If you’re specifically looking to find a fitness professional that will guide you to get moving without pressuring you to change your appearance or body shame what you’re working with, this guide will help you out!
In a country that is currently a little confused on what “Body Positive” is, how do you find a body positive personal trainer or a body positive gym?
Let’s first answer the question “What is Body Positivity?”
Urban Dictionary succinctly explains it: “Accepting your body as it is and attempting to make everyone else feel comfortable in their own skin as well”
Body Positivity is NOT a message that says you can create or change into a body you love. There is no conditional “as long as you’re healthy”. Body Positivity accepts all bodies as good bodies. Period.
With these clarifications in mind, how can you find a personal trainer, gym, or fitness studio that is truly body positive?
- Online search: Yelping or Googling “body positive personal trainer (insert city location)” is a good place to start. When I do this for San Francisco, one of my blogs, along with other reputable body positive organizations and individuals pop up. Make a short list of the results that seem promising and investigate further.
- Go to the experts: If you’re having trouble finding someone in your area to support your body positive fitness goals, shoot an email or a direct message to a BoPo advocate that you look up to, and ask if they have any resources. They may be able to recommend Body Positive Fit Pro’s who will work remotely through the internet or know of someone close by to you. The Body Positive Fitness Alliance also has an international network of BoPo certified health and fitness professionals that you can look into here
- Take a closer look at images and verbage: If a body positive personal trainer is who they say they are, their website, social media, and testimonials will make this clear. Their website will clearly state their body positive values and show this through their blogs and what services they offer. Their social media will celebrate movement and fitness as way to show love and appreciation to our bodies, not a means to transform bodies into something that looks different.
- The images they use show diversity: Pictures of clients, classes, and success stories will show a diverse range of bodies and abilities. If they claim to be for all levels, but their photos only show what appear to be advanced athletes, maybe body positivity hasn’t really clicked in for them. I will also say this: not all clients are comfortable with having their picture taken and posted publicly, so your trainer may not have the ability to feature everyone’s images. I want to respect my client’s privacy, but I also want to send the message that I support all body types and abilities, so I use Shutterstock images to convey this.
- Client Reviews and Testimonials Reflect their Values: Business owners can’t control what our clients say about us, but if you’re reading the reviews, and they don’t seem to be body positive, it’s probably because the business isn’t, and the clients haven’t come away from their experience with that impression. Be wary of too many Before/After photos showing body transformations, or success stories that seem to mention weight loss over and over again.
- You FEEL welcome: This doesn’t have to just apply to body positive personal trainers. If you’re thinking of working with someone that you’re about to be very vulnerable in front of (because you will be), you want to feel welcome. Even if you want that instructor to push you outside of your comfort zone (they will), you want to have the feeling that they always have your best interests at heart over their personal gain.
- In-Person Interaction: The final clue that your new fitness guru is who they say they are? How they react when you meet them in person. Do they make you feel welcome in their facility? Do they listen to your goals instead of making assumptions? Does the workout program they design for you make sense for your body, or can they explain why they’ve chosen an exercise if you ask them? Do they ever make negative body comments or food shame?
If you need help finding a facility or a personal trainer who will help you to get moving and that celebrates all bodies, reach out to me!
For more great definitions of Body Positivity, check out this lovely collection: https://www.bustle.com/articles/165804-15-definitions-of-body-positivity-straight-from-influencers-activists