Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2018-01-29

What People Are Saying About Fat Kid Dance Party and How You Can Help Launch The Next Stage!

The pre-sale for the first aerobics video ends on Thursday, February 1! I’m 74% funded and thought that I would let some of my class regulars and participants do some of the recommending!

“The Fat Kid Dance Party experience is unlike any other work out I have tried, and I have tried many! As a veteran of places like Jazzercise and SoulCycle, what Bevin offers is a healing love note to your body. It’s like a work out for your mind and physique. I love her rhetoric and how she infuses her class with messages of social justice, body positivity and absolute self love”
Marcy Guevara-Prete

Click here to grab a video four pack, a guided body love meditation and affirmations, or a whole workout accessory pack!

The inspiration from this photo was the cover of a Sweatin’ to the Oldies VHS I found at a yard sale. This pic is on my vision board now.

“I’m so grateful to have found your class! I’ve been working on loving my body the way it is for a while now but it’s all been very cerebral like like reading, podcasts, etc… It’s really nice to have a fitness/movement class to physically go to that supports my body love journey. I also really appreciate the community I’ve met there so far, people of all sizes in an inclusive and supportive environment…and class is SO FUN!”
–Laurel Hitchin

Click here to expand your body love journey!

This is from the number (to a Big Freedia/RuPaul song) where we reclaim our jiggle for healing! Photo by Shoog McDaniel.

“I go to school in Los Angeles and have tried going to the gym there. As a fat, trans boy it was always daunting to be surrounded by cis athletic bodies. I would constantly compare myself to them and it became a harmful, destructive cycle. I heard about Fat Kid Dance Party once I decided to join EVERYBODY and the class has been life-changing. To be in a room that supports not only my identity but my body shape WHILE allowing me to work at bettering my physical well being in a healthy mindset is something I never believed I was worthy of having. Bevin has taught me how to proudly take up space in this world through big movements and amazing music and for that I am eternally grateful.”
–Asher Tessier

Click here to join the party!

Class photo! (Halloween edition, but costumes are literally always celebrated!) Photo by Shoog McDaniel.

“I used to tell myself that I didn’t dance – and I believed it. I saw myself as awkward and without any mastery of physicality. My body just did what it wanted. Facing my fears at my first Fat Kid Dance Party class, I found myself having a blast learning how to do all the 90s moves I couldn’t figure out how to do myself in high school. After coming back multiple times I learned that I could climb through my bedroom window (after accidentally locking myself out) without hurting myself. Yay – newfound agility! I had never experienced joyful sweating until FKDP. Now, I frequently give myself mid day dance breaks and express myself through movement at home, work, everywhere!”
–Kate E. McCracken

Click here to become an early adopter of a fitness revolution!

Fat Kid Dance Party is for all ages, sizes and abilities to heal from body oppression! Photo by McKay!

“I truly look forward to exercising at Fat Kid Dance Party. I always feel better while I’m there and afterwards.

As I get older, I see less of my friends at the gym and usually feel a little out of place as the oldest one in the group. FKDP takes away that anxiety. Everyone in the class is supportive and Bevin makes all of us feel welcome and comfortable.

I love that Bevin combines movement through simple routines so the brain is exercised as much as the body. She incorporates somatic healing into the movements which is subtle yet highly effective. At some point in most of the classes, I will feel an overwhelming sense of emotional release to the point of tears–GOOD tears. Bevin has the ability to make everyone in the room feel comfortable and worthy. She inspires us to cheer each other on and to embrace any awkwardness as a good thing that represents change towards something new and healthy. FKDP is a safe space to let go of troubles and anxieties and embrace self care and healing while doing fun routines to fabulous music!”
–Jennifer

Click here to learn somatic healing dance moves!

Photo by Shoog McDaniel

“FKDP has helped me rediscover joyful movement. I walk all day for work, and FKDP helps remind me that I can move around, dance and let go of the negative energy that often comes with getting paid to do physical labor. I love it!”
–Sonya Mendoza

Click here to show your support for my work to make the world safe for people to love themselves!

