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mdj

Hi all,

 

Although I've become much more comfortable in my non-binary identity over the past several months, there's one part which is still a struggle -- keeping in shape. The main reason is that I haven't found a gym or fitness center with gender neutral (or family, or individual) changing areas or locker rooms. (Not to mention the ordinary masculinity and competition felt in most workout areas.) I'm not big on running so that's a possibility but not a solution. And I can't afford to install a gym in my garage.

 

What do y'all do? How do you find safe spaces to stay in shape while not sacrificing your identity or sanity?

 

--M

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Krisvm

It is an issue, I hate that in gyms. I tend to go to a park and do my own workout there. However I am only really into doing cardio and stretching, not building up muscle. I also go to mixed workout classes outside of gyms where I turn up in my outfit rather than change there.

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Astrid

Hi, mdj!    I can really identify with this issue!  

 

I've not had success finding a gym with gender neutral/individual changing areas, either.  But I have been a member about 18 months now at a gym with locations around major cities in the USA, and have adopted various strategies.  

 

1) They provide "neutral" lockers in an open area for people to simply stow their valuables without using either changing room.  Of course, this means you'll shower afterward at home.

 

2) I've stuck it out using the men's locker room, although it's psychologically taxing at times.  To help cope, my usual routine is to already be in my exercise clothes (which are entirely feminine) when I arrive.  I'll try to use the gym during more lightly attended hours.  After exercise, I usually have two brief moments of "suspense":   I proudly keep my toes painted in bright colors, so I generally wait until there's no one else nearby, then quickly change into/out of my closed-toe shower shoes before/after my shower.  

 

Over time, I've gotten a bit less paranoid about things.  I no longer stress over being non-hairy, or brushing my hair and using a hair band for my ponytail.  I love my leather purse that can double as a backpack.  But I am careful to wear boyshort underwear in plain colors (black, grey, etc) when visiting the gym.  

 

So, to summarize:  It's important enough to me that I'll put up with this routine three times a week, year 'round.  And, over time, my level of comfort with what I can wear has definitely risen, at the same time that my level of comfort being around hairy, over-muscled guys has decreased.  But nobody's ever hassled me.  (On the other hand, I would gladly pay more for a gym that had gender neutral or individual changing facilities.)

 

Astrid

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DrumbeatAlex

Hi M,

 

staying fit can be difficult, especially if you don't feel comfortable using gendered change rooms or playing gendered sport. :/

 

I've started doing some indoor rock-climbing/bouldering. It's a really good full body workout and their are a mix of genders. The place I go to also has lockers in the general climbing area (not in gendered change rooms). So if you're interested in that you could check out how your local climbing gym is run. I think the attitude in climbing places is more about personal improvment than about being super macho, so that's good too. Can cost a bit though. :/

 

Some areas also have free gym equipment setups just in parks. Some places also run free exercise sessions in the park (which would avoid locker rooms and probably intense gym junkies too). Idk if they do that in America, but that could be an option. You could also just do bodyweight exercises at home or workout at a local playground (eg. pushups, pullups, single-leg squats and a hamstring exercise of some sort would pretty much cover all muscle groups).

 

There are also non-gendered sports/exercise you could try such as casual tennis, ice skating, surfing (if you're near a beach), golf, hiking, orienteering etc. I think it'd be easy enough to avoid locker rooms with these.

 

What sort of exercise are you hoping to do? (aerobic, resistance, team, individual?) and what have you enjoyed in the past? :) 

 

Hope some of this helps, let me know what you think!

-Alex

 

 

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reyindium
On 6/21/2019 at 7:31 AM, DrumbeatAlex said:

You could also just do bodyweight exercises at home or workout at a local playground (eg. pushups, pullups, single-leg squats and a hamstring exercise of some sort would pretty much cover all muscle groups).

I second this. You could do these where you are most comfortable, even at home. I was once a young competitive gymnast and that type of conditioning is all we would do; no fancy equipment used/needed. And we were all pure muscle. We rotated upper, lower, and core strength days...and sometimes did a little blend of everything. I had a six pack without flexing! Thinking back on it now, it's mind boggling. Point being, bodyweight exercises can do the job. Just takes discipline and daily conditioning. 

p.s. we did run for 15-30 minutes every day wearing 5 lb weights (gotta love cardio)

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RobynNYC

In the Us there is this great chain called orange theory.  The classes are amazing and the facilities are all gender neutral. Single occupant bathrooms and single occupant showers. Super intense workouts that some men do but lots of women. You will have to run in the workouts but it’s all super short intervals.  and omg I’m in such great shape now!  

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