Exercise! - Exercise classes for size 16+

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07-14-2002, 06:56 AM
I posted this on the UK site too, but would love everybody's input. I'm starting up some exercise classes exclusively for people size 16+.

I would love your input on the kind of thing I should advertise, avoid etc.

So far I have got
"Baggy T-Shirt exercise classes. Exercise classses exclusively for those size 16+.
Small classes, led by a large instructor, for the larger person"

Would that get your interest? Why not? What should it say?

Would you like leaflets available in each class? What sort of info would you like? What time and what day would be best for you? How much would you pay?

PLEASE, any info would be gratefully received. I want to make this work and hope you can help me make it really successful.


07-15-2002, 01:36 PM
I guess I don't have a lot of helpful input, but I must say I wish more people would do something like that ... I get so tired of being the fattest person in the class!

Personally I think the best time of day for class is early morning, though I know that's not for everyone! I just find it easier to stick with it (and statistics tend to agree) if I force myself to do it first thing and get it over with! And since most people work during the day, it would need to be pretty early. You may find you have to adjust once you find some clientele.

As for pricing, I would base it on what the going rate is in your area. I imagine you'll have to give some thought as to class size and how much you may be paying for your space.

Good luck!

07-15-2002, 06:58 PM
Wow! Thank you!

Baylee, yes. I have 2 degrees, undergrad in sport and exercise and a Masters in Health and Exercise Sciences. I am also a certified (lunatic) groups fitness leader.

I don't think you need the degrees but you do need to have a good certification in teaching group exercise to music. In the US the best seem to be ACE, AFAA.


Apparently AAAI, NDEITA and ISMA courses are considered to be a bit Mickey Mouse, as they are so short, 1 or 2 days only. But don't let this put you off. Have a look through ALL the stuff you can (have a look in those horrible muscle and fitness magazines)and see which suits your pocket and timetable. The shorter, less complete course may be all you need - it will certainly get you insured!!

Personally if I were you I'd go for it. I have just replaced my full time job (of 4 years ago, prior to starting the degree courses) with teaching for 10 hours a week - 2 classes a day mid-week! You could start of nice and slow, work up to it and give yourself time to adjust to the increase in physical activity. I am sure that with a bit of enthusiasm and a lot of commitment you could make a go of it if you really want to!

I hire the halls and charge 3 a class, the going rate here. And I still clear a living wage, not a fortune but enough. I fill the rest of my time lecturing part time and doing some consultancy work for a local University.

I'll keep you updated with how mine go. Let me know if you take the plunge!


07-15-2002, 07:27 PM
First of all Stef a great big HUG and THANK YOU for all the advice you have so freely shared on this forum. I ran across one of your posts while I was crusing the threads and I was so happy with what I found that I went and looked up all of your posts. Ok, call me a "lurker" :o I was really impressed with the level of detail you gave and some really great tips too! You've been a blessing!

As for your class, I'd just probably call it Plus Size Aerobics or something like that. It's something I'd definitely go for if I had it available at our gym. (They usually charge a small fee - approximate to your 3 pounds for special classes). I can't tell you how many times I or people on this forum will tell you that we go to the gym avoiding the times when the body beautifuls exercise. It's tough looking in a big room full of mirrors and comparing yourself to the skinny girls. So we're more the first thing in the morning, later evening visitors. The only time I didn't feel intimidated was in Yoga class. I might be bigger but I had the flexibility to do the moves. It was a small sense of satisfaction to see that I could do things the really fit girls couldn't - which means we all can do things if we try and overcome our tendency to shy away.

I would just say that fitness is not necessarily a matter of size. These classes would focus on moves for the bigger people. Come join your peers - have some fun and get fit at the same time. Sometimes what they do at our gym is to introduce a special class at a deep discounted rate - maybe 1/2 what they'd normally charge. Just to measure the level of interest. After that you can set up regular sessions - that's how we got Yoga, Pilates and personal training into the club. And we did it by bringing in an outside instructor like yourself. You could try visiting local gyms in the area and drop off a leaflet.

As for payment, sorry Baylee but I disagree with paying as you go. If I were setting up a business, I'd do maybe a 6 week program with payment up front - after all the instructor needs to pay the rent and there are too many people who would be sporatic in their attendance. As a business person, you have to be assured that your costs are covered. I can say this because I paid for Yoga classes and then was unable to attend them because I was working with a personal trainer and found that my workout was too strenuous to support both that and Yoga and could not rearrange my schedule. So I accepted the loss myself for the 3 classes I missed.

Whatever you decide Stef, I wish you the very best of success. I just wish you were in my hometown instead of all the way across the ocean!

07-16-2002, 09:54 AM
Thanks for that oh lurking Happy one!

I'm trying to keep everyone happy so I am offering the classes at 3 per class, pay as you go, or 6 classes for a discounted 15 if you book and buy them in advance. That way I should be able to cover my room fees on even the quietest weeks!

I have to admit I find it really hard to take, to think I could set up classes in towns all across the US and know some people who would come. But here in the UK this forum isn't as widely known or used, so I can't talk to prospective clients as I'd like to!

I'm calling the classes Baggy T-shirts, or Baggy-T's for short. And advertising them as exclusive to people size 16+ (that's probably size 14 in the US). As for mirrors, eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeuk! I'm hiring village halls and community centres in mid mornings for mums and early evenings for working women. Hopefully this will cover most people. I'll change things around as I get a response!

Thanks again for all the input, keep it coming cos I am determined to make this work - honest!


07-17-2002, 03:36 PM
Hi- I think this is a great idea! I have often thought that classes in gyms are too often geared toward people with high fitness levels. I know that the classes have to be challenging to everyone but many people large or not could not make it through a 75 minute kick boxing class. 30-40 minutes maybe. and classes are much funner than a machine.

Anyways, enough of my soapbox, I would emphasize in your brochures that the classes would be low impact and beginner friendly. I also think that so many women have such poor body images that stressing a mind-body connection would be great!

good luck - this is bound to be a success!

09-15-2002, 01:23 PM
Hi stef,

I recently joined a gym and have been attenting classes. So far so good. But here are my complaints as a heavy person:
(Hope these can help you)

1. Do not make me turn like a top.
2. Do not make me kick up too high
3. Do not make me keep myself balance for too long
(for example on one foot)
4. Do not make me do jumping jacks so that my boobs can hit my

These things are really aggravating and noticable to others who weigh less and make us feel uncomfortable.

Otherwise I'll shake everything I got without a problem.

Good Luck with your classes.

09-16-2002, 01:21 PM
Hi Baby!

thanks for the input. It always helps to be reminded not to do too much.

In my classes I absolutely NEVER, spin you around, or make you kick like a Moulin Rouge showgirl, and as for jumping jacks!! I can't do them without blacking both my eyes, so there's absolutely NO WAY I would ask my customers to.

But I do standing on one leg, as an advanced option!! It is never the base move for everyone, but is for those who are more fit and who want to try that little bit harder.

In your classes you should be given alternative moves, if not ask your instructor at the end of the class to either demonstrate there and then or to include them in the next class. If she's good she will, and she'll enjoy the challenge of including more alternatives in her class (or HIS obviously).

Good luck, and shake it for all you're worth:D :D