Michelle Ryder grew up in Edmonton Alberta, (where she felt landlocked), and graduated from the University of Alberta in Edmonton with a BA and BEd. Michelle danced professionally for 10 years with Shumka Ukrainian Dancers, upon retiring; she took up teaching fitness, which eventually led to the YMCA.

Looking for bigger adventures, Michelle left Alberta behind and moved to Sydney, Nova Scotia, where she started teaching Zumba Fitness and other aerobic classes at the Frank Rudderham YMCA in Cape Breton.

Michelle moved to Halifax in 2014 and taught fitness classes at the South Park YMCA until they closed in May 2014. In late 2017, she became Executive Assistant at the YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth and was elated to align her professional career, and passion for health and fitness, with the values of the YMCA. When not at work, Michelle is out in the community teaching fitness classes and hunting chickens with her Lab/Husky Todden.