Intuitive Movement: How to Find Enjoyable Workouts you can do at Home, and put the Focus Outside of Body Appearance to Improve your Relationship with Exercise and your Body | The Brownble Podcast

Intuitive Movement: How to Enjoy Exercise with at Home Exercise Programs, Opinions on Popular at Home Workouts, and How to Deal with Triggering Diet Culture Messages within Them, Part 2

diet & exercise podcast Apr 29, 2022

Show notes:

- Our online program My Brownble

- Part 1 of our intuitive movement series

Tally Rye · Intuitive Movement Fitness Coach, her b ook "Train Happy: An Intuitive Exercise Plan for Everybody", and Youtube channel,  Instagram and her podcast.

Movement Unmeasured · Barre classes by Simi Botic

Apple Fitness +


Yoga with Adrienne

Ballet Beautiful by Mary Helen Bowers: Her  Custom Workout Online Subscription or her streaming library to purchase individual videos

Tiler Peck's ballet classes "Turn it out with Tyler"


- My dear friend Amanda Wagner of @fueling.veggie.athletes for a great Instagram follow 



Today's post and podcast episode is a part 2 of this series of episodes in which we talk about finding joy in movement and exercise again with at home workouts. In part 1 we talked about how to find a type of exercise that you enjoy doing, what at home workouts can bring to the experience of adding more exercise into your day and routine, as well as how to navigate the diet culture messages present in many of them. Today we will continue expanding on these topics, and I'll share my personal opinion on some of the more popular at home exercise programs out there (both free and paid), how they rate in terms of body diversity among trainers, the presence of diet culture message triggers that could affect someone who is on this journey towards a better relationship with food, intuitive eating, intuitive movement and body neutrality and respect.

Please note that I have no affiliation with any of these programs, channels or trainers, and I'm simply sharing from my own personal experience, and in one case, the experience of someone I trust who I'll talk about in a bit, and who is also a soon to be dietitian (and athlete) in the anti-diet space.

Also note that I haven't tried all the types of exercise in some of the programs I'm mentioning, so you'll have to do some exploring to find what works for you.

Before we get into the programs per se, and I tell you all about some of my favorite classes within them, I want to share what I do, when I encounter some of the diet culture messages that sometimes catch me off guard because most of the trainers I'll be recommending, do a pretty good job at keeping the focus off of weight and more on the feeling of exercise, inner strength and empowerment.

What I do to deal with Diet Culture Messages when I Hear them while Doing an Exercise Class or at Home Workout

Most of the classes and trainers I'll be sharing do a much better job than most in this area, but my ears have gotten so attuned to these messages and what they could mean for someone who is in recovery from an eating disorder or disordered eating, or someone trying to find a new, healthier relationship with exercise, trying to put the focus on the many other benefits of exercise outside of body appearance or perfectionism, that I can spot them in a second when they slip out.

I'm in a stage in my own journey with exercise where I can hear these messages occasionally and brush them off, and even better, counteract them, but if you're not there yet, if you feel these messages could be triggering for you, I'll start my list today with two amazing women who are 100% into the intuitive movement and eating space, and where you can find amazing support without worrying. With the others, keep in mind that you might be better off approaching them when you're ready and on more solid ground in healing your relationship to exercise.


Although things are getting radically better in some of these spaces, you can still sometimes see exercise with a focus on appearance and the thin body ideal with things like:

- The titles of a workout (bikini workout, bikini challenge, pre-wedding blast, calorie torcher, slimmest waist, supermodel workout):


- The things instructors say ("no pain no gain", "get ready for the beach", "after this workout you'll be able to go to the beach with confidence", "get the slim waist you've always wanted", "look beautiful this summer" etc.).

How do we navigate wanting to engage in some of these workouts (when appropriate and only under the care and supervision of your treatment team if you're in recovery from an eating disorder), which could be ways of exercising we love, and dealing with these messages when we're ditching the diet mentality? We can counteract them, actively, even as we're taking a class. I couldn't have done this when I was just healing my relationship to exercise, but now it's become such a habit they don't even phase me.

