Tag Archives: Shawn O’Brien

Another Endoresment for Shawn O’Brien and Excel Fitness

Another Endorsement for Shawn O’Brien and Excel Fitness

by Martha Price Miss Hartford County 2011


I had the pleasure of working with Shawn O’Brien at Excel Fitness in preparation to compete in the Miss Connecticut Scholarship Pageant.  He helped me reach my goals of slimming down, toning up, and most importantly, living a healthy lifestyle.  After several personal training sessions, Shawn has provided me with a wealth of knowledge about health and fitness which I am sure to use for the rest of my life.

One of the most valuable things that Shawn taught me was how to challenge my body using a variety of equipment and techniques.  He tailored my workouts to accommodate the equipment I had at my school’s gym.  Before working with Shawn, I usually played it safe by containing my workouts to the treadmill, elliptical, and stretching area.  Now, I’m confident and comfortable using every piece of equipment, lifting weights in the weight-room, and lunging across the room with 10 lb dumbbells. Needless to say, I am now much better equipped to stay in shape.  Since I typically travel to Connecticut on the weekends, I was wary about not being able to keep up my workout regimen at home.  Shawn provided numerous creative alternatives to maintain my workouts using the limited equipment I possessed.  The variety of exercises I learned was not only effective, but it also made my workouts interesting and continuously challenging.  From this experience, I have taken away a wealth of knowledge about how to get fit no matter where I am or what equipment I have.

Martha Price - Miss CT Top 10
Martha Price - Miss CT Top 10

Before I started working with Shawn, I assumed that his role would simply be to help me get in shape.  After our first session, I knew that Shawn was more than a personal trainer.  His genuine words of encouragement helped me not only persevere through challenging workouts, but also through the stress and pressure of competing in a pageant.  Shawn constantly reminded me to stay positive and keep working hard to achieve my goals.  His optimism is contagious, and made me feel as if I could accomplish anything I set my mind to.

I am very blessed to have had Shawn on my support team as I prepared for the Miss Connecticut Scholarship Pageant.  I took the stage feeling confident, healthy, and focused.  With Shawn’s help, I was a top 10 finalist.  I am excited to continue using the knowledge that I have gained from working with Shawn not only in preparation for future pageants, but also in my everyday life.

Forever Grateful,

Martha Price, Miss Hartford County 2011


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Spring and Summer is Here!

Wow, did the Northeast have a heck of a Winter or what?!?!  It does feel like this past Winter season was a little colder, a little longer and a little less tolerable.  Ahhhhh, but there is relief as we speak.  It is 80 degrees and not a cloud in the sky here at Excel Fitness  in West Hartford, CT, so I decided to take break (recess) and shot some hoops for 30 minutes.  My basketball shooting burned 188 calories, but it did so much more for my mind to be outside and relax for a few minutes.   See how many calories you burn doing your favorite outdoor activity here  Calorie Counter.

The point is go outside for some type of activity.  Staying fit and getting mentally refreshed can be easier than you think.  My next activity is hiking up to Heublein Tower in Avon, CT (120 minutes is 900 calories burned).

Time-bound vs. Goal-bound

Time-bound vs. Goal-bound

by: Shawn O’Brien, M.S.

In the current days of the ever expanding technology BOOM, everything is instant.

Instant Oatmeal, Instant Messaging, Instant Coffee, Instant Food and you can fill in a few more.

There are numerous versions of quotations floating around which go something like this – “IT WAS WORTH THE WAIT” or “THEY DON’T MAKE THINGS LIKE THEY USED TO” or “ANYTHING WORTH DOING IS WORTH DOING WELL.” I guess even though these sayings are still used, not many people apply the principles of hard work and dedication to the art of long term planning.  Whether you are trying to lose 20 pounds, buy a house, help the community or grow your business you have to set some appropriate goals.

