Call Us: 1-609-882-4500


Joan Brame

Certified Personal Trainer 

Certified Cancer Exercise Specialist

Joan is owner (with husband Steve) and manager of Empower Fitness.

Joan, with a Ph.D. in Sociology, MSW in Social Work and BS in Math, retired in 2003 after a thirty-two year career in academia and hospital administration.

Soon after “retiring”, Joan explains she was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to combine her love for physical fitness with her desire to be a hands-on business owner.

Believing that good health is a lifelong journey, Joan feels privileged to be involved in the lives of so many wonderful women, all working toward improving their health.

Joan is both a Certified Fitness Trainer and Certified Cancer Exercise Specialist, and currently serves on the Mercer County Community College Business Advisory Commission and on the Board of Directors for NAMI Mercer.

Joan has provided fitness consultation and workshops to several community organizations, including NAMI Mercer, Greater Trenton Behavioral Healthcare, Heart-to-Heart, Radiology Affiliates, and Lawrence Public Library

Joan Malchow

Certified Personal Trainer

Certified Group Exercise Leader

Joan Malchow joined Empower Fitness as a new member in September 2004. She enjoyed working out with the members so much that she decided to become a fitness professional.

Joan joined the Empower Fitness staff in 2006. Today, she holds certifications in four areas: as a Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor, Fitness Specialist for Older Adults, and as a Group Exercise Leader.

“My goal,” she explains, “is to develop exercise programs that focus on building strength and endurance while holding on to balance, coordination, flexibility, muscle and bone mass which decline sharply as we age.

These exercise programs can help us retain the ability to perform activities of daily living, prevent falls, or lessen the damage if a fall does occur.”

“Use it or lose it” is Joan’s motto. She goes on to say, “This is my passion now that I have retired from my full-time career as a marketing survey researcher. I love every minute of it.

Thank you Joan Brame and all of the wonderful Empower Fitness members for making this new and rewarding career possible.”

Heather Walker

Certified Personal Coach

Certified Zumba Instructor

Heather joined the Empower Fitness staff in October, 2009 with much exercise experience, having worked for five years at Ladies Workout Express.

Heather has an extensive dancing background, and has danced with the Princeton Regional Ballet, the Mercer Dance Ensemble, and the Suburban Dance Force.

She has owned the Jaztabal Dance Company for 24 years, and the Bordentown Ballet Theatre for 12 years.

She is a member of Dance Educators of America and International Teachers of Dance, where she is an officer.

Another of Heather’s talents is performing magic with her husband, Fred, as the Magicwalkers!

At Empower Fitness, Heather teaches several classes.

Francine White 

Exercise Coach

Francine was a gym member first at Empower Fitness, and was asked to join the staff in 2009 due to her enthusiasm for good health and diligent work habits.

Francine is recently retired from a career as a certified Head Teacher in Early Childhood Education.

Born and educated in Trenton, Francine attended Mercer County Community College, Rutgers, and Glassboro State College.

She is the proud mother of two children and three grandchildren; and a faithful member of the Beauty Grove Primitive Baptist Church, where she serves on the Usher Board, Mass Choir, and acts as a Sunday School Teacher.

At Empower Fitness, Francine continues to develop new skills and now teaches classes in dance and ab strengthening.

Marketta Goodson

Certified MassageTherapist

Marketta is a Licensed Massage Therapist in the State of New Jersey. She graduated from Health Choices Holistic Massage Therapy School in Hillsboro, NJ.

Because Marketta noticed the effect that massage has on men and women suffering from sports-related injuries, she developed a fondness for sports massage.

Marketta is trained in all massage modalities to include deep tissue, Swedish, reflexology, pre-natal and hot stone. Marketta enjoys performing massages at Empower Fitness because she is able to showcase her various therapies customized to the needs of our clients.

Marketta attended Mercer County Vocational School where she became a New Jersey Licensed Cosmetologist- Hairstyles. She also has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Sales & Marketing from DeVry University.

Deborah Thomas

Certified Pilates Mat Instructor

Deb Thomas has been a certified Pilates teacher since 2004, having completed a one year apprenticeship at a Polestar certified Pilates studio in NJ.

The Polestar philosophy has a healthy mixture of rehabilitative and exercise components; an avid horseback rider and former figure skater, Deb credits the stretching and core strengthening routines of Pilates with enabling her to continue riding horses well into her sixties.

Her philosophy is “life is short, so enjoy it. Let’s have some serious fun”. A stickler for correct form and control of movement, Deb tries to bring a sense of joy into her classes.

Deb has an MBA with experience in electronic text production, contingency planning, marketing and event planning. She is also a certified assisted living administrator and has been the Director of Admissions/Guest Relations for some local skilled nursing facilities.

A caregiver for her late mother, Deb lives in East Windsor, is a member of the Bd. Of Directors of Wheaton Pointe and sits on the EWT Commission on Aging. She shares her life with her dog, Dell, a not so silent Basenji, and Hank, an opinionated rescued racehorse.

Donna Caristo 

Certified Personal Trainer

Donna Caristo is an AAAI/ISMA certified personal trainer. 

She was on the cross country team in high school and still enjoys running as a part of her physical fitness routine. 

While in college, she taught group fitness classes at Elaine Powers, a fitness center for women. She became interested in strength training in her 20’s when her boyfriend (now husband) started training her.

She enjoys it so much that in 2010 she decided to get her certification so that she can share her knowledge to help others get fit.


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Kathi Jackson

Certified Massage Therapist

Kathi Jackson is a licensed massage therapist and owner of Hands for Healing Massage Therapy, LLC.  Kathi is a graduate of the National Massage Therapy Institute and specializes in therapeutic massage, deep tissue, trigger point, reiki, and swedish massages.  A previous member of Empower Fitness, Kathi is available to do massages by appointment any day of the week.



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Lawrence Shopping Center
(near Burlington Coat Factory)
2495 Route 1 at Texas Ave.
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648

Contact info:

phone: 609.882.4500
fax: 609.406.1471