Getting to Know Matthew Alexander
Fitness instructors come from all walks of life. That’s what I like most about being one.
I’m Matthew Alexander – a certified indoor cycling instructor, Silver Sneakers® instructor, and aqua fitness instructor. I am here today to share my story.
When I was 18 months old, I was diagnosed with Autism.
Growing up with Autism presented numerous challenges. For example, I couldn’t communicate until I was four years old. As I got older, I completed several therapies inside and outside of school. Although I have improved as a result of these treatments, there are still some things I find challenging; sometimes I have trouble reading social cues and occasionally need material explained in greater detail.
For a long time, it was hard for me to find a community where I belonged.
I got into cycling after my mom took a cycle class at a gym a few years ago. She enjoyed it and suggested that I try it out, which I did. I LOVED it. But at the time I wasn’t really dedicated to improving my fitness. – I only went a few times. However, later that year, I got news from my doctor that I was at risk for diabetes. After seeing my dietician, Marlo Mittler, MS, RD – who is AMAZING – I decided to get back into the gym.
I jumped back into the saddle. The class was filled with so much energy and it was an AMAZING workout. My instructor Regina Davis, who originally inspired me to become an instructor after taking a few of her classes, brought an energy to the class that was infectious. I came back every week that I could. It took a little bit of practice for me, but I got the hang of it.
I feel that the indoor cycling community (especially the instructors) are very accepting of my strengths and weaknesses. I’ve always wanted that in my life. Acceptance.
You just have to find a community that accepts you for who you are.
When I was training for my certification with my dad, he had to break down the scientific aspects to cycling so I could better understand the concepts. Science has never been my strong suit, but miracles can happen! If I can achieve my goal of becoming an indoor cycling instructor at age 17, while living with Autism, you can do anything you set your mind to!
I don’t want you to walk away from this story feeling sorry for me. I want you to walk away from this article uplifted and motivated to make a difference in your community for people with Autism.
We should be inviting people of all types into our classrooms and encouraging them to go at their own pace.
I would not be an instructor without the support of my family, and the indoor cycling instructors who helped make my dream come true, especially Regina Davis, Steven Korman, Natalie Santiago, and Mary Ciaccio. Without these people, and my family, I don’t know where I would be! It is a miracle that I became an instructor because I went through so much to get to where I am today.
Please consider donating to Autism Speaks or a local grassroots organization. With your help, we can make a difference in this world for people with Autism!
To keep up with what I am doing, please follow my instagram @thespinpro.