David Ratajack, MPH
David Ratajack has returned to the Gold Medal Fitness personal training staff. David first worked as a Personal Trainer at our facility from 1997-2006. His educational background includes a Bachelor’s Degree from Harvard University (in Physical Sciences) and a Master’s Degree from The University of Michigan School of Public Health (specializing in Health Behavior and Health Education).
Through his formal education, a true devotion to ongoing learning, and over 28 years of experience in the healthcare field, David has always tried to deliver fitness training services with the same personal concern, expertise, and attention to detail as do physicians and other healthcare professionals. Many clients have come to him to lose weight or to undertake a safe and effective exercise program following orthopedic surgery, physical therapy, or chiropractic care. Low back pain control, low bone density management, and training to maximize fat loss are three areas in which David has incorporated truly “cutting-edge” exercise techniques.
With his return, David will also be offering an exercise program specifically designed to meet the needs of Older Adults. Using proven methods for determining each person’s unique physical abilities, he looks forward to helping the participants establish targeted fitness activities to encourage functional strength, balance, agility, and flexibility in a nurturing environment.
Mark Cotton is a Personal Trainer certified by the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), United States Weightlifting (USAW) and the Poliquin International Certification Program (P.I.C.P.) as a Level Two Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He is also a certified BioSignature Practitioner.
Fitness wasn’t always Mark’s passion. He has certainly taken the “road less traveled by” to his career as a personal trainer. When Mark was 15-years old he decided on a career. During a summer school music class he heard a recording of Ezio Pinza singing “Some Enchanted Evening.” “At that moment I knew I wanted to be an opera singer”, he says. What followed were recitals, small parts in operas and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Central Florida. From 1979 until 1997 Mark sang for several opera companies throughout the US and Europe. He sang the role of Germont in “La Traviata” 53 times and Sir Lancelot in “Camelot” 22 times. But, at that point it became necessary to retire from the opera and focus on his two sons.
When I asked Mark what sets him apart from other trainers he didn’t even hesitate… “Anyone can sit on a machine or do push-ups. You don’t need a trainer to do that. And you certainly don’t need a trainer to chat with you while you’re on a treadmill. That’s a waste of your time and money. If you have a specific goal, if you are an athlete, I’ll know what your workout is tomorrow and three months from now. That’s what you pay for. Not three sets of ten on a machine.” I provide my clients with Structural Balance Testing, Body Composition Analysis and Specific Programs for Hypertrophy, Strength and Power so that they can reach their goals.”
Growing up in Germany, Latifa learned about healthy eating. Her parents grew cherry trees, walnut trees and a vegetable garden. So from a young age she was concerned about nutrition.
Thirteen years ago, Latifa came to the United States on her own to learn English. During her first year in the U.S., she decided to enroll in College and earned a degree in MIS at Montclair State University. Latifa has always enjoyed fitness and started weight training and aerobics while still living in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Then in 2008, Latifa decided to try a figure competition. She transformed her physique completely. Once she accomplished this goal, she developed a passion for helping others become healthier. At that point, Latifa earned her W.I.T.S. Personal Training Certification.
Latifa now teaches Boot Camp and individual training. She enjoys teaching in a group situation because the more agony she hears at once, the more effective she feels her boot camp is.
When Latifa isn’t at the gym, she has interests in reading John Grisham, James Patterson and books on nutrition.