Live Learning Recap: Best Practices with Higher Weight Clients and Marketing Weight Neutral Fitness with Ragen Chastain

Live Learning Recap: Best Practices with Higher Weight Clients and Marketing Weight Neutral Fitness with Ragen Chastain

BPFA Board Member Christine DeFilippis sat down with Speaker, Writer, Activist and Researcher, Ragen Chastain for a live learning. As a leading voice in the body positivity and Health at Every Size (HAES) movements, Ragen brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. Far too often, the fitness industry perpetuates harmful myths and stereotypes about body size and health. Ragen debunks these myths and shares evidence-based research on weight, fitness, and health.

Here’s a peek at what Ragen covered during the session:
●Understanding Weight-Neutral Fitness: the concept of weight-neutral fitness and its importance in promoting inclusive and accessible health and wellness practices.
●Exploring Research on Weight, Fitness, and Health: Get ready to dive deep into the latest research surrounding weight, fitness, and health. Ragen unpacks common misconceptions and sheds light on the truth behind the data.
●Marketing Weight-Neutral Fitness: Learn how to effectively market weight-neutral fitness programs and services. Ragen shares valuable insights and strategies for reaching diverse audiences and creating inclusive spaces.
●Debunking Myths Around Larger Bodies: challenge stereotypes and dismantle harmful myths about larger bodies. Prepare to be enlightened and inspired!

Whether you’re a fitness professional, health enthusiast, or simply curious about alternative approaches to wellness, this event is for you. Join us for an enlightening conversation with Ragen Chastain & Christine DeFilippis and discover a new perspective on health and fitness.

Don’t miss out on this empowering opportunity to embrace every body and celebrate the beauty of diversity!

Recommendations for the New Year!

Recommendations for the New Year!

All of us a BPFA Headquarters are wishing you the best in the new year. To help kick things off right, here’s a list of some of our favorite books, blogs, and social media accounts from 2023.


-“Deconstructing the Fitness-Industrial Complex: How to Resist, Disrupt, and Reclaim What It Means to Be Fit in American Culture” Edited by Justice Roe Williams, Roc Rochon and Lawrence Koval. “Perspectives from QTBIPOC, fat, and disabled trainers, bodyworkers, and coaches on reimagining fitness for all bodies.”

-“Fit Nation: The Pains and Gains of America’s Exercise Obsession” By Natalia Petrzela. “How is it that Americans are more obsessed with exercise than ever, and yet also unhealthier? Fit Nation explains how we got here and imagines how we might create a more inclusive, stronger future.”

-“Fire in My Eyes” by Brad Snyder. “An American Warrior’s Journey from Being Blinded on the Battlefield to Gold Medal Victory.”

-“Lifting Heavy Things: Healing Trauma One Rep at a Time” By Laura Khoudari. “Most people at one moment in their lives experience trauma. Lifting Heavy Things empowers its readers to use any form of exercise, from strength training to cycling or walking, as a tool of healing.”

-“Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek. “For a company to be successful, its leaders need to understand the true purpose of their organization, and use that purpose as a northstar not only in how they conduct themselves as a business, but also in how they care for those in their charge.”

-“The Long Run” By Matt Long. “New York City firefighter’s emotional and inspiring memoir of learning to run again after a debilitating accident, based on the wildly popular March 2009 piece in Runner’s World magazine.”

-“The Mental Impact of Sports Injury” By Carly McKay. “Using analogies from everyday life, The Mental Impact of Sports Injury bridges the gap between academic research and practical settings in an informative, yet easy to follow guide to the psychology of sports injury.”


-“The Dirtbag Diaries” – “The campfire tale—it’s ubiquitous in mountain culture. As long as we’ve climbed, skied, boated or traveled, we’ve been telling stories. In March of 2007, Fitz launched The Dirtbag Diaries, a grassroots podcast dedicated to the sometimes serious, often humorous stories from wild places. What began as a solitary experiment has evolved into collaboration between writers, photographers, artists and listeners to produce the type of stories that rarely find homes in the glossy pages of magazines.”

-“Handsome” By Tig Notaro, Fortune Feimster, Mae Martin. “Every week, the handsome hosts field a question from a friend and attempt to answer it together, covering every subject you could think of. Along the way, Tig, Fortune and Mae tell plenty of stories and just generally have a ridiculous time.”

-“Handy Ma’am Hotline” By Mercury Stardust. “Come hang out and get your DIY, trans life, and random questions answered on the Handy Ma’am Hotline!”

