3 Ways to Use Creativity in Your Movement Practice

3 Ways to Use Creativity in Your Movement Practice

By Kate Herald Browne, BPFA Board Member

A lot of people get their best ideas in the shower–I get most of my ideas when I’m running. Take this blog post, for example. I was spending some quality time with a treadmill at the kind of gym that features gray exercise machines lined up in rows as far as the eye can see. Not the most exciting place in the world to be. I put in my headphones to listen to my favorite running playlist and pretty soon my drab external world was replaced with an inner kaleidoscope of ideas, remixed conversations, and solutions to problems I’d been wrestling with for weeks.

I felt so inspired and wanted to write it all down. But…all I saw around me were drab, colorless humming machines. Fueled with endorphins, I wondered what gyms would be like if they offered people a creative outlet. I couldn’t possibly be the only person who feels energized to create after movement. Similarly, I know plenty of people who use movement to battle writer’s block, imposter syndrome, and other enemies of the creative mind. So, why do so many movement spaces feel closed off to creativity?

In most traditional fitness spaces, movement is considered to be an isolated activity. In a gym, you go there to use the equipment provided–treadmills, weights, and the like. In studios for dance, yoga, or group fitness, you go there to take a class on the modality being offered. In these spaces, you’re not exactly encouraged to stick around for social hour.

More importantly, movement in mainstream fitness is only deemed valuable if it feels like work. Creativity is about experimentation and play. There is a misconception that creativity and work are opposites, and that introducing something “fluffy” like arts and crafts to a gym space would devalue or undermine the goals of the space.

For body positive fitness professionals, incorporating creativity into a movement space brings incredible value to your clients and represents a radical shift away from movement as a boring, painful, or obligatory health practice. Instead, clients can start to see movement as a one of many tools available to them that work together to promote Full Health. Here are three ways that you can start to bring creativity into your movement practice:

Clear Some Creative Space

Think about areas of your movement space that could host a creativity station. This could be as simple as a chalkboard, a space on the lobby wall, or a window that you keep dry erase markers next to. You can make creative prompts part of the practice, like “Draw how [your movement practice] makes you feel” or “What’s your favorite animal?” or just leave writing tools out for clients. Waiting for class to start is a great time to doodle!

Pair Movement with Art

Consider hosting special events that intentionally bring movement and creativity together, like a paper plane circuit relay. You could also partner with local organizations that offer art classes to develop programming like movement-based acting classes, yoga paint nights, or Weights and Watercolors.

Personalize Client Progress

If your clients like to use progress tracking, encourage them to include non-numerical ways of sharing their achievements. A journal that includes writing, drawing, stickers, or painting can help foster the relationship between movement and creativity. This can also help clients learn new ways to tell the story of their progress in ways that numbers don’t always capture.

Come to the BPFA Inclusive FitPro Summit and Get to Connect with Kate!

Register for the BPFA Inclusive FitPro Summit

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: https://issuu.com/canfitpro/docs/digital-jan-feb-22_layout/24)

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!


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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 – Your Time Matters.

Trainer Tip – Your Time Matters.

#TrainerTip – Your time matters. It can be easy to fall into the habit of always being available to your clients, but that’s tough to sustain long term. One way to protect your time is to develop a consistent set of boundaries with your scheduling and convey those expectations clearly with your clients. Need ideas? Send us a message, we’re happy to help brainstorm. Also, if you have great tips, feel free to share! (Info@bodypositivefitness.org)

Maybe you already find yourself in a bit of a scheduling hole and you’re not sure what to do? Perhaps you have a client that is consistently late or cancels last minute and you don’t know how to address the situation because you don’t want to lose that client? That anxiety is valid, but you have to take care of your personal resources as a coach to be able to keep doing your work. An easy way to broach the situation is to give the client a heads up with some lead time. For example, “Next month I’m updating my schedule and X policy will be changing to reflect that, if you have questions let me know!”.

Another reality is that there are clients that have unrealistic expectations for themselves. A client can feel like working out at 6 AM is what they “should do”, but every week they barely make it in and they’re groggy through the session. This is an opportunity talk with them and find out more about what their goals actually are and what’s practical within their schedule. By being empathetic experts, we can help clients build sustainable habits that add to their quality of life rather than detract from it.

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!

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

Sneak Peek: Summit Presentations

Sneak Peek: Summit Presentations

What to Expect at the BPFA Inclusive FitPro Summit 2023:

Business skills workshops led by industry trailblazers, body-positive fitness demos, and social time to network. Everything we do has hands-on components and action items so you are empowered to make concrete change right away!

Presentation and Movement Topics

  • “5 Ways FitPros Can Utilize Intuitive Eating with Clients” with Leah Tsui , MS, RDN, LDN
  • “Deconstructing the Fitness Industrial Complex” With Authors Justice Williams and Damali Fraiser
  • “Friendly Competition: Creating a Fitness Enviroment that is Both Competitive and Welcoming” with Katie Feeley and Laura Vineyard
  • “Kettlebell Technique” with Damali Fraiser
  • And MORE!

Interested in Sponsoring Summit?

We’d love to work with you to create a mutually beneficial partnership. In exchange, we are providing various levels of exposure and access to a large and committed audience in the inclusive fitness community. Check out our 2023 Sponsorship Packet.