Personal trainers help people with disabilities

Melbourne-based Vibes Fitness owner Margie Cerato has been working in fitness since she was a teenager. A decade ago, she founded a nonprofit called Celebrating Abilities, which offers programs to clients who are often told their needs are “too complicated.”

“I’ve had a lot of people visit me through Vibes Fitness that no one wanted to work with. They were put in the basket that was too hard,” says Cerato.


Cerato has created an inclusive space for all abilities to learn everything from basic fitness to aerial yoga, and tailored programs. Her clients range from the hearing impaired taking part in a training session with an Auslan interpreter, to clients with Down Syndrome, ADHD or stroke patients.

“It’s not a job for me. It’s my passion,” says Cerato, noting that she believes the best fitness trainers have good technical skills, take regular training courses, and have strong emotional intelligence.

As part of her work, Cerato aims to shift societal perspectives from a focus on disability to a celebration of ability.

“My plan is to move with the studio in 2023 and set up a skills studio with a playground [in a] wheelchair-accessible building and a sensory room for children,” she says.

In addition to creating manuals for fitness trainers (the next one focuses on teaching clients with disabilities), Cerato is constantly improving their own skills.

“The best thing about working in the industry is making people’s dreams come true,” she says.

IMPORTANT FACTS: Personal trainers help people with disabilities

Brian Lowry

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