Hey, I’m Mark, a 40+ (and fabulous) fitness fanatic and founder of Workout with Pride. I am a fitness veteran. I’ve been in the fitness industry for over ten years, seeing all the trends, the science and the boom of well-being on social media.
Workout with Pride is an LGBTQIA fitness and well-being community group in London. It provides a safe, inclusive environment for queer people and allies who want to feel good in their bodies by celebrating all shapes, sizes and strengths through the different stages of our lives.
Every month I’ll cover queer topics across the spectrum of well-being for gay, lesbian, transgender and bi individuals. Kicking things off for this month, we’re talking queer fitness, staying connected and Workout with PRIDE!
When we think of gyms, fitness, and team sports, many LGBTQIA people have a negative trigger. The fear of using open changing rooms, feeling different and not being picked for group sports still gives me anxiety. As someone in their 40s, it’s been an eye-opener to see how social media has changed the queer landscape. Back in the day, we’d be meeting friends for drinks on Compton Street, and now we’re packing our trainers to meet our friends for queer fitness spaces across London.
My Queer Inclusive Fitness Beginning.
Workout with Pride started around six years ago. I had just finished reading the velvet rage, which covered topics of mental well-being, depression and living an authentic lifestyle and at the same time, many of my lifelong friends were leaving London. I found meeting new friends difficult. Everyone seemed hooked on social media, which presented new issues for people craving a social connection. If I wanted a new friendship group, I’d have to make one myself. And so, Workout with Pride was born. My mission was simple, get people together, get them talking, teach them the fitness fundamentals and how to lift weights correctly without fear of being ridiculed and by doing so, help the queer community feel good in their bodies. The social aspect is so important that we decided to host a post-workout social, visiting local restaurants to further cement friendships and have a good check-in with people. And that’s what we are covering this month.
These are my top tips for checking in on yourself and others.
Remember staying social is a fantastic way to keep your mental health in check. Studies have shown that surrounding yourself with a great support system will alleviate stress and overcome feelings of isolation. The great thing about the queer community is you can find your tribe anywhere. Meetup is a great way to start; you can find everything from Queer gaming to Queer cinema trips.
Another great way is to bring a friend to one of our classes (self-promo) and use the code QXFRIEND to claim a free one from us.
Opening doors is a charity that provides events, support and social activities for the LGBTQ community over 50; they also have a befriending scheme, pairing you with someone who would like some company. I recently had the chance to work with opening doors, the team are fantastic, and the members are a wealth of wisdom. Joining a befriending scheme will fill you with such appreciation for those who fought for the rights you have today whilst making new friends with different generations.
Sometimes we tend to overthink and overestimate our goals. I’m here to tell you to stop scrolling through Insta posts promoting a bigger booty and a six-pack! Make your well-being/fitness goals simple; take small steps, go for a walk, and enjoy the outdoors. Autumn is a great time to be outside and see all those seasonal colours. Another way would be to join an LGBTQIA group such as Trekfit, which offers terrific weekend hikes. Workout with Pride recently did a collab with them, and we couldn’t recommend a lovelier group. Meeting new friends while enjoying a nice walk, it’s a win-win.
And there you have it. 3 tips:
Stay Social. Give back. Get moving
Be sure to check in on us next month when we will give our tips to survive loneliness and over-indulgence during the festive period.
And when you’re in the mood to try something new or different, you are always welcome at one of our Workout with Pride classes, and we have everything from strength training, personal training, spinning and yoga!