It’s officially Pride Month! Here at Craft Medical, and other men’s telehealth providers within the fitness community, men’s health goes beyond cis health. However, we understand that not all spaces acknowledge that, making the places like the fitness community feel a bit daunting.
We believe nobody should be or feel like a stranger in their own body. Similarly, when you step out to a gym or any other wellness facility, nobody should make you feel like a stranger. And that’s where LGBTQ fitness comes in.
Thankfully, there are more inclusive spaces for the LGBTQIA+ community within the fitness community than you may realize — LGBTQIA+-friendly fitness centers and communities where you’re not afraid to show your FTM scars and/or wear gym clothes that best express who you are.
That said, let’s examine the intersection of pride and fitness, workouts for trans men, and wellness centers in the LGBTQ fitness community worth checking out.
Pride and Fitness
The perspectives on pride month fit into two broad angles: (1) commemorating the momentous Stonewall Riot and (2) celebrating unrestrained freedom and joy that comes from being true to oneself.
It’s a month to be unapologetically prideful as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, breaking the “norms” that stonewall the pursuit of equal societies where people can be who they are without the discrimination of their sexual orientation.
These may be things you have heard before, but what has any of it to do with fitness? What is the alignment between pride and fitness?
Pride and Fitness: An Ongoing Fight
Activism for LGBTQ rights picked up intense heat in 1969, and six decades later, we are still fighting for inclusive spaces where members of the LGBTQIA community will not feel unwanted or like strangers.
The fitness space is one of those spaces that have been a hard nut to crack. And it’s especially interesting to us because we are all about individuals—irrespective of their sexual orientation—being fit and having the best of health.
There are still numerous fitness centers across the U.S. where trans people cannot work out while feeling comfortable — or even safe. A quick internet search provides evidence.
Therefore, as part of the celebrations, we found the sweet spots between pride and fitness to provide pointers that could help folks looking for workouts for trans guys or those who wish to join the broader LGBTQ fitness community and live a healthier life.
Thankfully, various proponents of LGBTQ rights have worked at the intersection of pride and fitness to provide safe spaces all LGBTQIA+ folks can work out without fear of discrimination.
Below are the resultant fitness communities and workouts for trans men and other LGBTQIA+ folks.
There’s Always an LGBTQ Fitness Community For You
During the 2010 Pride month, Nathalie Huerta founded the Queer Gym after dealing with bouts and unease while working out in traditional gyms where binary notions were the basis of operations. Nathalie faced far too many uncomfortable locker rooms and weighing rooms before deciding that enough was enough.
The Queer Gym made history as the first established LGBTQ fitness community in the country. The slogan? Happy, healthy homos. The goal was plain and simple: an LGBTQ-friendly gym. No apologies.
It took pride in being a safe space where you could be as gay or queer as you feel when working out without getting bombastic side eyes and mansplainers.
The Queer Gym, now online, serves a user base of lesbians, gays, asexual persons, pansexuals, bisexuals, straights (only about 2.8% of the userbase), queers, and trans persons.
The most interesting thing about being online is that you do not have to be in Oakland to be part of such an awesome LGBTQ fitness community. As a registered member, you can join in from anywhere, meet like-minded persons, use their member chat rooms, and attend virtual events where pride and fitness are the hot topics.
With the pace set by Nathalie, other LGBTQIA+ folks across the U.S. began setting up LGBTQ-friendly gyms and fitness communities across the country. These communities redefined the approach to workouts for trans men and women, deriving workout routines for persons transitioning or awaiting confirmation surgery.
Other LGBTQ Fitness Communities to Check Out during Pride Month
Many LGBTQ-friendly fitness centers have sprung up since The Queer Gym. As a trans man looking for a safe public space where you can work out and keep fit without judgment, it helps to know some of these communities.
Some of them may be close to you! If none are, you can check out their virtual fitness services to know if they are suitable for you.
Outbox is a trans-owned, New York boxing gym offering vigorous workout sessions for everyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
FTM Fitness World
FTM Fitness World was created by Neo Sandja, a transgender man, in 2012. The company operates from Georgia and is dedicated to creating a wellness community that caters to transgender persons.
FTM Fitness World is the company behind TransFitCon and The International Association of Trans Bodybuilders.
Q GRIT Fitness
Q Grit Fitness is a body-neutral personal training business in Rhode Island focused on performance over physique to improve strength and integrity.
The founder, Mar Keller, helps individuals who are looking to be a bit more comfortable with their bodies achieve their goals. For Mar, it’s not all about having six packs.
Chelsea Piers Fitness
This LGBTQ fitness community in New York has a bunch of exciting fitness activities you can engage in to meet your fitness goals.
Chelsea Piers Fitness’ pride-themed activities envelope dance cardio classes, pride rides, rock climbing, weight lifting, and beach volleyball. It’s a chill place to meet like-minded LGBTQIA+ folks during pride month.
