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body positive

The words “fitness” and “body positivity” may not seem to go hand in hand. And it’s no surprise: with so many extreme workouts these days that are geared toward pushing your body past its limits, it’s hard to find a balance between loving yourself and staying in shape. But these concepts don’t need to be mutually exclusive.

Grab your sports bra and sneakers and get ready for your most confident sweat session ever. Here are some of our favorite inclusive workouts to try.

Curvy Yoga

If you’ve been eager to take advantage of all the physical and mental benefits of Yoga, but are a little nervous to try it, Curvy Yoga is a great place to start. As the name suggests, these classes welcome all body types, in addition to all skill levels and capabilities. So there’s no need to fret if you’re not super flexible! Founder Anna Guest-Jelley created Curvy Yoga in hopes of encouraging more women who are intimidated by the practice to finally take the plunge and learn some basic poses while also embracing their bodies at the same time. Instructors are constantly circling the room to correct your form or offer alternative options when necessary, so you’re able to move at your own pace and in keeping with your own comfort level. Can’t find a Curvy Yoga class near you? Luckily, Guest-Jelley provides free practice videos on the Curvy Yoga website.

Pony Sweat

Are you prone to breaking out into spontaneous solo dance parties at home? Then Pony Sweat is for you. This fitness class has been described by the founder as “fiercely non-competitive” — in other words, you don’t have to worry if you miss a step (and the choreography is designed to be doable for all levels). In fact, instructors encourage you to make the moves your own, and since you’re having so much fun, you’re less likely to feel stressed about keeping up with other attendees. If you’re dying to take a Pony Sweat class but don’t live near the studio, check out the free dance video that creator Emilia Richeson offers online.

Related: A Beginner’s Guide To Body Positivity

Underwater Spinning

There’s no doubt about it: spinning is one of the trendiest fitness movements that has emerged in recent years. But for some, cycling can mean a major strain on the knees — and no one should have to forfeit their favorite exercise for fear of risk of injury. That’s where this class comes in: not only does spinning underwater minimize the chance of hurting your knees, but it also comes with added resistance, which means your muscles work harder. Scope out Aqua Studio NY, which offers a range of different underwater spinning classes depending on your goals, and with just 14 participants, they’re slightly less intimidating and more intimate. In fact, some of these classes are women-only. (many are women-only as well).

Body Balance

Are you looking for a class that’s going to boost your strength, balance, and flexibility while also helping you to feel more mentally centered? Body Balance, which is a yoga-based movement, will do just that. The classes, which last for 45 minutes, begin with standing Tai Chi and traditional yoga sun salutations. After that, you’ll engage in Pilates moves on the mat to focus on working your legs and core. Instructors will explain in detail how positions are supposed to feel, so you can quickly make adjustments until you’re engaging the right muscles. The best part? At the end, you’ll participate in a 10-minute meditation, so you’re bound to leave the class feeling relaxed and serene.

Throwback Fitness

Remember how active you were as a kid — when exercise meant playing games instead of mindlessly running on a treadmill? Throwback Fitness seeks to re-harness that joy you got from breaking a sweat by incorporating such childhood favorites as dodgeball, freeze tag, and capture the flag. There are a number of different options to choose from, including an Endurance/Speed class and a Strength/Power class. And since you’ll be playing games on teams, there’s a fun social element to the workouts as well.

Fortunately, more and more body positive fitness movements are cropping up — the kind that makes you focus on how your body feels, not how it looks. If you’re looking for a class that will help you to embrace your shape and size, try one of the movements in this guide.

Related: How To Be Confident In Lingerie


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Rebecca Strong

Rebecca is a Boston-based freelance writer who focuses on style, fitness, food, and travel. She has contributed to such publications as HuffPost, Elite Daily and U.S. News & World Report. When she's not writing, she can be found at home or in the studio working on the songs for her upcoming album. Her favorite bra is a black demi-cup style with all-over-lace — timeless and feminine.

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