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Roz The Diva – “Helping Marginalized Clients Overcome Gym-timidation”

Bio: NASM certified Roz Mays (she/her/Diva) has dedicated many late nights at the gym to becoming a kickass personal trainer, pole diva and fitness educator since February 2011. She specializes in helping nontraditional athletes overcome gym-timiation through pole dancing, TRX, strength training and mobility work. Her talents have been featured in Google, Fitbit Premium, The New York Times, Glamour and other really dope media organizations. When she isn’t half naked and sweaty, Diva’s usually making pancakes with Beyonce and Michelle Obama.

Session Description:

The fitness industry’s obsession with young, slender, and super strong athletes has alienated 95% of the general public, especially those in marginalized bodies. Fear not – this seminar will give you tried-and-true strategies for helping clients build a movement practice they’ll crave. Topics we’ll discuss:

– Defining gym-timidation and what stops marginalized people from working out
– Inclusive marketing practices
– Less intimidating intake sessions
– Meeting clients where they’re at physically and emotionally
– Personalizing success to each client

Justice Williams – “What’s Next for Inclusive FitPros”

Bio: Coach Justice (he/him) is a Certified Personal Trainer, BPFA Board Member, head coach at Kettlebell Justice, founder of The Queer Gym Pop Up and BodyImage4Justice, and Executive Director of Fitness4AllBodies. He is a trans body positive activist and has been actively creating safe spaces for queer and trans bodies in fitness in the Boston area since 2013.

Session Description:

Justice is the editor of “Deconstructing the Fitness-Industrial Complex: How to Resist, Disrupt, and Reclaim What It Means to Be Fit in American Culture“, and he will lead us in a conversation about future directions for Inclusive FitPros, rooted in the perspectives from QTBIPOC, fat, and disabled trainers, bodyworkers, and coaches on reimagining fitness for all bodies.

Fit is subjective. Who our society designates as fit–and who gets to be fit in our society–is predefined by the coaches, gyms, and systems at large that uphold and reproduce the Fitness Industrial Complex for their own structural and material gain.

The Fitness Industrial Complex uplifts some bodies while denigrating others. Bodies that are Black, Brown, queer, trans, poor, fat, and disabled–bodies that don’t conform, that resist and disrupt–are excluded from being “fit.” Through the stories and experiences of activist trainers, coaches, and bodyworkers of diverse identities and experiences, this anthology interrogates:
The ideas and beliefs we’ve internalized about health, fitness, and our own and others’ bodies
How to deconstruct and re-envision fitness as a practice for all bodies
The fitness industry’s role in upholding and reinforcing oppression
Exclusivity, unsafety, and harm in mainstream fitness spaces
How to empower ourselves and our communities to push back against the FIC

Speaking directly to sick, queer, trans, disabled, and BIPOC readers, Deconstructing the Fitness Industrial Complex is part urgent inquiry, part radical deconstruction, and part call to action: to build spaces that welcome and work for all; to reclaim movement as a vital and liberatory practice; and to embody a model of joy and community care outside the mainstream fitness culture.

Abbey Griffith, Amanda Tierney, Tamie Gangloff – “Building Onto Body Positive Fitness: Becoming Eating Disorder Informed & Sensitive”


Abbey Griffith (she/her) owns Clarity Fitness – Georgia’s first body positive, weight inclusive, eating disorder informed fitness studio. She is a Certified Personal Trainer and Eating Disorder Recoveree who has devoted her life to helping people of all ages, shapes, and sizes find wellness modalities they truly enjoy.

Amanda S. Tierney (she/her), MS, CSCS, CEDS-S is an Eating Disorders Informed & Sensitive fitness professional passionate about educating fitness folks on prevention & treatment of disorders related to food & body. She is a Board Member of BPFA. Amanda is committed to bridging the gap between research and practice and creating a network of knowledgeable coaches to collaborate with multidisciplinary treatment professionals.

