Erasing Limitations at Equally Fit (Club Solutions)
Posted: Aug 10, 2023 in In the News
This article originally appeared in Club Solutions on August 10, 2023.
Erasing Limitations at Equally Fit
By Taylor Brown
While working as a registered behavior technician and volunteering with Special Olympics, Mark Fleming, an ACE-certified fitness professional, noticed the kids he worked with shared similar muscular deficiencies as the adults he coached. He made the connection there was a clear gap of physical activity within the disability community.
Fleming knew there was something he could do to help this population obtain proper exercise guidance to gain a better quality of life. This led to him creating Equally Fit, a personal training studio located in Tampa, Florida, that helps people with disabilities incorporate exercise in their daily life.
In business since 2019, Fleming said his favorite part is helping people achieve things not thought possible.
“So many in this population are always told of their limitations but never what may be possible,” explained Fleming. “To see someone’s face when I tell them how much weight they can lift compared to when they started with me is so amazing.”
But running a fitness facility hasn’t come without challenges. Fleming said he has faced ableism from time to time because he is open about being a disabled business owner. He’s hoping he can help the industry be more accepting and inclusive to both employees and members.
One recommendation Fleming has for operators is to pay more attention to hiring individuals with quality credentials and less on their aesthetic. “This fosters an environment where fitness is less about weight loss and aesthetics and more on becoming physically healthy through exercise,” he said. “I would also say there are probably more autistics in the field than perceived as they may be masking in order to be more accepted in this field. Becoming more disability friendly may help them be more of themselves in the environment.”
Overall, Fleming hopes to build Equally Fit into the premier brand for disability fitness. Additionally, he wants to grow into a more traditional style gym where everyone can exercise together in an inclusive environment, all while also providing disabled individuals with jobs in an environment they may not have thought possible.
Additionally, Fleming runs a nonprofit called The Disability Fitness Foundation that looks to provide fitness opportunities for people with disabilities. This will expand to conducting relevant research and providing education in the future.
To learn more about Equally Fit visit equallyfit.com.
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