We attended the Body Positivity Fitness Alliance (BPFA) Workshop in Leixslip last weekend. The BPFA is global organisation, born in California, with affiliated gyms across America and Europe. The BPFA are a group of individuals committed to helping fitness professionals reach individuals who don’t currently feel welcomed in the current fitness industry climate. The ‘Pillars’ of the BPFA are Accessibility, Approachability, Enjoyment, Community, Scope of Practice, Full Health, and Body Positivity.  Their message is that of an all-inclusive fitness experience. 


Body Positivity is something that we believe quite strongly in as we have seen first hand the damage some fitness professionals can do to their clients self esteem and body image. As it happens, the pillars of the BPFA align with the principles we set out when we were embarking on our journey to create SMART Training four years ago. We created SMART Training for those that didn’t feel comfortable in commercial gyms. For those that wanted a safe space to work-out, be motivated by the best Personal Trainers with wicked sense of humours and be encouraged to reach whatever they believe is their personal goal.


Both myself and Jonny love fitness! Not because we want to sculpt Olympian god like bodies (because I assure you that’s not what’s under our workout tees and shorts) but because we love the endorphin’s we  get after a tough session. We love the way we sleep better after an evening session or how we feel ready to take on the world after a morning session. We love teaching our bodies to do things that at the beginning seemed daunting or beyond our abilities. We love creating a goal like like running a 5 minute mile or deadlifting 100kg and working to reach it. We love that we feel more confident in our clothes, but most importantly our skin. We love the way when we step into the gym a good strength session can drown out any negative thoughts that may have been harassing our brains. Feelings of anger or disappointment or anxiety or stress disappear and we simply go numb and focus on the weights that are in front of us. We love how it helps temper our emotions and we would regularly (no judgement on how regularly) workout after a heated debate *read all out war* between the pair of us. For us, fitness simply makes us better people not better looking people. 


It’s not something we talk about enough. We regularly meet clients whose only objective is to reduce the number on the scales. They walk into SMART Training consumed by the 10 pounds they feel that they need to drop. They take part in our 30 Day Kick Start Programme and after 30 Days of support, education, motivation, sweat, laughter and not a single tear, their perspectives have been transformed. We dabbled with the idea of calling the 30 Day Kick Start programme the 30 Day Transformation Programme because with the majority of our clients a transformation does take place, but not the type you see on Instagram before and after photos. This transformation is so much stronger and resilient. This transformation cannot be rolled back by a night out and morning after chicken fillet roll. It’s a transformation of the mind. Clients find confidence and pride in what their bodies have accomplished. They sleep better. They use the gym as their sanctuary. A place that they can come and escape from work emails or mental to do lists and do something that is solely for them with a someone guiding them safely through their movements. They feel healthier, stronger and more confident about what their body has done and will continue to do.  And as the ultimate side note, they have dropped body fat and often dropped weight. 


The fitness industry is a very vain place. The industry has become less and less about health and more and more about looking good, resulting in women and men being sucked into the belief that if they could just find a ‘magic pill’ that will give them even just a small chance of looking like the models on Instagram, then they will achieve the same smiley, happy, successful life as a result. People are conditioned to think that fitness is a horrible experience that only comes with blood, sweat and tears. That you are not “fit” unless you work out every day, twice a day. That you are not what society believes to be fit unless you weigh under 65kg. People make a resolution to drop 10 pounds. Train every day for 2 weeks. Set off on a 1000 calorie diet and then wonder why they have no energy, are grumpy and have lowered their quality of life.  They stop going to the gym, they binge on fast food because they are literally starving and then feel quilt and shame for not sticking to their resolution. This breeds the next cycle of failure-shame, thus leading to that hunt for perfection and a new resolution is set to continue full cycle.


A healthy weight is not a part of fitness, its simply a bi product of a healthy lifestyle. And lifestyle has to be the most significant word in that sentence. It’s not a quick fix or a crash diet or an intense six week gym programme. It’s about making good choices 80% of the time. It’s about consistency in your approach to food and the gym. The scale is a tool that measures weight, not a barometer for success and happiness. Fitness offers so much more than an arbitrary number on a scales. Fitness should not be a negative experience and if it is, your doing it wrong. Fitness should be about be a positive experience about growth and challenge and it should only increase your confidence in your body, never decrease it!


The BPFA Workshop this weekend had  really renewed our determination to make SMART Training a safe ‘body positive’ place for our clients to train. You will see alot more on the idea of ‘Body Positivity’ from us over the next few months so watch this space.



30-Day Kick Start Programmes

If you feel have a goal in mind and feel that you could use a the guidance or support of some of the best Personal Trainers in the country, we offer a 30 Day Kick Start programme in our Churchtown based gym. We offer both Personal Training and Group Training programmes. During the 30 days, you’ll learn what you need to know to continue on your own path following the 30 days, or you can always sign up for 1-on-1 Training or Semi Private Training or even Group Training at SMART Training to continue working with a personal trainer.