacher. He taught yoga in NYC, volunteered at Kripalu in the Karma Yoga program and has taught yoga in the Amherst area for the past year. Whether as a form of exercise or a spiritual practice, Michael approaches yoga as an exploration of balance — in the postures, in the inversions, in the practice itself. His dance informs his yoga teaching with a deep understanding of how the body moves and stretches.
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 has co-taught with one of his Qigong/Tai Chi teachers at Kripalu. He also teach 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.
Victoria is a clinical therapist and educator by trade and has been teaching a variety of fitness classes for over 30 years. She enjoys sharing her love and passion for group fitness with others. Exercise has always been an essential part of Victoria’s life, and she hopes to help you make it and important part of yours.
“I love it that yoga, which is such an integral part of my life is so portable. I can take it anywhere, whether it’s the red rocks of Sedona, the beaches on Cape Cod, my home studio or the club. My practice has deeply informed and transformed my life and it is a gift to be able to share that with my students, both privately and in classes. My training and certification was completed through the Kriya tradition over the course of a couple of years. But my personal practice began in my early twenties and became more focused in my forties when I decided to become a teacher. My style is very hands-on, working with students individually for correct alignment and respectful engagement. We incorporate pranayama, or breath practice, which supports a depth in each pose, allowing a student to listen and find his/her edge without going beyond the body’s acceptable range. I love teaching, and my hope is to instill that passion and care to my students, as they open to transformation in body, mind and spirit.”
Health and Fitness has been a lifelong passion for me. After I graduated with my undergrad degree, I started competing in sport karate tournaments; a year later I held the number one ranking in women’s black belt fighting for the New England region. Soon after that I started teaching aerobic exercise at Northampton Nautilus (predecessor of NAC). It’s really great to be working with Perry and Scott again, teaching at HAC. I teach kickboxing on Tuesdays, where I focus on developing cardiovascular endurance, strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility through basic kick and punch combinations, along with weight work. I also teach intervals on Saturday mornings, where I alternate weight work with various cardio sets. My day job is at Babson College, where I’m an entrepreneurship professor. But my fun job is at HAC where I get to spend time with a group of enthusiastic and dedicated people that come to work out with smiles, laughter and encouragement for others.
Heidi is an economist by day but changes gears in the spinning room. Her love of
fitness, music, and people align when she’s leading a ride and helping others push
themselves. Heidi lives in Amherst with her partner and three young sons.
Anthony is originally from the island of Trinidad & Tobago. He has been involved in sports and training from an early age. With a great measure of success, he played and coached his neighborhood’s basketball team the Green Acres. He represented Trinidad & Tobago on the national rugby team and played internationally for 7 years. After moving to the United States, Anthony continued to play rugby for the Springfield club rugby team from 1987 to 1993. He got involved with Smith College where he served as the head rugby coach for 7 years. After his time at Smith College he spent 5 years coaching rugby at Amherst College. He is currently the assistant coach for the men’s rugby team at UMass Amherst. He has been coaching there for 6 years in counting. In 2010, Anthony attended Brandford Halls where he studied to become a personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. While he was completing his coursework at Brandford Halls he participated in an internship at the Northampton Council on Aging. He came to find that the senior population is greatly underserved. He now enjoys working most closely with this age group.
Diana began practicing yoga 25 years ago in an effort to alleviate back pain. She found it beneficial in so many other ways including feeling more balanced in body and mind. After 15 years of personal yoga practice, and studying with a variety of teachers, she decided to share her love of yoga with others. In 2002 Diana completed Yoga Teacher Training at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Since then, she has taught yoga classes at Holyoke Hospital and prenatal yoga at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. In 2004, Diana began teaching yoga at HAC where she very much enjoys the friendly, non-competitive atmosphere, and creating community through yoga.
Catherine has taught different types of group fitness classes since 1993 in a number of places, including Princeton (NJ), Atlanta (GA) and Amherst/Hadley (MA). But since 2001, she has taught exclusively double step.
Catherine is also a professor of Psychology at Amherst College, and teaches classes related to fitness, including Health Psychology and Sports Psychology.
Ahna has been teaching a variety of group fitness classes in the Pioneer Valley for over a decade. Ahna fell in love with group fitness while attending Syracuse University where she completed Masters’ Degrees in Communication and Education. Her fitness interests are diverse and include everything from intense interval training, body sculpting, and step, to exploring the art of Argentine Tango and other dances. Ahna loves to move and loves to motivate others to do the same!
Lynne Nicole Smith is a Certified Yoga Instructor and Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance. She is also a Certified Qigong/Tai Chi Instructor through the Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi based in Santa Barbara, California as well as a Certified Psychosynthesis Counselor and Expressive Arts Therapist. Lynne’s teaching style reflects her passion for Yoga and Qigong as both being powerful tools and practices for releasing physical, mental and emotional blocks in the body. Through Yoga, we access a stronger connection to breath, a deeper awareness of our body and increase our level of energy and healing on all levels. Lynne is constantly astounded by the profound benefits Yoga and Qigong have had on her own life and students. Lynne also offers private lessons and individual sessions in addition to group Yoga and Qigong classes. Visit www.yogaandhealingartstherapy.com to learn more about Lynne’s work in integrating Yoga, Qigong and Counseling to support healing, peace and wellness in people’s lives.
“I’ve been in the fitness industry since 1983. I’ve lived a lifetime of fitness and continue to pursue constant education to keep up with the ever-changing information in the fitness, massage and spa world. As your trainer, I can design a nutrition and exercise program allowing you to reach your ideal lean to fat ratio. When your muscles are fatigued I can massage you or help to rejuvenate your skin with a facial or spa treatment.”
Brandon began his career at the Hampshire Athletic Club and Northampton Athletic Club in 2008 while attending the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. In 2013, Brandon worked with the Amherst Leisure Services Department as an Assistant Sports and Recreation Director, where he helped coordinate the Amherst Youth Basketball League for area youth. Brandon has developed a passion for helping young athletes reach their athletic goals while training at Strides Human Performance Institute. As a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, he believes that people of all ages and fitness levels can reach their full potential through hard work and dedication.
A long-term fitness enthusiast, Alison deepened her knowledge of human movement science and corrective exercise after experiencing her own health problems and nagging injuries. She now uses her training in these areas to help clients improve their quality of movement, avoid injury, and reach their fitness goals.
She continues to pursue education and training in human movement science so that she can offer the most effective and evidence-based exercise programs to her clients. Alison is also currently pursuing training in Animal Flow®, which is an “innovative fitness program that combines quadrupedal and ground-based movement with elements from various bodyweight-training disciplines to create a fun, challenging workout emphasizing multi-planar, fluid movement.”
Alison also has specialized training in cognitive fitness techniques, which help to simultaneously challenge the mind and body, as well as experience working with individuals who have Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological conditions.