Your Gym Should Be A Safe Space

Does your gym make you feel better about your body, or worse? Do the staff at your gym only talk to the “in group” who are inadvertently young, sexy, perfect-bodied singles? Or do they talk to everybody and make all feel equally welcome and wanted?
Right from the beginning, there were a few things that I couldn’t help noticing at Dream Body Fitness. When I joined the gym, Millicent said that all the fitness marshals/ body transformation coaches help everybody in the gym. Do you want to know what I thought? “Yeah right, I’ve heard that one before.” But she was right. To add to that, if an instructor sees that you need help and he/she is busy with a client, they shout or wave to get a colleagues attention – and you get the help you need.
I specifically asked Millicent if they allow instructors to have cell phones on the floor, to which she replied that they didn’t. I wanted to say ‘hallelujah’, but I thought, ‘hmmm’. Since I started training at DBF three weeks ago, I have not seen ONE fitness marshal fiddling with a cell phone while working on the floor. Their attention is with their clients – and it makes a massive difference to the whole atmosphere.
Speaking of atmosphere: this is a space where they encourage people to feel good about

themselves. I almost teared up the first time I saw this notice above one of the studios because body hate was the theme of my life for so long.
This is also a place where they respect people and women in particular. One morning last week while I was training, the speakers belted out a song (yes, it’s loud in there) with explicit lyrics. I was shocked – it wasn’t in keeping with what I’d seen at the gym AT ALL. I was on the treadmill and immediately turned to see if someone else noticed. Here’s the cool thing: as I was turning around, Sbu K was already calling out to reception to turn off the music. That’s the spirit of DBF.

When I saw this sign in the ladies’ bathroom on the first day, I knew that this was, what I would call, a safe space. Something else that I like is that the whole bathroom isn’t plastered with pin-up bikini athletes. I feel that we’re bombarded in the media with perfect people and retouched bodies and photoshopped faces. We’re being bombarded with unrealistic images of body perfection and the implied expectation is that we should all look like that. It’s refreshing to be in a “body space” (as gyms are) without being bombarded by the “bodies”.
I read this quote (and found the picture) on healthyplace.com. It made me chuckle, but I think it is OH SO TRUE!

 

The original article can be found here.