Tamie Gangloff (she/her) provides education and training at the university level as an adjunct professor, at West Chester University of PA, teaching eating disorder psychology to graduate and undergraduate students. Tamie’s philanthropic nature has been evident by her dedication to promoting the welfare of others expressed in her time and expertise to good causes such as with her current roles as President of Southwest Philly IAEDP, a group leader for the National Alliance for eating disorders, a team leader for the Eating Disorders Coalition and as a committee member for the Body Positive Fitness Alliance. Tamie began her career with the successful completion of a master’s degree in clinical psychology at Antioch University Santa Barbara. Tamie utilizes her personal and professional experience to help others.

Session Description:

We envision kicking things off with high level basics around what eating disorders are, what they look like in the fitness space, and reviewing current research on safe exercise at every stage. Our presentation format will be sharing our individual lived experiences and expertise through role play and interactive discussion. For example, we will show a conversation between a gym owner and a client clearly demonstrating disordered eating symptoms (presented in a non-triggering way) and how to best navigate a conversation with said client to provide support, how a fitness professional can serve on a multidisciplinary treatment team, and how to set up a fitness space in a way that is sensitive to those with eating disorders.

Sarah Siertle – “From 1924 to 2024- Connecting to Your Body Through Lindy Hop”

Bio: Sarah Siertle (she/her) is a strength coach currently living in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her coaching journey began in 2012 when she started teaching lindy hop and related vintage jazz dances. After finding strength training in 2015, she realized all of the connections between weightlifting and dancing. Sarah became a certified personal trainer in 2020 and now specializes in coaching beginner, size-inclusive, and movement-based strength training.

Session Description:

The goal of this movement session is to show how dance can be an important tool in a fitpro’s toolbox. Lindy hop, a dance that originated in late 1920s Harlem, New York, showcases this goal especially well as a dance that encourages bodily autonomy, improvisation, and fun over strict technique. Partner dancing is all about connecting with the human in front of you and having a conversation through body movement.

Attendees will learn a few basics of the dance, then be led through a series of prompts to help them add their own interpretations and experiences to the moves. Don’t worry, no dance experience is needed! Just bring yourself and a willingness to try something fun and new. Attendees can take this experience back to their clients as a new way to help them express themselves, find joy in body movement, and bring awareness to how they move and connect.

Ashantis Jones – “Dance Cardio as Inspiration for Accessibility & Inclusion”

Bio: Ashantis Jones (she/they) is a Pre-Licensed Therapist, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, and Educator that focuses on the mind and body – both of which are equally important to one’s health. By using an intersectional approach, self-love becomes the tool that heals and educates. She is a queer, disabled, body liberationist and has been active in the digital space since 2017.

Session Description:

A 30-minute Dance Cardio Class that shows movement variations and keeps participants excited about the conference!

Teresa Myers & Jenn Hicks – “The 8 Pillars in Action”


Teresa Myers (she/her) has spent most of her life feeling like she did not fit in anywhere. Being a Black woman in the United States, she had to find her own truth of beauty, wisdom and self-worth living in a society that often does not value or celebrate her color, gender or size. Teresa is the founder of Sole to Soul Movement. Sole to Soul strives to repair and reconcile the original ruptures of labor and land by helping participants reclaim their bodies and rebuild community through group somatic movement classes, workshops, trainings, and lifestyle practices.

Jenn Hicks (she/her) started attending and teaching dance fitness classes as a way of recovering from a long struggle with adulthood anorexia and exercise addiction. This helped her reframe her relationship with fitness from one of punishment to one of pleasure and she has been teaching group fitness for nearly 20 years. Jenn is also a Size Inclusive Fitness Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer. She is committed to advancing social justice within and through movement experiences and strongly believes that our individual innate body knowledge can guide us to more rewarding exercise (and life) experiences.

Session Description:

Using the 8 Pillars of the Body Positive Fitness Alliance, we will facilitate a group movement experience that demonstrates how to build a container that fosters safety, dignity and belonging for each participant physically, mentally, spiritually and socially.

Throughout the class experience, we will embed elements of accessibility, approachability, enjoyment, community, scope of practice, full health, body positivity and growth. Following the class we will have a group discussion to identify and share where each of the pillars showed up in the class.

