Julie Gohring: Fitness, Feminism, Oppression & Health
Julie is a badass feminist personal trainer, health coach, and surfer who is changing the game in the fitness world to help women become more liberated, personally and socially. In this episode, I ask Julie what it means to be a feminist fitness trainer and how she approaches fitness with herself and with her clients from a feminist perspective. She points out how the fitness industry focuses on body parts with a one-size-fits-all approach conditioning all of us from a young age that we "should" live up to this ideal body type of White, cisgendered, non-disabled, skinny with long limbs, small bones and flat abs. Because of this "ideal" that society has programmed in us, we assume that this is what healthy looks like and/or only looks like, and because most of us can't live up to it (because we're not meant to-it's not who we are), we feel like failures and like we're not good enough.
“We are conditioned to believe that we need to conform to this idea or this diet or this exercise instead of learning more about ourselves. I think it’s a huge diservice to all of us. I call bullshit on all of it.”
As a feminist fitness trainer, Julie wants to guide and help women to train their body however the hell they want! In her approach, she encourages women to do what they ENJOY, and not what they think they are "supposed" to do in order to be fit and healthy.
We, also, explore how the fitness industry makes money off of our insecurities. As Julie stresses, "They have us focus on how we look instead of how we feel, which is a huge problem.” It's a confusing cycle because it has us trying to achieve something that is often not realistic or healthy for our bodies, so we spend more money on more products and things that we think will help us achieve society's ideal getting us further and further away from ourselves and our true strengths.
“I want to defy that myth that women are perpetuating and I also want men to realize that they don’t need to be threatened by a woman who is strong and can take care of herself, that in fact, that’s better for this world.”
In addition, we dive deeper into the relationship between gender and fitness like a woman trying to preserve her "femininity" in fear that gaining more muscles might make her look too "masculine". And how a lot of men are uncomfortable around more muscular women because it feels like a threat to their masculinity, to who they are. It's like a gender cycle that just keeps going around around that isn't contributing to one's liberation and feeling good and confident in their bodies.
This layered and complex discussion is such an important one that we need to bring more awareness to. Press play above or subscribe iniTunes (see above) to listen to the full conversation!
Make sure you check out Julie's website and follow her and Saltwater Fit on social media: