Maggie Spezia Opens a Gym for those with Special Needs to Combine Passions
Maggie Spezia knew she wanted to work with special needs children ever since she was in the second grade.
Spezia followed through with her dream and began working as a special ed teacher when she was 24 years old.
Then when the pandemic hit, “everything kind of changed,” said Spezia, now 34.
Having been an active CrossFit athlete since 2010, Spezia’s wheels started to turn about how she might be able to combine her passion of working with people with special needs with her passion for fitness. Her answer was to start a gym dedicated entirely to training kids and adults with special needs.
“I ran the idea by my husband. ‘Do you support me if I quit teaching and combine my two passions and put them together?’” she asked.
Her husband Kyle Spezia didn’t hesitate to provide his blessing, and Spezia was off to the races.
“In May 2021, I quit teaching and I opened the doors in June 2021,” Spezia said of how she opened Endless Fitness in Katy, TX one year ago.
One Year Later
A little over a year since leaving her stable career as a teacher to take a risk and become a gym owner, Spezia couldn’t be happier about her decision.
“Before, when I was teaching I loved waking up and going to work, but now I love my job even more, which I didn’t know was even possible,” she said. “Every single day I go to work and I’m 100 percent doing everything I love.”
Today, Spezia works with both adults and children with special needs ranging from autism to Down’s Syndrome to emotional disturbances, both individually and in small groups.
She credits the relationships she built through the nine years she worked as a special ed teacher with helping her quickly build a client base that includes both former students, as well as adults from various day habilitation programs, all of whom have made tremendous gains through functional fitness.
“Some of them have lost weight. Some of them had aggression issues and parents or caregivers have reported they no longer see that aggression. And I have one client who told me she has never liked working out, but she loves the 30 minutes she does with me,” Spezia said.
More than anything, though, Spezia is providing a need for a community where fitness hasn’t typically been all that available. Or in some cases, fitness is only available until the person turns 18 and finishes high school, at which point they stop pursuing any form of fitness, Spezia explained.
“They have to keep moving. Sometimes parents or caretakers don’t know that, but they need to know they need to keep moving. They need fitness,” Spezia said.
”My whole life I have wanted to make a difference, and I just really feel like I’m making a difference,” she added.
Spezia’s message is simple: Be willing to take a risk. It just might pay off.
“Keep searching for your goal and be willing to take that jump. I was very scared. I was a teacher with a stable, guaranteed paycheck, but I took the jump and it’s worth it,” she said.
And Spezia has no intention of stopping there.
Her ultimate goal is to start traveling around to other gyms to teach gym owners and coaches about how to work with the special needs population.
“I have had gym owners reach out and they want to do what I’m doing, but they don’t know how,” she said.
“So I love that I’m making an impact at my gym, but I want to help reach others, too. I want to reach as many people as possible.”
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