Our Team

ruth gordon owner core personal training pilates studio 350px - Our Team

Ruth Gordon, Owner

When I was a child, I was not very athletic. In fact, I was typically the last person chosen for kickball at recess. Most recesses, you would find me by the school wall with my girlfriends, taking turns singing lead to the song, “Joy to the World” (ok, I have really dated myself!). My family was, however, very active: hiking, camping, swimming (most summers we would spend the entire day at the pool). Through my high school years, I participated in music and theater, but found there wasn’t much opportunity for girls’ sports.

Once in college, I was active in dance, music and theater, but was also feeling the need to explore other avenues of my physicality. I had taken up long-distance running to try to lose a little weight, when a friend convinced me to join the Cross Country team. I was hesitant, not ever competing in any sport in the past, but I did it and amazingly enough, I found I loved the challenge. At the same time, I was introduced to a new aerobic studio in town: the Body Asylum, where I began to take aerobic classes (now regularly called Group Exercise classes). I absolutely fell in LOVE with this new form of exercise! (Back then, it was so new and it was all about Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons!) After a couple of months the owner asked me to start teaching classes and I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I soon found that people enjoyed my classes because of my encouraging and motivating style, and especially because I liked to have fun! It was such a joy for me to watch the changes happening with my class participants and to know I was helping them to achieve a greater level of health and fitness.

After gaining the trust of my class participants, I would get numerous requests for me to help them on an individual level with their fitness needs, so the natural progression was for me to continue on my path of health and fitness education and become a personal trainer as well. Over the years I have worked not only as a class instructor and trainer, but also as a Group Exercise Director and Fitness Director at numerous facilities and have mentored many new instructors and trainers just coming into the fitness industry. I have trained and taught so many wonderful individuals and I never get tired of helping others to discover the joy of movement.

I look forward to meeting each and every one of you and gaining your trust and confidence in CORE!


  • B.S. Exercise Science & Wellness
  • Certified Personal Trainer – American Council on Exercise
  • Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist – American Council on Exercise (Gold Certified)
  • Certified Personal Trainer- American Fitness & Aerobics Association
  • Certified Personal Trainer – National Strength and Conditioning Association
  • Pilates Method Alliance Certified
  • MindBody Pilates Comprehensive Trained
  • TRX Sports Medicine Trainer
  • MELT Hand and Foot Instructor
  • CES (Cancer Exercise Specialist) – certified thru the Cancer Exercise Training Institute
  • KBE Certified Golf Fitness Specialist
  • YogaFit trained
  • Reebok Reactive Neuromuscular Trainer
  • Spinal Stabilization Specialization
  • IDEA Elite Member

Professional Background

  • In the Fitness Industry 20+ years
  • Trained Professional, College & HS athletes
  • MindBody Workshop Pilates Master Trainer
  • YWCA Fitness Director
  • Fitness for Women Fitness Director
  • Mercy Center (Post cardiac-rehab facility) Fitness Director
  • Group Exercise Director- Gold’s Gym (Bakersfield, CA)
  • Group Exercise Director- Coca-Cola Fitness Consultant
  • Wrote for Senior’s Fitness column in local community newspaper (Bakersfield, CA)
  • Created and taught after-school program for kids “Fun with Fitness” at Rockledge Elementary, Woodbridge, VA
  • Fitness Presenter/Instructor for the Commonwealth Preventative Medicine Institute

Colleen Bonta

colleen personal trainer - Our TeamColleen loves to share her love for physical fitness and to teach the importance of a healthy lifestyle. She became certified in Group Exercise and began her career specializing in working with the senior community. She brought her experience and expertise to CORE Personal Training and Pilates Studio in the fall of 2012 as a Pilates Mat and Apparatus Instructor after serving as Pilates Director for the local Sport & Health Club.

