A few teachers in the Charlotte fitness community have been talking about inclusivity and bringing more awareness to it. While thinking about my own experiences, I’m reminded it is something we ALL can work towards, not just the teachers/instructors/leaders. Inclusion is about giving value to every human and being valued for who you are. It involves feeling supportive energy from those around you so we’re able to give our best effort.
From partaking in modifications for every skill level (not just demonstrating) to socializing with someone new given the opportunity after a workout (not just the squad you came with)… I agree with ALL of the points mentioned to help become more aware of this idea. I’d also like to give my 2 cents on the subject, for what it’s worth, as a “fitness practitioner” if you will.
**I’m not a teacher** & I’m hella flattered when people thing I am – I just go to a SHIT TON of places to workout. Therefore, I’ve come across this inclusivity issue a time or two. The majority of it is in my brain. And I completely understand how one can feel that way in a new experience AND how an instructor can unintentionally generate that emotion if it’s already in your mindset.
I’m happy to say I’ve only walked into one place of business and felt truly unvalued. One out of the thirty I counted (probably more) that I’ve walked into in the past 6 months. And you know how I dealt with it? I don’t go there and I don’t talk about them, it’s their loss. I think the studios in Charlotte & surrounding do an amazing job of welcoming newcomers. There is ALWAYS room for improvement so I appreciate being able to continue discussing the topic.
From my personal experience, the times I’ve felt excluded, I was the one perpetuating that feeling in my own head. In a perfect world in the perfect workout class, the teacher would say hello to all of our smiling faces and we’d all just have the best workout ever! Not reality! We’re all human. We have shitty days. We feel lonely. We STRUGGLE to get in that room and break a sweat to possibly forget about something annoying that happened earlier in the day. The teacher is human. They might be trying to connect with each and every one of us while entering the room… but their playlist isn’t working on the stereo, a spin bike might need adjusting, someone has a question or an injury they need to bring attention to.
We’re not always going to get that pat on the back from another person. Whether it’s a smile, a hands on adjustment during class or a “great work today!” afterwards. When we’re looking for that something and don’t get it, then the doubt and uncertainty start to creep in. “Don’t they care I’m here?” The truth is, if we want to feel included we need to practice it with our peers. If you didn’t feel seen by the instructor, go say hi after class. If you saw someone you recognized from social media but weren’t brave enough to go “HEY STRANGER!” in fear you might be wrong, send them a message (literally happened to me at Rockbox this morning.) We can all make an effort in supporting one another. We’re all human. We all want to be seen & heard. Do your part ❤️
Photos by Jeff Hahne Photography.