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A gym without the gym

May 21, 2010

Melissa Barry trains at Dominic Lucibello’s Breakthrough Fitness in Oviedo, which focuses on functional exercise
Melissa Barry trains at Dominic Lucibello’s Breakthrough Fitness in Oviedo, which focuses on functional exercise. Photo by Brittni Johnson — The Voice

By Brittni Johnson
The Voice


Breakthrough Fitness isn’t like other gyms. There are no requisite treadmills facing televisions or lines of weight machines. It’s a bare bones setup, truly just the basics — a free weight area, exercise balls, little orange cones to jump around and various ropes.

Owner and personal trainer Dominic Lucibello doesn’t believe in exercise machines. When training his clients, he uses what he calls "functional exercise." In life, no muscle works in isolation, which is how a machine trains muscles, he said. Clients throw medicine balls, lift weights and do pushups from ropes bolted to the wall, using many muscles instead.

"We train movements, not muscles," is one of Lucibello’s favorite mottos.

Lucibello, who has a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and wellness, has been doing in-home and in-nature personal training in Oviedo for the past two years. Not satisfied with just that, he’s opening his first club, Breakthrough Fitness, with a grand opening party scheduled for June 3. The gym is different not only because it doesn’t have exercise machines, but because personal attention to clients is integrated into membership.

"I wanted to have more of a coaching center," he said.

Each new member gets an evaluation by a trainer, and that trainer then creates a special fitness program for them based on their current fitness level and goals, including nutrition Melissa Barry trains at Dominic Lucibello’s Breakthrough Fitness in Oviedo, which focuses on functional exerciseadvice. The program is changed every month or so to suit the member’s developing needs. And, depending on the membership plan, includes group training classes and personal training sessions.

"We get results by design, not by coincidence," Lucibello said.

When client Melissa Barry started working with Lucibello over a year ago, she thought his process was a little crazy. But once they started the workouts, she knew that his way was the right way. Barry has lost four dress sizes and feels strong and energized.

"My energy level is out the roof," she said. "I was a couch potato before and was always sluggish in the afternoons, now I feel sluggish when I don’t exercise."

Barry said she also liked the "vibe" she got from Lucibello. She’d been a member at two different gyms before, and found them intimidating and impersonal. But she described Lucibello as intuitive and knowledgeable.

"I think people like working with him because he’s really easy to get along with," said Leslie Roper, Lucibello’s fiancé and administrator for the gym. "He’s not like a drill sergeant."

There’s also simplicity in the workouts that you can’t find in a gym, Barry said. At other gyms she’d just go on the treadmill and look wonderingly at the rows of machines, not knowing where to start.

Client Debbie Irons loves the simplicity, too. A mom of four with a full-time career, she said she loves that the program can be done at home when she doesn’t have time to get to the gym. When she met Lucibello, her goal was to be bikini ready for a "girls cruise" she had in two and a half months. Irons met her goal, and said she had no worries when the cameras came out on the trip.

"It was incredible," she said. "It’s beyond how the clothes fit, it’s the confidence it gave me."

And that’s what Lucibello said motivates him.

"Our focus is on our member results," he said. "I want them to feel their best, perform their best and look their best. It all comes down to feeling better about yourself."

Results and personal attention do come at a price, so Lucibello admits that his gym isn’t for everyone. Memberships cost anywhere from $89 to $349 per month for a year contract. Irons said it’s worth it, though.

"When you look at the cost it may make you leery, but you could pay $20 for a gym that does nothing and not get results," she said. "That’s throwing money away. Give me a full plan for each week, as a busy person that’s so worth it."

Learn More
Breakthrough Fitness is currently open and located at 269 Aulin Ave. in Oviedo. The grand opening celebration will be on June 3 from 5:30-8 p.m. There will be refreshments and special membership rates. For more information, visit www.breakthroughfitnessfl.com or call 407-542-5910


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