NDIS Personal Training for Disabilities:Where to Start & What's Next

A Beginner's Guide to Disability Fitness: Adaptability, Selecting the Right Personal Trainer, and Understanding NDIS Support Services

Welcome to our comprehensive guide tailored for individuals with disabilities looking to enhance their health and fitness through personal training, as well as for those supporting them in these endeavours. This guide is designed to navigate you through the intricacies of disability fitness and utilising NDIS personal training effectively. For easy navigation, you can jump to specific sections of interest. Bookmark this page too, as we aim to regularly update it with the latest findings and methods in training for people with disabilities.

NDIS Personal Training for Disabilities

Inside This Guide:

NDIS Support Category Number NDIS Support Category NDIS Support Category Name Example of Support by Healthspan Collective Trainer
4 Core Supports Assistance with social, economic and community participation A Healthspan Collective trainer facilitates a fitness activity in the community to allow participants to socially engage
9 Capacity Building Increased social and community participation A Healthspan Collective trainer engages a participant in regular physical activity, including walking, to increase a participant's fitness levels and confidence so that they can walk to shops independently.
12 Capacity Building Improved health and well-being A Healthspan Collective trainer provides personal training to a participant to improve their health and wellbeing.
15 Capacity Building Improved daily living skills A Healthspan Collective trainer works as an allied health assistant to provide personal training under the recommendation of the participant's allied health therapist and therapy plan, to improve daily living goals.

Setting the Scene: Why Consider NDIS Personal Training?

Our journey at Healthspan Collective began from a firsthand experience of the lack of inclusivity within the fitness industry, which often failed to meet the specific needs of individuals with disabilities. We have been servicing our NDIS community since 2008 and have accumulated substantial knowledge about NDIS personal training, which we are eager to share. Before diving deeper, it’s essential to clarify a few points:

  1. Exercise Is Beneficial and Appropriate for Individuals with Disabilities: Despite various disabilities, exercise is beneficial for all. The form and execution of exercise should be customised, but the benefits are universal.
  2. No Special Classification for NDIS Personal Trainers: There is no exclusive category for disability-specialised personal trainers within the NDIS framework, meaning it’s up to you (or us, if you prefer) to vet and choose your trainer. Rest assured, personal trainers are qualified to work with clients who have disabilities, even if they aren’t specifically registered under NDIS.
  3. NDIS Funding Usage: NDIS funds can cover personal training services, including payment for gym memberships under certain conditions.

The Benefits of Exercise for Individuals with Disabilities

Regular exercise is widely recognised for its positive impact on physical fitness and overall health. However, its benefits extend far beyond the physical realm; they are holistic in nature. Engaging in consistent physical activity, whether independently or with the guidance of a personal trainer, offers numerous advantages:

  • Improved mental health
  • Enhanced cognitive functioning
  • Better physical well-being
  • Prevention or alleviation of certain chronic diseases
  • Strengthened immune system
  • Enhanced sleep quality

In essence, regular exercise is a gift that keeps on giving! Many of our clients have reported experiencing increased energy levels throughout theday as a result of their exercise routines, contrary to feeling tired and sore. Instead, exercise leaves them feeling invigorated and revitalised.

These assertions are backed by robust research, including studies focusing on the impact of exercise on individuals with disabilities. For example, a recent study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders found that exercise interventions yielded positive outcomes for individuals on the Autism spectrum. According to the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Smith, “Following the exercise interventions, decreases in stereotypical behaviours, aggression, off-task behaviour, and elopement were observed.” This suggests that exercise can serve as a powerful complementary therapy for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Read paper here.

It’s important to note, however, that the effectiveness of exercise interventions hinges on their appropriateness for the individual. This underscores the importance of selecting the right personal trainer and tailored exercise program.

Smith, J. et al. (20XX). “The Impact of Exercise Interventions on Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review.” Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(3), 567-580.

Qualities of an Inclusive NDIS Personal Trainer

Finding the right personal trainer is akin to finding the perfect pair of gloves; it requires a precise fit. Therefore, selecting a personal trainer who aligns with your needs and preferences is crucial for optimal results, adaptability, and enjoyment during sessions. An ideal personal trainer for individuals with disabilities possesses the following attributes:


While seemingly abstract, professionalism manifests in observable behaviours such as responsiveness, punctuality, and attire. These visible cues often reflect deeper aspects of professionalism, such as meticulous session planning and diligent note-taking. A trainer who demonstrates a commitment to their role is more likely to prioritise your goals and well-being. At Healthspan Collective, we meticulously screen our trainers for professionalism, ensuring a superior client experience.


