Special Strong: Building More Than Physical Strength

Individual and Group training to unlock strength and confidence within the mind, body, and spirit

A consistent exercise regimen is arguably the best way for all people to maintain optimal health. Customized individual and group training classes are available to fit everyone's needs, schedule, and goals in the general population. But what about the special needs population? Where do they go to harness the multiple health benefits of exercise? There was a massive gap in the fitness industry for this group of people. There was no place for them to go until four years ago. Enter in Special Strong, an adaptive, inclusive fitness program to meet the needs of the oft-overlooked population of special needs children and adults.

Special Strong owner, Daniel Stein, knows what it's like to struggle with disabilities. Diagnosed at an early age with a severe form of ADHD, a mood disorder, and autoimmune disease, Stein experienced first hand the limitations people with disabilities experience.

Growing up, Stein was labeled as a troubled kid and was always in in-school suspension. His parents tried a handful of ways to manage his ADHD, including medication, supplements, diet, behavior therapy, and counseling. Each provided a form of temporary relief, but none was the long term solution they needed. It was only when Stein started playing sports in high school that things began to change. Stein noticed that his behavior and moods improved. He gained confidence and was able to focus in other areas of his life as well.

After graduation, Stein remained heavily involved in weightlifting to control his ADHD effectively. During that time, a mentor encouraged him to become a certified personal trainer and shared that he believed Stein was supposed to work as a trainer with the special needs population.

After a short stint in the personal banking industry, Stein made a career change and started his own fitness business for the mainstream population. It was then that he had the opportunity to work with a non-profit organization to train his first special needs client named Dakota. Dakota was around Stein's age and suffered from paralysis due to a drug overdose. Working with Dakota and seeing the progress he was making made Stein come alive. He knew then that his mentor was right, and his calling was serving this overlooked population of people with the understanding he had from his struggles growing up. Stein went on to obtain certifications through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the National Federation of Personal Trainers (NFPT), and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

In 2016, Stein and his wife Trinity took a leap of faith and started Special Strong for the special needs community. Special Stong focuses on helping individuals impacted by mental, physical, and cognitive challenges live a more independent and abundant life. Special Strong provides customized health and fitness services through certified trainers to people with special needs as young as eight years old. Services include personal training and group class options. 

Personal training at Special Strong is the most effective and trusted private training for individuals with mental or physical challenges providing many life-enhancing benefits. After performing a 12-point evaluation, a trainer designs a customized, adaptive fitness program tailored to the client's specific needs. Private sessions are in 30 or 50-minute intervals. 

Special Strong trainers work one on one with clients at gyms, or client homes, throughout the DFW area. They provide full emotional support while teaching adapted exercises for individuals and groups in a safe and supportive environment. All trainers are NCCA accredited and have clean background checks. Trainers have extensive experience working with people of all ages who have mental and physical challenges such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, and more. Every trainer is an expert in effective communication, building rapport, minimizing emotional triggers, and improving socialization with others. 

Incorporated into each training program are science-based brain training exercises that promote neurogenesis. Activities that include top-to-bottom, midline cross-over, and multi-tasking movements promote new neurological pathway formation in the brain. Top-to-bottom exercises affect the vestibular system inside the ear, which promotes emotional regulation. Cross-over movement patterns require both sides of the brain, strengthening the underused side of the brain. All exercises increase skill-level in functional movements that translate into everyday activities. Stein states that the goal is to get clients as independent as possible.

Certified trainers teach all the group classes at Special Strong. They provide individuals with the opportunity to interact with others, develop new friendships, improve socialization skills, and get into the best health and shape of their lives. Group classes are 45 minutes and designed for children, adolescents, and adults at any fitness level.

The biggest reward for their work for Special Strong trainers is when clients move from depression to joy, and families are transformed. Some clients have even gotten a job for the first time in their lives. 

Over the past four years, Special Strong has accumulated multiple success stories like Robert. His mom Jennifer Hise brought him to Special Strong after learning about it from a resource fair. Before Special Strong, Robert, who has autism and sensory issues, didn't have anywhere to workout and no physical outlet for his frustrations. 

After coming to Special Strong, Jennifer says that Robert doesn't have any more physical pain, his endurance has increased, he can better manage himself, and he's learning to take instruction and listen. "He used to hit walls, furniture, the floor, himself," Jennifer said. "When he starts feeling that frustration, he's learning how to deal with it [now]." Robert even competed in the Special Olympics, where he earned gold medals in basketball, bowling, and baseball, which wasn't a possibility before coming to Special Strong. 

Another success story is Brandon Neal, who was born with scoliosis, a misplaced hip, and a genetic gene mutation that impacts his speech, sight, and muscular development. In an inspiring video on the Special Strong website, you can watch this anxious young man walking without help for the first time in eight years as his personal trainer encourages him on.

Josh is another whose life changed from the services offered at Special Strong. Josh has Down syndrome, and after working with Stein, he got a job for the first time ever. He's able to take dishes from the sink and put them in the dishwasher, and he's even able to ride horses independently with his mom. Josh's mom attributes a renewed life and relationship with her son to Special Strong.

Stein continues to expand the Special Strong franchise and help people nationwide. Learn more and sign up for a FREE 7 day trial by going to www.specialstrong.com, or call 833-543-3496 to start your program today.

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