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Our Staff

Donny Donovan

Manager of Wellness, Persad Center

 Program Manager of Phoenix Fitness Gym



Donal “Donny” Donovan is the Founder & CEO of Free Will Health and Wellness and Wellness Manager at Persad Center and Director of Phoenix Fitness within Persad Center. Donal received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science from Mercyhurst University, where they also played Division II Soccer. Donal was first certified as a Personal Trainer in 2010 through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). In 2013, Donal earned a Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Pittsburgh School of Education. Donny has worked for organizations such as the Jewish Community Center, YMCA, and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh as a Fitness Specialist. In 2014, Donny became a Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) Jumpstart Instructor and completed the Resistance Training Specialist (RTS) Practical. Donal is also a Certified Holistic Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. In 2015, Donal founded Free Will Health and Wellness, an inclusive Pittsburgh-based company that specializes in muscle activation, gender affirming personal training, wellness coaching, meditation, and exercise mechanics for resistance training. Donny has been honored as one of Allies Health and Wellbeing “Bright Young Leaders” of 2023. They were also recognized as second place winner of City Paper’s “Best of Pittsburgh” for Best Personal Trainer. In addition to these awards Donny has presented at the 2022 and 2023 Pittsburgh TransPride Conference hosted by TransYOUniting on “Gender Affirming Personal Training”.  In 2023, Donal became a Mental Health First Aider and completed the Trauma Informed Weight Lifting certification through the Center for Trauma & Embodiment at JRI. Donny graduated from the 23’ cohort of YogaRoots On Location’s AntiRacist Raja Yoga Teacher Training at the 200-hour level and is currently completing their Meditation Teacher Training through Arhanta Yoga. In addition to wellness Donny is a singer-songwriter in LEVI and enjoys running, animals, and sustainability. In 2024, they joined the Emerging Leaders Advisory Committee of the Western PA Conservancy. 

In November of 2023, Donny was recruited by Ben Cepparulo to help lead, manage, and develop Phoenix Fitness. After having just lost their 13 year old black lab, Donny was heartbroken, but decided to take this opportunity because they are committed to helping people live a healthy life with authenticity. Donny has been providing gender inclusive personal training within their own small business for many years, but this was a step to develop an inclusive gym for the community. Donny has first hand experience working out in public gyms that are not trans friendly or even welcoming. One of the biggest barriers is having binary restrooms and changing areas. This situation puts trans people in a vulnerable position to choose the “right” restroom to use. In addition, there is an incredible amount of pressure from the fitness industry for people to fit the role of what society has constructed what our bodies should look like and even how they move. Providing a space for body and movement autonomy is key for people to enjoy and have a good relationship with exercise.



Monday – Friday: 8am – 7pm
​​Saturday & Sunday: closed

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