Tag Archives: weight loss

Congratulations to Melissa Romanaux from Team Excel Fitness

We first met Melissa in the fall of 2012 when she became a member at Excel Fitness with the hopes of improving her health and getting in shape. In just one season, Melissa has transformed from a petite, attractive, small-business owner, into a lean, powerful, body-building machine! 

Here’s what Melissa has to say about her experience and accomplishments:

“It was my first competition ever.  I started training just back in December 2012.  With change in diet and proper exercise I was able to be competition ready in a
short 5 months.  I am 42 and have a new lifestyle that I embrace.  I have another competition June 1st.”

“I compete in Figure and Fit Body.”

“I placed 3rd in Figure my very first time!  Very proud of my accomplishments and I want to help others achieve their goals through educating them about health and nutrition and about exercise.”

Melissa is co-owner of Planet Bark: 37 Darcy St. West Hartford, CT. Planet Bark offers pets of all sizes a chance to play and a comfortable stay! For more information please call (860) 882-1711.

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.


Are You on a Healthy Diet?

Millions of people in the United States are considered to be overweight, and many of those who are overweight are actually obese. Carrying excess weight often leads to a whole list of health problems, including: heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes among others. Weight loss isn’t easy, and for many of us it’s a battle just to maintain a healthy weight, let alone lose the extra weight that’s making us sick and keeping us unhealthy.

Finding the right diet for you can be a challenge on to itself. Conflicting messages in the media tend to lead us in many different directions, making it hard to know what information to trust or which diet plan will be most successful for our unique body. I mean every day you hear about some new fad diet, which is guaranteed to lose weight fast. Okay, some of these diets do that, but they are extremely low calorie diets, and as soon as you go off the diet and eat regular foods again, you will see the weight you lost come right back. The best way to lose weight and keep it off, is to follow a healthy diet that has all of the nutrients we need to stay healthy, and make sure that you are eating enough so that you do not feel hungry. Make sure that when you are on a diet, that you allow yourself the occasional treat. This will help to keep you from binging, which often happens to those who are on extremely low calorie weight loss diets.

For more information on proper nutrition for weight loss or exercise, schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our Excel Fitness certified personal trainers today!!! Stop by the gym, call (860) 523-8167 or email info@excelfitnessct.com.

By Chris Caruso, CPT

Melissa Cyr Joins Excel as a Certified Personal Trainer!

Melissa Cyr, C.P.T., NASM

 Melissa is a full-time mom of two with a strong interest in nutrition, fitness, and general health.   Her past experience includes teaching Bootcamp group fitness classes, and prior to becoming a mother she also worked as a Certified Massage Therapist while excelling in her career as an Analyst for CIGNA Healthcare.

Melissa is eager to help all clients reach their goals of living a more healthy life.  She has a particular passion for helping moms get their pre-baby bodies back, believing it is fully achievable to bring a woman’s body to a place of even greater fitness post-pregnancy. Having gained 65 pounds with each of her pregnancies she is sensitive to the ups and downs of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight! Melissa also has an interest in spreading her love of healthful, nutritious eating and food production and recently organized and implemented the building of an organic Edible Schoolyard teaching garden for a local elementary school.

Interests- Reading, cycling, weight lifting, hiking, organic gardening, volunteering and activism, and anything relating to kids!

What are Battle Ropes?

What are Battle Ropes?

Chris Caruso, CPT 4/10/2012

Battle ropes are heavy duty ropes designed to be lifted and moved with controlled motion. Training with battle ropes develops functional strength, power and endurance.  Battle rope exercises require the whole body to move the rope, which engages the core and increases the heart rate. Implementing rotational movements with the rope stimulates the oblique muscles of the abdomen/core which helps to support our bodies to better perform activities of daily life. This includes housework, driving, bending over, walking as well as sports like golf, baseball, etc…


From personal experience, I always had weak wrists which interfered with my workout routines. I found that I was unable to easily do pushups, lift weights like the bench press, or any pressing motions. Determined to fix my predicament, I wanted to find something that would be enjoyable but at the same time challenge my workouts. After researching, I stumbled upon what is known as battling rope. Over the past year I have noticed a significant strength difference in not only my wrists but also my core and stamina. Today, I’m currently using the ropes 2 to 3 times a week in my circuit-training program. I use them to help train for flag football by building endurance and power. If you’re someone who is looking for something fun, different and bold to help build your cardiovascular endurance, strengthen weak bones and shed some body fat, the battling ropes are right for you!



