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”.
Jennifer has 15 years experience as a Registered Dietitian with a focus on disease prevention and health promotion. She has also worked as a primary healthcare dietitian and helped patients with various challenges including diabetes/pre-diabetes, digestive issues, and heart health. She describes her approach in supporting individuals as wholistic, integrative, functional, and simple. Jennifer prides herself on maintaining a compassionate and non-judgmental space where her clients can speak freely. She has completed further training in yoga (restorative), various biofield therapies, mindfulness, and functional nutrition. She has a special affinity for working with people with eating problems such as stress eating, bingeing, overeating, and chronic dieting.
I graduated with a Diploma from the Health Wellness and Fitness Program at Mohawk College in 2016, which is also when I became a Certified Personal Trainer. I have worked at multiple gyms since then, including World Gym, Goodlife Fitness and Crunch Fitness, in which I learned all different styles of training, trying to find one that best suited how I trained and approached fitness with my style of training.
This eventually brought me to Xelf in June of 2022 where I realized this gym is perfect for me and how I like to approach fitness in myself and in how I train my clients. The passion every one at this gym feels for fitness, for helping and motivating people improve their quality of life using resistance training and for having a genuine love for what they do made me feel right at home.
I have been involved in sports and fitness my entire life starting from when I was 3 years old playing baseball, all the way up to my 12 years of Karate and Kickboxing when I won a gold medal at the WKC World Kickboxing Championships in 2012; and later, to 2014 when I was introduced to strength training for the first time, and it changed my life. Not only did it change my physical appearance, but it also changed my mental state on how I see myself. It created a sense of confidence I never had and the sense of accomplishment I felt for changing my way of life to revolve around fitness.
I got into this profession to help and motivate people to fall in love with strength training and fitness and realize how many benefits there are to it which can improve their lives and become the best versions of themselves. There is no better feeling than having someone you work with tell me how amazing they feel, seeing all the positive changes in their day to day lives and loving the process of the journey.