Exercise is for everyone, but some people face more barriers than others when it comes to getting active. Enter Jess Crew from PHAT, whose mission to offer specialist plus-size fitness classes in Exeter is proving popular.

Through her own personal experience, she knew there was a real need for fitness classes for plus-size people (and particularly plus-size women) in Exeter, and decided to use her own experience of fitness to meet this demand:  “Through working with Live & Move and my local CPAO (Wellbeing Exeter community physical activity organiser)),  I was able to secure funding to run a 5 week pilot consisting of two sessions of fitness per week: one online and one in-person.

“The in-person class was run by two instructors, offering half an hour of cardio dance fitness followed by half an hour of yoga. The zoom class was 45 minutes, inspired by ‘Strong by Zumba’, which is movement to music with a particular emphasis on strength using body weight exercises.”

These pilot classes (which attracted 40 participants), showed that there is a demand for specialist plus-size fitness classes in Exeter. Over 70% of participants reported feeling physically and mentally more confident and more inclined to take part in physical activity as a result of joining in with the classes.

Some of the comments from attendees included:

“I have loved this class and it has inspired me to do more”

“Please keep it going, it has made a huge difference to me”

“I have found this class has really built my confidence”

“I have felt so welcomed, supported and included! It has been a great mix of exercises”“Thank you for inclusive workouts – my body is appreciative!”

“Thank you for the inclusive language and the chance to nurture my body in a safe space. I feel so much more confident.”

Jess is planning to run another series of PHAT sessions in February and will then start a programme of community classes throughout 2022. Keep up to date with PHAT on Instagram and Facebook here.

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