L.A.’s approach to most life processes is in the service of the holistic, the organic, and the progressive. We add bee pollen to our coffee and all manner of strange, leafy greens to our cocktails. We try to incorporate the beauty of our surroundings into everyday life, and sometimes get caught up in the idea of ‘no-tox living’ to the point of self-parody.
So why haven’t gyms and fitness centers followed suit?
For all the emphasis on personal wellness and physical health in California, going to the gym can actually be one of the more stressful things a person can do here. A gym is a place that’s often rigidly gendered, shockingly corporate, and more about outperforming the people around you than actually focusing on your own wellness. And if you’re trans, nonbinary, or differently-abled, chances are you’re going to have more than a few nasty encounters.
So far, there’s only one gym so far that goes out of its way to promise a safe, non-judgmental, and community-based experience in all of the U.S. And—surprise!—it’s located here, in L.A.’s very own Glassell Park neighborhood.
Started by Lake Sharp and Sam Rypinski (who met in a feminist business course) EveryBody promises an approach to fitness that’s less about getting ripped and more about getting comfortable with your body. The project was announced last year, and a fundraiser followed in June of 2016. EveryBody officially opened up shop in early 2017.
The setup of EveryBody—a modest space with an array of weight machines, wellness rooms, and a spacious outdoor area—exists in a perfect counter-balance to the usual gym scene. You know: bright lights, awkward changing rooms, tons of TVs blasting the news? The whole point of EveryBody is to build a space that’s not a fitness dungeon, shut off from the rest of the world. Their ‘radical inclusion’ model is about allowing bodies of all types to practice healthy rituals in a non-judgmental environment. EveryBody’s changing rooms are gender neutral to suit the needs of the gym’s clientele and staff, many of whom are trans and nonbinary. It’s also community-based, offering discounts for folks in the neighborhood, and sliding scale payments to make sure it stays accessible. For folks who have too long avoided the gym because of money, gender, or sheer intimidation, EveryBody provides a perfect alternative. One can only hope that the rest of the country catches on soon.