I spent a long weekend in Huntington Beach, CA
eating tacos and playing outside attending the first ever Body Positive Fitness Alliance Affiliated Professionals Summit. (I know, it’s a mouthful. Let’s call it the BPFA AP Summit.) I came away from the weekend with tons of new information, some awesome friends, and a renewed commitment to providing an opportunity for everyBODY to enjoy fitness.
I could go on for ages about how much I love this growing organization and all the wonderful people in it. But here are the big things I want you to know:
- What BPFA is
- What the AP Summit was about
- The relationship between BPFA and Power Plant Gym
What is the Body Positive Fitness Alliance?
Let’s start by backing this train up and identifying what we call “Fit 1.0.” Fit 1.0 is the stereotypical fitness industry: a focus on fat loss and aesthetics, thin white models, physical activity as a punishment or penance to “earn” things you like to do and eat – you get the idea. It’s pretty much every fitness magazine, billboard, or “fitspo” post you’ve ever seen. The problem is that this portrayal of fitness is unrealistic, and it alienates the majority of the people who are interested in moving their bodies. Fit 1.0 tells us that there are right ways and wrong ways to look, dress, eat, and move. The reality is that there are SO MANY ways to bring health and fitness into your life.
Enter Fit 2.0 – an inclusive approach to fitness as something that is accessible to literally anyone regardless of size, shape, color, race, gender identity, goals, outfits, ability, experience, or anything else that Fit 1.0 tries to sell.
Body Positive Fitness Alliance (BPFA) is a worldwide organization that does 2 major things: 1) connect likeminded Fit 2.0 professionals with each other, and 2) help those fitness professionals reach people who don’t currently feel welcomed by the Fit 1.0 industry.
The Seven Pillars
BPFA is guided by seven pillars:
- Accessibility – creating an environment that is physically accessible to all bodies and where people can move without fear of judgment
- Approachability – harnessing positive attitudes to strengthen the connection between coach and client, and minimizing any emotional or psychological barriers to access
- Enjoyment – employing the power of FUN to keep the community motivated
- Community – creating a place where people are comfortable being themselves and feel welcome, supported, and happy. No egos; all heart.
- Scope of Practice – acknowledging that we are part of a team that promotes health and wellness. Our programs and methods are evidence-based. We do not know everything, and we refer out when something is outside our qualifications.
- Full Health – equally supporting and promoting physical, mental, and emotional health
- Body Positivity – supporting the belief that fitness is not a look; it is what we can do and how we feel. ALL people are worthy of healthy, happiness, and access to fitness.
Based on these principles, BPFA formed as an organization in 2015. PPG and I have been involved in the organization from almost the very beginning (more on that later), and we’re happy to bring Fit 2.0 to the PPG community.
The Affiliated Professional Summit
The AP Summit was held February 23th-25th in Huntington Beach, CA, the birthplace of BPFA. Affiliated Professionals (APs) from around the world gathered to share experiences and ideas about implementing the 7 Pillars, and create a roadmap for the future of BPFA. The summit was completely peer-driven and included presentations about
- the power of metaphors in fitness,
- trauma and brain development in the fitness realm,
- approachable web design,
- building cohesive community,
- detection and referral of eating disorders, and
- so many other awesome and interesting topics!
APs come from a variety of health and fitness backgrounds (not to mention personal backgrounds). It was valuable to get everyone together as we work toward building a better organization, refining our approach to fitness, and brainstorming on how we can best reach and help as many people as possible. (Also we ate lots of tacos, played outside, took selfies, and drank at least 137 gallons of coffee.)
BPFA and Power Plant Gym
The 7 Pillars guide most of what we do at Power Plant. Some people might see the Pillars as restrictions on what we can do and say. But they’re not; they are guidelines. They are concrete ways of expressing what we already believed when we were in the process of opening the gym and building our community. Anyone who has walked through the doors at PPG has seen our commitment to fostering a community that is equal parts welcoming, challenging, competitive, and fun.
I am privileged to be the first BPFA Affiliated Professional, AND Power Plant Gym opened as the first ever BPFA Verified Facility. There are now over 100 Affiliated Professionals and 7 Verified Facilities worldwide. This means we are on the map (very literally) as a resource for anyone who is interested in incorporating evidence-based and non-judgmental fitness into their life. Beyond that, it means a lot to me and to the gym to be at the forefront of the Fit 2.0 movement.
There is so much goodness coming with BPFA and the Fit 2.0 movement! In addition to being an AP and Power Plant being a Verified Facility, I am also a Regional Director for the organization. My territory covers Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky.
My goal is to help certify more APs and facilities so we can make Fit 2.0 accessible to as many people as possible. My hope is that in the very near future I won’t need to write a blog post that explains Fit 2.0 because it will be common knowledge (and that not too much longer after that it will be the norm!).
Power Plant will be hosting a 1-day workshop later this year to affiliate new professionals. (Stay tuned for dates.)
We’ll spread the word about Fit 2.0, and we will continue to show that a gym built on the Fit 2.0 model CAN be successful. We don’t need to sell the same Fit 1.0 crap that the industry has been selling for far too long. Anyone can be strong. Anyone can be fit. Anyone can have FUN with movement.
So that’s what I was up to in California. And that’s what BPFA and Fit 2.0 means to me. THANK YOU to everyone who has been part of the Power Plant Gym and Katie Feeley Training family. Whether you realize it or not, you are on the forefront of this movement just by being you! So stay strong, stay positive, and ask me questions about BPFA so we can blow this thing up.