Brunswick Baths is leading the way with YMCA Victoria’s first regular inclusive LGBTIQ+ class with the support of Moreland Council.
‘Queer friendly, inclusive training’, or Q-Fit classes kicked off as a regular group fitness in August and will run for the rest of the year. The inclusive program for eight participants is designed to provide a safe and supportive environment for the LGBTQIA+ community to participate in strength training.
Aleisha Leonard, Health and Fitness Coordinator at Brunswick Baths, led the development and rollout of the program.
“Exercising in a public space can be quite daunting, particularly for people from the LGBTIQ+ community.
“Feedback from members has been that this program creates a safe, supportive environment,” she said.
36-year-old Brunswick local Ali said a lifetime of bad experiences in heavily-gendered fitness spaces made them feel awkward.
“I felt unwelcome and stressed out in regular weights rooms and strength classes, but at Q-Fit I feel fully welcomed as who I am, so I'm able to relax and focus on my workout,” they said.
Q-Fit is the result of a six week program that has been running over the first half of this year. Due to the high popularity, Q-Fit is now a regular fixture at Brunswick Baths.
Every Tuesday evening at 7 – 8pm a qualified queer-friendly instructor leads the class through a small group functional strength training session, which helps participants learn movement foundations and the techniques of strength training, in a private training space off the public gym floor.
Aleisha said there were benefits for all types of exercise, especially mental and physical, but the highlight for her was seeing social connections.
“Brunswick Baths is all about community and its wonderful seeing a regular crew come each week, form friendships and support one another,” she said.
The classes are open to anyone who identifies as part of the LGBTIQ+ community (including allies). Participants require no previous training experience and Q-Fit’s ‘come as you are’ dress code helps reduce barriers to participation.