Maria! Thanks for taking the time to let us interview you. Tell us a little about yourself:

My name is Maria. I am currently 22 years old, in the Army, and a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University. I love crazy adrenaline rush adventures, I have been sky diving and bungee jumping! However, more than that, I love my family and friends, working out,reading, and relaxing.

Carnegie Mellon, very impressive and another Adrenaline junkie. When were you first introduced to weight training?

I was first introduced to weight training back in high school during the off­season from sports. However, I was extremely uncomfortable with all of the different types of weight training so I would stick to cardio machines or basic dumbbell movements up until I met Dana Celli. Dana changed the way I worked out entirely and made lifting into something I am now extremely passionate about. Celli’s gym makes everyone feel welcome and there is always a friendly face at the gym. You guys are always encouraging; it keeps you wanting to become better everyday.

Well, thank you! Dana is amazing, and I know you are one of her favorites. How exactly do your current workouts designed by Dana differ from your old dumbbell workouts?

When I was doing my old work outs, I wasn’t targeting the muscle and I was not getting stronger; I was just going through the motions of what I thought was lifting.  My current work outs are more focused on building muscle.  Dana taught me the techniques of powerlifting and how to slowly increase the weight and/or reps.  Now I do a mixture of dumbbell weightlifting and powerlifting that strictly targets muscle building and fat burning. I have felt myself become much stronger in the past few months versus years of lifting the wrong way.

Nothing beats lifting heavy free weights for building muscle and burning fat. So many women are afraid to lift heavy, for fear of becoming bulky. Nothing could be further from the truth, and you are an excellent example of this! Do you follow any diet regimen?

I have worked with Dana to come up with a diet that fits my lifestyle but will also help me achieve my goals.  Right now, I am trying to gain muscle and lose fat.  Therefore, Dana has created a diet that focuses on specific macronutrients to help me accomplish this goal.

The transformation you have made in the last few months have been nothing short of amazing! We have no doubt you are going to reach all of your fitness goals. How did you find Celli’s?

I found out about Celli’s by internet searching.  I am not from Pittsburgh but I knew I wanted to go to a gym that would teach me about powerlifting and getting into better shape.  I didn’t want to go to a typical gym with mostly cardio, a few dumbbells, and only smith machines.  I wanted a gym that would push me and put me out of my comfort zone.  I emailed Ryan and he got right back to me, telling me this was the gym for me.

We are so glad you found us, and so glad Ryan was on the ball with returning emails :) Most people, especially women are afraid to workout here. Were you afraid to come to Celli’s?

I was a little intimidated to come to Celli’s at first because in general powerlifting intimidated me.  I had been in other gyms, where people seemed very standoffish.  However, when I walked into Celli’s I didn’t have those feelings at all.  Once I started working with Dana and met Ryan, I felt extremely comfortable being new and learning how to do new things.

 Where to you see yourself going with this new found passion of weight training?

As I progress in my training, I would love to see where it leads. Right now I am just having fun training and becoming stronger, and learning to live a healthy lifestyle!  Celli’s gym has opened my mind up to so many new opportunities I never thought possible.  I am happy to have gotten to where I am today and that’s all because of people like Dana and Ryan.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank?

I would like to thank Ryan for getting back to me immediately about the gym and all of the opportunities it has to offer. Thank you for giving me constant motivation and encouragement.   I would also like to thank Dana for being the best trainer and a perfect example of how I want to live my life, becoming healthier and more fit every day.  I am the happiest I have ever been because of your guidance and training.  Both Dana and Ryan are the most humble people I know and truly lead by example. I can’t thank them enough for all they have done for me. Lastly, thanks to my family, no matter how far, they are always supportive.

You don’t have to thank us. You have been an inspiration to the entire gym, that’s why we asked you to be part of the member spotlight!  Your hard work and focus does not go unnoticed. We are sure your family is proud of you, and all you have accomplished so far.  For anyone that knows Maria, she is all business in the gym, she doesn’t mess around. We want to thank you for taking the time out of your extremely busy schedule to share your story, keep killin it!


This is Maria’s progress photos. Top is November 2015 when she just started training with Dana. 2 months later in January 2016 she begin following Dana’s diet which leads to the bottom row taken in February 2016.


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