-“Recovery Bites” with Karin Lewis. “Join host Karin Lewis, MA, LMFT, CEDS, for episodes featuring candid interviews with experts in eating disorder and mental health recovery. Episodes focus on life beyond recovery, the good and the not-so-good, the successes and the challenges, and the authentic accounts of recovered lives. Not their whole story…just bites!”

-“Re:Thinking” with Adam Grant. “Adam believes that great minds don’t think alike—they challenge each other to think differently. His weekly show explores new thoughts and new ways of thinking.”

-“This Morning Walk” with Alex Elle and Libby Delana. “This Morning Walk podcast invites you to experience the transformative power of a simple walk.”

-“Maintenance Phase” – “Every other Tuesday, Michael Hobbes and Aubrey Gordon debunk the junk science behind health and wellness fads.”

-“Mind Your Fitness” with Thomas J Fowler. “Debunking the health & fitness industry.”

-“Rest is Resistance” byTricia Hersey. “From the founder and creator of The Nap Ministry, Rest Is Resistance is a battle cry, a guidebook, a map for a movement, and a field guide for the weary and hopeful.”

-“Spilling Open: The Art of Becoming Yourself” By Sabrina Ward Harrison. “We are all facing choices that define us. No choice, however messy, is without importance in the overall picture of our lives. We all at our own age have to claim something, even if it is only our own confusion. I am in the middle of growing up and into myself. This book is my life in progress.”

-“What Works” with Tara McMullin. “”Work” is broken. We’re overcommitted, underutilized, and out of whack. But it doesn’t have to be this way. What Works is a podcast about rethinking work, business, and leadership as we navigate the 21st-century economy.”

-“Without Fail” – “Candid conversations with people who have done hard things: what worked, what didn’t and why.”

Social Media Accounts

-@300poundsandrunning on IG

-@andreaanimates on IG. “Stop motion animator & fiber artist.”

-@barkcity_parker on TikToc. “Enjoy cute videos of our furry friends.”

-@lousydrawingsforgoodpeople on IG

-@crutches_and_spice on TikTok. Disability advocate.

-@strangewonderfulcreature on TicTok. Nonbinary circus athlete.

-@auntyskates on TicTok. 43 year-old woman learning to skateboard and is now a coach.

-@movementbydavid on TicTok. Fun scalable mobility training.


-Javeno McLean @j7healthjaveno on IG

-Kaylee Bays @slayleebays on IG

-@case.kenny on IG

-@johannakulp.lcsw on IG. “Empowering parents to embrace a healthy body image & to teach their kids to do the same.”

Announcing the Final Summit 2023 Speakers!

Headshot of Kat Horzempa

Expansive Marketing Practices

with Kat Horzempa

What story is your company telling? Are you effectively communicating your company’s values? Do you practice the values you promote? In Expansive Marketing Practices, Kat Horzempa will explore ways to authentically communicate with the communities you serve through expansive marketing practices

Kat Horzempa (she/they) is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Operations of Body Positive Fitness a queer-led, fat-centered hybrid movement company based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Kat is actively dedicated to building fat-liberated, anti-racist, gender-affirming expansive spaces for joyful movement. An administrative leader with a specialization in sales and marketing, Kat has spent over a decade in operations management in nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Their work has spanned the fitness, arts, education, manufacturing, and tertiary sectors.

Body Positive Fitness (@BodyPositiveFitness_) is a home for folks excluded from or unwelcome in mainstream fitness spaces—no matter your size, gender, disability or fitness level. Both online and in-person, Body Positive Fitness offers group classes, group training, personal training, running club, workshops and free community events, including a monthly book club hosted by Kat which highlights books from the body positive and fat liberation movements. In addition to being an ant-diet advocate, Kat is passionate about performing arts and has played many roles on and off stages in Canada and Spain.

Headshot of Vysh Sivakumaran

Movement Break & Discussion Around What Toxic Fitness Is & Isn’t

with Vysh Sivakumaran, CPTN-PT

Vysh (vai-sh) (she/her) is a certified strength coach, trauma informed yoga instructor, & a fitness industry leader in the Toronto community — working to create inclusive, body neutral, and accessible fitness, through 1:1, group, and corporate services within her online fitness community, Fitness in Place (FIP). With her powerlifting background and quick adaptation at the start of the pandemic, she was awarded Canfitpro’s Fitness Professional of the Year Award. She advocates passionately for representation in the industry for South Asian women, but more broadly, aims to be a voice for all people who may face barriers in the wellness. (Follow Vysh at @vy_she_lifts , @Fitness_In_Place, or on Linked in:

Vysh is a member of the Advisory Panel and content contributor at CanFitPro. Check out her recent article: “Trauma Informed: Practices to Keep Fitness Spaces Barrier Free to Everyone”.

