An Open Letter To Those Who Feel Judged In Fitness

I don't know who needs to hear this but you're allowed to exist in spaces where movement happens.

You deserve to exist in spaces where movement happens.

You are allowed to do things even if you feel you are not (insert adjective) enough.

emily hampshire stevie budd GIF by Schitt's Creek


For 10+ years I have taught some sort of fitness (Spin, boot-camp, barre, Pilates) and, for 10+ years, I have heard variations of the same thing over and over:

  • When I lose 10 pounds I will go to your class
  • I am not fit enough to do that
  • I am embarrassed to try it when I look the way I do
  • People will judge me
  • I tried a class but didn’t feel welcome

Somewhere in our culture, we’ve made the rule that you can only go to the gym if you meet a certain criteria:

  • If you are thin enough
  • If you are strong enough
  • If you know the people going
  • If you know exactly what you’re doing
Once you meet that criteria then you’re allowed to go to be there.

Who made this rule? And why did we all decide to follow it?

To all those who are worried if they belong in class, please hear me when I say:

Your weight does not determine your worthiness in class.

Your modifications do not negate the work you’ve done in class.

Your brand of leggings do not determine where you’re allowed to stand in class.

Arbitrary rules, set by a system designed to discourage vulnerability, do not get to dictate where your body is allowed to be.


It would be disingenuous of me to not recognize the privilege that I inherently have as a heterosexual, cisgender, white Pilates and Spin instructor.

Do I know exactly what you’re feeling? No.  Do I know the thoughts in your head? No.

I won’t pretend I do. That wouldn’t be genuine or real.

What I can tell you is that I know what’s like to battle your body... no matter what the cost.

To feel unworthy.

To feel embarrassed to try something new because people may judge you.

To hate what you see in the mirror.

To try and shrink so you don’t offend anybody, most of all yourself.

One day, after years of fighting of myself, I decided that these three truths would be paramount to my survival: 

You are allowed, and deserve, to exist.

Showing up is scary but if you keep doing it, it becomes easier. 


You get to be where movement happens, however you can show up.


It's your body. Your class. Your movement. Your decision. You belong in fitness. .




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