'We can give someone as much joy as we can with the cards they have been dealt so the world’s not as frightening for them.'
Editor's note: This article was originally published on September 29, 2022. It has since been updated.
A powerlifting champion is doing all he can to make this world a bit more accommodating for people with disabilities. Javeno McLean has opened a gym, J7 Health Center, in Manchester, United Kingdom, to specifically train individuals with disabilities. The 36-year-old father of two wanted to have a career in fitness for more than a decade. He wrote down his dream on a piece of paper in his mother's kitchen and it has been a long journey toward finally making that dream come true, according to ITV. Javeno began his career at Manchester City Council, where he assisted in the development of a new fitness movement known as Active Lifestyles. J7 is a chance to create his "own thing."
Despite having no prior expertise in the fitness sector, Javeno grew his network "accidentally and organically" after volunteering to train two disabled people. He said, "It started spreading like wildfire and I got some amazing messages and I thought the more people that know about this [the better]," according to LadBible. Javeno explained, "I'm from poverty. I understand what it's like to have nothing. My family taught me when I was young when I'm in a position to give without taking, that's what I'm gonna do.” He added, "I'm doing it because I want to help. I want it to be as organic as possible."
Currently, he is training 15 disabled children and around 30 elderly adults. Javeno said, "We can give someone as much joy as we can with the cards they have been dealt so the world’s not as frightening for them." Marley Fenton, 11, who has cerebral palsy, has made improvements in both his physical and emotional well-being with simple everyday workouts that able-bodied people take for granted, such as getting out of his wheelchair, picking up a ball, and raising it above his head. Marley's mother, Nicola, believed that with the help of his trainer, her son will soon be able to take his first steps. Applauding Javeno's work, she said, "He makes Marley smile from the get-go. Javeno deserves to be known for being such an incredible guy with a huge heart."
Along with physical training, Javeno considers mental coaching a significant part of his fitness center. He said, "The lessons we learn in the gym; they transcend and go into real life. That grit, that determination, that fight. They get a newfound level of confidence to do things that they never thought of. To try new things. To improve their quality of life. And I think I've had something to do with that. It's amazing for me." Josh Coy, 25, who has cerebral palsy, found a newfound strength and confidence after training with Javeno. He has developed the ability to take baking as a hobby and pursue acting.
While helping others, Javeno has not given up on his own career as a powerlifting champion. "They motivate me to do what I do. They say they're lucky to have me but I think I'm lucky to have them. We all need each other," he said. He won first place in the Powerlifting European Championships held in Manchester last August. He said, "The work I do, it fuels me to be a better athlete. What they're doing is a strength that is so indescribable. So, every time I'm training and sh*t gets hard I say, this ain't nothing. I'm fit and healthy, why am I moaning?"