Meet Your Team
Meet our team of personal trainers, registered massage therapists and lifestyle coaches from Hamilton. Our team is highly certified and dedicated to continual learning so that we can always support your goals.
Damian has been a Fitness Personal Trainer since 2000 and founded Xelf Fitness in 2005. His lifelong relationship with exercise, nutrition, and seeing others struggle to find their balance has been the driving factor behind his passion to help others become Empowered Exercisers.
Damian graduated with a Bachelor of Education in Kinesiology from McGill University in 2003, where he worked as a fitness consultant during his studies. The hours spent in the gym showed Damian that everyone functions at a level of increased energy, heightened mood and improved confidence during and after exercise. Damian received his ACE Personal Trainer Certification from the American Council on Exercise in 2004. He went on to become a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist with the NSCA in 2006.
When he was young, Damian pursued fitness through soccer and basketball, but it was not until his post-secondary studies where he came to fully appreciate how exercise can be used as a tool for people to love and improve their lives.
After graduation, Damian began working as a personal trainer for a mainstream fitness centre but was dissatisfied with their coaching approach, which focused more on sales and an external, temporary approach to fitness.
Damian personally crafted and created the Foundation Program and the Empowered Exerciser Membership — which are unique and impactful programs that greatly support people to live an active life that they enjoy with Functional Strength Training as their foundation. The goal is to guide, coach, and inspire people to live in shape instead of always trying to get in shape. The Xelf Foundation Program and Empowered Exerciser Membership is the place to start for beginners to resistance training or anyone who has not yet succeeded at exercising consistently long term.
Damian is very passionate and dedicated to his angle as a Fitness Professional who enjoys most, the opportunity to teach and inspire the in-active and yo-yo exerciser population. His talk is called, EMPOWERING YOU TO BENEFIT GREATER FROM EXERCISE. If you would benefit from motivation and a realistic bigger picture of how you can live the benefits of exercise, you must attend his next presentation. He sees personal and professional value in constantly educating himself through literature on mind, body, soul, exercise and nutrition.
Damian is also a:
- Accelerator Lifestyle Coach
- Certified C.H.E.K. Institute Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach
- C.H.E.K. Exercise coach
Damian is motivated to bring a well-rounded approach through his experience and education to others who seek improved health, energy, athletic ability, everyday movement ability, and a better body that they can experience more joy through.
Omar has been an exercise coach with Xelf Fitness since November of 2014.
His relationship with exercise hasn’t changed in many years but what has changed is his vast ability to get others to develop a better relationship with exercise. After feeling the benefits of strength training, Omar believed that people are more likely to try doing activities they once loved to do. This is the ultimate goal of Xelf — to use strength training as a foundation to live an active life that you enjoy.
How do we do that, you ask? By creating a solid relationship with exercise that enables you to feel empowered going to the gym as opposed to discouraged or forced.
Omar chose to be an exercise coach at Xelf Fitness Studio because he appreciates the approach that Xelf takes with every individual and unique member. It’s one of compassion, empowerment & acceptance.
Measure-Monitor-Manage. This system ensures everyone is getting the most out of their workouts every time and is also a great way for the coaches to track how far along everyone is in their progress.
Further, teaching people proper technique and watching clients develop independence in a place they started out shy and intimidated is very rewarding for Omar. The friendly environment allows people to get comfortable and learn quickly when surrounded by like-minded individuals.
Since Omar’s first day at Xelf with Damian, he has had a vision of this company growing into something extremely effective and known as a place of comfort and reward. He believes that the comfort starts with the coaches, how they will make you feel, and how they help you realize that you are gaining something every session.
The reward is your independence, comfort, growth and of course strength, movement ability, core stability and posture.
Alison graduated with Honours from Everest College and became a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) in July 2012. She worked at ptHealth in Waterdown for the first 5 years of her career, while simultaneously opening a clinic in her home. Alison even received the Hamilton Spectator’s Platinum Award for Best Massage Therapist in 2017!
Alison joined the Xelf Fitness Team in September of 2017 and knew almost instantly that she found the perfect fit for her approach to Health and Wellness. Xelf “Exists to empower people to live active lives they enjoy, so that the journey is appreciated and the benefits are lived”. This philosophy is one of the reasons that Alison knows she has found where she is meant to be. Working at Xelf is different than working in a traditional clinic. This is a business based on providing the best care for clients, not offering all services to everyone without a specific purpose. The staff is very apt at identifying limitations, modifying routines for health conditions or injuries and knowing when alternative therapy, such as massage, may be helpful.
Being able to be on the gym floor with clients and offering helpful tips or being available to provide support is a rewarding component to Alison that is not available anywhere else. It has also given her a wider range of clientele which she enjoys because she likes to be challenged and continuously expand her knowledge. Whether she is treating professional or national athletes, babies, elderly, or anyone in between, Alison’s approach is holistic and unique to the individual and provided with care and compassion.
