ACTION Leader of the Month: Zoe
What do you love most about FITBuddies?
Seeing my teachers, Jen and Chris, and being active.
What's your favorite music?
These are a few of my favorite things…
Yoga, FITBuddies, school and listening to music,
What FITBuddies exercise move do you love most?
Why are you proud to be a FITBuddies ACTION leader?
I like being strong!
How does spending time at FITBuddies make you feel?
More from Zoe's parents and coaches!
As a parent, what goals have you observed being achieved through FITBuddies?
When Zoe started FITBuddies over 4 years ago at age 13, we were thrilled to have found a fitness program for teens and young adults with special needs. It is so hard to find programs like these, and we felt especially lucky because FIT is very close to our house. Our goal at that time was simply to get Zoe to be more active.
As this goal was achieved and continued, we also saw Zoe’s enthusiasm for various exercise routines increase, as well as her desire to be strong and build big “MUSCLES!!!!” (now a common refrain in our house and at FIT). Zoe started to incorporate the exercises she learned at FITBuddies in our home gym, especially ring pulls, overhead presses and planks. As a result of this exposure to “real” exercise, she now loves to watch and imitate various exercise routines that she finds on YouTube, and occasionally joins us as we workout at home.
What skills learned at FITBuddies does Zoe use in her daily life?
Zoe has gained much more than enthusiasm for exercise at FITBuddies. She has also improved her social skills, ability to follow directions and a schedule, ability to work as part of a group, and ability to be flexible when routines change, as her needs and the needs of her classmates sometimes diverge.
When the pandemic hit, we could not have imagined that Zoe would be forced to go virtual for an entire year. When she first attempted virtual fitness, we figured we would try it on a lark, with not much hope for Zoe being able to stay focused. However, for 4 days a week for several months, both Zoe and her instructor Chris managed to do 1:1 virtual fitness sessions over FaceTime. It was not always easy, but Chris deserves a medal for employing every tactic possible to keep Zoe on task and engaged over a screen. We are so proud of Zoe’s ability to adapt to this challenging new situation. Luckily, Zoe now gets to do in-person fitness outside twice a week with Jen, Chris and her longtime friend Olivia. It’s the only regularly scheduled activity that she has outside the house. She is always SO excited to grab her mat, mask and go!!!! (She practically runs to the car.) We are very appreciative of Jen, Chris and FIT for figuring out creative ways for all of our kids to stay active during this very challenging time.
What has Zoe demonstrated and achieved to be distinguished as this month's ACTION leader?
This past year, Zoe has been resilient, flexible and an absolute rockstar! She embraced virtual training with an open mind and eventually started training with Chris 5 days per week. It was hard, it wasn’t ideal for keeping her engaged and just like all of us, there were days when she just didn’t want to move...but she persisted, she was consistent and we are so proud of her!! Prior to this past year, Zoe has also matured so much and really started to become an example to her peers — with her fun personality, her willingness to at least give things a try and her enthusiasm to build strong “muscles!!!”
Working out virtually, Zoe was extra focused during the workouts and was constantly making progress. Zoe also demonstrated great patience during the transition to virtual training.
When FiT was opened for in person training, Zoe jumped at the opportunity. She showed up flexing her muscles ready to get to business, just like old times.
As her coach, describe Zoe's growth that you've observed.
When Zoe started at FiT, she had a difficult time staying on task, would often sit out a majority of the session and would often run off (to watch other clients Olympic Lift — one of her obsessions :). As her coaches, we are so proud of the progress she has made physically, behaviorally and socially. She has matured so much in the past year or two and really just makes movement more fun! Zoe continues to challenge us (especially on reps and sets) but is now easily redirected and proud when she completes a task. She encourages her fellow peers and is always ready for a dance party when one of her favorite songs comes on. I look forward to seeing what the next couple years bring. Keep up the great work, Zoe💪🏻💪🏻
If you want to see growth, Zoe is never shy to flex her muscles at FiT. She has always been eager to exercise and since I’ve been working out with Zoe, she has learned a library of moves.
The area I’ve seen the most growth in Zoe is her communication skills. While training virtually, she was able to communicate when certain movements were too difficult or what she needed help with in order to learn the movement. Also, Zoe has developed much more stamina, completing entire work outs without taking a break.
Zoe was working out 5 days a week, which would make anyone sore. Rather than letting the discomfort of sore muscles prevent her from exercising, she started expressing how certain moves were causing her discomfort and asked to modify or change movements. If push ups were too difficult on a certain day, she would ask for floor press. If ring rows were too challenging on a certain day, she would ask to do the rowing machine. Her memory of the movements she's learned was impressive, and made finding substitute movements easy and fun.