“You should stick to fitness.”

Since the beginning of 2021, we’ve been working on being more vocal and specific when it comes to our core values. We want everyone to know what our goals are as a community.

Since the inception of Ripple Effect, we’ve operated differently than many other microgyms. Smaller space, smaller classes, more emphasis on relationships, and a focus on improving our members’ lives outside the gym have been part of our DNA since day 1. Now that we’ve got nearly two years under our belts as a business and group of humans, we’ve taken steps to further define what our goals are.

One of our main goals is creating a safe, welcoming place for folks who have often been marginalized within the fitness community: like women, people of color, folks in the LGBTQ+ community, people whose body types don’t fit the traditional idea of fitness, and more.

The more we talk about these goals, the more voal our critics outside our gym community become. A common message we’ve gotten from folks outside our community is that we should “Stick to fitness.”

We’ve never been just about fitness, and we never will be. Humans aren’t just one dimensional. Everything we do in the gym influences our lives outside the gym, and vice versa. How can we claim to care about the health of our members if we ignore the other 160+ hours per week that they aren’t within our walls? How can we best serve them if we don’t consider their emotional and social needs, in addition to their physical? How can we help someone get fit, if they don’t feel like they belong here? How can we get someone to care about fitness if they don’t feel cared about as a person? How can someone focus on their fitness if they’re on the verge of a breakdown from trauma?

Welcoming someone to a space is about so much more than just leaving the door open. Welcoming someone is an action. It requires intention. Just because someone is allowed in a space, doesn’t mean they’ll want to go there. We have to care about and understand the things they are going through outside the gym.

We’re going to keep talking about racism, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, and the other types of oppression that affect our members and their loved ones. We’re not going to shy away from making our stance known on these things. These are all health issues. Human issues.

Of course, we’ll talk about fitness a lot too!

It’s OK for other gyms and other businesses to have different goals. It’s a wide world out there, and everyone needs a place to feel comfortable to work on their health. We’re not going to change our goals to please people who aren’t the group we’re trying to serve.

We’re not going to just stick to fitness.

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