When we first learned about blink Fitness, a gym that stands by the statement, “Every body is different, your gym should be too,” we were cautiously optimistic. We’ve been let down before by gyms and fitness professionals who claim to be body-positive and body-inclusive… but really only have one goal in mind: changing the size and shape of bodies to fit a narrow and often unrealistic beauty ideal.
We believe that you don’t have to “work out” to enjoy moving your body. We believe that you can desire to go the gym and not give a hoot about losing weight. We were overjoyed to discover that blink believes that, too. In fact, their mission says NOTHING about altering bodies, or even chasing fitness “gains.” It is simply: “to change lives and improve the quality of life for those they serve.” Refreshing!
We caught up with JJ Potrikus, the club manager at blink Fitness in Liverpool, NY (a hop, skip, and jump from the EBIB headquarters) about what makes their model of gym different. Here’s what he shared with us.
What are some of the values blink upholds? How do those values make blink different from other gyms?
”Our gym is built on our Mood Above Muscle™ philosophy. That means we believe that exercise isn't about how you look, it’s about how you feel! At blink, we're all Mood Lifters™ (that is what we call our staff!) It means we greet you with enthusiasm and treat you with respect.
While all of that sounds (and looks) like a bunch of corporate jargon, I want to be very clear... we all believe in these core principles. It drives us every single day. Our mission is to change lives, and change the way people feel about fitness. Many gyms have attempted to adopt this culture, but our gym was BUILT on this foundation, and we will accept nothing less from our staff to maintain this culture and live this mission and vision every single day.”
Many gyms claim they are "body positive," but clients still feel pressured to change the size or shape of their bodies. How does blink "walk the walk" of radical and real body acceptance?
”Our staff is trained to make every single person feel like a rock star as soon as they walk through the door, no matter what fitness level they are at. Our trainers also offer a free start-up session to discuss the member's fitness goals, with more emphasis on how their workouts will make the member FEEL!
We are one of the only fitness brands out there that uses members (not models) in every single one of our marketing pieces. And they are all different shapes and sizes."
We believe that movement doesn't have to look like traditional "fitness" or "working out" to be beneficial and feel good. Can you speak to how blink understands that concept?
”We truly believe in the motto of EVERY BODY HAPPY. That means that everybody deserves to be happy with themselves — feeling more energetic or focused, or able to sleep better at night, for example. We also want them to feel a sense of belonging. Many of our members are first time gym-goers, or someone who switched from another gym.
Fitness can also just involve movement in general. It could be stretching or doing body weight movements. Our personal trainers attempt to help our members understand that movement can help people in many different ways.”
Are you in the Syracuse, NY area? Join blink at the Syracuse Crunch Game on February 22nd at 7pm. blink is partnering with the Crunch for ‘Health and Wellness Night’, and is donating a portion of the ticket proceeds to our cause, Ophelia’s Place.