RAMSEY, N.J. -- You're stronger than you think — such is the motto of Russ Van Ness who runs Gifted Fitness , a facility in Ramsey for those with special needs.
Van Ness said the key to success is believing in yourself and realizing limitations only exist in your mind.
"We view each and every client as extremely capable individuals who have strengths and weaknesses, just like you and I," said Van Guss. "They just happen to also have a disability.
"We focus on those strengths to build trust, confidence and a tremendous sense of accomplishment.
"Once we establish that strong foundation, our clients start to realize they are 'stronger than they think' and that has such a powerful effect on their lives both in and out of the gym."
Clients range in age from six to 41 and come from all over Bergen -- as well as from over an hour away -- to work their muscles, tone their bodies and be treated like any other gym-goer in the county.
"Our clients want the same things everyone else wants; to be stronger, healthier and independent and my team and I put our heart and soul into every session to get them there," he added.
Van Ness said he developed the programs at Gifted Fitness after seeing a lack of opportunities and facilities that catered to this population, especially in the areas of fitness and exercise.
The North Haledon resident, who has a degree in health and physical education, decided to combine his natural gift for working with the special needs populations and his passion for exercise into his own special program.
In July, he resigned from his teaching position as an Adapted Health and P.E. teacher at CTC Academy in Fair Lawn, a private school for individuals with severe physical and cognitive disabilities, and is now focusing on the business full time.
Gifted Fitness, which is housed in NJ Sports Academy, will celebrate its one year of operation in September.
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