People who have autism have many challenges in life ranging from impairments in social interactions, repetitive behaviors, and difficulties in communication. While it’s difficult for many of us to gather the motivation to go to the gym, it is especially hard for those who are autistic. One personal trainer who has autism has now opened a gym that caters to people with disabilities because he can relate as well.
Mark Fleming opened Puzzle Piece Fitness in Florida after he graduated college with a master’s degree in exercise science. Mark has never let his autism hold him back from achieving his dreams, and he began pursuing his passion for fitness by volunteering at the Special Olympics. It was there that he discovered that many of the participants had no place where they could work out when they weren’t at one of the Special Olympic training events.
For the next three years, Mark made home visits as a personal trainer to help people with autism. At the end of February, he finally achieved his ultimate dream of opening his gym for people with special needs.
“It’s just to try to provide individuals a way to stay active, no matter where they are in their life,” Mark said. “Just seeing individuals get healthy, it’s awesome – the healthier these individuals are, the more likely they are to live their best lives.”
We applaud Mark for thinking outside the box and finding a new way to help people with special needs! We hope his gym is a huge success and stays open for many years to come. Find out more about this in the video below!