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Puzzle Piece Fitness

(813) 494-0431||www.puzzlefit.com

Puzzle Piece Fitness is a personal exercise training studio owned and operated by local trainer Mark Fleming. At his gym on Race Track Road in Tampa, Fleming offers one-on-one personal fitness training and adaptive group fitness classes for adults and children. However, this is not your typical autism, Asperger’s or related disabilities therapy.

Mark Fleming is an adult with autism. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama in exercise science and a Master’s degree in human performance. He is certified as a personal trainer by the American Council on Exercise.

Fleming has a truly unique approach to working with people with autism, as he knows firsthand what it is like. In addition to providing excellent workouts, Fleming is a great inspiration and role model to many living with autism.

Fleming believes exercise is a therapy that everybody in life should participate in. The goal is to use functional training individuals with autism that not only incorporates strength and cardiovascular training but can also help motor planning, social skills, and cognitive functioning.

“Growing up my ‘special interest’ was sports,” said Fleming. “I constantly hear how I was able to read the box scores in the paper before I could even read. However, I also had numerous fine and motor skill deficits that should have prevented me from playing the sports I loved so much, but thankfully had parents that not only allowed me to play but pushed me to play. I was never able to realize my dream of playing sports professionally but was able to find a new love of fitness in college.”

“After receiving the majority of my education towards a Master’s degree, I was given an opportunity to work as a behavior assistant with an applied behavior analysis company working with individuals with Autism,” Fleming continued. “Through my encounters, while working in this field, plus the encounters I had through volunteering and coaching in Special Olympics, I noticed two startling trends: The first is that outside of school physical education, many individuals with Autism have very few opportunities to stay active and healthy.”

“The second is that physical and occupational therapies provide great opportunities for this population in terms of being physically active,” Fleming added. “However, the therapies usually only cover obvious deficits and services are stopped once those deficits are corrected or the individual ages out of the school system. So, what I continued to see was individuals with little opportunity to stay active and even fewer opportunities for them to receive proper instruction of correct movement and form.”

Fleming added, “After realizing that I could help provide these opportunities, I reached out and learned from the few others in the country that have been personally training these individuals for years. After learning as much as I could, I decided to start a business providing personal exercise sessions for this population.”

Fleming is also making history as the first owner and operator with autism of a fitness studio in Tampa Bay. Puzzle Piece Fitness has been profiled by CNN, Spectrum Sports and WTSP Channel 10 News.


Contact Mark Fleming today to schedule your personal consultation and learn more about Puzzle Piece Fitness!

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