Interviews with purpose-driven leaders who are dedicated to helping others and making a positive impact in the world.
June 1, 2022
Alyssa Gialamas | AMG Fitness
TELL US, WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
My name is Alyssa Gialamas. I am 27-years-old and I am the CEO and founder of Adapt Move & Gain (AMG) Fitness, a nonprofit elevating fitness resources for people with physical disabilities.
HOW DID YOU GET HERE?
I am a two-time Paralympian – I went to London in 2012 and Rio in 2016. I really grew up in sports, and I grew up with a disability. I found my place in swimming and it took me to all of these wonderful places. Seeing how much overall wellness had an impact on me and on my disability, I really wanted to incorporate that passion somehow but I didn’t really know what that could be. Three years ago I retired from swimming and put all my focus into a fitness journey, figuring out what adaptive fitness is and what people need to just feel good in their bodies. You don’t have to be a top athlete, you don’t have to be one of the best in the world to feel good and confident in the ability that you have. When the pandemic hit and everyone was working out at home, I realized just how significant the lack of resources was for people with disabilities. I didn’t see a lot of adaptive workouts for people to do in their homes and the ones that I did find didn’t really fit what I was looking for because there are so many ranges of ability. Through all of that, I created AMG, which has three programs so anyone with varying types of disabilities can do online and at-home workouts.
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR? WHY IS THIS WORK IMPORTANT TO YOU?
I stand for every single person, disability or not, to have the resources to make them feel good. AMG stands for that and will continue to support that.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
Years ago, someone on Team USA said, “In order to change people’s minds and see an impact, you have to change people’s perception. You have to change people’s perception of the problem, you have to change people’s perception of what someone with a disability looks like.” And I think, through AMG and the life that I live by being healthy and feeling good in my body, I am making a positive impact and am creating a positive perception of what someone with a disability can do.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO DO THIS WORK?
I draw inspiration from a lot of people. I draw inspiration from words of kindness and the people who do my workouts. I’m inspired when people say “wow, I feel so good in my body today.” I think that is so important. That’s what makes it worthwhile and makes me want to get up every day and work for AMG.
WHAT’S YOUR VISION, YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
My big dream is to grow this. Within the next year, I’d like to have a digital app and an avatar that showcases all the different disabilities, whether it’s an avatar that’s working out well in a wheelchair or an avatar that’s missing a leg. I think when people see representations of themselves and then do the workout, it actually makes it easier for them. That’s my big dream of where I want AMG to go so people can do workouts safely and effectively at home.
WHAT CHALLENGES ARE YOU FACING?
AMG Fitness is completely free to use. We are 100% a nonprofit. The challenge we’re facing is that not a lot of people know about it. It’s getting the word out there and having conversations like this, showing people with disabilities that this resource is made for them and is made by someone who also has a physical disability. It’s a lived experience.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR CAUSE AND/OR THE WORK YOU’RE DOING?
I want people to know that health and wellness aren’t just for people without disabilities. It’s for all people to be able to feel good in their bodies and do these workouts that are safe and effective.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE QUOTE OR WORDS OF INSPIRATION TO SHARE?
It’s from Marie Colvin, an awesome American journalist: “Be passionate and be involved in what you believe in and do it as thoroughly and honestly and fearlessly as you can.” I just think it’s a great way to sum up what you believe in and do it as honestly and as fearlessly as you can.
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
We are a nonprofit organization and we rely heavily on donations and word-of-mouth. I’d love for people to donate so we can keep AMG free for our users.
At Orapin, we believe those who are working for the greater good should be known, supported, and celebrated. We give purpose-driven organizations the resources and support they need to increase awareness and elevate their reputation so they can maximize their impact. If would like to be featured in INSPIRED IMPACT™, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.