When I think about body-positivity, I think about a lot of different things:
· Gender identity and presentation.
The list could go on and on. But when I think about mainstream gyms, I think about:
· Pick-up Joints;
· (Unreasonable) Expectations;
· Body-Shaming of all sorts.
There are lots of good reasons so many people are intimidated by or uncomfortable in mainstream gyms, but it pretty much boils down to one thing: those gyms just aren’t designed for people like us.
So what’s a wellness-minded badass in a perfectly imperfect body to do? Why, start a truly body-positive, all-inclusive community gym for the rest of us! Imagine if they opened a fitness center on the Island of Misfit Toys and you have the basic idea behind this gym: a welcoming fitness space for people who are large-bodied or older or not fully-abled, for people of color or trans people or queer folks, for people with injuries or invisible disabilities, for people who feel like they are being judged by the meatheads at Steroid-Filled Body Building Gym™ and the thong queens at Meat Market Big Box Gym™, even for the occasional elf who really, really wants to be a dentist.
Just think of how different it could be with a sweet little gym space for the rest of us:
· You look around and see other people who look like you. Or they don’t, and that’s okay;
· Instead of judging you or competing with you, everybody else in the space is 100% behind you, no matter what your efforts – or your ass – look like;
· Your fellow gym-goers are all working hard on their goals, but also laughing and enjoying their strength and abilities;
· Every workout is guided to support compassionate body work guided by principles of self-love, not self-loathing;
· There is not only a disco ball (because of course you should start dancing when your favorite song comes on), but a nightly Prince hour. (After all, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.)
While this will absolutely be a community space designed with tons of input from dozens of people in a whole mess of communities, somebody’s got to be the one to sign the dotted line, and that’ll be me. I’m a body-positive AFPA-certified personal trainer who has built an independent business by embracing the principles of body-positivity and Health at Every Size™. Please read more about me and my training philosophies at my website: FlexibleFitnessPDX.com.
So why haven’t I opened this supportive and hard-working space already? Well, the truth is that gym equipment and commercial real estate are both super expensive, and it will take a lot of support to get it done, even in a body-positive mecca like Portland, Oregon. There’s no shame in my game, so I’m just going to come right out and ask you to please donate as much as you can to get this life-changing and revolutionary project off the ground, and please pass the word to like-minded badasses in your world. This is an opportunity to put your body-positive money where your revolutionary mouth is, to work toward social justice for everybody and every body. You may not live in Portland, you may not have any exercise experience, but you may have felt body-shaming at some point in your life, or maybe felt like you just didn’t fit in. Here’s your chance to help make a difference in a tangible way that really can change people’s lives!
Here’s an idea of where your money could go:
· $50 buys a set of boxing gloves
· $100 covers a poly balance beam
· $400 hooks us up with a set of rubber-tipped pre-set barbells
· $1000 provides a set of hex aerobic dumbbells
· $1300 buys an awesome water rowing machine
· $2000 pays for a dope-ass elliptical machine
· $3000 covers the demo of unnecessary walls and the moving of electrical and plumbing stuff
· $4000 buys a treadmill
So. Are you looking for this kind of accepting, honest, and awesome fitness environment? And are you tired of the body-shaming BS that runs rampant in the fitness industry and American culture in general? Yeah, me, too. Let’s put some virtual duct tape over our body-shaming culture’s filthy mouth, and make this happen. Please contribute to our campaign and help us get this one-of-a-kind gym space off the ground. BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE!
** Be sure to read the first campaign update, for opportunities to collect PRESENTS!