Lee S. Testimonial for Jeff Roux @ Excel Fitness

Investing in personal training with Jeff Roux is by far the best money I ever spent on my fitness goals.  I recommend him to every person I know who has a fitness, weight loss and/or health-related goal, even if seemingly unattainable. Jeff will help you get there! I’ve trained with Jeff for over 5 years through a variety of stages in my life: wedding preparation, post-back injury (not related to workouts with him), triathlon preparation, maintaining fitness and now post-pregnancy fitness and weight loss.

Jeff has never – I mean NEVER – missed a training session or called in sick. Each time Jeff has tailored the training session to meet my very personal and specific needs. Jeff has his thumb on the pulse of emerging fitness trends and exercise science, keeping the trainings new and fresh, but keeping me safe from fitness fads. There are many poorly educated meatheads out there pretending to be professional personal trainers. Jeff is not one of them!  Jeff is attentive, respectful, energetic, positive, reliable and an expert on motivation. In less than four months after the birth of my son, I am back into my favorite (pre-pregnancy) jeans.  Thank you Jeff Roux!

– Lee S.

Testimonial- Lynn Sweet-Dobrow for Excel Fitness and Matt Knight

In April of 2010, I came to Excel Fitness hoping to make a change in my life.  Over a period of two decades, due to personal responsibilities and health issues, it had become increasingly difficult for me to engage in a number of activities that I had enjoyed in the past.  I had spent 20 years trying unsuccessfully to return to and maintain a healthy weight, I had knee issues from my youth, and I was experiencing varying degrees of pain in my neck and upper back daily from a whiplash injury. As I approached a time in my life that would allow me greater freedom to pursue my own interests once again, I came to the conclusion that I did not simply need to lose weight.  I also needed to become stronger and more physically fit.  With knee, neck, and back issues, I knew I should not attempt this on my own.

Matthew Knight was the first person I met at Excel, and helped to form an incredibly positive impression.  He was professional and courteous from the start.  During our first meeting he took care to understand my history and my lifestyle as well as my goals, and helped me to understand how Excel could help me reach those goals.  He explained what a reasonable rate of improvement might look like with my commitment and Excel’s support.  I decided to join Excel and to sign up for some personal training sessions with Matt.  It has proved to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I had never imagined working with a personal trainer before, but the first sessions with Matt were so helpful that I decided to continue.   Matt’s positive and supportive manner enabled me to focus during my visits instead of feeling ridiculously self-conscious about what I couldn’t do.  Within a short period of time I noticed decreased neck and back pain and increased strength.  In the course of the coming months, I went from taking muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory medications regularly to taking them rarely.  In addition, thanks to Matt’s further guidance regarding cardio work and diet, I was losing weight.  In the first four months, I had lost 20 pounds. 

The workouts that I do with Matt are completely different than any I could attempt on my own.  Matt uses his wealth of knowledge and expertise as a trainer to tailor my sessions to my personal needs, and to work multiple muscle groups at a time.  It’s obvious that he keeps my neck and knee issues in mind and that he plans my workouts around strengthening these areas without stressing them.  This individualized approach is just one characteristic of Matt’s training that helps me to meet with success.

I am continually amazed that while Matt has trained professional athletes, he is also able to be incredibly patient and thorough with those of us who have little or no experience at all, and to maintain a positive spin on things in order to keep us motivated.  Matt’s energy and enthusiasm are contagious and keep me looking ahead to meet my goals, while his calm and steady demeanor keep me from ever feeling overwhelmed.  As a teacher, I encourage my students to work toward and celebrate those small, steady improvements that add up to larger achievements over time, but hypocrisy strikes when I sometimes expect great leaps from myself.  Matt puts this in perspective for me.  At Excel, I am the student and Matt is the teacher.  He reminds me of how far I have come, educates me regarding his choice of exercises for me, and offers me unwavering guidance and support through each step of the way.

At the end of this month it will be one year since the day I first walked into Excel.  I cannot believe the progress I have made.  Thanks to Matt, I have lost a total of 38 pounds so far, and I have more living to look forward to every day.

Lynn Sweet-Dobrow

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!