Tag Archives: cardio

Excel Fitness’ “Our Biggest Loser 2013” Participants Lose Over 100 lbs in Just Two Months

The 26 men and woman who enrolled in the Excel Fitness “Our Biggest Loser 2013” competition have put in countless hours logging their meals, adhering to a plan for healthy eating, and sweating tirelessly to shed weight and body fat with the hopes of winning this year’s grand prize: $325 CASH!!!

The competition, which ran from January 18, 2013-March 15, 2013, “has had a huge impact on client’s ability to set and stick with otherwise tricky New Year’s goals to lose weight, get active, and feel great,” says Excel Fitness trainer Ilicia Balaban. Long time Excel Fitness member and personal training client, Mary Flynn explained, “I joined the [Our] Biggest Loser contest to get re-motivated in my weight loss efforts.”

Upon entry, participants scheduled a brief meeting with one of the Excel Fitness certified personal trainers to record initial weight and body fat. Participants were encouraged to take advantage of special training offers like a free 60-min personal training session with the purchase of four or more OR 10 percent off small group training classes. Many participants took advantage of the special offers, augmenting their oft-strenuous cardio sessions with uniquely designed weight training, calisthenics, plyo-metrics, kick-boxing, stretching and other effective exercise techniques.

Results were computed following the final weigh-in on March 15th; weight loss and body fat loss were divided by starting weight and body fat to achieve a relative number, making the competition fair for all participants, regardless of how much excess weight the individual was hoping to lose.


1ST Place:Tomas Nenortas: $325 grand prize

3rd and 1st Places Winners Leona Gwaz and Tomas Nenortas show off their hard won prizes!!!

2nd Place: Ryan Friedman: Two, 60-min personal training sessions ($160 value)

3rd Place: Leona Gwaz: Sony MP3 Player ($150 value)


Of the initial 26 enrollees, 14 individuals completed the final weigh-in, and their weight/body fat loss numbers were astonishing. Altogether, Excel Fitness “Our Biggest Loser 2013” contestants lost over 100 lbs and reduced their body fat by an average of 1.4% per person.              Winners Leona Gwaz and Tomas Nenortas show off their prizes

Excel Fitness offers a clean, state-of-the-art, intimate, personal fitness center. Our staff consists of seven nationally certified personal trainers, with a range of specialties, from weight loss and strength building, to injury rehabilitation and sport specific training. Excel Fitness offer personal training, small group classes, regular memberships, CPR/AED certification training, and massage therapy.

Excel Fitness is located at 589 New Park Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06110.  Call to schedule a complimentary initial workout and assessment or go to www.excelfitnessct.com for more information.


Exercise has medicine-like effects on mood?

By: Shawn M. O’Brien, M.S.

Our delicate human bodies were meant to move (i.e.- run, lift, protect, hunt, gather, etc), but there are various other reasons why one should consider to “exercise” or participate and be consistently active in exercise programs like; running, weight training, yoga, dancing or organized sports.

Reasons to exercise can be as simple as increasing one’s self confidence/self worth or the reasons can be as important as decreasing incidence of cardiovascular disease, manage diabetes and/or increased quality of life.  Exercise, of numerous varieties, result in “significant reductions in a depressed mood, fatigue and cortisol levels, as indicated in a study of rowers on a workout protocol compared to those in a control group” (Perna, 1998).  Cortisol is a stress response hormone, which causes specific hormones to flood your body which causes your mood changes.  Without this bio-feedback system we couldn’t live, but when cortisol levels rise to dangerous levels, development of physical and mental disease and conditions can be brought on by chronic stress (Leland, 2010).

Varieties of exercise can be used to improve one’s emotional state, which will decrease cortisol levels and increase endorphins (hormones produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus produced during exercise to give a feeling of well being).  Not only do rowing, running, yoga and weight training produce significant levels of endorphins, they also aid in the reduction of cortisol, decrease appetite, decrease depression and increase levels of happiness. For example, a group with the regular habit of doing yoga with a method of meditation, breathing and self-guided imagery showed lower scores of negative mood scale and higher scores of positive mood scale, lower levels of s-cortisol compared to the group without this regular habit (Watanabe, E, 2002).

Want to have a better workout? Consider a program consisting of yoga, stretching, cardiovascular training, weight training, recreational events and meditation can have long-term benefits for not only your mental health, but your physical health.  A variety of these activities performed 4-7 days a week with variations of intensity will be best.  Please see your doctor for clearance and visit a reputable personal trainer for further exercise programming. 

Look Good. Feel Good. Play Good.

Leland, Kevin, “The Effects of Stress, Cortisol, Serotonin and Exercise,” STRESS, 2010.

Perna, FM, “Cognitive-behavioral intervention effects on mood and cortisol and during exercise training.” Annual Behavior Medical Journal. 1998 Spring:20(2):92:8.

Watanabe, E, “Altered Responses of Saliva Cortisol and Mood Status by Long-period Special Yoga

Exercise Mixed with Meditation and Guided Imagery.” Journal of International Society of Life

Information Science. 20, pg 2, 2002.