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Pride Month offers numerous events where members of the LGBTQ+ community can celebrate who they are. But June is also a good time for everyone to show support for their LGBT friends, relatives, co-workers, and workout partners.
We spent some time with LGBTQ+ business owners Kyle House and Kyle Miller (the Kyles) who own Kyle House Fitness in Chattanooga, TN, to hear from them about their tips to being a better ally inside and outside the gym.
Here are three things they say are important to remember when strengthening your commitment to being a good ally in the community.
The saying, “Knowledge is Power” isn’t just a cute tagline, it can be the best place to start.
In 2020, individual identity has expanded dramatically, and this can make understanding and connecting with people in and outside the LGBTQ+ community more complicated. With new terms entering our worldwide vocabulary, it’s important to have a general understanding of terms so you can easily have conversations and connect with people who identify with these terms.
The good news is, The Trevor Project has made a great resource to help us better understand the terms in their online glossary.
Learning terms are just a starting point, but the most important thing to remember is that the power of the word lies in the individual who identifies with it. What that means, simply put, is never label someone with a term. The power to own a label is their own, and when speaking with someone in the LGBTQ+ community, you never want to take that power away from them. The easiest way to ensure you avoid this misstep is the practice of inquiry over advisory. Ask more questions and let the answers drive the conversation. But, don’t directly ask, “are you gay” or “are you bisexual.” Start just like you would with anyone else, and if you are interested in learning more about an individual's identity, an easy opener is “are you in a relationship?
When we learn about someone, and when we have a positive connection—especially as an ally—it's easy to be excited, and you may want to show support by sharing your interaction with an LGBTQ+ person.
Remember, coming out is one of the hardest things an LGBTQ+ person can have, and it’s not a once and done type of thing. LGBTQ+ people are constantly “coming out.” Whether it’s to family, old friends, new friends, co-workers, or people they interact with each day, LGBTQ+ people are coming out on a daily basis. The last thing you want to do is say something to others that a person shared with you. Building trust is key, and if you can connect with someone and build trust with them, you will be a huge help in allowing them to drop their guard and be more authentic in their daily lives.
As the world continues to grow during a trying time, one thing has become very evident. Prejudice and the power that allows it to exist and grow can be found in the most subtle of things said or actions taken.
If you hear something or see something, say something. I know, another catchphrase, but it’s an easy rule to follow.
Being an ally and a builder of an inclusive community starts with your own expression of what’s acceptable in the environments you call home. If you hear someone make an anti-gay joke or a crude comment, let them know you don't appreciate it. Not only can small statements and actions have an adverse effect on the overall environment, they could be that one small thing that makes a vulnerable person give up on pursuing their goals to be a happier, healthier person.
Hold that close to you as a responsibility, and you might even teach someone else that there’s a better way to engage with others who don’t look, act, and live like they do.
Want to try a Kyle House Fitness class? Check out their schedule!
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.