New YMCA Wellness Director reflects on career, eyes future


By Susan Olsen Orpilla , Contributing Writer

New YMCA Wellness Director reflects on career, eyes future
The Westborough YMCA is located at 4 Valente Dr. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

WESTBOROUGH – In August, the Boroughs Family Branch YMCA proudly announced the appointment of their new Wellness Director, Bryan Dearnley. 

It’s the dream job he’s been diligently working toward for the past several years, and perhaps his whole life.

“The YMCA has been a huge part of my family’s life for many years, and I’m grateful that I get to be a part of those experiences for others at the Boroughs Branch,” Dearnley said in a recent interview with the Community Advocate.

Teenage health scare prompts new focus on fitness, nutrition

Growing up in Charlton, Dearnley has many fond memories with his family at the Tri-Community Family Branch YMCA in Southbridge, where his life-long passion for health and fitness began. 

He remembers enjoying summer camps, taking martial arts lessons and learning how to swim. His father first started teaching him the proper use of fitness equipment around age 12. They had a routine of working out together twice a week while his brother, Troy, trained and competed as a swimmer for the in-house Special Olympics team.

At 17, Dearnley was diagnosed as pre-diabetic, a catalyst that made him get more serious about his own health. 

After three months of gym and nutrition dedication, he was no longer at risk. 

Path to health, fitness career started in family business

Right after high school, Dearnley began working at S & D Spinning Mill in Millbury, a business started by his grandfather and currently run by his father.

“When I realized that taking over the family business wasn’t my passion, I began thinking about my passion for helping people through fitness,” Dearnley said.

Preparation for his new career started at the National Personal Training Institute, which Dearnley graduated from in 2014. 

Then, Dearnley dove into the field by becoming a personal trainer, group exercise instructor, personal training director and general manager. He eventually managed multiple clubs. 

However, in an industry that is constantly changing, Dearnley continued pursuing more health and wellness education. 

In May, he achieved his certification as a wellness coach, gaining skills in understanding the psychology of how people view and handle their own health and wellness as well as behavior modification. He is currently enrolled in a nutrition learning program in hopes of passing the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching exam next year.

Plans to build on YMCA offerings take shape

Dearnley is happy to join the team at the Boroughs Family Branch YMCA. 

“Members are valued as people and not dollar signs here,” he said. “I work with great staff, and we are happy to come to work because we know we are helping people every day.”

Dearnley said he considers the Boroughs Branch one of the most beautiful and well-equipped facilities in all of New England, with its state-of-the-art equipment, multiple exercise studios, rock climbing wall, snack bar, sauna, steam rooms, indoor pool with hot tub, and outdoor pool with large splash pad. 

The facility also features various classes, clubs, camps, and a little bit of everything for people of all ages. 

However, Dearnley also has many ideas to improve programs for the overall wellness of individuals. 

 “As a trainer, I’ve always known that there is much more to overall wellness than just the fitness side,” he said. “Sometimes personal training fails when the person as a whole isn’t considered or involved.”

As the new Wellness Director, Dearnley is educating his staff to become more than typical gym trainers. He is working on getting systems in place for members to have access to nutritional guidance, health coaching and an overall wellness plan to reach their health goals. 

He also intends to create fun wellness challenges, hold educational seminars, and take offsite trips such as trips to read nutrition labels at a grocery store.

New wellness director continues family passion for fitness

Dearnley’s parents met at a gym. He and his wife Maricela met at a gym. Neither of those first connections were at a YMCA. But both were the result of a shared enthusiasm for fitness. 

The Dearnleys currently reside in Putnam, Connecticut, where they enjoy the Hale YMCA. 

Bryan and Maricela are expecting their first child in February. 

“We are thrilled to know that our baby will get to grow up with experiences at YMCA individually and all of us as a family,” Bryan said.

The Boroughs Family Branch YMCA is part of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts and is located at 4 Valente Dr. in Westborough, off Route 20, across from the the Christmas Tree Shops. To learn more, visit their website at or contact their Member Service Center by calling (508) 755-6101 or emailing [email protected].