Colleen holds certifications with Balance Body, AEA, TRX, GRAVITY training. She is consistently promoting the importance of a healthy mind and body and strives to expand on her already long list of certifications. Colleen has the amazing and unique ability to work with a wide range of clients. Whether you are an experienced athlete, rehabilitation patient, a senior looking for increased mobility or a beginner needing motivation she posses the skills, knowledge and personality to help you achieve your goals. She feels very fortunate to be able to share her time between her family her church and her clients at CORE.

Kim Salzano

Kim Salzano personal trainer 150px - Our TeamKim was hooked on Pilates after taking her very first class. Early on in her practice she knew she wanted to share its amazing benefits with others and set out to learn all she could about this unique method of exercise that incorporated a harmonious combination of body, mind, and spirit. Nine years and two certifications later, she is still inspired by the method and is passionate about helping her clients experience the benefits of Pilates in their own bodies.

Kim has contemporary and classical certifications and her sessions are a fun mix of both styles. She has an eye for proper alignment, tailors sessions to suit her clients needs, delivers with creative cuing and will introduce you to muscles you didn’t know you had!

She is certified to work with clients of all levels and believes Pilates can be for everybody at whatever stage of life they are in. Kim believes Pilates can change lives for the better and is thrilled to be sharing it with the wonderful clients at CORE.

When she is not teaching, Kim is a perpetual student learning or taking workshops with masters in the industry. You can also find her hiking, camping, climbing, traveling, and spending time with her husband and three amazing children.

Kristy Trujillo

Kristy personal trainer 150px - Our TeamKristy began her fitness journey at the age of 7 when she took her first dance class in her hometown of Carpinteria, California. According to her mom, as a child she was always mesmerized by dance, specifically ballet. At the age of 12 her passion for ballet grew as she made the decision to train more seriously at Gustafson Dance (school of State Street Ballet) in Santa Barbara, where she continued to study through high school, and then as she trained over two summers as a scholarship student at Boston Ballet School. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet Performance and a minor in Nutrition at the University of Utah, where she was first introduced to the Pilates method. Upon graduation she embarked on an 8-year career dancing professionally with the San Diego Ballet, where she continued to practice and learn more about Pilates.

During this time, she discovered Pilates to be an essential tool not only in injury recovery and prevention, but in general maintenance of the body as a whole; it involved a similar flow and movement style to ballet which she enjoyed, while also including a rehabilitative element that helped her to heal from the stress that dance training had put on her body over the years. She decided to make the transition from practicing Pilates to teaching it, and went on to earn her certification from Kore Pilates in La Jolla in 2008. She has continued to teach Pilates ever since, eventually opening her own studio in La Jolla (formerly Pacifica Pilates) which she owned and operated for over 7 years before getting married and moving with her husband to Virginia. In addition to teaching Pilates, Kristy worked as a stretch therapist for 2 years at Sea View Chiropractic in San Diego, where she was able to use her Pilates and dance background to help the patients gain flexibility as a vital part of their treatment program.

Teaching Pilates has been a wonderful and fulfilling experience for Kristy. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and her passion for movement with her clients, as well as motivating them to push their limits and achieve their goals!

Monica Carlier

Monica Carlier personal trainer 150px - Our TeamMonica was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia and has lived in the United States since 2001.Monica’s fitness journey didn’t start until she had her first baby in 2007. “I never worried about my weight until I have kids” and the weight did not come off easily. It was then when she decided to give fitness and nutrition a chance.

Monica discovered a passion for fitness and loves to share that passion and knowledge.

She is a certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist, Mat Pilates certified , yoga, TRX, weight management certified among others. She is also starting her training in Pilates Reformer with Balanced Body and is one of CORE’s newest interns for the equipment work.

Monica’s philosophies are “everyday, I get to do something I love and make an impact on people’s lives” and “Motivation come from within, no one can hand it to you, but no one can take it away either”. She loves to eat fresh to nourish her body, mind and spirit. “Let food be your medicine”.

