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Making Fitness Accessible – An Interview with Adapt to Perform

Background image of Ben clark using dumbell weights as chest press. HIs wheel chair is just beside him.

“It has been such an incredible journey of spreading positivity and making fitness accessible to all. And guess what? We haven’t stopped there!”

Rewind five years and Ben Clark from Adapt to Perform had just launched his YouTube channel. Having noticed a serious lack of wheel-chair-friendly exercise programs, he knew he had to do something about it. Fast forward to 2023, Adapt to Perform is a well-established business with a vibrant global community and a strong social media following. 

In this article, Ben speaks candidly to Vim Health as we discuss where it all began, making fitness accessible and Ben’s exercise tips for wheelchair users. Read on to hear the story behind Adapt to Perform.

For any readers unfamiliar with Adapt to Perform, please tell us a bit about it.

It all began in 2017, but the seeds of this wonderful idea had been brewing for a few years before that. I couldn’t help but notice the lack of exercise programs for wheelchair users online, and I knew I had to do something about it. So, I started creating wheelchair-friendly exercise videos from the cosy comfort of my spare bedroom and shared them on YouTube. Little did I know that this small step would lead to something extraordinary.

 As my videos gained popularity, the Adapt to Perform community began to grow and touch the lives of countless people worldwide—tens of thousands, to be exact! It has been an incredible journey of spreading positivity and making fitness accessible to all. And guess what? We haven’t stopped there!

Thanks to the incredible support and love from our community, Adapt to Perform has blossomed into a thriving business. We now offer a diverse range of free and paid fitness services and expert consultancy services to some of the world’s leading fitness brands. It’s all about spreading the joy of staying fit, regardless of ability.

Every day, I wake up excited to create a more inclusive and friendly fitness world. We are truly grateful for the opportunity to be part of the journey towards healthier, happier lives. So, whether you’re a wheelchair user or simply looking to embrace an inclusive fitness experience, Adapt to Perform is here with open arms, ready to support you every step.

Where are you based?

I’m currently on the most amazing adventure with my wife, Alice! We used to call the UK our home, but in September, we decided to shake things up. We sold everything, tied the knot, and hit the road to explore the world together. We’re currently soaking up the wonders of our fifteenth country! 

Each place we visit is like a dream come true, filled with new friends, unforgettable experiences, and exciting cultures to discover. We’re over the moon with joy and can’t wait to see what each new destination has in store for us. Life is an incredible journey, and we’re savouring every moment of it! 

What was the inspiration for your business?

It was the simple desire to lend a hand to others, just like me, in finding a path to a happier and healthier life through fitness. You see, we all deserve to feel our best and live life to the fullest, and I knew that fitness could be the key to unlocking that joy. So, I decided to share my passion and knowledge with the world.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced with Adapt to Perform? And what have you found most rewarding?

You know what’s both thrilling and challenging about this journey? Every single day, I find myself treading new ground with no guidebook or research to lean on. Using that to help others is very rewarding, especially the feedback I get from the community. It’s truly heartwarming and motivates me even more!

There’s lots of nutrition advice available on the Adapt to Perform website. Do you consider yourself a foodie? What’s your Favourite dish?

I wouldn’t say I’m a hardcore foodie, but I absolutely love trying out different dishes! Truth be told, I have my go-to 6-7 meals that I cook pretty well, and when I’m feeling adventurous, I can’t resist eating out (okay, maybe more often than I’d like to admit!). But hey, who can resist the allure of a delicious meal, right?

Now, let me tell you about my ultimate favourite dish – a mind-blowing pizza I had in Napoli back in 2019! Nothing has even come close to topping it!

The info on the site, it’s all fuelled by a genuine love for the science behind it all. Understanding calories, proteins, carbs etc and being able to teach it in an understandable way is so much fun.

Tell us something not many people know about you.

Before my injury, I was a dedicated professional swimmer with big dreams set on the

2012 Olympics. Unfortunately, life threw me a curveball, and my dream was cut short by that injury. But you know what? I didn’t let it stop me! I continued swimming after and became the only person to achieve national gold as both an able-bodied and disabled swimmer.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get back into exercise?

If you’re looking to get back into exercise, here’s some friendly advice for you: Start small and build your way up. Remember, it’s all about finding what you can do comfortably and gradually pushing yourself to discover your limits.

Take it one step at a time and be patient with yourself. It’s completely normal to feel a bit rusty when you start, but don’t let that discourage you. Celebrate every little progress you make along the way!

Choose exercises that you enjoy and that match your fitness level. Find something that brings you joy and keeps you motivated.

 Also, don’t forget the importance of listening to your body. If you feel any

discomfort or strain, take a break and give yourself time to recover. Building consistency is key, but it’s equally important to balance it with rest and recovery.

 Lastly, don’t be afraid to seek support. Exercise buddies, fitness classes, or personal trainers can provide valuable encouragement and guidance on your fitness journey. Adapt to Perform can help you there with tons of exercise videos tailor made for wheelchair users.

Can you talk us through a class with you? We’re often Where should we direct anyone who wants to sign up for Adapt to Perform?

So, all my workouts are variable for different needs and ability levels. I guide you through every session and help you along the way. If you’re looking to just get started head over to the YouTube channel. But if you want that extra help and being shown what to do each and every day then head over to www.adapttoperform.co.uk and use the code FREE50 to get 50% off your first year!

Thank you for taking the time to speak to us, Ben and thank you for making fitness accessible for all.

Our aim when we opened Vim Health was to create an inclusive and welcoming space to empower people on their health journey, with accessibility as the focus. Whilst our gym is accessible to those within travelling distance of Sussex, those further afield might struggle to access the space, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t continue exercising at your own pace. If you’re local to Sussex, feel free to pop into Vim Health; if not, the online classes available at Adapt to Perform could be just what you’re looking for.

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