Intense exercise can help build self-confidence

Fitness trainer: "I want to strengthen muscles and self-confidence"

I can't remember ever being considered normal. Not even as a child. I've always been overweight. The negative experiences start at school. When I was forced to do things in gym class that I knew it wasn't going to work. I was scared of the exercise and was ridiculed. That does not have to be. Everyone is good or not good at certain things.

I was interested in sports: I was in a capoeira class, which I had a lot of fun, even if I had the worst sore muscles of my life. But the problem was the coach's last sentence: 'Don't worry, we'll get you slim again.' I was here to enjoy the exercise, but was immediately reduced to my weight. I didn't want to train in such an environment.

When you are overweight, people keep telling you to exercise. But when you try to find something that you enjoy, you are constantly confronted with the fact that you don't fit in there. That you are an attachment that is taken away but does not fit into the group because you need different exercises or are not of the same level. The shame of going there at all was very great.

For example, a personal trainer didn't even want to train with me when she saw me. Fortunately, I have also found coaches who have encouraged me. For years I had the feeling that I wanted to take off my body. Because he didn't suit me, because I hated him. Today I accept my body as it is. Not that I love everything about myself every day, but the way I am treated has changed.

Self-confidence with exercise

I cannot imagine a life without movement. Exercise has shown me that the problem is not my body, but what others think of it. I was able to trust myself again and saw what my body can do. And I didn't have to hide anymore. This gave rise to the idea of ​​creating this Safe Space, a safe place. I want to show people access to movement and thus support them, strengthen their personality and their self-confidence. Because that's what brought me sport. People are supposed to come here and it doesn't matter what they look like or why they're here. It shouldn't be rated. The important thing is that they are there just as they are.

The idea for this and the first implementation plans came up almost four years ago. In 2019 I did a six-month training as a fitness trainer at the Personal Fitness Academy. I wanted to combine my practical knowledge with the basics. That was very intense, on the weekend alongside my full-time job.

After registering the trade, I gave my first unit in September 2019. That was in the studio of my last personal trainer. But I wanted a place of my own where I can pick people up better and where you can still talk after the lesson in the small anteroom here on the sofa. In February 2020 I had my first discussions about the location. I then opened in April - in lockdown. I don't know any other body-positive fitness studio in Vienna that consciously includes all bodies and people. In Germany, for example, this is much more common.

Small community

At the beginning my community was small, but it still supports me today, taking part in the online courses. I have 25 to 50 members, it fluctuates again and again. I offer four to six classes a week, between ten and 20 people are registered per unit. But only 20 to 30 percent of them go to the live class. The others do it with the recording. A mom may not be able to do it on Friday at 4 p.m. My customers are currently only women. Later on I would like to work with men too. And with children - that would be my dream.

I mainly offer functional training here. With tera bands, kettlebells, medicine balls or dumbbells. If you are very heavily weighted, like me, your body has to move with a lot more weight. The muscles near the joints are often not strong enough. With the training we strengthen the muscles around the knees and ankles so that climbing stairs is easier, for example. Many people forget to move - and lose interest in it, are frustrated. I try to adapt the exercises to the person. Since my classes are small, the participants can ask me directly or send me a Whatsapp message and I will know what they need. This relationship level is important to me.

I also want to give them tools to break an exercise apart. For example, a deep squat, a deep squat. You shouldn't set yourself the goal of deep squat right away. You have to start ten steps earlier and get your body used to it and show how it works. Many believe that an exercise is less valuable if you do it differently. That's not true. These variations are well received, everyone can choose what they like. As a young entrepreneur shortly after opening without real sales, I fall through almost all Corona aid. That is why it is all the more valuable that the studio came into being during this time. (Selina Thaler, 7.5.2021)