THANK YOU to all of my beloved regulars who show up weekly (or more!) to party and heal together. It’s such a special class and I’m so honored to be part of people’s self care practice. Please join us!!

P.S. If you want to come to the in person party check out this page–I’ll be keeping it updated as I add new classes, special events and tour stops!

2018-01-02

Year of Ask Vol. 1: Fat Kid Dance Party Aerobics Video Pre-Sale Now Live!

Hey Everybody!!!!!! I am so excited to say that I launched the pre-sale for the first ever Fat Kid Dance Party (For All Sizes to Heal from Body Oppression) workout video! All the info is through this link, but in sum, it is the culmination of all of my 15 years in body positive activism and performance and I am so excited to bring it to life!

Photo by Shoog Colleen McDaniel.

My friend Jen Hollywood wrote a really sweet testimonial about the pre-sale on her Facebook page. She said:

“If you know me, you know I love a good workout video. Cindy Crawford, Richard Simmons, Leslie Sansone. I’ve done them all. I WOULD LOVE TO WORK OUT WITH MY FRIEND BEVIN!!!!!

I love this woman. I used to listen to her podcast back in the day… I read her blog Queer Fat Femme, and whenever I get a chance I hang out with her in real life. She is fun, creative and fat positive. Please donate to this Indie GoGo campaign and get her latest work of genius, FAT KID DANCE PARTY off the ground and into your living room. You won’t be sorry about this early adoption. [Double heart eyes emojis]

For all sizes to heal from body oppression!”

Thanks so much Jen! (Bride selfie from Jen’s wedding where we did a flash mob surprise for Jen and Dani!)

If you read this blog and enjoy it, you’ll probably enjoy my aerobics videos. If aerobics isn’t your thing, I also have a guided meditation and body love affirmations available as a pre-sale. (Change your thoughts change your life!)

The pre-sale includes four videos—a full 60 minute Fat Kid Dance Party workout, a 10 minute stretching video for use every day to help you increase or maintain mobility and relieve pain, a 20 minute cardio workout for those days you need to move but don’t have a lot of time, and a 60 minute Fat Kid Dance party Chaircize video workout. I always invite folks to do the traditional FKDP from a chair if they need to, but I want to center the experience of working out in a chair in this video.

I’m really excited about the momentum of this class that I created and the effects.

Photo by Shoog.

My class regular (and now friend) Kate said this about her experience coming to class at least once a week for the past six months.

“Bevin’s creation has completely changed my relationship with movement. It’s fun! It feels good! It fills me with joy! It is no longer punishment! It is healing! And infused my life with joy and freedom.”

If you can share the sale in your networks, that would be so wonderful. I think everyone knows someone who would benefit from an affirming, uplifting movement class. A personal anecdote about why you resonate with my writing and media or Fat Kid Dance Party also goes a long way to amplifying the share. If you have capacity to financially support the Indie GoGo pre-sale I would really appreciate it. I have long dreamed of supporting my family through my work empowering people to love themselves and having a video I can produce and then sell will really help.

Photo by Shoog–Kate is near me playing the role of monster in our Thriller choreography group photo.

I am doing so much right now to bring the message that all bodies are worthy of love exactly as they are to the masses. This workout video is just one Ursula tentacle of my whole self love Femmepire, stay tuned here at my blog and in my other social media realms for more!!

Follow me on Facebook (turn on notifications) to watch my daily live videos about self love! I’m regularly updating about the progress of producing and filming and distributing the workout videos. I’m also chronicling the planning of my epic wedding with Dara on my live videos. Plus interviews with some really cool people and adventures!

Follow me on Instagram @queerfatfemme for motivation (turn on notifications there, as well, the Instagram algorithm means the more followers you have the less likely you are to pop up in someone’s feed).

