Featured in Spring 2019 edition of Spectrum Life Magazine
Specialty Athletic Training is a personal training company that specializes in fitness for special populations. Founded in 2012, founder Ryan Lockard aimed to create a program that provided access to healthy living to a community that the fitness industry often overlooks. With a client-centered approach and focus on making fitness fun, Specialty Athletic Training has grown to 5 locations and has served over 350 individuals of various ages and diagnoses throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Many of our clients have had a negative experience with fitness in the past. They also are usually the busiest people that we know (outside of their parents) with super tight schedules filled with therapies and doctors’ appointments. Rarely do they have control of their schedule and are constantly being critiqued and told what their weaknesses are and what they need to improve on.
We take a different approach at Specialty Athletic Training by meeting our clients where they are and allow them to provide input on their workout routine, giving them ownership of their program. We strive to make their sessions fun and provide a positive fitness experience, so that they can’t wait to come back for their next workout. Filling them with self-confidence and self-esteem unlocks their intrinsic motivation, which is the most powerful thing of all!
Parents have come to us in the past wanting us to work with their child on their running form for various reasons; their posture might not be ideal, their gait might be a little awkward, or they don’t use their arms. This leads me to ask the question, “How often do they run?” which often leads to the answer, “They don’t because they run funny.”
They are not encouraged to run because they don’t have the typical running form that their peers may have. If this sounds like your child, the biggest thing that they need is your encouragement and for you to provide opportunities for them to have extra practice with that movement in a natural setting.
If your child is having difficulty running, take them on a run. Don’t focus on their awkward form, but rather reinforce that they are being active and how much joy it brings you to be running with them. This will be the beginning of turning it into an activity that they enjoy, rather than dread. Once you can get them in a positive mindset about running, then you can start making small suggestions to their form to enable them to run more efficiently.
The body simply needs practice moving to move properly. Many of those same kids that have an awkward gait or have trouble running, typically don’t have a physical outlet and are sedentary. They could benefit from basic exercises that you can do at home. These movements not only work on movement patterns and build strength but will also become more fluid over time. Here are 5 exercises that you can do with your child at home.
Access is the biggest barrier that the community that we serve encounters, and quality fitness instruction is no exception. My journey in this field began in 2007 when I had the opportunity to work with an autistic thirteen-year-old boy named Ben. Although very capable, expectations for Ben were set far lower than his peers due to his disability. This was drastically apparent in his physical education experience. While he was included in activities, the projected standard of performance was drastically reduced due to behaviors that he exhibited during physical exertion. I realized that these behaviors were derived from his sensory experience during exercise and him being unaware of the body’s natural response to working out. After becoming aware and educated about this response, the behaviors decreased and expectations were raised.
It is common knowledge the obesity is on the rise in the United States, but what isn’t discussed is the increased risk of obesity for children (38%) and adults (58%) with a disability compared to their peers. Seeing an opportunity to provide high-impact services to this community, doing something I am passionate about, Specialty Athletic training was born in 2012. It was founded with the intent of providing quality fitness instruction to allow these individuals to thrive. By creating a fun and inclusive environment, my company has provided direct services to over 350 individuals of various ages and diagnoses and has expanded to several locations in the Pacific Northwest.
It has become my mission to drive awareness of the true abilities of the disabled community, destroy common stereotypes, and break down barriers to access. Fitness has been my avenue in doing so and it all started because of a boy named Ben.
We often get asked to design workout programs for parents to do with their children at home. Here are the top 5 exercises that you can be doing with your child of any ability!
Matt is a long time client of Specialty Athletic Training and wanted to share why he thinks it is so amazing!
Guest post from trainer Bradley Carter, CSCS
Should children with autism workout? Short answer is yes. All children should workout and be active starting at a young age. Children with autism have a much increased chance of becoming overweight or obese compared to their neuro-typical peers starting as early as two years old. In the United Stated over a third of children from the age of 2-17 on the autism spectrum are overweight. There are a variety of reasons for this, but one thing is certain, exercise will help and the earlier you start your child down a path of exercise and healthy living the more it will help them live long healthy lives.