Effective communication is paramount in establishing rapport and ensuring a positive training experience. Pay attention to how your trainer communicates; are they enthusiastic, engaged, and receptive to feedback? Transparent and two-way communication is essential for clarity and understanding. We emphasise the significance of communication in our training, as it forms the cornerstone of successful client-trainer relationships.


While not the most glamorous aspect, registration is crucial for ensuring qualifications, accountability, and adherence to industry standards. When evaluating potential trainers, consider a key registration:

  • NDIS Registration: While not mandatory, NDIS registration signifies familiarity with the scheme, accountability, and adherence to stringent standards. At Healthspan Collective, all our personal trainers are NDIS registered, ensuring quality and compliance.
Qualities of an Inclusive NDIS Personal Trainer

Attitude (Adaptitude)

An inclusive personal trainer approaches every client with enthusiasm and adaptability, focusing on possibilities rather than limitations. During your initial consultation, observe the trainer’s reaction to your fitness and NDIS-related goals. A positive and proactive attitude demonstrates a genuine commitment to helping you achieve your objectives. At Healthspan Collective, our motto is “Educate, Implement and Enjoy,” reflecting our dedication to empowering clients of all abilities.

Experience in Disability and NDIS (Desirable, Not Essential)

While direct experience with disability or NDIS may enhance a trainer’s understanding, it is not a prerequisite for effective training. However, it is entirely appropriate to inquire about a trainer’s background and experience in working with individuals with disabilities. Look for evidence of adaptable training programs, testimonials, or personal anecdotes on social media platforms. Ultimately, a combination of professionalism, communication skills, and a positive attitude can compensate for lack of direct experienc

In Summary: While experience in disability and NDIS is desirable, it is not essential for a competent and effective personal trainer. By prioritising professionalism, effective communication, and a positive attitude, you can find a trainer who is capable, empathetic, and committed to your success. At Healthspan Collective, our accredited disability personal trainers exemplify these qualities, ensuring a rewarding and inclusive training experience for all our clients.

A Comprehensive Overview of NDIS Supports for Health and Fitness

NDIS Support Services

This category encompasses invaluable support workers who play a pivotal role in your fitness journey. Support workers offer assistance in various aspects of your fitness regime, including accompanying you on walks, facilitating gym visits, engaging with personal trainers, and even assisting with meal preparation.

NDIS Personal Trainers

As previously discussed, NDIS funding can be utilised to access personal trainers. These trainers provide an enjoyable and cost-effective alternative to other NDIS supports such as exercise physiologists and occupational therapists.

NDIS Therapeutic Supports

  • Exercise Physiologists (EPs): These professionals are highly qualified exercise specialists, often holding university degrees and NDIS registration. EPs are invaluable additions to your health and fitness team, especially if you have physical disabilities or need assistance managing injuries and conditions affecting your mobility. They prescribe tailored exercises and programs suited to your specific needs, which can be seamlessly integrated into your training regimen with a personal trainer’s assistance.
  • Occupational Therapists (OTs): Unlike personal trainers, occupational therapists focus on enhancing participants’ capabilities across a wide range of activities. OTs can also be NDIS registered and provide essential support complementary to personal training. While personal training does not substitute for occupational therapy, improving strength, balance, and overall fitness can significantly augment the effectiveness of occupational therapy interventions.
  • Physiotherapists: Physiotherapists specialise in diagnosing and managing various body conditions and injuries, often working with individuals undergoing rehabilitation. Similar to EPs, physiotherapists can design health and fitness programs tailored to individuals with disabilities, recommending exercises that address unique needs. Personal trainers can collaborate with physiotherapists to ensure continuity and effectiveness in implementing these programs. Additionally, physiotherapists can also be registered under the NDIS scheme, further enhancing their accessibility and integration into your fitness journey.

Finding the right Gym and Gym memberships

We firmly advocate for inclusive gym environments rather than segregating individuals into “disability gyms” or specific NDIS gyms. Our belief is in accessible gyms for everyone! Gyms offer unique advantages as training locations; they are purpose-built facilities with a diverse range of equipment and opportunities for skill development. Additionally, gyms often foster a sense of community, providing opportunities to meet others with similar interests.

Our vision is for all gyms to be inclusive, and we see this everyday with the amazing bond our members have and share while they enjoy working on their health and wellness.

NDIS Gym Memberships

The issue of NDIS funding for gym memberships remains contentious within mainstream health and fitness services. While technically feasible, the success of utilising NDIS funding for gym memberships hinges on how it is presented and justified.

