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Conference 2012 Speaker Biographies

Paul Aspinall, BPE, MES, CPTN-CPT

Paul is a professor at Seneca College where he teaches anatomy and physiology as well as physical preparation courses for the Firefighters program. He is a CPTN certified personal trainer, practical assessor, course conductor and a medical exercise specialist. His education background includes a degree in Physical Education with a major in Athletic Therapy and a Diploma in Fitness and Lifestyle Management from George Brown College. For more information, please visit

Staci Bland, PTS, NWS

A certified personal trainer and competitive athlete registered through the CASK, Staci currently holds a red belt and is pursuing grading for her black belt. As a Fitness Kickboxing Canada Inc. (FKCI) course conductor, she has assisted in many FKCI conference presentations and demos.

Jeff Boris, BPHE, CPTN-CPT.M

As a two-time award-winning trainer recognized for his unique contributions to fitness, Jeff teaches courses he helped create for the University of Western Ontario and serves as a holistic fitness professional, research educator and business coach. With 20 years of diverse expertise as a former chair of professional development for CPTN, an education coordinator for the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging, and a nutritional researcher for natural health products, Jeff currently makes educational contributions to radio, TV and magazines.

Christopher Chapman, BKin, CEP, CSCS, NCCP Trained

Chris is currently a strength and conditioning specialist for Canadian Sport Centre Ontario, providing integrated support for the following national team programs: Trampoline Canada, Canoe Kayak Canada, Skate Canada and Hockey Canada. Chris is also a lecturer for the National Coaching Institute and Sheridan College Human Performance Training Program.

Michael Chapman, RYT, CPTN-CPT, CPTN-CYS

Michael Chapman, owner and head instructor of Breathe Into Motion Yoga Studios, has studied yoga for over 28 years and has taught yoga full-time for the last 10 years. Having taught thousands of classes, Mike has developed a unique approach to yoga based on his experiences not only as a yoga instructor but also as a personal trainer, coach and fitness instructor. He has combined these experiences to offer the Breathe Into Motion Yoga System. Mike has had the good fortune to study with ashtanga yoga masters Danny Paradise, David Williams, David Swenson, Nicki Doane and Ed Modestini and has studied anatomy under Thomas Myers (author of Anatomy Trains and student of Ida Rolf). For more information, please visit

Trevor Cottrell, PhD, CSCS

Trevor Cottrell is the program coordinator for Sheridan College’s degree program in Exercise Science and Health Promotion and its new Human Performance Training certificate. He holds a PhD in Physiology and is involved in a broad area of research that ranges from cellular signalling to human performance. Trevor has coached and competed in Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, highland games, strongman and tug-of-war for over 20 years. For more information, please visit

Jennifer Cowie Bonne, MSc, BA

Jennifer is a professor in the Exercise Science and Health Promotion program at Sheridan College. She has made significant contributions towards many provincial and national health promotion projects and committees, most notably through her work with OPHEA, a non-profit organization that supports healthy schools and communities. She has delivered over 40 professional development workshops and has extensive teaching and coaching experience in school and community settings.

Adam Douglas, BPE, BA, CSCS

Adam is the current head strength and conditioning coach at York University in Toronto where he is in charge of programming and development for all of the varsity teams. He also works with Hockey Canada as one of their strength and conditioning coaches with the women’s national teams. Adam also consults with a number of national teams and professional athletes. Prior to joining York, Adam was the conditioning coach with the Ottawa Senators in the National Hockey League.

Kevin Duguay, CPTN-CPRCS

Kevin Duguay graduated from the Athletic Training and Management program at Sheridan College in 1984, receiving the Cooper Canada Award for Outstanding Achievement. He is a sports rehabilitation specialist and has worked as the head athletic therapist for a number of teams in both professional and amateur settings. He has also lectured at Seneca, Humber and Sheridan College in the field of health and wellness.

Sandy Irwin, BA, CPT, CFS

Host of "The Fitness People," an exercise show on CBC and a business owner, Sandy has had a diverse and unique professional career spanning more than 30 years in the health and fitness arena. Sandy currently manages the educational division for National Fitness Products (Ript Training Series) and is the owner and master trainer of 2bfitt. Sandy continues to educate herself, her staff, and clients and colleagues with the latest fitness trends and research. Her enthusiasm and inspirational personality characterize her unique teaching, mentoring and coaching style.

