Our Team

Derek Alessi, PhD (Dr. Derek™) became interested in the field of fitness training at an early age when he was an obese teenager.  Determined to change his health, body and ultimately his future, he began strength training and developed a system to modify his nutrition.  Derek dropped over 80-pounds in one year and later that same year, he entered his first and only body building contest. Disenchanted with the way body building tends to minimize health and well-being in order to encourage raw size, he left that arena and dedicated his career to helping individuals achieve better health and wellness through a program of planned exercise and practical nutrition. At the age of 19, Derek passed a national fitness certification exam and began his career in personal fitness training.  He furthered his quest for more information through education and received post-graduate degrees in health and physical education as well as a master’s degree in nutrition.

As America’s Premier Health Advocate Dr. Derek’s core belief is that health and fitness are not a result of gimmicks, hype or the latest butt buster. Instead they are achieved by understanding the physiological complexities of the body and the synergistic role that the right kinds of exercise along with supportive nutrition can play in unlocking the healthy body that is inside every one of us.   

Dr. Derek is passionate about body fat reduction, medication reduction and help individuals improve the quality of their lives.  His practices incorporates: glucose, ketone, body fat and deep sleep tracking along with the right kind of diet and intelligent exercise to extend life and improve lifestyle.

Dr. Derek is the author of The Bermuda Triangle Diet (October, 2009 Strategic Publishing), Lose Fat Forever (2003), and The Promise Health and Fitness System (2002 ).  Derek has earned a doctorate degree in health and physical education and a master’s degree in nutrition.  He is also a National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) trainer.  He owns and operates Dr. Derek Health & Fitness, a private practice, a personal training facility for adults and a facility for children in East Amherst New York.  He has appeared on over 2100-TV and 400-radio programs throughout the country and has been featured in national print media including Maxim, Burn Fitness for Women and Iron-Man Magazines.

Dr. Derek is a health, fitness and lifestyle contributor for the USA Today and the host of weekly TV show on NBC Cleveland & NBC in Buffalo, New York called Live It Fit Now!  In addition, Dr. Derek conducts regular health and fitness seminars for the health care industry, Fortune 1000 companies, and small businesses where he combines his unique brand of humor, empathy and knowledge to communicate his positive, affirming message:  Make the Most of Your Life… Live It Fit!™

My coaching stages

For 27-years I have helped people lose weight, drop body fat, reduce or eliminate medications and be consistent with their diet and exercise.

In the first part of my career, it was mostly about helping people with weight loss, building lean muscle and getting fit.

The second part of my career was with helping individuals with injuries (knees, back, shoulders) develop the right kind of exercise program.

At the same time, helping people to reduce or eliminate medications with conditions such as: diabetes, high blood pressure, hypothyroid, high cholesterol, heart disease and cancer.

Now I am in the third stage:

In this stage, it includes everything from stages one and two of my career, plus immune system and living your optimal healthy life.

On the heels of Covid-19, adults are even more concerned than ever about the integrity of their immune system.  People don’t need another Fit-bit, starvation diet or home exercise equipment.  What they need is a plan that follows proven principles that is followed with consistency and accountability.


Alyssa Schlossler

Brandon Bratek

Matt Henechowicz

Carl Neuman


Calvin de Zitter



Calvin de Zitter (Head Trainer)


Calvin de Zitter, born in South Africa, has been involved in the field of Health and Fitness since 2005. He attended Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, and has a 5 year Honors degree in Biokinetics (Athletic training) and is registered under the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). He specializes in Orthopedic examination and final phase rehabilitation and has worked with many patients ranging from the elderly to elite athletes, Parkinson’s patients, stroke victims and more. Calvin is also NASM-CPT certified.

After obtaining his degree, Calvin decided to take his knowledge abroad from his studies in South Africa to get first hand experience helping others on cruise lines. He managed and trained passengers on Royal Caribbean Cruise lines for over two years, traveling to over 30 countries. 

Calvin then immigrated to Buffalo, New York, where he has been a committed staff member at Dr. Derek Health and Fitness since 2012. His  focus has been on training and managing clients who are passionate about making life changes in fitness and nutrition. 

