Meet Corey. We are so lucky to have him as part of our SkeeTown CrossFit family. He is an athlete we look forward to seeing around the box. We love all of our members, but there’s something a little different that makes Corey extra special to our community: Corey is an athlete who has Autism.

CrossFit is known for being inclusive of all athletes. While some might think that a person has to be in great shape to do CrossFit, that is simply not the case. In fact, we have many members in our own SkeeTown community who are dealing with different conditions that have the potential to interfere with regular exercise. However, our Coaches are well trained and are able to make modifications to any movement to ensure success for each participant. At SkeeTown, it’s an integral part of our mission to be able to bring CrossFIt to everyone! We know what we do works to improve people’s well being, and we want to share that and help as many people as possible become healthy and fit.

This past Spring, Coach Erica began to research Adaptive CrossFit and how we could begin to implement it at Skeetown.  Erica has is a Certified L1 CrossFit Coach, has a background in health care, has the hugest heart on the planet, and genuinely enjoys helping people. Adaptive CrossFit (because it is adapted to different people, depending on their individual need) was a great fit for her. We started offering some classes, and personal training options for these athletes. Corey’s Mom, Sue shared her thoughts about Corey’s involvement at SkeeTown during his workout one day.

What made Corey decide to try CrossFit? Nate and Erica were so gracious in offering a free class to The Autism Support of WestShore in observance of National Autism Awareness Month. I was so impressed by their dedication and enthusiasm to give our loved ones with autism a great experience.They had an occupational therapist on site to observe, participate and offer suggestions. Corey enjoyed the class a lot and bonded with the coaches. For him, like a lot of us, relationships are everything. I asked him if he’d like to continue at CrossFit and he said,”Yes!”

What gains or changes have you seen Corey make since he started working with Coach Erica? I see him getting physically and mentally stronger with each workout. It is awesome to see his confidence grow, too. He loves being a guy at the gym like other young men his age. He truly looks forward to his workouts. It is a place he can feel like he belongs. I also see Corey becoming more comfortable with movement. Autism affects motor skills as well as communication and socialization. He tends to favor one side of his body over the other and the movements he does with Erica has helped him cross the mid-line and use both sides.  

What is Corey’s favorite thing about CrossFit? Erica! He also likes the variety. One day they do cardio, another time they’ll focus focus more on strength. The exercises have helped him in TaeKwanDo, too. He likes being strong and knowing how to do squats, sit-ups, etc. unaided.

What keeps Corey coming back to SkeeTown CrossFit? Keeping physically fit is important to our family and Corey is no exception. But SkeeTown CrossFit goes way beyond the workout. Everyone-the coaches and members- are so supportive of Corey. Again, it comes back to having a place to belong and where Corey feels comfortable being himself.

Any advice or thoughts that you would give other families/athletes who are thinking of exploring Adaptive CrossFit? I would encourage everyone to try CrossFit. If your son or daughter isn’t ready, try again in six months. If you put it off, it will never happen. The coaches at SkeeTown CrossFit strive to give everyone a positive experience. It has been a life changer for us, for sure!

And Coach Erica’s thoughts on working with Corey? I have probably learned more from Corey than he has learned from me! He has an awesome attitude and works very hard. He always does his best and never complains. He does not let autism stand in his way. He is just like everyone else but there are some things he has to work even harder at than other people do. He just rolls with it! It is my privilege to be training such a dedicated, hard working athlete!

Thank you, Corey for being part of our SkeeTown family! It has been awesome watching you make gains and improvements! As we say around here, “Stronger Every Day!” If you have been hesitant to try CrossFit because of physical limitations, or have a child/family member who you feel could benefit, please schedule a FREE “No Sweat Intro”, come in and talk with us about how we can help you get started smashing YOUR goals, too!