Why Is An ADA Certified Gym Needed In Minnesota?

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Physical fitness has become a focus on our society. Part of that focus has been ensuring gyms are suitable for everyone.
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Physical fitness has become an area of greater focus in our society in recent years. Part of that focus has been on ensuring that gyms are usable for everyone including those with disabilities. A 2010 update to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) addressed those accessibility concerns.

For a gym to meet the 2010 ADA certification standards, at least one piece of each type of equipment must be positioned in such a way that it is accessible. The ADA requires a space of at least 30” x 48” for wheelchair access to transfer on and off the machine.

Gyms built prior to 2010 are “grandfathered in” and considered in compliance as long as they meet 1990 standards which mandate such things as accessible walkways and restrooms but not the gym floor layout itself.

The benefit of a true ADA certified gym is that there is plenty of room for ease of use on each piece of equipment. In addition to providing for wheelchair access, the extra space also allows for a personal trainer to easily stand next to their student and coach them on proper body mechanics throughout the exercise.

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To answer this question, I met up with Andy Cameron, founder of Built on Bravery and a trainer with over 15 years of experience as a Special Olympics coach. Andy has passion and a dedication to providing a professional level of fitness training to special population athletes.

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Amy: “What led you to decide to build an ADA certified gym here in Minnesota?”

Andy: “There is a lack of affordable gyms that can meet the needs of special needs athletes. Other gyms are typically crammed and do not provide the space required. An ADA certified gym provides accessibility and ease of use. I started plans for this gym in August of 2017 and my goal is to open on January 1st, 2019.”

Amy: “Is this new gym just for special needs athletes?”

Andy:  “Not at all. My goal is to create a unified environment where both individuals with and without disabilities can come together in a healthy environment. The inclusion movement (www.committoinclusion) is gaining traction and their vision is one which I share.”

Amy: “Because this is a specialized gym, will it be expensive?”

Andy: “We want to make our gym accessible to those that need it most. A gym membership will cost $20 per month for special needs participants and $40 per month for non-special needs members. Part of our mission is to drive down costs with partnerships and donations. We are part of an incentive program whereby members who attend 8 times per month will receive a $20 reimbursement on their monthly membership fees. That essentially makes a special needs membership free and a non-special needs membership $20 a month for our active participants.”

Amy: “Where do you see your organization in two years?”

Andy: “We have big plans for our future. We will use input from athletes and gym members to help us grow the organization in positive direction. Within two years, our goal is to ensure that any special needs athlete who would like to train for their sport will not be excluded because of cost.”

Amy: “What would you tell an athlete or their family who was interested in joining your facility but wasn’t sure if it was the right fit?”

Andy:  “I would say that starting any new journey can be complicated or make you feel uncomfortable. I know this from experience. That is why I have put in place a welcoming support system that gives every athlete that ‘anything is possible feeling.’ We strive to live out our number one rule which is to always have fun. From day one you will feel like a part of our family and be treated like the professional athlete that we are all striving to be. We will help turn your purr into a ROAR.”
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