Setting these goals should mean you have something important in mind to accomplish and these same accomplishments should have a realistic time frame to complete them.  Not only a realistic time frame, but having smaller or short-term goals as stepping stones to a long-term goal or project will increase your likelihood of completing this and all goals.  Inversely, having long-term maintenance objectives in place at the completion of the short-term goals you have worked so hard to achieve, will increase your success of maintaining said objective.

In summary, the term “INSTANT” may only be able to applied to your coffee or oatmeal, but if you really want to achieve something great take more than a minute to think about where your GOAL IS BOUND AND HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE TO GET THERE.   You will be surprised how gratifying it is to get there.

Client Testimonial To Excel Fitness – Tara Cappa

Client Testimonial

by- Tara Cappa


I have always struggled with my weight.  As a young overweight adolescent to an even more overweight adult it has always been a losing battle.  Granted I had my ups but had even more downs as a result of my yo-yo dieting and exercise.  My detrimental ways came to a head when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in late 2007.  It was an obvious red flag that I was out of control and needed to make some serious lifestyle changes.  But it was quite some time before I had my “moment.”

One day in the summer of 2009 I looked at myself in the mirror and could hardly recognize what I had become.  As I stated before I was never a thin girl, but the person staring back at me was not at all what I could have imagined.  It was then that it became clear that it was time to kick this unhealthy lifestyle for good.  At 215+ pounds it was a decision that had to be made not only for myself but in order to see my son grow up and not miss a thing.  I knew my health would suffer greatly if I kept on the same destructive path.  So as I had done so many times before, I started with a combo of cardio and dieting and was very successful as I had been in the past….but I knew I needed to take things to a different level.  I started communicating with Shawn O’Brien through Facebook.  Having lived down the street from Shawn all my life, I was hesitant and slightly embarrassed to discuss with him my situation.  Once I did, it was the best decision I could have made.

Excel Fitness was holding their own “Biggest Loser” contest and Shawn thought it might be a good thing for me to look into.  I joined the program on February 1st of this year and have not looked back since.  As part of the contest I was able to meet with Shawn on a one-on-one basis and he helped me with a workout and diet regime.  Even though I had been succeeding with weight loss he helped me to realize that I was going about things in the wrong way.  He developed a workout plan that included both cardio and weight training as well as helped me design a healthy eating plan.

Once I got back into the gym, I realized how much I loved the weight training and how much I had missed it!!  For the three months of the competition I had a great support system between the other contestants and the encouraging Excel Fitness staff.  I started the competition at 164lbs and 34% body fat and ended at 138 lbs and 26% body fat.

The contest was the just the beginning of what was to come.  I was so grateful that I had the chance to be a part of something so positive and did not want it to end.  I became so comfortable with Shawn that I decided I wanted him to train me personally on a weekly basis.  In June I begin meeting with Shawn weekly and we took off running utilizing the tools I had been given the previous months.

I am currently down another 15+ pounds and even more incredible is that I have dropped to 18% body fat.  I have made the healthy eating and exercise a lifestyle change and could not be more happy with my results.  Of course I have my days when I want to just give up and go back to the old me but I always think about what Shawn and the rest of the Excel staff has helped me to accomplish and do not want to let them or myself down.

I am sure you have heard the old saying if I can do it then anyone can, but I am living proof that it is a very true statement.  With the proper guidance I truly have “exceled” and am looking forward to a healthy and prosperous life!

Concussions – More Common Than You Think

Concussions – More Common Than You Think

by – Shawn O’Brien, M.S.

Do you watch sporting events, particularly contact sports, such as football or hockey?  You may have noticed more content during these broadcasts in regards to concussion research and its prevention.

The topic of this article isn’t meant to bore you about scientific data, it is meant to reinforce the premise – Concussions are more common than one would think.  I work with a young female athlete  and this past summer her family and I noticed something different about her.  Even though she had a few joint injuries from sports participation, her balance and overall strength was significantly lower than the previous summer.  After her family and I conferred, it was deemed appropriate to bring this issue to a medical professional (neurologist).  She is now on her way back to recovery and should be back to competitive sports soon.

