I have always been extremely active and fit; an avid runner, competing in many half marathons and triathlons. I’ve trained with Jeff and his former partner Shawn for many years to add extra strength training and to help prevent injuries.
In August of 2013 I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. I had no idea of how the treatment and ensuing 2 years would change my life. The treatment and side effects (or as I like to call it “collateral damage”) completely impacted what I was capable of physically doing. Because of the intense radiation I lost much of my aerobic capacity. The surgery and removal of all lymph nodes left me with very limited range of motion in my right arm. And the chemo, well, just plain made me as sick as I could ever think of being.
During the time I was receiving chemo, the only place I felt comfortable being seen with my headscarf in public was at Excel Fitness. My oncologist kept telling me how important it was to try and stay as active as possible despite how horrible I felt. If it hadn’t been for Jeff, his kindness, understanding and empathy, I don’t think I could have continued. He allowed my schedule to be as flexible as necessary, working around my chemo “bad weeks”, post surgical treatment, and ensuing radiation schedule.
When my treatment ended and I was trying to get back in “the game of life”, I started to try and take up running again. December 2014, Jeff gave me the challenge of running my first 5K since I had been sick. But, not only did he challenge me to do it, he ran it with me….at my very slow pace….but we finished! I think he knew how important it was to me to finally be able to sign up for a race again. This is an example of Jeff’s commitment to his client’s achievement of goals. He took this outside the gym, on his own time, to help me achieve a goal.
Since then, I’ve also been training with Pat. Both Pat and Jeff have continued to challenge and motivate me; our workouts are both challenging and effective. I consider both Pat and Jeff to be part of my continued recovery program. They are exceptional, knowledgeable and overall enjoyable to work with!
Excel Fitness owner and personal trainer, Jeff Roux adds, “If everyone had Mary Ellen’s attitude, positivity and drive the world would be a better place. I push her in her workouts more than almost anyone, she never complains, she knows the workouts are nothing compared to fighting and beating cancer! I love to see her improve and look forward to all of our sessions, but most of all I love seeing her enjoy life! “