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Earlier this month, I purchased an intro offer at The Yoga Standard. I was browsing the schedule and, to my surprise, there was a PRIDE themed class that was donating all proceeds to The Trevor Project. As a queer person, knowing my yoga studio was hosting a class that centered LGBTQIA+ folks felt reassuring, and my loyalty to the business grew stronger.
Though the class didn’t differ greatly from its normal routine, sitting next to a man who adorned his eyes with glitter that morning just made me feel...better. The instructor fostered a space for reflections around identity and pride. I laughed, I cried, I sweat, and I left the class feeling fabulous.
While Pride Month is a great time for studios to show their support for the community, consistent support throughout the year is much more powerful. Being LGBTQIA+ inclusive is more than hanging up a rainbow flag or temporarily changing a business logo to rainbow colors. Here are some MINDBODY studios creating LGBTQIA+ inclusive spaces all year round:
This gym is “creating a radically inclusive culture for all bodies to move, strengthen, and heal.” My favorite part? They offer sliding scale monthly memberships based on income, which helps remove barriers for folks who are marginalized and/or low-income. Their list of teachers is full of gorgeous, queer, and diverse faces. Aside from their standard program classes, they also offer $5 community classes—some of which are bilingual (Spanish/English). And, they have gender-neutral locker rooms, which is a staple for LGBTQ+ inclusive spaces. Everybody Los Angeles is living and breathing inclusivity.
This self-proclaimed “gym + safe space + house party” fosters a supportive community without the homophobia, transphobia, and body shaming. In addition to being unapologetically queer, this gym has no mirrors, which reduces barriers for folks with body dysmorphia or gender dysphoria. They take “gym buddies” to a whole new level by offering a monthly social calendar for members. With classes like “Oakland Booty” and “Tops ‘n Bottoms,” The Queer Gym promises lots of sweat, an encouraging environment, and a dang good time.
At Mark Fisher Fitness, “making health and hotness fun and inclusive” is their mission. As a member of their Enchanted Ninja Clubhouse of Glory and Dreams (yes, you read that right), they promise fast results with a money-back guarantee. It’s not just rainbows and unicorns at MFF—their bright and vibrant space is filled with friendly trainers who are fiercely committed to your results and growth.
Erica Nix is a body positive ambassador on a mission to make working out fun again. Her wild workouts are queer-centric and outrageous. Aside from her weekly class at Myo Movement in Austin, she also puts on events and pop-ups around Austin throughout the year.
That’s something I never expected to hear. Think about it: we join gyms and studios because of their equipment, instructors, space, community (and AC, of course). But who’s to say we can’t get all that—or at least most of it—with virtual and online classes, too? In this new wave of wellness, we’re all switching up our fitness routines as we switch up our everyday schedules and habits. It’s not just in-studio or at-home anymore. It’s in-studio, at-home, at the park, beach, parking lot, rooftop...virtual, hybrid, Instagram Live, online, on-demand, and so much more. As we’re adapting, adjusting, finding our groove, etc., online gym memberships enter the fray. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
There are tons of benefits to an online gym membership, especially right now.
Let’s break this down:
1. Scheduling convenience
A virtual/online gym fitness membership is a monthly subscription that gives you access to tons of live stream fitness classes you can take anywhere, from studios across the globe. These fitness studios offer tons of at-home workouts, group exercise, and one-on-one training sessions to choose from, no matter your exercise program or fitness level. With so many options, it’s easy to find one that fits your schedule. Whether you want to fit in a morning flow before work, combat that afternoon slump with some cardio, squeeze in some strength training before dinner, or wind down with an evening barre class, you can pick and choose classes to fit your fitness routine.
2. Minimizing exposure to COVID-19
And because they’re online, you can take these classes from the comfort of your home (or wherever you are), thus minimizing your exposure to COVID-19 and eliminating your commute to the gym or studio. By now, many of us have our designated “workout spot,” whether it’s an actual weight room, a quick scooch of the coffee table, or a grassy area in the backyard. Maybe you’re comfortable here... maybe you’ve even learned to love it.
With an online gym membership, you can stay in your safe space/comfy workout spot. Or, you can go somewhere new (local park, beach spot, a different area of the house, you know). You can access these virtual, live stream fitness classes from any device, so you can prop up your phone, laptop, or tablet wherever you want to go, or roll out your mat in front of the big screen TV in your living room.
We all have our favorite, go-to workouts. But sometimes, it feels good to switch it up (especially right now). Working from home all day, many of us are craving some variety and excitement, and an online gym membership can definitely help with that. According to our recent poll about COVID’s effect on our fitness routines, 64% of you have tried new online workouts since the start of the pandemic—I know I have. Maybe it’s because trying new things is easier in the comfort of our homes, maybe we’re finally able to try some classes we normally can’t find locally, or maybe we’re all just bored out of our minds...I don’t know. But I’m excited about it.
With an online gym membership, you can get that spice you’re looking for easily. Start out your Monday by hitting some HIIT, ease your sore muscles with some Restorative Yoga, and end the week with some dance cardio to pretend you’re at the club. The world is yours.
4. Working out without a commute
My favorite part? No commute. There are literally no more excuses when it comes to skipping workouts. No traffic, no schedule conflicts, no fear of returning to the studio. You don’t even have to worry about packing a gym bag with a change of clothes and shower supplies or prepping a snack or protein shake to bring to work. Just shut your computer, throw on some leggings, and get to work.
Community—the element of online fitness memberships we don’t often think of. When we go into studios, we understand the beauty of a fitness community. We’re greeted by our instructors, we chat with others in the class, and we all sweat together and encourage each other throughout. But working out at home is different... or is it?
We can do workouts on our own at home all we want, but we’re definitely going to miss out on the community aspect we all know and love. But, with live stream classes, we can create a different kind of community. The beauty of it? It’s not just your neighbors anymore. Anyone with an online fitness membership can join these classes, regardless of where they’re located in relation to the studio, so you can be working out alongside people from all over the world—now that’s something I can get behind.