CW: In this show, we will be talking about body image topics that are potentially triggering.
We discuss disordered eating, body dysmorphic disorder, and mental health issues. We acknowledge that this content may be difficult and encourage you to care for your safety and well-being by talking to your healthcare professional if any of the issues in this show have affected you.
Body-Shaming Trends: A Look at the Far-Reaching Effects, with Cat Webb
In this episode of Pilates Elephants, we have ‘inclusive movement’ proponent and Pilates expert Cat Webb joining us to talk about body-shaming trends and the effects of body-shaming both in the Pilates industry and in our everyday lives. We delve into a variety of strategies to support and empower ourselves and our clients with body positivity. And go deep into the nuances of body image and the effects that body-shaming can have when working in the fitness realm. We also share a few key insights into how to positively impact your clients’ Pilates experience.
The fitness industry, in general, for many years, has profited and capitalized on people feeling like they're ‘less than’ and making money off those people. Historically there's been a lot of focus on the physical way that exercise makes you look rather than all the myriad of other benefits that moving fearlessly means. Look through the critical thinking lens and examine why the community seems to prioritize looks rather than well-being, strength, or effort.
Exercise should be about making yourself into a better, happier version of yourself. As movement professionals, we don’t want to discourage people from improving themselves — so how do we do that in a way that builds them up? We should focus on the positives in language that motivate and lift people up and leave out the potential for shame in any form.
How can we be more affirming and supportive of the people in our lives? Think about your class descriptions, the things you say to the people walking into the studio or even online — be aware that commenting on someone’s appearance isn’t always welcome. Consider the content you’re putting out and check that your brand isn't inadvertently reflecting any of the latest body-shaming trends and is using inclusive images and language Additionally, limit the potential to make people feel shamed and create a safe space for people to feel welcome and feel authentically themselves. Pilates is about getting people moving, but it's also making people feel seen and heard, and safe.
Cat Webb is a Pilates master, community curator, and founder/director of Good Times Pilates. As a proponent of 'Inclusive Movement,’ Cat paves the way for change in the world of modern wellness through her very own Good Times Pilates in Fitzroy. This community and chilled-out movement project has allowed Cat to forge a welcoming, non-discriminatory following of diverse humans at the physical studio, through online classes, on social media, and beyond.
In 2020 Cat launched Good Times Online: a digital iteration of Good Times Pilates for movement anytime, anywhere. Prompted by COVID-19 but created for accessible, BS-free Pilates on command, the digital program features high-production, low-fuss classes led by Cat and her team of non-intimidating, ‘every human’ instructors. Cat advocates for others to truly embrace their bodies in motion, prioritizing feel-good movement over striving to look a certain way as we’ve so long been conditioned to consider the endgame.
Cat is a beacon of body positivity knowledge and knows her sh*t on a granular level. Her whole ethos revolves around the joy of movement and the disassembling of the traditional notions that Pilates is reserved for a certain segment of the population. Coming from a creative communications background, Cat's innate copywriting and big-thinking skills have formed the backbone of GTP's clever messaging and realness.
Cat believes inclusive movement is about valuing the diverse possibilities of the human experience above all other stuff. It's a teaching movement from a space that facilitates recognition, collaboration, and empowerment. It's about really listening, learning, critical thinking, and affirmative action to give others the space to be heard, seen, and accepted.
Raphael Bender, CEO, Breathe Education
Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.
Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.
Cloe Bunter, Training Manager, Breathe Education
With 8+ years in the industry, both teaching Pilates and nurturing new instructors, Cloe is passionate about empowering new and seasoned instructors to think critically and move fearlessly. Empowered instructors empower their clients, and in turn, change lives.
She finds great joy in building connections with clients, students, colleagues, and the broader movement and rehab community. Co-hosting the Pilates Elephants Podcast with Raphael Bender has provided an incredible platform to bust common Pilates, movement, and rehab myths while creating a worldwide community of critical thinkers who are elevating health literacy.
Cloe is fascinated by movement in general and its ability to enhance our lives at any age. Her own movement practice includes Contrology/Pilates, running, weights, and kettlebells. Close has a Diploma of Clinical Pilates, Cert IV in Pilates, and Cert IV in Training and Assessing.
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