92 DIVERSEability Magazine www.diverseabilitymagazine.com
ADVOCATES FOR CHANGE
SPIRIT Club offers a style of fitness that is created based on the concept of universal design, maintaining that exercise and wellness should be available to ALL.
or everyone out there, eating properly and exercising regularly is essential to main- taining a healthy and happy life. Unfortunate- ly, many people with disabilities have limited access to appropriate fitness and wellness ac- tivities. SPIRIT Club's goal is to make exer- cise available to everyone, regardless of their circumstances. SPIRIT Club provides services to people with and without disabilities, and its vision is to create an integrated environment where EVERYONE can exercise together, side by side. SPIRIT Club spreads its fitness philoso- phy through in-person and virtual group class- es and personal training.
COURTESY OF SPIRIT CLUB
A Gym Where Everyone Belongs
learned that this was the norm across the in- dustry. To combat this, he began teaching his own itness classes and personal training sessions that included exercises based on the concept of universal design so that people with and without disabilities could participate success- fully together. It became clear to Ciner that providing this type of supportive fitness was a necessity, leading to the creation of SPIRIT Club.
The Early Years
For the first eight years of its existence, SPIRIT Club had two primary services: In-person group classes and personal training. SPIRIT Club's group classes allow people of all backgrounds to be together in a social setting and to take part in supportive fitness classes. SPIRIT Club's personal training sessions customize a routine to best target a members goals and most positively impact their day-to-day life. As the company grew, Ciner recognized the need to hire additional trainers to support the increasing number of SPIRIT Club members. In order to build a skilled staff, he hired cer- tified personal trainers and sponsored them to receive training from the Developmental Dis- abilities Administration. He also believed that the people taking SPIRIT Club classes should be reflected in those who teach them. Because of that philosophy, Ciner hired and empow- ered numerous people with disabilities to lead classes. In addition to working with individuals, SPIRIT Club taught private classes for orga- nizations. By early 2020, SPIRIT Club was working with about 350 individual members and 25 organizations on a weekly basis.
2020 to the Present
In March 2020, SPIRIT Club faced ithe- biggest challenge of its existence when the Coronavirus hit. It was forced to shut down its gym and stop doing all in-person services with little notice. SPIRIT Club quickly pivot- ed to virtual services in order to continue to safely meet its members needs. Because of the virtual nature of Clubs programming, it was no longer geographically limited. With- in a year of converting to a virtual company, SPIRIT Club's classes were being watched by over 4,500 individuals in 38 different states per month.
SPIRIT Club offers 12 virtual classes per week in the forms of fitness (both English and Spanish), yoga, Zumba, boxing, meditation, healthy cooking and more. The Clubs virtual classes have been de- signed with the following attributes: Flexibility: After airing live, SPIRIT Club classes are available on-demand so
Origins of the Program
After graduating from the University of Maryland, Jared Ciner began working two jobs: One as a fitness trainer at a local gym, and the other as a support counselor for adults with disabilities. At the cross section of his two jobs were people with disabilities with health and fitness goals. Unfortunately, none of the classes offered by the gym where Ciner worked were equipped to provide the supports or modifications necessary to accommodate all members of the community. Ciner soonPrevious Page