Meet the personal trainer organising Glasgow’s first fitness classes for the deaf

by fitness journalist

A young personal trainer is using the remains of an old West End club to open up fitness classes to deaf people in Glasgow.

Amy Hill, who runs Body by Amy, is using sign language and the lighting system in Viper Nightclub to communicate to deaf members of her fitness classes when to start and end workouts.

The idea for running an accessible fitness class came to Amy when she was helping her deaf father exercise in the space.

Speaking to Glasgow Live , she said: “Both my parents are profoundly deaf, so I’ve always been fluent in sign language.

“I happened to be training my dad one day and I couldn’t really work out how to communicate with him if he wasn’t facing me. When he was facing the opposite direction, it was really hard to tell him when to start and when to stop.

“Then I realised that the place I use for my classes, Viper, has a huge lighting system. I changed the light colours to indicate to him when to start and when to stop.

Amy leads a workout on the old Viper dance floor

“I posted the video on Facebook and people started messaging me asking to be involved. Because I’ve known sign language my whole life, I’ve always seen the difficulties that deaf people face and I wanted to create somewhere where they felt comfortable and safe.”

Despite running one of the most innovative classes on the Glasgow fitness scene, Amy herself only qualified as a personal trainer in the spring of last year, allowing her to marry two passions.

“I only qualified as a personal trainer recently, but I’ve always been into fitness in the sense that it helps with anxiety and things like that.

“I have always talked about being an interpreter for deaf people or helping the deaf community in some way. When I became a personal trainer and knew that I could do something I enjoyed while involving the deaf community, it was amazing.”

With the classes just six weeks old, it’s still early days for Body by Amy, however, the young personal trainer has high hopes for the future and her role in accessible fitness.

Amy said: “I am looking for my own unit right now – I won’t be in Viper forever. The first thing I’m looking for in my new space is an automatic lighting system, so I can continue to do these classes and the deaf bootcamp.

Amy communicating with her class using sign language

“I want deaf people to keep coming in and doing what they are doing, I’ve spoken to a few of the people coming through to the class who have said that they don’t feel that comfortable going to a gym themselves because they can’t really speak or communicate with anyone.

“Because I can help with sign language and help with the exercises in general, they feel comfortable coming to me.”

Amy’s ultimate dream is to have an accessible gym of her own which could cater to everyone – making extra accommodations for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

She concluded: “Eventually I’d love to have my own gym, but obviously I’ve just started. For right now, I am just looking for my own unit; my own space. That space is something I’d customise to make it as accessible as possible.”

Enquiries about classes can made directly to Amy through her Facebook page, which can be found here.

This content was originally published here.

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