Leslie Jordan Garcia – “Pleasure Principles: Intersection of Fun and Fitness”

Bio: Leslie (she/her) is a multi-certified fitness professional and movement educator, and founder of Liberati Wellness. She is a body liberationist and has been creating inclusive movement spaces for every body through dance and humor since her Zumba license in 2003.

Session Description:

The “Pleasure Principles: Intersection of Fun and Fitness” workshop is an innovative 60-minute session designed to revolutionize the approach of fitness professionals towards exercise and wellness. The three main objectives of this workshop are:

To Shift the Focus from Traditional Fitness Metrics to Joy and Pleasure: This workshop emphasizes the importance of moving away from conventional fitness metrics like weight, speed, or calories burned, and instead prioritizing the joy, satisfaction, and pleasure derived from physical activity. By encouraging intuitive movement, the workshop guides participants to listen to their bodies and engage in activities that feel natural and enjoyable to them.

To Promote Body Positivity and Inclusivity in Fitness: A major goal is to instill a sense of body positivity among fitness professionals and their clients. The workshop stresses the importance of embracing all body types, abilities, and backgrounds, and designing fitness routines that are inclusive and affirming. This is achieved through practical movement sessions and discussions that focus on adapting exercises to various needs and celebrating the diversity of human bodies.

To Foster Mindful Awareness and Emotional Expression through Movement: The workshop also aims to deepen the connection between mind and body through mindful awareness in exercise. Participants are encouraged to use physical activity as a form of emotional expression and release, acknowledging the psychological benefits of movement. This is complemented by exploring different forms of movement for variety and incorporating social elements to enhance the sense of community and shared experience.

Overall, the workshop blends lecture-style presentations with interactive movement sessions, offering a unique blend of education and practical application. It challenges traditional fitness narratives that focus on discipline and restriction, advocating for a more holistic, enjoyable, and sustainable approach to fitness that celebrates every individual’s unique journey towards health and well-being.

Jess Brock-Pitts – “Trauma Informed Approaches to Movement”

Bio: Jess (she/her) is a clinical social worker turned fit pro with a passion for inclusive, weight neutral fitness. She owns Power Plant Gym in Aston, PA, a body positive strength training gym. She developed upLIFT, a program for trauma survivors to introduce barbell strength training in a trauma informed space.

Session Description:

We’ll start by defining trauma & discussing some of the impacts of trauma, especially as they relate to movement. We’ll lay some groundwork by defining “trauma informed” and discuss polyvagal theory briefly as it relates to movement.

After a speed course on polyvagal theory, we’ll talk about how specific movement can be used to address different nervous system activation states, and how fitness professionals can incorporate these movements into group or individual sessions.

We’ll cover a few different areas of consideration for making a session more trauma informed including body awareness, consent, cuing, options/variations, language, and music. We’ll also address scope of practice, and self care for fitpros.

Tasheon Chillous – “Fat Coaches Exist: Nurturing, Creating Space, and Mentoring Fat Coaches”

Bio: Tasheon Chillous (she/her) is the Head Coach at Ascent Fitness in Tacoma, WA. As a proud and vibrant individual, she embraces her identity as a Fat, Queer, Multiracial, and outdoorsy professional. Tasheon is dedicated to fostering an inclusive environment where individuals from diverse and marginalized backgrounds can discover personalized and empowering movement experiences, both within the gym and in the great outdoors.

Session Description:

“Fat Coaches Exist” is an engaging presentation focused on recognizing and supporting Fat Coaches within an industry predominantly represented by straight and, more recently, mid-sized bodies. This interactive session delves into the significance of embracing diversity, offering insights on what Fat Coaches bring to the table, and highlighting their importance in the fitness industry. Attendees will gain practical knowledge on creating inclusive spaces, discovering avenues to find Fat Coaches, and, crucially, understanding how to nurture and protect them within a fatphobic environment.