He is an avid road cyclist and is a field hockey club coach in Buffalo.

Erin Edson (Executive Assistant)


Erin Edson, born and raised in Buffalo, has been involved in the area of sports and coaching for most of her life. Growing up she played many sports including Lacrosse, Field Hockey, Ice Hockey and Soccer. Throughout high school and college she coached multiple lacrosse camps, clinics and local club teams. She attended Fredonia State University, and has her Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management with Minors in Athletic Coaching and Business Administration. While at Fredonia, she competed on their Division III Women’s Lacrosse Team for all 4 years. She then attended Daemen College and earned her Masters Degree in Executive Leadership and Change. While at Daemen, she worked as a Graduate Assistant in their Division II Athletic Department. She has over 8 years of administrative experience in the health care, higher education and athletic settings. 

Erin joined the Dr. Derek Health and Fitness team in 2020. Her focus is client correspondence, office/facility management and database oversight. 

She enjoys staying active, cooking and spending time with her family and friends!

Brandon Bratek (Trainer)


Brandon Bratek, born and raised in Buffalo, has been involved in the field of Health and Fitness since 2012. He attended SUNY Brockport and has a dual degree in Exercise Science and Physical Education, along with a Master’s degree in Physical Education from Canisius college.

Brandon has been a committed staff member at Dr. Derek Health and Fitness since 2015. He is passionate about motivating his clients to reach their health and fitness goals!

He is also a Health teacher in the Lockport City School District where he coaches football and track & field.

Alyssa Schlosser (Trainer)


Alyssa is from Wilson, NY and graduated from Niagara County Community College in 2016 with an Associates Degree in Humanities and Social Sciences. While at NCCC, Alyssa played on the women’s volleyball team! After 2 years of general studies, she transferred to Daemen College and graduated in January 2019 with her BS in Health Promotion and a Specialization in Health and Fitness Training.

Through her years at Daemen, she interned at Buffalo State College where she worked with men’s and women’s Division III athletics in the strength and conditioning department. During her time in college, she also worked at a women’s only gym and trained women of all ages and capabilities.

As a coach for Niagara County Volleyball Club, she works closely with high school students in the area where she grew up, and continues to give back to her community through planning and volunteering at her local church’s 5k. She loves to kayak, hike, run, and work out with friends – she stays active any way she can!

Although her experience is athletics based, she gained knowledge and experience working with the public through Daemen College and loves to implement athletics into the everyday life for the clients here at Dr. Derek Health and Fitness!

Carl Neuman (Trainer)


Carl Neuman has been involved in the health and fitness field since 2003. Carl studied Physical Education at Niagara County Community College and has been a Personal Fitness Trainer since 2009. He also managed a Vitamin Shoppe for over 8 years and gained knowledge in nutrition and supplementation. 

Carl loves to workout, golf and spend time with his family. He is a huge Buffalo Bills fan and can talk about football all day. 

His passion for learning and helping others achieve their health and fitness goals has made him a key member of Dr. Derek’s team since 2014.

Matt Henechowicz (Trainer)


Matthew Henechowicz was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from The University of Rhode Island. While attending university he was a member of the triathlon team that competed in the University Multisport Series. Upon graduating with scholastic distinction, Matt learned his true area of expertise is in the domain of exercise science in the aging population. Matt is involved with many charitable foundations and spends hours of volunteer service in the local community. Prioritizing and managing time efficiently has been pivotal in allowing him to improve his client’s quality of life and well-being, while personally maintaining a high level of fitness. 


Although Matt has diverse interests one of his most rewarding pastimes was as a competitive snowboarder. Traveling across Canada to Whistler/Blackcomb, British Columbia, was the culmination of many years of training. His time there led to many successes and many more valuable learning experiences. During this experience, Matt obtained employment as a snowboard instructor, SPIN instructor and triathlon coach, and continues teaching today. 


In 2018, Matt moved to Buffalo and began employment at Dr. Derek Health and fitness in 2019. His hobbies include reading, golf, hockey, and strength training.