This situation brought me back to my days at Southern Connecticut State University as an exercise science graduate student taking “Sports Medicine.”   This class covered such topics as steroid use, over-training, cervical spine injuries, hormone treatment, exercise environment, periodization of muscle development, CONCUSSIONS and other similar topics, all of which I use today to create exercise programs for individuals.

By Definition: The causes of a concussion are the immediate transient alterations of neurological function caused by mechanical acceleration and deceleration forces (Manual of Sports Medicine, 1998).  To translate in layperson terms: your brain has been bruised.

Concussions also cause secondary issues: additional susceptibility to future concussions, association with high morbidity (disease) and even mortality (death) and 10-15% who have a concussion have a cervical spinal injuries.

There are different classifications of concussions, which are, Bell Ringers, Stage One, Two and Three, all of these classifications depend the time of amnesia, loss or no loss of consciousness and lack of coordination. Regardless of the severity or classification a very conservative approach should be taken to preserve the mental status of the patient in the guidelines of care and treatment.

The bottom line your brain can be injured as well and all precautions should be taken to evaluate all athletes at any level.  Seek the appropriate care from a medical professional after any injury.

“Transcending Health”

Transcending Health will be a new reoccurring addition to the Excel Fitness Blog.  Transcending  is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “to rise above or go beyond the limits of” and “to rise above or extend notably beyond ordinary limits.”

The purpose of this new segment is to demonstrate how Health and Fitness transcends beyond the act of exercising properly and eating well.

Hope you enjoy this segment and the many to come.



(too easy, the term has health in it already)

by Jerry Stien, DDS

The mouth is the opening to the human body. Can you imagine a person with missing teeth, decay, discoloration, and swollen red gums ?

We all know how important it is to stay in good shape through daily exercise and a healthy diet. It is also essential to keep the teeth and mouth clean and free of disease.

Missing teeth can cause shifting of the remaining teeth, thus causing pain in the hinge joint of the lower jaw bone, which can quickly intensify with constant opening and closing. Decay can cause bacteria to enter the nerve tissue of the tooth, resulting in extreme pain and swelling, thus necessitating either root canal therapy or extraction of the involved tooth or teeth.

Built up of food or plaque around the tooth has been found to be more harmful than previously believed. Without routine dental appointments and daily care, this plaque can build up and destroy the bone holding the tooth in its socket. If it progresses to an extreme, it can cause bad breath,and loss of teeth. More importantly, the bacteria present in this area between the tooth bone and gums can get into the blood stream causing systemic disease, heart problems and, in some cases, even death.

In the long run, by taking care of your mouth, teeth, and gums along with regular physical exercise and a healthy diet, the average individual can count on a longer life, less stress, and a more positive personal image.

Kate Returns to Excel Fitness for a Refresher

As some of you may have read Kate Ottavio’s Testimonial back on July 13th, 2010 after working with Excel Fitness‘s Shawn O’Brien, we have a follow-up segment for you.

Working with Ms. Ottavio during her preparation for Miss Connecticut Pageant back in the summer was a total success.  She had dropped 7% body fat in 6 weeks by following Mr. O’Brien’s guidelines.  Cardio when she could.  Followed the nutrition plan as best she could.  We talked about strength training changes to her program each week.

“I competed in the Miss CT Pageant and won the preliminary and overall swimsuit award and placed first runner-up in my first year with the Miss America Organization – and I feel fantastic.” Ms. Ottavio

Well months later: Kate has a new job, new apartment, new gym.  Life Changes Quickly.  We met up this weekend for a refresher on workouts, nutrition and program design.

Here is one of the exercises we worked into her current program.  As challenging as it is, it is very effective at increasing upper body strength, core conditioning, flexibility, hand strength and increasing cardiovascular conditioning.

Romanian T- Push-Ups

Do this exercise slowly with limited number of repetitions to start and slowly increase the number of repetitions first then add multiple sets.