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Meet the Staff

Charles DeFrancesco, BS, NFPT, USAW, NASM, CES
Owner and founder of Fit and Functional

Charles DeFrancesco is the owner and founder of the education company, Fit and Functional. He is also a consulting partner for THE ARENA and Fit 4 Fun. He provides all the in house education to the ARENA staff. Charles was co-founder of Greenwich Sports Medicine, where he was in charge of all personal training and therapy operations for over five years. Currently Charles is a consultant for Westchester Sports and Wellness and Phoenix Fitness.


Charles graduated from Purdue University, summa cum laude with a BS in Health and Wellness. He is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and by the National Federation of Professional Trainers National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT) . He is also USAW Olympic lifting certified and Equinox Fitness Group Prenatal certified. Charles has completed the Functional Exercise Specialist course, Cardiac Conditions course (AFPA), attended EFTI, and has over 7 years of clinical experience. Charles was a guest speaker at the 2009 IHRSA conference in San Diego. He also holds year round seminars and educational courses in the tri-state area. Charles is one of the authors of the accredited NFPT standard CPT study manuals. He created NFPT’s advanced trainer workshop and writes continuing education courses for ACE, NASM, NSCA and NFPT. He is the NFPT continuing education coordinator, memeber of the NFPT Board of Education and is the North East director of workshops. Charles is the main author of the Principles of Functional Exercise manual, The Truth Behind the Fitness Fads and A Squash Players Handbook


In addition, Charles has written numerous articles and has given presentations on various topics, including: basic movement screenings, essentials of core training, flexibility and strength & conditioning. Many websites and magazines publish Charles’s articles, including Charles works with a variety of doctors and has consulted with them on developing programs and training staff for their rehabilitation facilities. In addition, he consults with commercial gyms, corporate parks and fitness studios. Charles has extensive experience and a proven track record which allows him to testify as an expert witness on a variety of topics. Charles is a licensed agent in NY for Health, Life and Accident Insurance. The license allows Charles to offer full service corporate wellness programs. under board of educators put BS under my name like the others have.

Denise Groothuis RD, CFMP, Pn1, NFPT


Denise graduated Cornell University in 1994, and received an MS in Applied Physiology and Nutrition from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2000. She was also certified as a functional medicine practitioner in 2018. She believes in an individual, integrative, client-based approach to weight loss, health, and wellness.


Denise has been practicing in the nutrition field since 2000 and has worked in a variety of settings ranging from hospitals and nursing homes to private practice. Currently, she is working at a community health center and doctor’s office  where she helps clients with weight loss, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and digestive issues.

After an injury and long recovery, Denise became interested in personal training, and decided to become certified in order to help better educate others about being fit and functional. The combination of diet and exercise enables her to have a greater impact on the health and wellness of clients. Denise believes that optimal health and well-being cannot be achieved without combining nutrition and exercise together.

Steven Sarno CPT, LMT
Massage Director

Steve has been active in the fitness industry since 2011 when he graduated from Adelphi University with a Bachelor’s of Science concentration in exercise. In 2012 he graduated from the Finger Lakes School of Massage in Mt Kisco, and currently works as a licensed massage therapist. After graduating from the Finger Lakes School of Massage, Steve became an instructor at the Mt. Kisco campus, teaching kinesiology to up and coming massage students.


 Steve holds a number of critical certifications including a personal training certification from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Federation for Professional Trainers (NFPT) and a CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Steve also has published continuing education material for trainers to buy and count towards their annual certification renewal. Steve plays an active role in the surrounding school districts coaching and training the student athletes, prepping them for both varsity and collegiate play.

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