Coach Shawn 80/20 Fit
Coach Shawn Stinson, the winner of the first trans men bodybuilding competition organized by FTM Fitness World, now spends his time as a personal coach helping individuals attain their diverse fitness goals.
Stinson believes in whole-body fitness, which is well-expressed in his 80/20 approach. That is 80% nutrition and 20% fitness. You can access his services in person or online.
Mark Fisher Fitness
Mark Fisher Fitness is a New York-based LGBTQ+ friendly fitness community with a focus on strength-building and conditioning workouts. You can join their group class membership or sign up for semi-private training.
LGBTQ Fitness communities aside, what are some workouts for trans guys that could help you feel less like a stranger?
Best Workouts for Trans Guys
Those who are transitioning to men often want to build muscles and feel confident in their changing bodies. However, they don’t always find fitness instructors who have shared experiences and understand the unique fitness needs of the FTM individual in transition, whether pre–T, on hormones replacement therapy, or post-T.
Some anti-trans debates try to discourage transmasculine persons who are keying into workout routines as a way to work up their vibe/energy, be fit, and feel comfortable in their bodies.
For some trans people, these arguments are dampers that sometimes, unfortunately, discourage them from keeping fit when they transition.
But you don’t have to feel like a stranger — definitely not to yourself. Keeping fit makes you feel more confident and less likely to be the trans man who is perpetually afraid of having their shirt off at the beach. Fitness gives you that fulfilling sense of self that makes you take pride in who you are.
Of all the folks in the broader LGBTQIA+ community, trans people traditionally undergo the most physical changes. And that’s why keeping fit for the body, mind, and spirit is most important.
Below are two workouts for trans men: one from a trans-focused skincare company and the other from a female-to-male individual pushing for fitness in the LGBTQ community.
Workouts for Trans Men by ENBY NYC
The ENBY NYC provides extensive insight on home workouts for trans guys when transitioning, with the routines across three key areas:
- Core exercises to improve your stability and balance: mountain climbers, side plank, and plank
- Lower body exercises to strengthen lower body bones and muscles: lunges, calf raises, and deadlifts.
- Upper body exercises to strengthen your upper body muscles: push-ups, pull-ups, and squats.
The company also provides the following sample workout routine:
- Monday: Legs- squats, lunges, calf raises
- Tuesday: Chest push-ups, chest press
- Wednesday: Back- pull-ups, bent over rows
- Thursday: Shoulders- shoulder press, lateral raises
- Friday: Arms- bicep curls, triceps extensions
- Saturday/Sunday: Rest
Build Muscle Pre-T and Post-Top Surgery FTM by Sam Barnes Lifestyle
Sam Barnes’s journey from female to male was spiced by an interest in keeping fit every step of the way. Sam’s fitness journey while transitioning is well-documented and serves as a recommendable reference for transmasculine persons looking for a suitable workout routine for trans men.
Below is one of Sam Barnes Lifestyle’s Pre-T workouts for trans men that you should try:
- Push-ups 4 sets 10-20 reps
- Superset with decline push-ups 4 sets 10 reps
- Bodyweight shoulder press 3 sets 10-12 reps
- Superset with triceps dips 3 sets 10-12 reps
- Up and down forearm planks 2 sets 30 seconds
- Superset with – plank shoulder taps 2 sets 10 taps each side
- Close grip push-ups 3 sets 10 reps
- Superset with clapping push-ups 3 sets 1-5 reps
As with many trans guys post-op, your body will feel pretty tight, and mobility might feel like a chore. There is a need to engage in workouts that would help your body feel more at ease and reinstate your mobility as soon as possible.
Many trans persons find Sam Barnes’s detailed stretches and workouts for trans men post-top surgery very helpful for regaining mobility and loosening body tenseness after top surgery. A typical workout and stretch routine post-surgery include:
- Bicep curls
- Body weight squats
- Side and front raises
- Water bottle shoulder press
As always, it’s best to check with your doctor or physical therapist to confirm what exercises or stretches would be suitable for you, especially if you had complications during your surgery.
You may find this 3-minute professional guide on activity and exercise after top surgery helpful.
Pride Month With Craft Medical
Male spaces are often not welcoming for LGBTQ folks, even for trans men. The prejudices and toxicity often take a mental and physical toll on trans men who have made the bold move to transition, moves that are then broken by their experiences in such spaces.
At Craft Medical, we believe no person should feel like a stranger in their own body. All things considered, you should always be the best version of yourself. And that is why our services focus on all men’s mental and physical health, whether you are AMAB or a trans man.
As a men’s telehealth community, our services are open to all men. And as part of the pride month celebration, we have special offers on our weight management and testosterone support services for men.