She enjoys many activities; especially anything she can do with her kids including rock climbing, rowing, Taekwondo, playing soccer or basketball (which she is really bad at). She loves to watch movies with the family and enjoy a cup of coffee with friends. Monica is a very proud martial arts student and is pursuing her black belt at Tae kwon do. A Tae kwon do quote She really likes:

“be kind, but fierce.

be gentle, but strong.

be humble, but powerful.

these are some of the traits of a true warrior”

Shara Kantz

shara personal trainer 150px - Our TeamShara practically grew up in gyms due to her mother who has been in the fitness industry for over 25 years. Shara loves to dance and was an avid lacrosse player throughout her childhood and college career. She had her heart set on being a “HOKIE” and studying aerospace engineering. It was during a fall semester at Virginia Tech that Shara realized life had other plans for her. At 19 years old, she became very ill and began her journey towards getting her health back.

After spending a long period of time studying nutrition and consulting with doctors, Shara finally regained her health and felt more powerful and stronger than ever. She discovered that in order to change herself physically, she had to start by bettering herself mentally. Throughout all of the setbacks and moments of discouragement, she had to keep repeating to herself not to give up and the only way to improve began with HER attitude and HER actions. This life-changing moment is what sparked Shara’s passion for health and fitness. She wanted to help others feel this same empowerment that one can accomplish ANYTHING with perseverance and most of all, trust and belief in oneself.

She began motivating others through group fitness classes, instructing formats such as kickboxing, yoga, pilates, bootcamp, and Bodypump. She is also a certified Personal Trainer with A.C.E. and currently studying kinesiology.

Dagmar Kolarska Riddick

dagmar personal trainer 150px - Our TeamDagmar is a certified Pilates Mat, Reformer & Apparatus Instructor by the Balanced Body University and certified thru Pilates Method Alliance, an internationally recognized Pilates certification. She is also a certified Yoga Instructor by Yogafit, and a certified Personal Trainer by the Aerobics & Fitness Association of America. In addition, she completed her training for Cancer Exercise Specialist thru the Cancer Exercise Training Institute.

Originally, from the Czech Republic, she came to the United States to broaden her horizons and to seekthe wonderful opportunities that this country offers. Dagmar has always been interested in staying strong, healthy, and fit.

Her enjoyment of exercise led her to pursue a second career in the fitness industry. She has been physically fit her whole life, engaging in several sports, competing in club level track & field and later becoming an aerobics instructor.

Dagmar’s belief is that fitness is best achieved from working consistently with motivated instructors and trainers who deliver constant positive reinforcement and correction; however, none of this will be possible if you don’t first get up out of your chair. Your routine should include a variety of cardiovascular exercises, strength, flexibility and balance training. No workout should ever be the same all the time. Variety is the spice of life; that adage applies to fitness training as well. Whether you are seeking overall physical fitness, a better appearance or more comfortable living, Dagmar can help you achieve your goals.

Jeremy Mallory

Jeremy personal trainer 150px - Our TeamJeremy is a master certified fitness trainer with over ten years of experience in helping clients reach their goals. Jeremy grew up in an active lifestyle playing sports throughout school and always enjoyed being outdoors. During High School, under the instruction of his Uncle Bob, Jeremy learned how to lift weights and enjoy working out. At the age of 18, Jeremy joined the United States Marine Corps and began his journey as a combat athlete. During his first few years, Jeremy started to train in various martial arts and discovered his love for the conditioning involved and the constant challenge to be at his best.

Jeremy has had the pleasure of training military members, law enforcement, firefighters, people recovering from surgery, people preparing their body for surgery, youth sports teams and family members. Jeremy specializes in performance enhancement, conditioning, and corrective exercise. Some of his specializations include: Master Certified Fitness Trainer, MMA Conditioning Specialist, Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Exercise Therapy Specialist, Group Fitness Instructor, Sports Performance Specialist, Speed and Agility Coach, Functional Movement System Level 1 Coach and he is currently finishing his Pre/Post Natal Coaching Certification. Jeremy looks forward to working with you on your fitness goals, improving your performance, and helping you be a better you no matter what your ability level is.

