A few months ago, I subbed for a 6AM barre class. A woman walked in, interested in taking class. We had room, so I added her and asked the question I always ask new students:
“Have you ever taken a barre class?”
She answered no and so I gave her the new client rundown of where things are in the studio, what equipment she would need for class, talked about any injuries she had, explained class flow, defined what a “tuck” is and demonstrated how to do it, and made sure she was set before beginning class. I’m a hands on instructor, correcting form throughout class to ensure clients get the best safe workout possible. I helped her when she needed it and encouraged her often, just as I do with all my students.
After class, she approached me. She loved class, and appreciated the hands on coaching. She then timidly asked me a question:
“Can I come back? Even though I’m in really bad shape?”
My heart broke for her.
I’ve been her – the woman aware that she isn’t in the best shape, slipping into the back of a group exercise class just before it started in hopes no one would really notice me. I also got angry – for her and for people everywhere who think they aren’t “in shape enough” to join a group fitness class or train for a marathon, or anything else their heart wants to do.
Further discussion with her revealed that she’d had a bad experience at another studio. She felt unwelcomed right away and was told after class that it may not be the right fit for her “fitness goals.” The only time that phrase should ever come out of a fitness professional’s mouth is when the client is in danger of injury or their health is at risk.
I posted an inflamed speech on social media that day about fitness, which led me to then scribble down a line in my notebook of ideas: “fitness manifesto”
And so, here it is: My Fitness Manifesto, straight from the person who used to believe many of the same lies as our student
My Fitness Manifesto
- Fitness is a level. Everyone has fitness. Everyone. If you have a body, you have fitness. It’s your level of fitness that changes with physical activity.
- Fitness is for everyone. It is not a club, a group, or a cult. Fitness is for every person, no matter their shape, size, gender, age, race, or past activity history.
- The hardest part of a workout is showing up for it. Once you’ve done that, everything else is easy.
- You can do what you want to do. Whether that’s barre, weightlifting, zumba, or a marathon, you can do it. Just believe in yourself.
- Fitness isn’t just made in the gym. You have to eat well, sleep well, and live well.
- Scales lie. Maybe the number didn’t go down this week, but you lifted more, ran longer, or held a chair pose the full set. Those are victories.
- Workouts are for you, no one else. Show up to that studio or gym for YOU.
My fitness manifesto has little to do with how often you workout or what kind of workouts you do and everything to do with you, the individual. I keep these bullet points in mind when I teach, but also when I’m in class, lifting weights, or talking myself into a run. When I’m leading warm up, I always say “showing up was the hard part!” to my students. As an avid 6AM gym goer, I can give testimony to just how hard it is to get out bed and to the studio or gym. But, you know what? I’ve never regretted it.
Whether you’ve been working out five times a week for years or are just starting out, consider creating your own fitness manifesto, tailored for you. Remember, you already have fitness. It’s up to you where you take it.
Share your fitness manifestos in the comments below!