Local gym offers free membership to Special Olympics athletes

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Local gym offers free membership to Special Olympics athletes

In front: Nick Famiano; Standing from left to right:  Mike Oliva, Jeffery Carver, Nick Young, Mark Fleming (behind), Wayne Reinhardt, John Salomez, Joey D’Antonio (behind) and Jim Coleman

Tired of hearing all the negativity in the news? Here’s a really uplifting story! Lift More Fitness, a gym devoted to power-lifting and bodybuilding, off of SR 50 in Brooksville, is helping some local residents lift their spirits. Owner, Mike Oliva, wanted to do something positive for Hernando county and make a difference, so his gym is currently offering free membership to Special Olympics athletes. They can work out for free any day, any time, but Mondays and Wednesdays are specifically dedicated to them. Most usually show up around 5 pm. The average age of the Special Olympics athletes who regularly work out at Lift More ranges from 18 to mid-30’s.

The idea was born when Oliva’s longtime friend, Coach Jim Coleman, of Special Olympics Hernando county inquired if a few of his athletes could come in once in awhile.

Since Mike was looking for a way to give back to the community, of course he said yes, and the momentum grew from there. He says “it’s important to give back to the people who support you.” Coach Jim leads his team by example. He not only coaches his athletes, but regularly trains with them as well. He even comes in and works out extra days to make sure he can keep up with them. Mike adds, “These guys are athletes in every essence of the word. It’s really impressive.”

Lift More Fitness used to be on Mariner, but just moved to their new location in June. It’s Oliva’s ideal vision of what a gym should be. He describes it as “an old-school gym.” He continues, “ We have an air conditioned side that has a daycare, lounge, tanning room, showers, yoga room/ fitness studio with a padded floor and all that good stuff. But the heart of the gym is inside the warehouse with free weights and cardio equipment, no air conditioning… Simply old-school principals.” One interesting thing about Lift More Fitness is that they are “pro-dog.” That’s right- they allow dogs at the gym!


Wayne Reinhardt does some heavy lifting at Lift More fitness

Oliva says that the Special Olympics athletes are not the only ones who are getting to benefit from this offer. “It’s a two way street,” he explains. Members who frequent the gym on a regular basis are inspired by the Special Olympics athletes. Seeing how hard they work and never giving up despite their disabilities, motivates the other gym members to persevere no matter what. Mike adds, “Those guys are an inspiration and I’m happy to be a part of what they do.”

If you want to sweat and get an intense workout, enjoy loud music and camaraderie this is the place to be. Feel free to grunt while lifting weights or cheer each other on. You don’t have to be quiet like at the trendy fitness centers. Both women and men are free to join, however currently the majority of the clients are men.

Want more info? Give them a call at 352-610-3152. Lift More Fitness is located at 13484 Chambord St, Brooksville, FL 34613