At around the age of 20 I decided to get fit and attended a bootcamp with some friends of the family. The man who ran the sessions had a gym and encouraged me to join. I started having some personal training and became really determined to pursue this fitness lifestyle full time. I had the opportunity to come to the Brentwood Centre to find out about the Active Essex apprenticeship scheme and although I did not quite fit the profile for this, I was given the opportunity to volunteer in the Centre. I was also supported to achieve my Level 2 fitness instructor course, which I passed this year.
All of this experience has encouraged me to believe that I could support others. The Autism Friendly sessions were the first step in my journey towards enabling other people with Autism to see that they can get involved in fitness and get fit and healthy.
Sport is my main hobby and it has given my life a direction and purpose. It gives each day a clear structure as I prepare my own meals and my gym sessions.
I was very lacking in self-confidence and I found communicating with people I didn’t know well very challenging. I had to come to terms with this and decide that if I wanted to succeed I had to tough it out. The people at the Brentwood Centre have been a fantastic support. As my knowledge about fitness has grown, my confidence and determination have also grown and I want to share this with others.
I don’t want people with Autism to feel excluded from society. I want them to see that they can get me involved in sport and that they will get as much pleasure and fulfilment from me as I do myself. I would really like the Autism Friendly gym sessions to continue at Brentwood and I would like to be able to encourage other gyms to provide similar outlets for people with Autism.