Alison considers herself a treatment therapist and gets great joy out of solving the puzzle that each individual patient presents. Relaxation is an important component of any massage but identifying the root cause of a patients pain and preventing further symptoms is always the goal. Alison is incredibly passionate about the health benefits of massage therapy and believes it is her calling to help “transform people back to health”.
Rob studied Health, Wellness and Fitness Programs at Mohawk College. He is certified in:
- Trigger Point Level 1
- CanFitPro Certified
- Personal Training
Rob fell in love with living an active life when he started his post-secondary education in Mohawk College’s Health, Wellness and Fitness program. The physical and mental benefits that he experienced is what solidified his decision to make this more than a passion, and to apply it as a career. Rob wanted to share his vast knowledge and experience with the world to help his clients become the best version of themselves. Rob is a knowledgeable and certified Personal Trainer at Xelf Fitness.
He strongly believe that “it’s all about empowering people to use exercise as a tool that helps them love their lives more.”
Stefan is our in house certified athletic therapist, who provides an active sports medicine approach to rehabilitation. Resting after an injury in hope the issue will resolve on its own is not the answer! Motion is medicine.
Stefan graduated Sheridan’s athletic therapy degree program in 2019 and took on notable placements with Toronto FC’s Academy and UofT.
What is athletic therapy? Athletic therapy is the assessment, prevention, immediate care, and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries (muscles, bones, and joints). Acute, chronic or post-op, I’ll be there to get you back on top.
I see everyone as an athlete in their own way.
If you enjoy a hobby, being more on the sedentary side, having to perform repetitive tasks at work, or perhaps being a weekend warrior- athletic therapy is for everyone. Let’s get you back to play- whatever your play may be.
My career in the fitness industry began during my 4th and final year at Brock University, in September 2017 where I worked as a personal trainer. I obtained my training certification through CPTN (Certified Personal Training Network).
After graduating from Brock with a bachelor’s degree in Physical education in 2018, I continued to pursue personal training working for a commercial gym from May 2018- June 2019. Although I learned a lot and positively impacted a variety of people during my time there, I felt that there was still a lot for me to offer to people and I was no longer fulfilled in that environment.
Once I discovered Xelf in September 2019, I felt that I had an amazing opportunity to make a major contribution in helping change people’s lives for long term success. I am truly fascinated by Xelf’s approach of setting clients up for independence through monitoring and tracking their own progress with the assistance of the exercise coaches in the foundation’s program.
I’ve already had a fantastic experience during my short time at Xelf so far and I’m very excited to continue to have a positive impact on people to help improve their functionality, strength, energy, posture, performance, and most importantly their self-confidence.
Dominique (“Dom”) has been an exercise coach with Xelf Fitness since September of 2018.
She is a strong believer that exercise makes you both physically and mentally tough. “A lot of people struggle with mental illness and exercise has been the one consistent thing that I have done to maintain my mental health. It’s a bit of a miracle that you can walk into the gym feeling down and leave feeling absolutely incredible.” Growing up, Dom played volleyball, tennis and enjoyed running but before she found her calling as an exercise coach she was a musician and woodworker. Dom graduated from the University of Western Ontario with an honours degree in Music Theory and Composition. After teaching for a couple of years she decided to move to Hamilton with her partner and enrolled in woodworking school at Conestoga College. Soon after graduating yet again, Dom signed up for the Foundation Program at Xelf. She started to realize that helping people find the unexpected benefits of exercise is what she wanted to do. She took action on this realization immediately and got her canfitpro certification. Shortly after that she began her Xelf journey as a coach instead of a client and earned her DTS Fitness Education certification in Toronto.
Dom loves to motivate people in her own approachable and friendly way. Whether you’ve never exercised before and need to be “eased” into it or you’re a seasoned exerciser and need an extra push she’s there for you.
Mary met Damian in 2009 when he was speaking at a workshop. She asked herself, “was it really possible that there was an exercise coach who would accept me just as I was (over weight and out of shape) and start building from there?” She took a leap of faith and started the Foundation Program at Xelf Fitness. As a result of the Foundation program, she understands that previous experience does not make or break your success. Everyone has the potential to become an Empowered Exerciser.
Mary has experienced tremendous success with Xelf, it has been 7+ years and she is still going strong. Other clients actually look forward to their workouts and the positive environment is energizing. Her physical strength has made a huge difference in terms of being able to live a more active, vibrant life and it has given her the energy and emotional strength to achieve many personal goals. Mary feels proud of her many accomplishments and can actually say “I love my life!”
As a Life Coach, Mary understands what a positive attitude can do for someone. Her extensive training and certification with the Coaches Training Institute has equipped her with the tools and experience to be able to work with people and support them when they need it most. For the past 7 years, she has had the privilege of watching people accomplish their goals; health and fitness, career or life transitions. When someone decides the time is right to make a change in their life then the opportunities are endless.
Her approach to life coaching is that we journey together in order for you to realize your personal greatness. Mary will support you as you discover who you are on the inside, decide what you want from this moment on and what you are willing to do about it and then diverge from past habits and self-limiting beliefs so you can start down a new path.