Karsten Jensen, MSc, CPTN-CPT.M, CHEK Practitioner L2, CHEK HLC L3

A strength and conditioning expert, Karsten Jensen has trained world-class and Olympic athletes and coaches from 13 different sports for over 16 years. He has taught several certification, college and continuing education courses for novice trainers and European national team coaches. Karsten believes in the unlimited potential of individuals and shares his views as an international speaker. He is also the author of several books, an educator with CPTN and a contributing writer to several online training resources and magazines in both English and Danish. He shares insider principles of world-class strength and conditioning methods through his website. For more information, please visit

Jess Koffman, BSc, MA

Jess was born in Toronto and has been living periodically in Thailand for the last 11 years, primarily as a student of Buddhist meditation. He has studied from many renowned Thai meditation masters and holds an MA in Buddhist Studies. He teaches insight meditation and mindful awareness in Toronto from May to September. For more information, please visit

Deanna Lawson-Langford, BA, CPTN-CPT, OFC-TFL

Deanna is a 20-year veteran of the fitness industry with experience in group fitness, personal training, Jiu-Jitsu, full contact kickboxing, and training fitness instructors and personal trainers. Her education background is in Psychology and she has a wealth of knowledge she uses to assist trainers in providing motivating, challenging and well-organized programs for their clients.

Andre Leitert, BA

Andre founded National Fitness Products of Canada 11 years ago and owns a successful health club, Riverdale Fitness Mill. He has held senior management positions with Stanley Works and Moen Canada. Through his consulting company, he has helped launch Body Break products and has consulted for Fitness Business Canada. He is a certified spin instructor, holds a second degree black belt in tae kwon do and has competed at the national level. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from York University.

Steve Lidstone, BKin, CSCS, CAT(C), NCCP

Steve Lidstone is the strength and conditioning coordinator at McMaster University and acts as a service provider for Canadian Sports Centres where he enhances the performance levels of CIS/NCAA, national team, Olympic, Paralympic and professional athletes from all over the world. Steve is a member of the performance enhancement team for Hockey Canada and also consults with various national team programs. He is a dynamic presenter and educator for national team programs, corporations and charities.

Joanne O’Donnell, PTS

Joanne is a certified personal trainer, a trainer for the fitness kickboxing program and a trainer-course conductor for the FKCI CEC and certification course curriculum. She is a black belt-level kickboxing instructor and a certified coach through CASK. For more information, please visit

Ross O’Donnell, BA, CPT

Ross is president of Fitness Kickboxing Canada Inc. (FKCI) and oversees operation of the Fitness Kickboxing Certification programs and continuing education courses across Canada. He is an experienced international fitness and martial arts presenter, a fitness columnist with over 300 published articles, and the author of 15 instructor-training manuals and the book The Ultimate Fitness Boxing & Kickboxing Workout. Ross is also a certified boxing coach and competitive club owner through the Canadian Amateur Boxing Association (CABA-Ontario), and a black belt instructor/certified coach and competitive kickboxing club owner through CASK. Ross was selected as a member of the Ontario kickboxing coaching staff for the 2010 Ontario Winter Games. For more information, please visit

Gary Pitts, BA, BCL, CGFI, CGFP

As a member of the Barreau du Quebec since 1974, Gary has extensive litigation experience in family and corporate law before the superior and appellate courts. He now practices sports and fitness law. He is a world-class presenter, having presented at the national and local levels on legal and risk management issues. He also pursues his passion as a golf performance enhancement specialist and trains top professional and elite golfers in the Montreal/Ottawa corridor at various locations.

Celeste Shirley, BKin

Celeste began teaching in 1984, working with coaches and elite athletes at universities and colleges to improve their performance and reduce personal injury. Since then, Celeste has inspired many to become strong in their bodies and at their best in life following motor vehicle accidents, surgery, and those starting a new life like paraplegics and young single mothers. Celeste teaches workshops/classes in her beautiful ravine yoga studio, The Yoga House in Toronto, and trains individuals in-home, in the corporate sector, and in workshop settings. For more information, please visit

Jennifer Sygo, MSc, RD

Jennifer Sygo is the director of nutrition for Cleveland Clinic Canada and the nutrition columnist for the National Post. A specialist in sports nutrition, Jennifer has been a service provider for the Canadian Sport Centre Ontario and Coaching Association of Canada since 2004, and routinely provides one-on-one counselling to Canada’s high performance athletes and group seminars to various sporting organizations, including Hockey Canada, Skate Canada and Gymnastics Canada. For more information, please visit

Dr. Vera Taraman, MD, MSc, FCFP, CASAM, ABAM

As founder and spokesperson for Addictions Unplugged, over the past 17 years Dr. Vera Taraman has focused her medical practice on addiction treatment and recovery. Along with serving the addiction community through her private practice, she has been the medical director at Renascent since 2006 and the staff physician with Salvation Army Homestead since 2004. A specialist in addiction behaviour and treatment, Dr. Taraman is internationally recognized for her education in and publications on various areas of addiction, and in particular, food addiction. She has been applauded for her speaking at conferences across the globe. For more information, please visit

Rodney Wilson, BPHE, BA

Rodney is the strength and conditioning coordinator for all varsity teams at Queen’s University. He promotes the concept of a complete athlete by delivering programs that include injury prevention, speed training, resistance training, nutrition lectures and individual adaptations.

Conference Presenter Timeline