Divergent Fitness is a fitness-based program for individuals of all abilities. Our program was created out of the awareness that the fitness industry, school systems, and community based programs are not delivering the type of opportunities necessary to meet the fitness needs of all people. Unfortunately, this is especially true for individuals with special needs such as autism and related disorders.
Divergent Fitness is based on principles of human movement, human capacity, and physical literacy, while taking into consideration individual differences. This includes differences in age, physical thresholds, neurological diversity, behavioral challenges, socio-emotional development, communication and learning styles, motivation, and everything else that makes us unique as human beings.
Divergent Fitness aims to improve the quality of life for individuals with special needs through the development of relationships and the implementation of functional fitness. We believe that when you bring together individuals who do not believe in limitations, all things are possible.
Our mission is to shift the current paradigm that is producing an astounding rise in disease and to create a new way of thinking that will greatly enhance the lifestyle of people with special needs.
Whether they want to participate in sports, improve their ability to focus in the classroom, type faster to communicate, feel more connected to their body, or just be healthier in general, we want to provide the opportunity for all individuals to become healthier and fit.
MEET OUR FOUNDER: MIKE RAMIREZ
Mike was working as an early intervention therapist when he was approached by a parent looking for a personal trainer to work with her 16yo son with autism. This relationship was the spark that led to the creation of Special-Fit, a fitness program dedicated to providing access to fitness for neurodivergent communities. This creation also produced a first of its kind, an inclusive facility in Chatsworth, CA, where people from all walks of life can work out regardless of their ability. His knowledge and research on subjects in neuroscience, biology, anatomy, physiology, and psychology led him to the creation of Divergent Fitness, a fitness program that focuses on helping individuals create better life experiences. Mike owes most of his knowledge to the mentorship by Julien Pineau, owner and creator of Strongfit.
Mike’s experience over 20 years includes working with people affected by Autism, Downs Syndrome, Retts Syndrome, PDD-NOS, Pitt Hopkins Syndrome, speech delays, behavioral issues, anxiety disorders, depression, addictions, injury recovery and prevention and he has also worked in the sport and fitness field for over 15 yrs.
- A. Psychology
- 14 + yrs Early Intervention
- Crossfit Level 2
- Brand X Trainer
Meet Our Coaches
Meet Coach Kenedi
“My name is Kenedi Pohl. I am a senior at CSUN majoring in Systems and Operations Management. Fitness has always been a major component of my life as I grew up playing competitive soccer, softball, and volleyball. In high school I found a passion for CrossFit and in 2018 I decided to get my CrossFit Level 1 certification so that I could help people fall in love with fitness the way I have. Between being a full time student and working, most of my free time is spent relaxing or enjoying the outdoors. I began working at Divergent Fitness because I not only wanted to help people enjoy their fitness journey, but I also wanted to work for an organization that valued continued learning and personal development. This job has also given me the opportunity to work with clients of all different abilities and walks of life, making me a more well rounded and knowledgeable coach.”
Meet Coach Ernesto
"My name is Ernesto Guevara and I chose to work at Divergent Fitness because of what it stands for. Divergent Fitness wants to create not only a community where people of all abilities can come together, but also help educate and create a better lifestyle for all. I am currently a graduate student at CSU Los Angeles, working towards my M.S. in Movement Science. I attained my B.S. in Adapted Physical Education and worked at schools as a teacher’s aide for 4 years. In those four years I educated students on how to create an inclusive environment, and should be something that everyone in a community should practice in real life. To me health is being able to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. In my spare time you will find me either: watching movies or shows on Netflix, exercising, reading, or listening to music on my record player."
Meet Coach Gabe
"My name is Coach Gabe. I attended Cal State Dominguez hills where I studied Kinesiology, with an emphasis in teaching. I also earned a teaching credential from Chico State with an emphasis in teaching Adapted physical education. I am currently an Adapted PE teacher for Pasadena unified. I’ve been working with individuals with disabilities since 2011, specifically in the ABA field as a behavior interventionist, I have also been coaching high school soccer for the last 5 years. I like experiencing the outdoors in my spare time. Going to the beach in the summer, snowboarding in the winter, going on a good hike!Health and living a healthy lifestyle is top of my priority list. I value greatly living a quality life and that begins with a healthy body. I chose Divergent Fitness because I truly believe in the idea of inclusion and working with all body types and neuro diverse individuals. I believe that we can all live better quality lives when we learn how to move more efficiently."
Meet Coach Ryan
Ryan has been a Special-Fit coach longer than anyone here and it shows- his calm and welcoming demeanor makes him dependable in any situation. in addition to the valuable experience he has gained with Special-Fit, he has extensive knowledge in the area of special education. He is gainfully employed by the Los Angeles Unified School District where he works with students who have diverse needs ranging from autism to severe emotional disturbance. He applies all his knowledge to ensure each session is a learning experience for everyone involved.