Local personal trainer teaches ‘ASL Fitness’ at Rochester-area YMCAs

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PENFIELD, N.Y. (WROC) — At two area YMCAs, there is a special class that meet weekly. It’s called “ASL Fitness.” The primary language in the class is ASL, or American Sign Language.

Personal trainer Janna Sirianni provides a wide variety of exercises.

“Some days it will be cardio-based, some days it will be HIIT based, some days strength-based, maybe core-based,” Sirianni says. “Where a bunch of individuals with the same language and the same culture can get together and work out.”

She started the first class in the summer of 2016 at the Eastside YMCA. She also started a class at the Schottland facility in October of 2019.

Sirianni says mostly Deaf Rochesterians come to the class, but also that it’s an inclusive environment: hearing students are welcome. You don’t have to be a YMCA member, either.

Hear what Sirianni’s clients say about the class:

“So having a community where everyone can sign is really awesome,” Sirianni said. “They can come to a place at ASL Fitness where they can have accessibility to all of the exercises, the right form, the instruction, and also each other. The concept of working out, and having access to that in their primary language is huge.”

Sirianni says that Deaf people live among hearing people everyday, and miss out on information that the hearing community takes for granted.

Going forward, Sirianni hopes to inspire other Deaf personal trainers, and for her own or related “ASL Fitness” classes to spread.

“I’d like to be that person in the Rochester area who can be a role model for Deaf individuals, and be an inspiration for everyone,” Sirianni said. “I hope that my reputation as a Deaf personal trainer can spread so that people can know that I can help them, I can teach them how to work out, I can teach them exercises, and have fun with it too.”

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