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Break a Sweat So You Don’t Break Down

Last week, I posted an article called “Why Work Out When You Want to Set Fire to the World,” about how exercising and getting your heart rate up is necessary to complete the stress cycle. This week, I’m offering you some body-positive resources that you can use to workout at home (mostly) in a pandemic-friendly way while completing your stress cycle.

Strength and Fitness Coaching

Right now, most strength and fitness coaching is happening online or outdoors. Here are some options if you want to find a coach.

Fitness for Feminists

Starting this month Coach Shannon is offering a monthly bootcamp in support of an organization that is working to make the world a more equal and just place. On June 27 at 8 am, our bootcamp will support Until Freedom:

an intersectional social justice organization rooted in the leadership of diverse people of color to address systemic and racial injustice. At Until Freedom, we believe that those closest to the pain are closest to the solution, therefore, we focus on investing in those who are the most directly impacted by cyclical poverty, inequality, and state violence. We are a clearinghouse for advocates, new & budding activists, seasoned community organizers, students, movement lawyers, entertainers and artists, policy experts, formerly & currently incarcerated individuals, and survivors of gun violence to work linearly to uplift all of our people. Everyone is worthy, everyone is needed to win.

This class is donation-based ($20 per person is recommended) with 100% of the proceeds going to Until Freedom. Click here to reserve your spot.


Boston-area coach Justice Roe Williams is the founding director of BodyImage4Justice, “a holistic wellness and fitness program for the LGBTQ community that primarily focuses on Trans Bodies.” Justice is currently offering online and in-person training through his business Kettlebell Justice Training and with his new project The Queer Open Gym Pop-up. “He has been Deconstructing Fitness for the past 10 years, through his training approach and programming for classes, small group trainings and seminars, which emphasizes that all bodies are welcome!”

For more information on The Queer Open Gym Pop-up or for online coaching options, follow or DM Justice on Instagram @justiceroe or Facebook @OneTruJus.

Decolonizing Fitness

Ilya Parker, founder of Decolonizing Fitness, is a Physical Therapist Assistant and Medical Exercise Trainer. They offer

sliding scale online training that is:

weight neutral (no diet or weight loss talk), trans friendly (no gendered assumptions), and disability friendly (ask for and anticipate access needs). There is also a growing catalog of workout videos (including some awesome seated workouts) available on the Decolonizing Fitness Patreon with membership packages starting at $2 a month.

Check out their website and their Instagram page @decolonizing_fitness for more information.

Girls Gone Strong

Girls Gone Strong is an industry powerhouse. Through their website, you can get coaching, read free articles, and take free courses for professionals (like me) or non-professionals (like, probably, you). They also have a Moms Gone Strong contingent for post-partum folks.

From their website:

Today, the GGS movement is dedicated to:

  • teaching women how to find their own version of strength and confidence from the inside out

  • teaching parents how they can be better role models and leaders

  • and helping professionals empower the women they work with


SuperFit Hero reminds us that “Fitness Is for Every Body.” Their ethically made clothing has “been tested and approved by athletes size XS-5XL, making Superfit Hero the most inclusive premium activewear brand on the planet.” Go to their website to use their Body Positive Fitness Finder to find an online or in-person fitness coach with a body positive ethos.


For when you just want to move your body to the beat, thank you very much!

CF Studio and ThickChixx

CF Studio is a Maryland-based “non-judgemental, safe, boutique fitness studio that believes in serving our community.” Their Youtube channel includes dance instruction from ThickChixx instructors. ThickChixx are “Certified dance fitness instructors that travel around the world inspiring curvy women with fun dance fitness.” I particularly enjoyed this easy-to follow, fun 30-minute body positive dance workout, led by Monique.

Right now, you can have a ThickChixx instructor lead you and your friends in a fitness dance party on Zoom!!! (My birthday is coming up, in case anyone's wondering...)

Dance Church Go

Dance Church Go is a great option if you find you're not motivated by a pre-recorded video, but you'd rather take in in-person, virtual dance class designed for All Bodies. From their website:

Dance Church is a movement class that offers a fun and inclusive approach to dancing. Designed for people of all shapes and sizes, backgrounds and identities, Dance Church is a communal space for people who want to move their bodies.

Dance Church Go is a live-streaming version of our in-person classes. The teacher leads this 55-minute experience with a series of movement cues, accompanied by a curated playlist of multi-genre pop music. The format is open, but guided throughout.

Visit their website for a schedule of classes and to sign up.


Getting outdoors and walking up hills is a great way to get some Vitamin D therapy while getting your heart rate up. To pandemic-proof your hiking, wear a bandana around your neck that you can pull up when you encounter anyone you’re not quarantining with.

Girl Trek

Girl Trek’s mission is to “Pioneer a health movement for African-American women and girls grounded in civil rights history and principles through walking campaigns, community leadership, and health advocacy.”

From their website:

GirlTrek, the largest public health nonprofit for African-American women and girls in the United States. With nearly 100,000 neighborhood walkers, GirlTrek encourages women to use walking as a practical first step to inspire healthy living, families, and communities. As women organize walking teams, they mobilize community members to support monthly advocacy efforts and lead a civil rights-inspired health movement.

Right now, GirlsTrek is offering a program called Black History Bootcamp. You can sign up on their website and each day, for 21 days, they will email you “an inspiring Black history story, a playlist, a secret code to join a fun phone conversation with thousands of women during your solo walk, and sister-accountability to keep going…. GirlTrek is always free an open to everyone.” You can sign up here.

Fat Girls Hiking

Fat Girls Hiking has the awesome slogan, “Trails Not Scales.” Sold! From their website:

Fat Girls Hiking is fat activism, body liberation & outdoor community. We want to take the shame and stigma out of the word FAT and empower it. Our motto, Trails Not Scales focuses on Self Care in the outdoors. We promote weight-neutrality and Health At Every Size. We want to create a space where fat and marginalized folks can come together in community to create safer spaces in the outdoors. Fat Girls Hiking is a community where people can access outdoor spaces in a way that meets their needs. We believe in representation for fat folks, folks of all ages, races, ethnicities, religions, classes, abilities, genders and sexual identities. NO diet talk, NO weight loss talk, NO body shaming and NO bigotry of any kind is allowed in our online or real-life spaces. Our community is a safer space for marginalized folks and allies!

Follow their Eventbrite to stay apprised of their hiking events, most of which are around the Portland, OR area (but I’ve seen pop-ups listed in places like Nashville, TN and Vancouver, BC). If there are no events near you, contact the founder to see if you can start a local chapter!

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