A Knoxville gym hopes to make everyone feel welcome. Rocky Top CrossFit is reaching out to athletes with disabilities, offering special classes every week. Workouts are adapted to each individual and their abilities. 

Becky Tolliver is working just as hard as anybody else in the gym. However, she’s adapting her workout to her ability in a functional fitness class. 

“It helps you lose weight and do exercise,” said Tolliver, an athlete from the Arc Knox County, Sunshine Industries. 

She’s part of a group from the Arc Knox County, Sunshine Industries. It’s a local non profit that helps people with disabilities in a range of different services, from employment opportunities to community programs like this.

“Coming here and learning these functional fitness skills, learning how to squat, learning how to keep good posture, it really helps them when they get out into the workforce to have that stamina,” said Leah Bowman, with the Arc Knox County, Sunshine Industries. 

Friday’s workout included the rowing machines, squats and resistance training. The purpose is for athletes to push the limit, while doing it at their own pace. 

“Being stronger, exercise is good,” said Adrian Satterwhite, an athlete from the Arc Knox County, Sunshine Industries. 

Anna Palmer works for the organization and she adds, “It’s huge for them to view themselves as able to do anything. They’re not feeling like their disabilities are holding them back.”

Coach Lars Carlson from Rocky Top CrossFit teaches the proper technique for movement. The goal is for each athlete’s quality of life to be improved, while encouraging them along the way. 

“There’s no reason those athletes shouldn’t have the same opportunity as everybody else,” said Carlson. 

The workouts boost their self esteem and confidence. Organizers also say it benefits them by learning how to work as a team. 

In the couple of classes since it’s start, there have been big improvements for some athletes. Others have made simple, small steps. While the results vary, it’s evident that all of the participants are seeing a positive impact.

Carlson adds, “They only have one gear and it’s just love and kindness.”

The adapted classes are every Friday at 10:00 a.m. at Rocky Top CrossFit, located at 1412 N 6th Avenue in Knoxville. 

The gym will also hold its grand reopening on June 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to celebrate its new ownership.