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Fitness for All: How to Find Joy in Movement

Embark on an empowering ‘fitness for all’ journey and make movement a joyful part of your daily life.

Plus size fitness instructor and the founder of Body Positive Barre, Natalie Sanders, shares her top tips for starting or continuing your movement journey, finding size-friendly fitness instructors, and embracing body positivity along the way.

Fitness for All with Body Positive Barre, Natalie Sanders

What is the concept of joyful movement?

Joyful movement is about finding pleasure in physical activity, not just viewing it as a chore or a tool for calorie burn.

Every type of motion involves physical engagement! This includes taking a leisurely stroll, enjoying a gentle swim, or participating in calming yoga, including chair yoga. Even tasks like mowing the lawn or tidying up the house contribute to movement.

Embrace the pleasure of physical activity without feeling pressured to make it overly strenuous or demanding.

What are the first steps toward improving strength and mobility?

Improving strength and mobility starts with small, manageable actions – like getting up and down from the floor and then incorporating movement into your daily routine.

To prevent routine movement from becoming a chore:

  1. Think about ways to make it fun.
  2. If you find it challenging to get up and down without assistance, don’t hesitate to use tools like a chair to make the process easier.
  3. Remember, there’s no room for shame in this journey; instead, embrace the resources that aid your progress.

How to find size-friendly fitness instructors for in-person classes?

Social media can be a great first step when hunting for size-friendly fitness instructors.

Search for “body-positive” or “fat-friendly” groups on Facebook in your local area. These communities offer the perfect platform for plus size folks to connect with size-friendly fitness instructors, care providers, nutritionists, and much more!

And if there isn’t a fat-friendly Facebook group in your area already, why not start your own?

Beyond social media, you can do a Google search for size-friendly or Health At Every Size ® informed fitness instructors or fitness classes in your area.

Although some mainstream gyms, such as Planet Fitness, advertise themselves as offering judgment-free zones, their environments may not consistently reflect this inclusive ethos.

Local recreational centers and YMCAs tend to be more inclusive.

size-friendly fitness instructors

How can I feel confident in a new fitness class?

Entering a new fitness class can be daunting. Giving yourself grace is essential, and understanding that it’s okay not to get everything right in the first class.

When engaging with prospective instructors, feel free to inquire about their teaching philosophy, approach to accommodating various body sizes, and whether they incorporate inclusive language and don’t focus on weight loss. And you can reach out long before attending your first class!

Familiarize yourself with the instructor’s teaching style and cadence, and be patient with your progress.

The goal is to get to know how your body feels and responds under different forms of stress, and to extend your comfort zone gradually.

It’s also about celebrating small victories, such as being able to do a move for a bit longer or improving your balance. Remember, it’s not about perfection, but about progression.

By taking these proactive steps, you can identify fitness instructors who prioritize inclusivity, creating a welcoming and supportive environment for your fitness journey.

How can I find size-friendly fitness instructors for online classes?

Social media, once again, proves its immense value. An increasing number of size-inclusive fitness instructors are making their presence known, and we’re here for it!

With the right searches, you will likely find an instructor who understands and supports your fitness journey.

You can also Google, as suggested above, and ask your community for suggestions.

Which body positivity fitness hashtags should I follow?

There are many hashtags to explore, but the following is a great starting place:





By following these hashtags, you’ll connect with inspiring creators and plus size athletes like Meg Boggs and champion powerlifter Becci Holcomb.

What essentials do I need for working out at home?

Let’s keep things simple! All you need is a cozy, comfortable space where you feel safe. Also, keep things like pillows or dish towels handy for additional comfort or padding during exercises.

You can build and add light weights, a yoga mat, and other tools from there.

Your comfort and well-being are paramount when engaging in any exercise. Don’t hesitate to communicate with your instructor if you experience discomfort or pain during a workout. They can provide modifications or alternative exercises to ensure your safety and enjoyment.

Similarly, you can keep your camera on or off in virtual fitness classes. Don’t feel pressured to turn it on if it doesn’t align with your comfort level. This journey is about empowering you to feel confident and joyful in movement, so prioritize your needs and comfort above all else.

Congratulations on taking the first steps toward incorporating joyful movement into your daily routine. Embracing activities that bring you genuine happiness enhances your strength and mobility.

Remember to seek out size-friendly fitness instructors who create inclusive spaces, both in-person and online, where you can feel supported and celebrated.

As you embark on this empowering journey, always remember to love and appreciate your incredible body. You’ve got this!

Learn more about fitness for all from plus size fitness Natalie Sanders during episode 207 of the Plus Mommy Podcast. She also discusses her specialty, Barre Fitness, which combines ballet, Pilates, and strength training elements. Inspired by the movements performed by ballet dancers at the barre, this fitness style focuses on small, controlled, and repetitive movements that target specific muscle groups, particularly in the legs, core, and glutes.

Recording & Show Notes: Plus Mommy Podcast Episode 207

Transcript happily provided upon request.

Resources Mentioned On The Show

Body Positive Barre, Natalie Sanders

I am intentionally trained in a weight-neutral style and offer many modifications to make Barre accessible for all bodies. I am building a community through online Body Positive Barre Classes where you are welcome to come as you are and to find joy in the low-impact, strength-building movement that Barre offers. And I understand what challenges people in fat bodies face in traditional fitness spaces, and I’m so excited to provide an accessible Barre group fitness class for all bodies.

Thank you to our sponsor:

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