Community Voice: Program Spotlight: Right Fit - Sport, Fitness & Wellness
Years later, Gray and former business partner David Geslak combined their expertise and their passion for providing fitness programs for those with and without special needs. They wanted to start a business that offered the best in personal and group training for their clients . . . Right Fit - Sport, Fitness & Wellness was born! Established in 2004, Right Fit began modestly in a 400-sq.-ft. basement. Now, housed within the Velocity Sport Performance facility, they utilize their 20,000-sq.-ft. space to create individual/group fitness programs for children and adults.
Right Fit was inspired when Suzanne first planned to create and offer an environment of fitness activities for communities and park districts. But she soon realized, and was shocked to discover, that services and facilities in these suburban areas were very limited. She was saddened to hear that so many clients belonged to fitness clubs that could not accommodate family members who had challenges.
At Right Fit, the mission is, 'To provide comprehensive and inclusive fitness and wellness programs that teach and promote the benefits of proper posture, daily exercise, efficient movement patterns and balanced nutrition as essential parts of a healthy lifestyle to youth and adults of all ages and with special needs, physical and mental challenges.'
The fitness programs offer a complete postural and perceptual motor and functional movement screen as well as a B.A.T. (body awareness training) assessment that measures body composition, circumferences, etc., for every client. All individuals are guided through fitness activities designed to meet their specific needs and goals. Programs are client- or group-specific to take into account everyone's physical and mental needs.
Right Fit's motto is 'Your goals ... Our goals.' Its 'homework-out' program ensures that Right Fit trainers are held responsible for teaching a program that puts the client in control of his or her own fitness and wellness programs. The goal: fitness that works everywhere and anywhere – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! Staff members exemplify what they call the 3 C's: Compassionate – Committed -- Credentialed, which play an integral part in their mission. 'Our staff is our backbone in delivering the BEST in Fitness Training!' says Gray.
She explains, 'There are no can'ts at RIGHT FIT' (something emphasized to people of all ages attending sessions). Right Fit strives to be a fully inclusive facility and offers programs to all populations: 'We provide adaptive fitness programs for every client who walks through our doors.' If trainers aren't able to deliver the program at their facility, staff will travel and administer off-site - - this is real dedication!
When discussing challenges that Gray experiences in working in this field, she explains the difficulties of convincing others how crucial fitness is to all populations, especially people with disabilities, and having them understand the needs of these groups. Also, difficulties arise in terms of solutions being available to market the concept to professionals who can deliver it to the appropriate individuals. Gray further explains: 'I will tell parents....if your child was struggling in math you would run out and hire a math tutor....if your child is not running, skipping....why would you not go out and find a qualified Fitness/ Movement/ Exercise specialist? Our physical educators need to let parents know that Johnny doesn't necessarily need a basketball class, but requires a functional–perceptual motor movement class. Luckily, through field trips to Right Fit, we are delivering this message and PE teachers are encouraging parents to take advantage.'
As a business owner, Suzanne Gray encounters the everyday struggles that are involved in running a business. In the end, all she really wants to do is teach. Even while managing the business end of things and facing the challenging task of educating the general public about the importance of fitness to individuals with disabilities, the passion to inspire and motivate others about the all-encompassing benefits of fitness still holds vital importance.