Autism Friendly Fitness Classes

Autism and Exercise Gym Classes Waterford

Motiv8 Fitness is a Waterford gym that caters for people with disabilities and provides gym lessons for children and teens with autism. 

The next six week term of Autism friendly fitness classes will begin 13th of July 2024.  

If you’re looking for a gym in Waterford that provides adapted physical fitness and education plans, inclusive programmes and a fun environment where kids can prosper, this new term is perfect for your child. 

Training Dates & Times

Each session will take place at our private and spacious gym on the Cork Rd in Waterford from 11:30am to 12:30pm on the following dates: 

Week 1 Week 2  Week 3  Week 4  Week 5  Week 6 
13th July 20th July 27th July 3rd August 10th August 17th August

Classes are suitable for participants ages 11 to 16 and the total cost for the full term of six classes is €75.  

To reserve a place in this programme, click here. 

6-Week Autism Friendly Fitness Classes – Bookings Open


If you need more information about this programme please complete the form at the bottom of the page or email us at 

Fitness for Individuals with Autism: Insights from an Experienced Coach

As a qualified personal trainer in Waterford with years of experience, I have had the opportunity to train individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), both verbal and non-verbal. In providing classes for children and teens on the autism spectrum, I have gained valuable insights into the diverse needs and preferences of my clients. 

What I’ve come to realise is that fitness activities and the environment need to be tailored to each child. For instance, I currently coach a client who thrives with music playing during our sessions, as he’s able to synchronise his exercises with the beat of a song. 

Conversely, I also coach a person that prefers a quiet and distraction-free environment. 

Additionally, another client finds motivation and support in a group setting.

The Vital Role of Fitness for ASD

This article aims to highlight the importance of fitness training for individuals with ASD and offers a glimpse into the various strategies that can be employed to integrate it into their lives effectively. 

Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is essential. This developmental disorder is characterised by challenges with social interaction, communication, and repetitive behaviours. Individuals with ASD often have sensory sensitivities and may struggle with transitions and changes in routine. While these traits may pose barriers, they don’t diminish the importance of physical activity for individuals with ASD.

Benefits of Fitness Training

Regular physical activity offers a multitude of benefits for individuals with autism, including:

  • Physical Health: Exercise promotes cardiovascular health, strength, flexibility, and coordination, contributing to overall physical well-being.
  • Mental Health: Physical activity can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, while improving mood and self-esteem.
  • Sensory Integration: Engaging in sensory-rich activities like exercise can help individuals with autism regulate sensory input and improve sensory integration skills.


Effective Strategies for Training Individuals with Autism

When designing fitness programmes for individuals with autism, it’s essential to consider their unique needs and preferences. Here are some strategies for creating inclusive and effective training experiences:

  • Individualised Approach: Recognise that each person with autism is unique, with their own strengths, challenges, and preferences. Tailor the training programme to accommodate individual differences and provide personalised support.


  • Sensory Considerations: Be mindful of sensory sensitivities and preferences. Offer a variety of activities and equipment options to accommodate different sensory needs. Provide sensory breaks and incorporate sensory-friendly elements into the environment, such as dim lighting or calming music.


  • Visual Supports: Use visual supports, such as schedules, visual timers, and picture cards, to help individuals with autism understand expectations, transitions, and exercise routines. Visual aids can enhance comprehension and reduce anxiety.


  • Clear Instructions and Expectations: Provide clear, concise instructions and expectations for each exercise or activity. Break down tasks into manageable steps and demonstrate proper technique. Use verbal and visual cues to reinforce instructions.


  • Positive Reinforcement: Offer frequent praise and positive reinforcement to encourage effort and participation. Focus on progress and effort rather than perfection, and celebrate achievements, no matter how small.


  • Social Support: Foster a supportive and inclusive environment where individuals with autism feel accepted and valued.


  • Flexibility and Patience: Be flexible and patient in your approach, understanding that progress may be gradual, and setbacks may occur. Adapt the programme as needed to meet the changing needs of participants and provide ongoing support and encouragement.


Fitness training can significantly enhance the lives of individuals with autism, promoting physical health, mental well-being, social skills, and sensory integration. By using inclusive and individualised approaches, fitness professionals can create supportive environments where individuals with autism can thrive.

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