Utilising NDIS Funding for Personal Training

Did you know? Healthspan Collective has assisted over 20 individuals in accessing NDIS personal trainers through their NDIS funding! The reality is that the benefits of personal training for people with disabilities are multifaceted, contributing to various NDIS and personal goals.

There are four distinct items available across both the NDIS core and capacity building support categories that can be utilised to fund your initial Healthspan Collective session. Operating within the general community in our inclusive boutique gym, we prioritise supporting NDIS participants in social and community participation, all of which can be funded.

For further details, we’ve compiled a comprehensive blog addressing NDIS personal training price guides and accessing NDIS funding, accessible here.

If you or someone you know is ready to embark on a fitness journey with a personal trainer, don't hesitate to reach out by clicking here!🏋️‍♂️

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Olga Thomas
Olga Thomas
12:11 16 Apr 24
My first thought was what have I signed myself up to but when I started losing my first kilos I was very happy. Deb was a great help, always supporting me along the way and my daughter also helped me a lot by preparing my lunches and stopping me from snacking 😁. The challenge changed my lifestyle and helped me to feel better in myself. So grateful for all of that.
Alan Blaskett
Alan Blaskett
04:38 15 Apr 24
Great local gym studio catering for local community and broad range of ages and experience.Personal Trainers are knowledgeable and committed to customising programs to help achieve personal goals.Great option for those looking to achieve some health and fitness goals in a non-threatening, community environment.
Brett McKenzie
Brett McKenzie
11:37 22 Dec 23
Healthspan is the first gym that I enjoy coming to. There is a great community vibe, where the trainers know who you are, and tailor plans specific to you.What I have achieved so far is a great motivation, and the encouragement from the team is fantastic.
Jenny Burchfield
Jenny Burchfield
01:16 17 Dec 23
A great community gym.I never thought I’d be a gym kind of person - I love the outdoors. But as one gets older, not only is aerobic fitness still important, but balance and strength exercises even more so.Trainer Deb manages all my aches and pains while keeping me fit, strong, healthy and mentally sharp. She is amazing.I love this gym.
Colin Wood
Colin Wood
04:52 15 Dec 23
Highly recommended. I have been a member for many years and have reaped the health benefits in the process! All the trainers are extremely knowledgeable and tailor a program specific to your needs. The gym has a lovely friendly atmosphere with modern equipment which makes you want to come for a workout!
Steven Maas
Steven Maas
00:08 16 Nov 23
Great bunch of health and fitness professionals doing a great job. I can highly recommend them.
Nathan Ainsworth
Nathan Ainsworth
11:34 11 Sep 23
Healthspan's youth program is great. All the staff are warm and welcoming, and do not judge you on your fitness/abilities, they just want you to improve yourself and make sure you have the right techniques. I would highly recommend this gym.
Lauren Cecelia
Lauren Cecelia
05:12 31 Jul 23
Great gym friendly staff
Heinz Herrmann
Heinz Herrmann
04:38 29 Jul 23
My happy place 💛
02:05 29 Jul 23
Friendly trainers, great atmosphere and encouragement.
Rebecca Dunn
Rebecca Dunn
21:28 28 Jul 23
Great community gym
Maree Parisi
Maree Parisi
12:38 28 Jul 23
Very friendly staff and gym community!! It has a lovely layout and good variety of machines
Nathalie Lesbre
Nathalie Lesbre
02:11 28 Jul 23
Friendly local gym. The trainers are experienced and know how to push us.
Denise Patterson
Denise Patterson
01:14 28 Oct 22
Great intimate gym which is really friendly and welcoming to new comers. Amazing personal trainers who are brilliant at helping you recover from injuries, provide guidance with nutrition and supportive with achieving goals.
Claire Matthews
Claire Matthews
23:46 29 Aug 22
Trainers are all lovely, friendly and open to questions. Energise appealed to me because it was a safe space for me to go to the gym and lift weights as a beginner in a friendly environment- and that's exactly what I got! I love the community aspect and recommend to anyone looking for a convenient, good value gym to get started on your fitness journey.
Jenny Fewtrell
Jenny Fewtrell
00:28 19 May 21
I joined Energize express about 3 years ago and it was the best move I’ve ever made. I was feeling very sluggish & not happy with my weight. The gym has this lovely comfortable vibe, and everyone is part of the gym community you can chat to people if you want or just get on with the job. The trainers are so dedicated in helping you achieve your goals. Each year they have an 8 week challenge & boy does it work as my first year in I won . I lost weight but gained muscle mass I have never looked back I feel fit, fabulous & thru the guidance of my trainer Deb eat a much more balanced diet.
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