JodiAnn Stevenson – “Tired Tabata” & “Rebel Body Collective”

Bio: JodiAnn Stevenson (she/they) strives to inspire and empower women & femmes to create their own unique definitions of health and well-being outside of the mainstream, weight-centric model of care. She is a weight-neutral certified health coach and personal trainer. As a doctoral student at the California Institute of Integral Studies, JodiAnn is currently researching the necessity for a paradigm shift toward weight-neutrality within the Health Fitness Industrial Complex.

“Tired Tabata” Session Description:

Inclusivity is more than a buzzword – it’s an ongoing practice that supports and nurtures the diverse spectrum of athletes you’ll encounter in your career. Let’s discuss what it really takes to coach different kinds of athletes in the same space:

– defining and understanding inclusivity
– inclusive marketing practices
– preparing for class
– making movements accessible during class
– gathering feedback

“Rebel Body Collective” Networking Session Description:

“Rebel Body Collective” will outline a proposal for an exciting group project to be completed by inclusive fitness professionals. Similarly to how Body Positive Fitness Alliance has built a home for inclusive fitness professionals to come together and learn from one another on a professional level, I would like to propose that a collective online studio be created to feature the programs, trainings, classes and workshops already being offered by inclusive fitness professionals all over the globe. The Rebel Body Collective will be: 1) a searchable database of inclusive fitness providers worldwide; 2) an accessible online studio offering programs, trainings, classes and workshops; 3) a showcase for all of the work already being done and offered in inclusive and accessible fitness; 4) a space for collaboration and, as yet, unknown future projects. While creating community for inclusive fitness professionals will be a side effect of this group project, the project’s main goal is to harness that community to create comprehensive offerings for people/ potential clients seeking movement outside of mainstream toxic fitness and diet culture.

The dream for the Rebel Body Collective has grown from my observation of the reality that there are actually so many inclusive fitness professionals out here and yet the vast majority of us are one-person shows trying to do everything on our own and often feeling isolated and alone in our endeavors. Of course, BPFA has grown from a similar observation and has created a dynamic community of professionals dedicated to professional growth and community. Rebel Body Collective is ultimately about using the power of our numbers to collectively market our work to the general public in a way that could potentially positively impact all of our livelihoods while simultaneously catalyzing a paradigm shift in our industry.

I spent roughly four years from 2019-2022 working with a revolving group of fellow inclusive fitness professionals (including Laura Vineyard from BPFA and Becky Scott from Fitness Professionals Against Weight Stigma) attempting to make this dream a reality. While I had to temporarily abandon this work in 2022, I do not consider those four years a waste of my time or a failure. Everyone involved in this project (at its peak, there were about 18 of us) learned a great deal from the process. In fact, because of what we learned from those first four years, I feel confident that the Dream for a Rebel Body Collective is an inevitability. I will approach this session as 1-part presentation, 1-part rabble-rousing and 1-part recruitment meeting and hold a great deal of space for questions and conversation around the possibilities that this project presents to us.

Damali Fraiser – “Size-Inclusive Kettlebell Tips & Tricks”

Bio: Coach Damali Fraiser, pronouns she/her/hers, is a compassionate Kettlebell Expert, author, speaker, fitness / nutrition coach and owner of Lift off Strength & Wellness. Damali is known for her unapologetic opposition to diet culture in the kettlebell community and as a passionate educator who will help you learn to train with kettlebells safely. Through her course, Coaches Corner, you be certified to teach kettlebells from an intersectional lens that’s size-inclusive, trauma-informed, judgement-free and for every BODY (emphasis on the body because humanity has always had body diversity)

You can connect with Damali on her website , on Instagram @‌Damali.Fraiser, TikTok and on YouTube @‌liftoffstrength or through her retreats for Black Women in Kettlebells @‌kettlebellsinblack.

Session Description:

Melons, Junk in the trunk Belly, Thunder thighs? If kettlebells are constantly colliding with your chest and belly during snatches, cleans or swings just aren’t feeling comfy, your body is not the problem. It’s time to explore some size-inclusive variations that will help you get in a pain-free work. Coach Damali will lead this 60 min workshop navigating kettlebell training that welcomes the diversity of larger bodies virtually and be assisted in-person by Coach Justice.