Gyms should be an inviting place for people of all sizes and backgrounds, but many aspiring gym-goers express extreme anxiety over entering the gym.
Why? The assumption that only "fit" people are welcomed in fitness centers, thanks in part to advertising that only shows happy, thin people working out. One gym owner is doing her part to change that by creating a new stock photo service that shows people of all sizes, ages and races working out together.
Michele Burmaster is both the owner of Surf City Fit Club in Huntington Beach, California, and the brains behind Real Fitness Stock Photos. RFSP provides stock images of a variety of real people doing real workouts that other gym owners can buy and use in their advertising.
"I saw the gap in the market," Burmaster tells SheKnows of how she came up with the idea. "Ask any gym owner and they can tell you that finding a commercial fitness stock photo of someone clothed doing an exercise properly, we might as well be unicorn hunting (well, before now!)."
Burmaster is also the president of the Body Positive Fitness Alliance, an organization with a mission to work with trainers to "help make their practices more accessible, approachable and inclusive for the other 95 percent of the population who don't perpetuate gym culture," she adds.
Fellow trainers — who know that fitness-seekers come from all different backgrounds — are "elated" with the photo selection. "It truly is a breath of fresh air knowing that our precious time won't be wasted any longer trying to find just one great photo that represents our current and potential client base."
Not only that, but it's helping achieve her mission of providing fitness for all people.
"If we can put out materials that show them they are worthy of fitness as well because their body type, race, age, gender or any other demographic is represented in images of people doing badass things, then maybe they'll be inspired to find their fitness," she adds. "We're breaking down the barrier of 'not identifying as a fit person' by showing the world that fitness actually doesn't have a look."
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