I am surrounded by fitness every day, and I am consistently amazed at how something that has such a positive impact on our lives has individuals finding every way possible to get out of doing it. As a club manager, I come across obstacles, or to some people – excuses, as to why an individual doesn’t want to work out or why he or she hasn’t been in the gym for awhile. It’s on that special day where I will also meet someone contrary to this. I have been lucky enough to meet a member who never lets limitations stand in the way of reaching his fitness goals.
Marc and his mom, Jeanne, have been members of ours since 2007, and they visit the gym regularly. Marc, who has Down Syndrome, comes in and does his normal routine of cardio and a variety of weights, while his mom, Jeanne, trains in our training program and has seen some great results. I see the excitement and joy on Marc’s face when he comes into the gym each day, and I love the fact that he enjoys working out. I must say he is extremely strong and impresses me each time I see how much weight he is able to lift that day. The energy that Marc brings to the gym reminds me of why I got into the fitness industry in the first place. The fact that Marc never complains and just goes with the flow solidifies it for me: limitations are not something that should stand in the way of reaching your fitness goals.
In February 2012, I was approached by a member who is one of the coordinators at the Opportunity House, a not-for-profit, community sponsored organization providing rehabilitative services to people with disabilities. I was invited to be a part of this year’s Special Olympics in our area. Without hesitation, I knew that being a coach of soccer for Special Olympics was right up my alley, and I gladly and graciously accepted the position. When I mentioned to Marc that I was considering coaching him and the others on him team in Special Olympics, he was ecstatic. I would talk to him about it regularly when he would come into the gym to work out, and we would discuss positions, strategies, etc.
Playing a large part in a local fitness center is rewarding in itself, but having the opportunity to tie fitness in with the community in other ways is even more worthwhile. I have only started coaching a couple of weeks ago, and already my athletes have taught me so much. They have taught me perseverance and drive. They have shown me that limitations are not something that should stand in the way of reaching your goals – fitness or otherwise! Most importantly, they have taught me how insignificant excuses are – a lesson that I will carry with me and a lesson that I hope others can apply to their own lives.
You can read more about Marc’s story at Market Watch
Mary is the General Manager of Charter Fitness of Sycamore and also coaches soccer.