Bad Romance: Getting Over Your Messy Break Up with Exercise

Written by Ragen Chastain. Posted in Featured Posts, Fierce Fatness, Fitness, Spirit, Think

I travel around the country giving talks about body positivity, size acceptance, and Health at Every Size. In many of my talks, either in my introduction or during the talk, the fact that I am and have been involved in the fitness world – as a certified group fitness instructor, as a dancer, as a marathoner, and now training to be an IRONMAN – comes up. Whenever I talk about fitness, people of all sizes tell me about the horrible experiences they’ve had that led them to decide not to be involved in the fitness world. Some even tell me that just the word exercise is triggering or sends them down a shame spiral.

Before we get too far into this, let me be clear: fitness, or involvement in fitness or movement of any kind, is not an obligation or a barometer of worthiness. The choice of whether or not to participate in fitness is personal, participating in fitness is completely optional, and those who choose to participate in fitness are not in any way better or more laudable than those who choose other hobbies.

There are people who aren’t interested in exercising for whatever reason and that’s completely ok. The people I’m talking about are those who tell me that they would like to engage in movement for whatever reason, but they feel stuck or blocked about it because they had a messy break-up with exercise, because exercise was used as a way to mistreat them, to punish them for their body size, because they were forced to do exercise that they didn’t like, or were shamed because they weren’t “good enough” at the exercise (Junior high school gym class, I am looking at you).

One Stroke at a Time One Breath at a Time

Written by Dina Elenbaas. Posted in Body Logic Features, Featured Posts, Fitness, Spirit, Think Features

Conquering Fear and Living in the Moment

racing anxiety, athletic anxiety, feminist fitness, managing anxiety, mindfulnessImagine it’s race day. You’ve been preparing for this for the last few months or longer. This is the day where you can show off all your hard work, maybe with your first race finish or a new personal best.

You should be excited, but instead your stomach is in knots. That little voice in your head, the one that loves to tell you how much you suck, is at it again. It’s whispering that you’re not as good as the people around you. It tells you that you’re going to finish dead last and be a laughingstock. It shouts that you’re not prepared.

The race starts, and as you begin to move, that little voice cries, “Look at all those people who are passing you!” Your knee twinges a little, and the voice starts in on how you’re not even going to be able to finish. You still have forever to go!

Does this sound familiar?

Back That Thing Up: Cyn Vargas Explores Pole Dancing as a Feminist Practice

Written by Cyn Vargas. Posted in Body Logic Features, Dance, Featured Posts, Fitness

We met for coffee at a shop just three blocks away. I could usually get there in less than two minutes, but on that particular Thursday, it was the longest three blocks of my life. I could hear my thighs eek with each step, and my muscles stretched like rubber bands that are then popped back into place. My arms swung back and forth like they normally do, but my upper body and my back hurt just even taking in a breath. It was the day after I took my first pole dancing class and though I was in pain, I felt pretty damn good.

The coffee shop was full, but I saw my friend near the window. I grabbed some coffee and winced as I made my way up onto the stool.

“You good?” He asked and I told him about the pole dance I had taken the night before. Told him through a smile while I stretched my arms over my head. This is how professional athletes must feel after a big game.

“It may be the feminist in me,” he said, “but that’s stupid.”

feminism, feminist


Written by Darlene McCullough. Posted in Featured Posts, Fitness, Ms. Fit Momma

Myths About Exercising Pregnant


Recently, at a late spring Bar-B-Q, I uttered the phrase “I’m a personal trainer.” In response to this statement I often field a deluge of exercise related questions. That evening the interested party was a soft-spoken, friendly woman in her mid-30’s, a cream sweater wrapped around the seven month baby-bump of her first child. She was understandably confused about how to safely work out during her pregnancy.

Her massage therapist told her everything was fine except for deep squatting. Her acupuncturist said resistance training was okay, but she shouldn’t lift weights (given that those are synonyms, I’m not sure what he/she even meant!). Her doctor had told her not to run, but she could elliptical for no more than 30 minutes. “That’s funny,” the woman next to us chimed in, “I ran through both of my pregnancies up until I delivered.”

All Hail the Fathletes

Written by Ragen Chastain. Posted in Body Logic Features, Featured Posts, Fierce Fatness, Fitness, Think Features

Covered in sweat, arms overflowing with costumes and shoes, sick with a cold, and feeling, as always, that I could have danced better in the competition, I headed from the ballroom to the elevator with thoughts of hot showers and comfortable shoes drifting through my head.  “RAGEN!” I turned to see a judge barreling toward me. Instinctively I retreated until my back was literally against the wall. “I couldn’t stand to look at you.”

ragen chastain, fit fattiesI struggled to understand and compose a response.  Exhausted, not up for a fight, I settled for a plaintive, “ok.” 

Recoiling slightly, she looked me up and down like I had Ebola and, voice dripping with disdain, repeated,“I. Couldn’t. Stand. To. Look. At. You.”


We repeated this four times, she louder and angrier each time, me looking her in the eye, emotionlessly repeating, “ok.”

Had I forgotten my dance panties?  Blatantly ignored the costume rules?  Nope, I had committed a far greater sin: dancing while fat.  And—an even greater atrocity—being good at it. 

World Watch

Sportz Shortz

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