Follow @fatkiddanceparty on Instagram for updates on the video, my upcoming tour schedule and class schedule in LA. (I’ve got a new non-gym venue for class that launches Wednesdays at 7PM on January 10th, in addition to Mondays at 8PM at EVERYBODY gym.)

2017-08-31

Livestream of Fat Kid Dance Party September 9th!

After 2.6 Million people watched the video PopSugar created about my dance aerobics class Fat Kid Dance Party (For All Sizes to Heal From Body Oppression), the most common response I received was “How can I get this class where I’m at?”

I’m bringing it to you wherever you are with an internet connection! This is a live aerobics class, broadcast through a concert livestream website. My hope is that having a specific time means you will commit to showing up and doing aerobics with me! It’s also a ramp up to the workout video I’m working on… a way for me to see what works while teaching on camera! (So I’m going to be looking for that feedback from you!!)

The livestream is seven bucks, I get about 65% of it after fees to go towards production of the livestream and production of the future video. If you can’t attend but would attend a livestream at a different time get in touch with me to let me know! QueerFatFemme at Gmail.

We’re doing it LIVE from The Plus Bus Boutique–be sure to like their page, they do Facebook live sales of their awesome resale clothing for folks who can’t shop their brick and mortar.

Wear sneakers, grab some water and (optional) a group of friends! Maybe this is a pre or post brunch plan!

More about Fat Kid Dance Party (For All Sizes to Heal from Body Liberation): A mash-up of dance aerobics, line dancing, sing alongs and unbridled enthusiasm, Fat Kid Dance Party is an act of dance floor reclamation. If you’ve ever been called “too much,” “too fat,” or felt too awkward to dance, this is the supportive class for you. Come party with us!

**If you’re in LA you can party with me live in person at 8PM Mondays and 7PM Thursdays at EVERYBODY**

2017-06-12

Two Important Weeks for Fat Kid Dance Party (For All Sizes to Heal from Body Oppression)

At the beginning of March I debuted my dance aerobics class Fat Kid Dance Party (For All Sizes to Heal from Body Oppression). I have been pouring so much heart, soul, muscles and hustles into this class! Most of the time I have between three and nine folks in the room and we have a fabulous time. I have two special classes coming up this week and next that I wanted to especially highlight for followers who are in LA, visiting LA or friends of mine who keep meaning to come to class.

The totally optional post class selfie has become a ritual I enjoy!

My class is 50 minutes long, 7PM Thursdays at EVERYBODY gym in Glassell Park, Northeast LA. Price is $14 a la carte and gets cheaper with class packages! A mash-up of dance aerobics, line dancing, sing alongs and unbridled enthusiasm, Fat Kid Dance Party is an act of dance floor reclamation. If you’ve ever been called “too much,” “too fat,” or felt too awkward to dance, this is the supportive class for you. More about my class later in the post.

June 15th I am partnering with The Plus Bus, our local LA plus size resale store, to sponsor a meet and mingle after class. Come sweat at 7PM and mingle from 8-9 in the cute EVERYBODY patio! The Plus Bus will bring over a rack of clothes and some water, and you’ll get to meet new people who are also interested in busting up body oppression. Fat community is hard to find most places, and LA can seem so body obsessed that it’s hard to believe there are other body positive warriors out here. But there are! I love connecting people and wanted to facilitate a way for folks to meet by attending my aerobics class so here goes*! Connect on the Facebook event page (pro tip–will be an easy way to social media link up with the folks you meet).

June 22nd Pop Sugar is coming to class to cover it for their website! I’m both thrilled and terrified about this! Part of learning to be an aerobics instructor is studying other aerobics instructors–their moves but more so their teaching style. Whenever I go cruising you tube I inevitably find a Pop Sugar aerobics dance combo from some slick instructor. It’s extremely cool to have Pop Sugar visiting class. Real talk (it’s my blog, so it’s always real talk) I feel kind of odd about plugging press coming to class. Honestly, I would love for them to see the class full of enthusiastic folks of all sizes and have that translated to their readership. Hopefully the folks who read Pop Sugar will want to come to our gym and support it with memberships and class packages! And folks who have never really thought about Health at Every Size who see the feature might be inspired to lace up their sneakers and try it.