Trainer Tip – Many Fitness Terms sound violent…Try switching to more Peaceful and Accurate words when Possible.

Trainer Tip – Many Fitness Terms sound violent…Try switching to more Peaceful and Accurate words when Possible.

Landmines, manmakers, skull crushers, butt blasters, battle rope, boot camp, etc… Many fitness terms sound violent and intimidating. Taking the time to notice what terms in our own practices invoke unnecessary violence is an opportunity to develop language that more accurately describes the actual exercises. Better descriptions = more clarity. Increasing clarity reduces intimidation and clients that are less intimidated are more likely to stick around. Yay retention!

Have you switched up any terms in your practice? What was that experience like?

Are you a FitPro working to make the industry more accessible for all people? Join BPFA Inclusive FitPros! Our Learning Community exists to make meaningful connections between likeminded fitness professionals. Make friends, ask questions, and participate in continuing education. We’re here to be your fitness family that celebrates all bodies!


If you like this content, feel free to support us on Patreon for as little as $1!

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Announcing More Summit 2023 Topics!

Menopause Fitness. It’s time to change the “game”

with Samantha Montpetit-Huynh, CPTN-PT, PFS, NWS, Pfilates

Menopause has a LOT of stigma attached to it and many women feel like life is over. However, this is the perfect opportunity to start working WITH your body and stop fighting against it. Find out how menopause changes the playing field and how, as a professional, you must change the game.

Samantha (she/her) is the founder of SamCoreTrainer where she coaches women 40+ with the most comprehensive online health management program for women during menopause and midlife.
Samantha is a serial entrepreneur, media expert, speaker, teacher, mentor, course creator and author. You can catch her fitness segments on The Marilyn Denis Show and most recently on CBC’s Then National.

Samantha has been a recognized expert in her field for 2 decades and was awarded The Abundance 2019 Personal Trainer of the Year and CanfitPro’s 2021, Specialty Presenter of the Year.

A picture of Kate Hearald Browne in front of a chalkboard

Creativity Moves You: Unlocking the creativity that Movement Brings

with Dr. Kate Herald Browne

Kate (she/her) explores the connection between physical movement and creativity as a full health practice in this workshop. We’ll play with ways to bring intentional moments of creativity to your movement space. No prior experience with arts and crafts required! Kate is a writer and educator who specializes in connecting personal storytelling to wellness practices and she’s excited to share new ideas with the BPFA community. She is a member of the BPFA Board.

Cute handcrafted medals from the BPFA 0.5K

The 2nd Annual BPFA 0.5K!

Walk, run, dance, or cheer folks on, this 0.5K is a celebration of joyful movement and embracing that all movement is valid, even when it’s bite-sized.

More Speakers to Be Announced Next Week! Stay Tuned… 😀

Trainer Tip – Revisit your space periodically. Is it safe for all bodies?

Trainer Tip – Revisit your space periodically. Is it safe for all bodies?

#TrainerTip – Revisit your space periodically with fresh eyes. Is it physically safe for all bodies? Are there any places where people might trip or get caught on a piece of equipment? Is it tidy with the equipment all put away regularly? Is there enough space between racks so folks in larger bodies can pass through with ease? Do you have any heavy equipment is a tight spot that might encourage clients to pick it up with poor form? And so on…

When clients come into our spaces, they are spending a lot of their mental awareness on getting used to a new place and they don’t have much left to notice a tripping hazard etc. It’s our job as trainers and gym owners to make it hard for them to get hurt just walking around. It’s also our responsibility to set up clear expectations for how to use the equipment and navigate the space safely from their first day.

What actions have you taken or protocols have you put in place to make your space safer for all bodies? Need suggestions? Ask your clients if they have ideas or send us a message. We’re happy to help brainstorm!

Friday is the LAST DAY to SAVE $50 with the EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT when you register for the BPFA Inclusive FitPro Summit! We’re bringing together fitness professionals of any movement discipline who are transforming the health and fitness industry into a space that is welcoming and inclusive for all bodies. At Summit you can expect business skills workshops led by industry trailblazers, inclusively minded fitness demos, and social time to network. May 19-21st in Toronto, Ontario and online.


#EightPillars #FitnessProfessionals #FitProEducation #nasm #cpt #nasmcpt #inclusivefitnesspractices #InclusiveFitness #inclusive #BodyPositive #WeightNeutral #FatPositive #BodyEquity #education #TrainerTips #Accessibility #BPFAeightpillars #BPFA #BodyPositiveFitnessAlliance