Tag Archives: clients

HBJ’s 40 under 40 Award; what it means to me

Hartford Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Recipient

It’s an honor for me to be selected as a Hartford Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Recipient.  My goal to leave Bally Total Fitness after 10 years of service as the Fitness Director was to open a facility where the customer, staff and the community come first, and if these fundamental points were followed consistently the business would thrive.

Now, in a slumped economy where many businesses are both slashing prices and cutting services, or in many cases closing their doors permanently, Excel Fitness has managed to grow.  I believe our members, who have been tremendously supportive, are a large part of our success.  They have encouraged us to become involved in the community, helped us organize and contributed to our School Supply Drive, Food Pantry Drive and Breast Cancer Walk to name a few.

I also believe who we associate with is a big part of our success.  When I arrived at the winners’ photo shoot I was excited to see that I already associate with and am friends with four other recipients.  I am also proud to say that I am personally training two of them.  It solidifies in my mind if you want to be successful you need to surround yourself with other ambitious successful people.

I have to also give thanks to Karen Robbins, a client for over a year now, and my sister who at the time worked for us at Excel Fitness, for nominating me.  As a HBJ 40 under 40 Recipient, I now feel an even greater responsibility to lead by example in community involvement and in performing sound business principles and ethics.  I will encourage others to work tirelessly putting the community and the customer first to make Greater Hartford a better place to do business, work, and most of all live.


Karen Robbins, Excel Fitness Client

Client Testimonial – Larry Fischer

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 :

  1. Decrease in pain and stiffness.
  2. Better strength in all of my muscles.
  3. Some measure of flexibility and agility.
  4. A stronger core, especially in the abdominal muscles.
  5. 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.


Looking for the RIGHT Personal Trainer??

Top 5 Ways to Find the Right Trainer

5.  Research the trainer’s education or certifications, logistics with the training packages (restrictions, cost, discounts, etc.).
4.  Make sure to read testimonials to the trainer from the client with the largest amount of weight loss – 50lbs, 80lbs 100+lbs.
3.  Ask their clients, “How is your trainer with his/her clients?”  FOLLOW UP WITH  “Would you have him or her train your mother?”
2.  Visit gyms or locations where the prospective trainers work, be an investigator.  Do you see yourself fitting in there?
1.  Ask friends, endocrinologists or local physical therapists for a referral.

ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS. You are the customer!!

Shawn O’Brien
Excel Fitness, Co-Owner
M.S. Exercise Science
(860) 523-8167
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