More about my class:

There are four rules for Fat Kid Dance Party (For All Sizes to Heal from Body Oppression).
RULE NUMBER ONE: There’s no wrong way to do Fat Kid Dance Party.** I teach at a low-impact cardio level and offer variations and free dance to raise the cardio for folks who need more to sweat and I offer chairs that are rated up to 500 pounds for folks who want to work out from a chair. All my numbers have flamboyant arms, you’ll get a workout from a chair, too!

My friend T does Ironmans and broke a deep sweat in class with me so I know it’s working for all levels!

RULE NUMBER TWO: We cheer for awkward! If you feel awkward at any time, just say, “I feel awkward” and we’ll all cheer.*** Also, if you go right when I go left or whatever, you’re just making my choreography look more complicated and that makes me look good!

RULE NUMBER THREE: If you want to sing, go ahead. If you can’t sing, sing loud!

RULE NUMBER FOUR: We high five for self care! When we see someone getting water, we high five! When we feel good about movement we’re doing, we high five! Everyone gets a high five for showing up!

I go through the rules during our stretching. I use a stretching modality at the beginning of class that helps to improve mobility, reduce chronic pain and engages all of the muscles in the body. We generally stretch to a Stevie Nicks song and a New Wave song. They rotate every class.

We warm up with a 3-4 song dance combination I teach step by step. I have a cheer dance combo we use all Missy Elliott songs, a drag queen number, a boy band combo (boy in this instance means non-threatening masculinity not determined based on assigned sex at birth), a pop princess combo based on Mariah and Britney, and I just unveiled a confidence routine to all Beyoncé songs.

Each class has a line dance, mostly because I always watch in awe at line dancers but don’t feel confident enough to be awkward and screw up a bunch in front of strangers. But in a safe(r) space like my class we learn the dance first with a slower song then up the tempo a touch and do it on four walls. I pick a real line dance from out in the world of country, oldies, soul and other line dance genres and apply it to whatever songs I want. So far my favorite has been the Step in the Name of Love to Lizzo’s “Good as Hell.”

The rest of class is made up of one-off numbers. I am an artist first and foremost so there’s a lot more to each number than just movements–my years of body positive workshops have infused all over the place.

We do somatic taking up space exercises based on actual research to Prince’s “Baby I’m a Star.” We talk about prison abolition and racial justice with “White Lines” a song that is totally still relevant thirty years later. I do a walking meditation about healing your past bullying and stepping into your light to Erika Jayne’s “How Many Fucks Do I Give?” We heal high school trauma with Gossip’s “Move in the Right Direction.” We do Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl” based on a James Baldwin quote I live by.

Plus Dolly Parton, Pointer Sisters, Vanilla Ice, and still more to come. Mary Lambert’s new overtly queer single “Your Name” will be in a class really soon. We end each class with a cool down and a thank you to our queer and social justice ancestors who did all the work so that we have spaces like EVERYBODY and can heal together.

I am doing my Reiki Master training right now and I have learned lots of ways to put Reiki in the room and in the class content so it is at once a movement class and energy healing!

Jenny declared herself a “regular” after her first class (she found out about it when my friend Jes Baker of The Militant Baker posted it on Instagram) and is my first actual regular who comes to class all the time! I feel honored to have a regular.

If someone had told me two years ago that I was going to move to LA and become an aerobics instructor I would have laughed them out of the room. But then I decided to move to LA and when I heard about the new all bodies are good bodies/gender inclusive gym EVERYBODY opening just six minutes from my house I was so confused as to how to participate. I figured I could give body positive workshops like I had been doing for fifteen years. But then I was in the back of an “all levels” dance aerobics class at Heartbeat House struggling to keep up and realized that I could probably turn all of my drag performance and queer dance party production skills into my own class. A class that is actually for all levels not just for folks who can hop around the room like a graceful gazelle.

