STRONG Start: A Fitness and Nutrition Journey
22nd February 2023
Participants completed the new 2023 STRONG Start FItness & Nutrition Course.
It may come as a surprise to some, but LGBTIQ+ folks are significantly less physically active than the general population as a result of many barriers to sport and physical activity. In fact, one study found that only 42% of LGBT+ people meet the level of physical activity required for good health, compared to 59% of people in the general population.
In particular, LGBTIQ+ people feel that commercial gyms are spaces filled with toxic masculinity and staff aren't always trained on equality issues such as LGBTIQ+ inclusion, or they don't feel comfortable to use the toilet or changing facilities. As such, we wanted to create an environment where LGBTIQ+ people felt welcome and not intimidated. A space where people of all abilities and body types were made to feel included and respected. This is how the idea for STRONG Start came about - a 5 week fitness & nutrition course for LGBTIQ+ adults in Greater Glasgow.
The course was led and delivered by Tony Basra, a LGBTIQ+ fitness and nutrition coach. Participants on the course highlighted that it made a huge difference being coached by someone who they knew had lived experience of being an LGBTIQ+ person in the fitness world.
Participants completed a 5-week course which was composed of practical and theoretical sessions. The practical sessions focused on learning how to lift and to use equipment in the gym, and the theoretical sessions were aimed at helping people to understand how to use food and nutrition to their advantage. Many mainstream fitness courses are focused on weight loss, calorie counting or being as big as possible. That's not always a bad thing, but it's also not everyone's motivation to working out, and this should be taken into consideration.
Participants had an overwhelmingly positive experience and one of the main takeaways that everyone had was that it's really important to consider your nutrition alongside the sport and physical activity that you're doing. People had a lot of learning points that they were taking forward and everyone reported feeling more confident and comfortable to use the gym.
"I've started making overnight oats every evening before going to bed and this means that I feel less stressed in the mornings before starting my day."
"I've decided to start cooking my own meals. Before I used to only get takeaways or eat microwave meals, but it feels good to know exactly what I'm putting into my body, and it's easier than I thought."
"It's great to have learned how to lift properly because watching Youtube videos just doesn't cut it. I feel more confident to go into a gym and start my workout."