Exercise doesn’t just help with physical health; mental health can be drastically improved through an exercise regime as well. Children with autism can benefit by having a reduction in self-stimulatory behavior, hyperactivity, and aggression as well self-injurious and destructive behaviors. The autism specific benefits of general exercise has been shown to be one of the best treatments for depression and anxiety, along with improved sleep quality.
A workout doesn’t have to be fancy or even very long; a brisk thirty-minute walk is a great place to start. Need some other ideas? Make sure to visit our YouTube channel for exercise demonstration videos. You may even see yours truly in some of them!
Frozen dinners and take out can often be an easy meal solution for families that are always on the go. Although convenient, this method can often be pretty expensive and overall unhealthy. Meal prepping is an easy solution to save you time and money, as well as make sure that you're eating healthy.
Here are 5 meal prep tips from our trainer JaCee Camper to help you get started:
Many people over the years have asked me, "What makes Specialty Athletic Training unique?" I'll be the first to tell you that we're not doing anything revolutionary with our program design, exercises we're having our clients performed, or the equipment that we use. Our approach and communication style are two major components of what makes us unique; as well as providing our clients with access to a fit and healthy lifestyle. Want to learn how we do it? Here is your chance!
I have the privilege of being part of an amazing line up of presenters at the NSCA's Oregon State Clinic on Saturday, March 16th at Linfield College. I will be discussing the importance of using growth mindset and positive reinforcement to maximize the results of your athletes and clients. The information that you'll learn will be easily applicable to any profession and all ages. Make sure to sign up today!
Other presenters include:
Phil Rombach, MAEd, CSCS - Head football S&C coach at Linfield College
Bryan Miller, MS, CSCS,*D - Assistant football S&C coach at Navy
Griffin Waller, MA, CSCS - Director of Sports Performance at University of Portland
Ryan Baugus, DPT, PT - Owner of Headquarters Physical Therapy
Erik Jernstrom, CSCS - Director of Sports Performance at Eforce Sports
We're happy to announce that you can finally purchase your favorite Specialty gear! Thank you so much for your ongoing support and being part of our tribe. Make sure to use promo code "TRIBE20" at check out to receive a 20% discount! Click HERE to place your order! (FREE shipping within the US)
Many of you are familiar with the inspiration behind Specialty Athletic Training and my relationship with a boy named Ben. However, there is another guy that also holds a special place in my life. My buddy Patrick.
Patrick and I both stepped onto the Lewis & Clark College campus at the same time in the Fall of 2003. It was my first year playing collegiate football and his first year serving as team manager.
If you know Patrick, then you know how contagious his smile can be and how he uses it to his advantage. He used to have me and other athletes but him CD's (back when Napster was still a thing) of playlists that he created. This passion for music eventually led him to become the DJ for the home volleyball and basketball game for the Pioneers.
Being around the weight room and the athletes, he naturally gravitated to working out. We would have him join for a set on the bench or some arm farm action, but he never had a program specifically designed for him. I was ecstatic when he parents asked me to train him after I founded Specialty Athletic Training.
Fast forward to 2019 and we're still hanging out on Palatine Hill. He's a staple in the L&C athletic community and is still DJing home games for the volleyball and basketball teams. He is also working out with our trainers twice a week, and will often come in early to get in extra cardio!
Thank you for being a part of my a part of my life for the 15+ years, Patrick. Continue being you and bringing joy to everyone that you meet!
Is there really any better way to spend your rest time in between sets? We think not! Talk about active recovery ;)
We strive to make fitness fun and have our clients leave with a smile with anticipation of their next session. Here our buddy Wyatt and trainer Alex have a little dance off during Wyatt's rest time. Look at those moves!
About the Author
Ryan Lockard, CSCS, CSPS is the head trainer and founder of Specialty Athletic Training. He a member of the Autism Society of Oregon's Board of Directors and is accredited by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a Certified Special Populations Specialist. Ryan has worked with individuals with special needs since 2007 and has over 10,000 hours of 1:1 instruction working with individuals that have various special needs.