The radical force of the Trans Fitness community

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I DO NOT WANT to be seen or heard only to be engulfed in a place where my anger could be unleashed. The gym didn’t start out that way for me, as I’ve always been athletic and enjoyed being active. But just before my transition, as I suffered from an eating disorder that disrupted and consumed my life, the gym became my second destructive fixation.

I consider myself a fighter, as I am willing to sit in what is uncomfortable. At the time, bodybuilding fit that bill perfectly in how I chose to use it, through intense and overly demanding training sessions designed to shatter and destroy the fragility of what made me human. Unfortunately, this regimen has formed a beautiful relationship with my eating disorder. My confused sense of self and gender identity underpinned this widespread emotional turmoil I was experiencing. I had numbed myself to a robotic entity, with no regard or concern for my personal needs or well-being.

Seeking therapy from someone who recognized the language of my disjointed internal dialogue allowed me to shift my perspective toward self-appreciation. I took a stand. I walked away from who I thought I should be and towards who I wanted to be. In the same breath, the gym has gone from a place to escape and tear down my being to a place that has taken on a new identity, and has now completed my life as Bari. The gym has allowed me to seek safety and free the pain from the past.

Now, the gym is my place of strength. I build character, discipline and confidence in my body and mind. I sit deeply in the knowledge that fitness has shaped my identity and strengthened my resolve as a transgender man. I have fitness to thank for always having my back and never letting me down.

I know I’m not the only one. As I was transitioning, I looked up to Cody Harman, a transgender fitness coach who was around my age and whose story you’ll read below. Seeing his journey was inspiring and motivating for me, as I was just starting the transition at the time. As my journey continued, I had the opportunity to meet many kind people in the fitness world who, like me, are working to improve the way they see themselves. The community plays a huge role. Knowing that you are not alone that you can be seen and heard by people who understand is vital to developing confidence and self-confidence.

This is why I am honored to be a part of this project, highlighting six fitness change makers who are making the world easier and healthier for the trans community. Fitness has the power to change lives. I know, because it brought me out of hiding and into a space that prioritized self-worth. Fitness has taught me that the best relationship you should have in life is the one you have with yourself.

maximum adler

Max Adler built the trans-friendly gym he always wanted
scott to percy

Scott Percy, the world’s strongest trans man, is ready to defend his title
aydian dowling

How viral fitness star Aydian Dowling found true gender euphoria
shawn stinson

Shawn Stinson’s journey from 98-pound marine to bodybuilding champion
marketer

Mar Keller couldn’t find trans fitness instructors, so she became one
cody harman

Cody Harman explains why bodybuilding is the perfect sport for trans men

The trans community is facing an unprecedented number of attacks from lawmakers across the country. Consider donating to the following organizations to support trans rights: The Gombo Project, The National Center for Transgender Equality, The Marsha P. Johnson Instituteand more you can find Here.

Calling all educators from marginalized communities: Men’s healthThe Strength in Diversity program is designed to help you strengthen your brand and kick-start your fitness career. Learn more here.

Headshot of Bari Glassman

Collaborator

Bari Glassman is a graduate student at Universit√† dell’Immacolata studying Dietetics and intends to combine his passion for nutrition and fitness, with his interest in cultural diversity, as a future professional practice. Glassman is a member of the Men’s health & Women’s health Strength in Diversity initiative.

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