As a queer woman of color who was adopted by a white couple in the 80’s I have grown up feeling out of place in most spaces. It’s hard to make your way through the world, as most people of color do, searching to find a space to safely take up. It took me many years to get to the point where I started demanding that space. Fitness was a huge catalyst for how I approached walking through life as a bigger bodied queer woman of color.
I first fell in love with fitness ten years ago, and have since used it as a tool of self care in many different forms. I have used it to lose weight. I have used it to get strong. I have used it to heal myself from extreme emotional pain and I have used to help with my mental health. However, it was not until the past few years that I have used it to expand myself and others in a truly radical way.
I have never been a small woman, literally and metaphorically. For many years, I hated that about myself, and in all honesty, there are some days I still do. But something changed for me when I started using exercise as a way to embrace and empower myself-my FULL self. I began thinking of exercise as a true form of self care, and I did it because I wanted to show my body- this body that had carried so much trauma, so much exhaustion, so much faith and so much hope-radical love.
I found this love and started challenging my thinking even more to deconstruct mainstream fitness elitist bullshit. I realized all the things I had been taught as a fitness “enthusiast” and what was further ingrained in me as a fitness professional was toxic and harmful, which made me feel worse about myself as time wore on. I looked at the fact that I had been constantly scrutinizing my body size, pushing myself to workout more hours at the gym and obsessing over what I was putting into my body...but, for what? For the idea that if I looked a certain way, then the way I feel when I leave the gym (strong, bad ass, beautiful) would actually be seen and validated by others.
It took me a few years to start to begin to undo that thinking, and to allow myself to enjoy exercise for what it should be in it’s simplest form-exercise! For me, that looked like picking up heavier weights, challenging myself in performance-not in calorie counting, trying new outdoor activities and having fun! Eventually, I was able to begin unpacking the fitness industry bullshit with my clients which led me to help them in ways I never would have been able to before. No diet talk, no food talk, no self shaming body talk.
With the help of amazing community members, I started Radically Fit to ensure that the QTPOC, bigger bodied, and fat-identified folx in the Oakland and East Bay community had a safe space to workout, build community, and celebrate themselves, while moving their bodies. Our team makes it a point to constantly challenge the toxicity that is rampant in the fitness industry, simply by using fitness as a tool for empowerment and healing. We encourage our members to take up as much damn space as they can, and we will hold it open for them every time they walk through the door.
The next time you go to the gym, or workout, I encourage you to do something radical for yourself. Treat yourself with kindness. Be proud of the body that has gone through this life with you and stood so strongly for you day in and day out. Be big. Take up that space. And know, that at Radically Fit, we are holding that space for you to be bigger, bolder and kinder each day.
Lindsey Page is the founder of Radically Fit, The Bay Area's body positive community gym for all queer, trans, POC, big bodied and fat identified folx and their allies, regardless of experience or ability. She lives in Oakland and has been a personal trainer for over 5 years. She specializes in strength training with barbells and kettlebells and is currently obsessed with boxing.
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