Exercise & Movement
Is For Everyone
I have both worked in the mental health and eating disorders field and as a fitness instructor for many years. As someone who studies both eating disorders and exercise, I knew I wanted to make my classes open to everyone, and when I was teaching vowed I work never tell my students that they needed to lose weight, or shame them for their food choices, or their bodies. Rather, I wanted to provide an environment that was open to all who wanted to engage in movement and exercise that they enjoyed for their physical health, mental health, and community.
The Movement In Motion pledge came about after what was otherwise a great yoga class the day before Thanksgiving 2017. I was shocked when the instructor announced to the class while we were laying in savasana that they should "be good" the next day and commanded us to "eat only a little white meat turkey and maybe some plain sweet potatoes." My heart fell, as I had otherwise enjoyed this person's class and had hoped to return. I decided to say something after the class, and let the instructor know that while I had enjoyed their class, I was worried about the messages that were being given, as the number of people with eating disorders are as high as 10%, and that especially in the yoga and fitness spaces, that number could even be higher. I let her know that while it was clear her heart was in the right place, you never know who is in your class, and the messages to a person with an eating disorder might be devastating. The message was not exactly well-received, and I realized I had caught her off guard. I had made a mistake. The last thing I ever want to do is make someone upset who wants to help others, and so the idea for a pledge for people to self-identify as an instructor who would not do this was born.
What is the EXERT Instructor Pledge?
The EXERT Instructor Pledge (originally the Movement In Motion Pledge) is an easy way for people who teach any kind of movement classes: dance, fitness, boxing, martial arts, personal trainers, etc to let the world know that when people come to their classes or utilize their services, that they will be assured an environment where they can feel comfortable engaging in the activity without a focus on bodies, weight, weight-loss or toxic diet culture. Movement In Motion Instructors pledge that:
I will promote positive body image for people of all shapes, sizes and abilities.
I will not body-shame my students and will include education on the dangers of body shaming in my work
I will promote an environment that recognizes that food choices and dietary needs are a personal matter and not food-shame my students and I will be vocal if people in my class engage in food shaming
I will do my best to provide variations in exercises for different body types, abilities, and desires
I will not try to sell my students products such as supplements that may be dangerous to them
I will not make comments about "earning your food" or "getting swimsuit ready," or related comments rooted in shame, earning food, or having to reach a certain body type
Eating Disorder Support for Fitness Professionals
If you are a fitness industry professional (group fitness instructor, personal trainer, gym manager, yoga instructor) looking for trainings and support in how to handle eating disorders in your classes or in your personal life, Exert-ED services can help. Exert-ED services offers group trainings and individual consultation on the ethical issues surrounding eating disorders in gyms, group fitness classes, body positivity, Health At Every Size, and how to provide a body positive environment in your space, Exert-ED Eating Disorder Services is happy to help! Send me a message through the contact form to connect.