Actual quotes from people who have taken my class:
“I broke out into a deep sweat but my joints don’t hurt!”
“I feel significantly more joyful than I did before class.”
“This is like somatic therapy! I wish I could send my clients to your class but I want it for myself.” (Said a therapist with good boundaries.)

I hope you all can make it to this very unique healing modality some Thursday to come!! And if you’re interested in a Saturday evening class sometime, or maybe want to visit LA and need an excuse, I am thinking about doing a special event late Summer/Fall. Clickie on this form and let me know what dates would work best for you!

*If you’re doing body positive work in LA and want to partner up to do an after class hang out, get in touch!
**Borrowed phrasing from Glenn Marla’s brilliant, “There’s no wrong way to have a body.”
***Adapted modality from Kelli Dunham’s Queer Memoir series, where they cheer when an author says they feel nervous. It’s great permission giving for folks who aren’t used to speaking in front of a crowd.
****Since I’m an artist first and foremost, my own process is infused in the class all the time, including my friends I want to continue to connect to who have passed on. I honor my friend Amanda every time we practice the Boot Scootin’ Boogie to The Judd’s “Why Not Me,” a song we bonded over a lot. And I honor my friend Taueret in every class because she and I shared a deep love for cheesy 80s aerobics. She would love this class.

2017-05-05

LA Fat Fitness: My First Spin Class

I’ve been brewing this blog series for a year! When I first moved to LA from Brooklyn I didn’t have a gym membership (EVERYBODY, the new radically inclusive gym in Northeast LA, wasn’t open yet) and I was in the middle of a big transition. Exercise is crucial to my mental, emotional, spiritual and physical well being. I didn’t know what to do in the absence of my previous exercise favs at the Bed Stuy YMCA so I decided to dabble in various modes of free or cheap fitness that LA had to offer.

I have since become an aerobics instructor at EVERYBODY and dabbling is still important. I learn from different fitness genres ways to strengthen my teaching and movement techniques to share with my students in class and readers (that’s you!) all over the world!

What it is:
You’ve probably heard of Spin before. From what I understand, Spin is being lead through a workout on a stationary bike, switching resistance and positions to get a full body workout. There are a lot of bells and whistles in Spin classes that make it more engaging/distracting from working out. This is really what group exercise is all about, learning how to make movement motivating, enjoyable and effective.

Like golf, people who love Spin REALLY LOVE IT. I have passed classes at other gyms before and heard the high energy music and yelling encouragement of an instructor but was not lured. I enjoy a recumbent bike and use that as my supplement to my go-to cardio on an elliptical. I have always been wary of stationary bikes. Years ago I heard a personal trainer giving advice to a fat woman on a TV show that recumbent bikes are better for supporting your knees. Multiple Spin instructors and friends tell me that Spin is actually not hard on your knees.

Since the bikes for Spin are always lined up against the wall in the MOVE room at EVERYBODY (so many caps in the branding) I kept thinking I should could* give it a shot.

What it Was Like:
My first class was with McKay from EVERYBODY. McKay and I have a special bond and I genuinely think it was fate that had their class right before mine on Thursdays. I’ve so enjoyed hanging out with them and having McKay take my class so I trusted them to walk me through my first Spin class.

Like hiring a lawyer, what you need and want in a group fitness instructor is skill at the modality/area of practice and a genuine feeling of trust and (maybe if you’re lucky) enjoyment of that person. There’s no point in hiring a lawyer you don’t trust and no point in going to a group fitness instructor you don’t trust and enjoy. Because I already liked McKay and would totally spend an hour or more with them, I figured their class would be great.

I arrive and they met me at a bike, personally walked me through setting it up to my specifications. We are both “G” height (where the seat meets your hip) and by using my forearm to measure, we put the seat at a 4.

I’m a G4 not a G6.

