I have worked with an old friend’s father, Larry Fischer, for about six years. When Larry came to me he needed some serious help with his levels of health, fitness and strength. I did help him and here is his story:
My name is Larry Fischer. I am a 63 year old retiree living in West Hartford, CT. I’ve had the disorder, Reiter’s Disease since the early 1990’s. This disease is also known as Reactive Arthritis, an autoimmune condition that develops in response to an infection in another part of the body. Over the years, I’ve been on many different arthritic medications. Unfortunately, none of these medications gave me long lasting relief from pain and stiffness in all of my joints.
I was very athletic and played many sports thru my 20’s, 30’s and early 40’s. Unfortunately, I had to give up playing the sports that I loved when the Reiter’s Disease attacked my body around 1991. This was difficult for me both mentally and physically.
In January of 2004, I started to train with Shawn O’Brien. Due to the pain in my joints, I had not exercised in close to fifteen years. At this time, I absolutely had zero strength and flexibility. In fact, during my arthritic flare-ups, I often had a difficult time getting up from the couch. My muscles were so weak from inactivity that, even without any weights at all, I could not raise my arms to a completely horizontal position. Linked to this was the fact that I suffered from an irreparable torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder which prohibited me from being able to simply straighten my right arm. Also, there was so much arthritis in my right knee that I could not straighten the leg and had a difficult time walking.
When I first met with Shawn, he asked me what I wanted to accomplish. I listed my goals as follows :
- Decrease in pain and stiffness.
- Better strength in all of my muscles.
- Some measure of flexibility and agility.
- A stronger core, especially in the abdominal muscles.
- Better cardio.
My real dream was to get back on the basketball and tennis courts but I didn’t think that was possible so I didn’t list that as a goal. Shawn, on the other hand, approached the training in a very positive and supportive manner. He felt that playing basketball and tennis again was something I could accomplish with his training and my hard work.
Shawn turned out to be a miracle worker. Knowing that I had limitations due to the arthritis, he brought me along slowly. With his excellent training methods, my strength and flexibility increased dramatically in both my upper and lower body. Here are some examples. As for the upper body, he provided me with a diverse number of shoulder exercises that strengthened the muscles around the damaged right rotator cuff and allowed me to have a much greater range of motion. He helped me to strengthen my right knee and gave me a number of stretching exercises that lengthened the knee. Before long, I was not only walking better but I actually began running for the first time in fifteen years. I trained with Shawn for approximately one year. With his tremendous support, I was able to realize all my goals and return to the basketball and tennis courts.
Shawn has a number of abilities and characteristics that make him a wonderful trainer. He’s a terrific all around athlete and knows the type of flexibility, agility, speed and weight resistance exercises necessary to improve one’s performance in many sports. He has a wealth of knowledge not only in physical training but also in nutrition and in the mental approach to making better lifestyle changes. He has a very friendly, outgoing personality and makes his training workouts fun and challenging at the same time. Shawn has a great deal of compassion. He is someone you feel you can easily talk to about your fitness progress, your lifestyle and any problems you might have in your daily life.
Shawn and Jeff Roux own Excel Fitness. They genuinely love people. Their training package includes good nutrition and an improved lifestyle. Bottom line, they want you to be healthy. Excel Fitness has a membership that includes senior citizens, middle age folks and people in their 20’s and 30’s. Shawn and Jeff keep the workout rooms, locker rooms and kitchen area spotless. They both have a great sense of humor. The club is so friendly and everyone gets along so well. It’s no surprise that Excel Fitness has won the award of “best fitness club” in Greater Hartford the past few years.
If you want to improve your fitness and your overall health, you ought to stop by.