Why Has the Fitness World Suddenly Become so Exclusive?

Finding your fit community can be as daunting as the workout itself, but what we are in search of is more accessible than you think.  We love the idea of exclusivity—it’s difficult to not become consumed by what we do and do not possess, but with the right support system these details fade into the background, leaving a community you want to keep showing up for.


Gone are the days of boasting your success by endless leisure vacations, today reputation is built by proving just how much you can juggle all while leading an effortlessly fit and healthy lifestyle. Now we find ourselves longing to fit in with the bike wheel-clad sweat enthusiasts of Soul Cycle, blending in seamlessly when stepping onto your mat at a new yoga studio. We’ve become recognizable by how we represent ourselvesin our work, in how we spend our time, through language and by who we surround ourselves with. Community extends much further than simple recognition, and as we work relentlessly on becoming self-empowered and cultivating independent strength,it’s easy to lose sight of our natural habits toward community. But in lies the greatest fear, are we fitting in to our goal community.  

Rejection breeds obsession

We love the idea of exclusivity—whether you’re among a small group of like-minded individuals, or your preference is towards a larger audience, it’s difficult to not become consumed by what we do and do not possess. Since social media delivers an instant scale of self worth determined by a double click of adoration, it’s easy to obsess over the quantity of who receives our external projections and lose site of the foundational qualities that allure you towards certain communities in the first place.

As the number of all inclusive wellness spaces pop-up all over the city, Rise by We, Wellvyl, Neo-U, the demand for health focused community support is clear.  But when it comes to exclusive members only fitness, the key is in the soft rejection. As we have seen with the launch of Performix House, exclusivity doesn’t always yield a sexy result, but with more studios popping up and chasing the Soho House status of exclusively inclusive, maybe the future of High Court will hit the mark.

Walk it like you talk it

After participating in my first ever Crossfit workout over Memorial Day Weekend, I have to admit, my fit community for the first time is feeling strong. Every Memorial Day Weekend Crossfitters, veterans, and aspiring athletes alike participate in a workout called Murph, honoring a fallen decorated seal Michael P. Murphy.  Murph is the single most participated workout in the world, all year. This workout consists of a one-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, 300 squats, finished with another mile run. Now I know I just lost some of you, but what I found in doing this famous workout on the East River that Monday morning was supportfrom every single person there. As a fitness enthusiast and instructor, I can’t say that I have felt that powerful of a fit community, ever.

As an avid yogi and teacher, I have spent hundreds of hours amongst New York City’s most flexible and spiritual, and I have to admit the heir of the front row elite is inescapable. I think this is one of the biggest credits to the genius of Y7, allowing its members to practice under candlelight and remove the judgement of darting eyes. The truth is, the more you show up for your community the more the community shows up for you.

Just hold on, we’re going home

As challenging as it may be to find your fit community, at the end of the day you just have to be adamant. I spent over 500 hours at Laughing Lotus, where I did my yoga teacher training. While this studio is all heart and high vibes, I can’t say I ever felt like part of their soul driven community. I tend to be quite shy, dress in neutrals (yes, black is neutral), favor the back row, and seek to sink in to my yoga practice unnoticed.  This space is anything but my idea of solitude, with glitter on the floors and graffiti adorning the walls, it’s an experience in and of itself, but this studio houses some of the most insightful teachers and the most thoughtful yoga I have ever experienced. As I return to this studio six years later, walking in and returning to my mat, I still see familiar faces, the lineup of my favorite instructors and as much as I may not feel like I “fit in,” this place feels like home!

When you imagine the person you want to be, with the ideal friends and community around you, don’t let the fear of thinking you need to look or act a certain way in order to belong keep you from embracing the range of support that is around you.  After all, you may not fit into your family, but that doesn’t make you any less a part of it. Embrace your differences, lean in to the challenges, and be adamant in your efforts to create the community you desire.


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