They also gave me some tips for first timers. They teach class in sections, three positions and three intensities, and showed me how to change intensity on my bike. They told me the saddle would probably be difficult and uncomfortable the first few classes and I could get up and shake my booty to relieve the pain. They reminded me to go at my own pace and gave variations on positions to use when on the bike during certain exercises.

The experience of Spin class was interesting. It is solid cardio, got my heart rate going and I was covered in sweat by 10 minutes in. I generally wear a regular push up bra to exercise because I find them more comfortable but this was the first modality where I think a sports bra to keep them strapped down was essential. Something about pumping velocity on my legs was making the girls almost hit me in the face.

We did various push-ups on the handlebars while spinning and some stretches, some getting out of the saddle and climbing mountains. I really liked that the harder intervals were over very fast, something other students in the class echoed was especially gentle of McKay and different from other instructors.

I adored McKay’s playlist, from Lizzo to Le Tigre to Britney and Beyonce, some of the songs overlapped with songs I’ve used in my class. I loved McKay’s motivation and spirit, they are just such a joyful sweetheart that it made me want to keep going.

I wouldn’t say that I LOVED Spin or it was the best thing ever, but I enjoyed the experience because of McKay. I also kind of get why people like Soulcycle so much and I’m curious to try that modality out and see what makes it special and spiritual. People in the class asked if I was coming back the next day, and these are folks who go to Spin a lot. I know I’ll regularly attend McKay’s Tuesday class but I don’t see myself being a multiple Spin classes per week person.

Class was 37 minutes of deep cardio with 5 minutes of stretching. The stretching was my favorite part, we used the bikes to balance for deep stretching.

So sweaty.

Cost:
$14 a la carte and gets less expensive as you buy class packages or get an unlimited menbership at EVERYBODY.

Special Equipment You Need or Might Like to Have:
McKay gave me a saddle cover/butt pad to help ease the pain of the saddle. I have my eye on this butt pad if I get really into Spin because it looks very cushy and it’s purple. You just bring it with you and put it on your saddle.

The next day, my butt hurt a lot, not unlike how it feels after a long bout of sex following a dry spell. You know how good that feels for your butt to hurt and then to be reminded of something hot every time you change positions? It was like that except more like, “Oof, Spin.” McKay said that was the best compliment about their class they ever got.

In addition, I suggest bringing water and a towel, everyone else had a sweat towel and I was for sure missing that.

Fatphobia Content:
None! EVERYBODY trains staff members about body diversity and McKay talked about our “personal fitness goals” but never talked about losing weight or body size and that is 100% correct for being inclusive.

Teacher’s Strength(s):
I really loved the individual attention at the beginning and the permission giving to take it at my own pace. I also like the honesty about what might be challenging, like the butt hurting and showing me how to shake my booty to release it.

McKay is also sweet and enthusiastic and teaches with their personality, which makes it feel more like a hang out and less like uncomfortable sweating.

Would I do it Again?

Yes, I will totally Spin again.

McKay is exclusive to EVERYBODY right now. You can take McKay’s class at 6PM Tuesdays, 6:30PM Wednesdays and Thursdays. McKay is always there a half hour early to get folks comfortable and is available for individual interval training on the EVERYBODY bikes outside of class. Follow McKay on Instagram! Or email them directly at McKay.Nield at gmail. Pronouns: They/them or he/his.

Additional Notes:
Taking a class in the same room I teach in was actually great because I could experience the ever-changing sound and light equipment from a student perspective. There’s definitely something UP with the wireless headset microphone because I had a hard time hearing more than every other word McKay was saying. I’m now deeply on a hunt to figure out how to improve my sound on a wireless headset and/or start bugging Sam the EVERYBODY owner to get us a better headset. I say a lot of really meaningful stuff during my classes (McKay does, too) and I want people to be able to hear every word!

*I always try to replace my shoulds with coulds, I find it more gentle and supportive for me as I work to eliminate negative self talk.

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