Renee Novak

Renee personal trainer 150px - Our TeamFor Renee, fitness was a way to keep her body strong maintain standards as an Air Force Officer for over 20 years. Additionally, she realized exercise helped release the stress of balancing career with family and focus on herself for one hour a day. Now as a health professional she realizes exercise does merely mean an hour of cardio. Instead she encourages her clients to explore yoga, functional training or HIIT training. Just keep moving!

Before coming to CORE, Renee was a personal trainer and group exercise instructor at a local club and Coached a Parkinson’s Patient group. She was also involved with the Northern Virginia Adult Health and Development Program (ADHP), an Intergenerational Exchange in exercise. She also is a certified trainer in the “Staying Active and Independent for Life (SAIL) program.

Fifteen years ago, during the last year of her military career, Renee was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. After rebounding from right side paralysis Renee comments, “I am so blessed to be strong and healthy”. She and her husband enjoy scuba diving, long distance road biking, triathlons, and hiking with their dog Ranger. By using her knowledge in health, fitness and nutrition she’s thrilled to be giving back and pursue her passion. Her Goal: Help you put more life in your years.

She is a certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and Health Coach. She holds certificates in Aqua and Barre. Next spring Renee plans on completing her third Master’s Degree this time in Health Education and Promotion from Marymount university.

Heather Myers

Heather personal trainer 150px - Our TeamHeather Myers is one of CORE Personal Training and Pilates Studio’s newest Personal Trainers. Heather’s journey to fitness is both unique and inspiring. She is a certified ACE Personal Trainer, lifetime athlete and brings a wealth of life experience to her training.

After a fall almost ten years ago, Heather contracted a disease called Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Some 37 surgeries later, including the amputation of her left leg Heather has learned to adapt, overcome and excel.

As a former figure skater, Heather has always possessed the desire to compete. After being awarded a grant from the Challenged Athlete Foundation, she paired with Hanger Prosthetics to develop one of the first figure skates designed for amputees and returned to the ice.

Heather holds a Masters Degree in Counseling and Education. Her 20+ years of work experience in the mental health field combined with her PURE DETERMINATION, she brings a true unique style to Personal Training.

When Heather is not at the studio she continues to “Pay It Forward” as she volunteers as a peer mentor for CRPS and The Amputee Coalition. She also enjoys visiting veterans and local hospitals with her Therapy Dog. She is a dedicated mother of twins and enjoys attending their multiple sporting events and traveling with her amazing husband.

Her favorite quote is….. “She believed….therefore she did”! No excuses here!

Jennifer Kooyoomjian

jennifer - Our TeamJennifer Kooyoomjian has been teaching yoga since 2010. Jennifer has a Master’s Degree in Education and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from George Mason University. While pursuing her undergraduate studies, Jennifer also earned a minor in dance and a concentration in Athletic Training. In her full time career, Jennifer works with at-risk youth here in Prince William County.

Jennifer teaches private indoor and outdoor yoga classes. She is also a certified barre above instructor and she shares her knowledge of barre and yoga with her students at Gold’s Gym, CORE and in private sessions. Jennifer is certified through YogaFit Training Systems to teach level 1 and level II yoga. Jennifer also has YogaFit specialty certifications in yoga for seniors, as well as pre-natal/post-partum yoga.

Jennifer teaches a vinyasa flow yoga class on Monday evenings at CORE. This class works with beginner to intermediate yoga students. Yoga helps to increase flexibility, strength, and balance, while reducing stress and increasing body awareness. Please join us on Mondays for meditation, stretching, relaxation and aromatherapy on Monday evenings at 7 p.m.

Lisa Anastasio

filler - Our TeamBio coming soon!

Interested in Joining the CORE Team?

We are looking for certified Personal Trainers and Pilates Instructors. Please contact us today!