I like to mentally, challenge those phrases, with some of my own. The ones I've learned through this process of eating and moving intuitively, and learning about body diversity and body neutrality:

When I hear...

  • "No pain no gain"

I say (or think)...

  • "Actually, if I'm in pain, I need to stop and take a break, for exercise to be a part of my life and a habitual part of my life, I have to feel good while doing it and it has to be sustainable. My body deserves me being respectful of its limits."

When I hear...

  • "Get ready for the beach"

I say (or think)...

  • "Actually, the only thing I need to be beach ready is pack a bag, include some snacks, pack my sunscreen, a hat, and put on my swimsuit. Sprinting to change my appearance before summer because I'm afraid of what others might think won't result in a healthy relationship to exercise, and it will keep me obsessively thinking about how my body is changing, it will keep me body checking and these things aren't indicative of good health, nor will they lead to sustained exercise habits that can accompany me for life. I will engage in joyful movement as I always do, rest as I always do and enjoy the fact that my body can enjoy beach time and time with friends and family".

When I hear...

  • "Get the slim waist you've always wanted"

I say (or think)...

  • "All bodies are different, and all weight set points are different. I will continue to take care of my body and respect it, engage in movement I enjoy, and my waist will be fine wherever that healthy place is for me. We are not all meant to look the same."

When I hear...

  • "You'll look 20 years younger after you push yourself / finish this plan"

I say (or think)....

  • "Actually, ageing is a normal part of life, and my body going through changes is part of that process. Since I've now learned that exercise is about so much more than a body ideal, I'm just going to enjoy this class or video I like, and treat my body with acceptance and respect.

You get the idea, we hear, we challenge, and we move on. If and when we're ready for this step. When, on the other hand, we hear things like: "gain more energy", "feel stronger", "get more flexibility as you age", "improve your heart and lung health", "feel more embodied and connected to your body", "improve your circulation", "release all that stress and anxiety", we can say "yup! All good reasons for me to get up and move in a way that I love and that feels good".

Let's get to talking about some of these popular at home exercise programs from an intuitive movement and body acceptance lens!:


Tally Rye · Intuitive Movement Fitness Coach

Type of exercise: General fitness without diet culture messaging attached.

Format: Book "Train Happy: An Intuitive Exercise Plan for Everybody", and Youtube channel, and you can also follow her on Instagram and listen to her podcast.

Language status: 100% free from diet culture language, and all about all the other benefits of movement, without obsession. Includes a focus on improving body image. 

Body diversity status: Very inclusive for people of all genders and sizes.

Movement Unmeasured · Barre classes by Simi Botic

Type of exercise: Barre classes.

Format: Digital online classes through a membership program.

Language status: 100% free from diet culture language, in the words of its creator: "A virtual barre membership that celebrates your body and never shames it". Positive and supportive language with a focus on body appreciation.

Body diversity status: Very inclusive for people of all genders and sizes.

Apple Fitness +

Type of exercise: Treadmill classes, cycling classes, yoga, pilates, strength, HIIT, dance, core, and more.

Format: Digital online classes through a membership program which you can stream via Apple TV or an iPhone or iPad. NOTE: you'll need an Apple Watch to be able to use the workouts. This also means you'll be looking at calorie counts, minutes, miles, pace, etc. You have the option of not seeing this on the screen in your settings, but you'll still have it on your watch, so keep this in mind if numbers are triggering for you, and maybe leave this one for a later time if that is the case. 

My personal favorite workouts: the 20 minute strength videos (all trainers are great, Sam's workouts are hard but so much fun, and other favorites are Gregg and Betina), the meditation videos are amazing, and the pilates videos (especially with trainer Marimba) are wonderful. My hubby loves their treadmill workouts (especially Emily's), and their HIIT workouts as well.

Language status: Trainers push you to new places without the language revolving around weight loss or a specific shape, more so around gaining strength, flexibility and endurance. I haven't tried all their workouts, but their lack of diet culture language in all the ones I've tried, needs to be praised as it is rare in the fitness industry!

Body diversity status: Inclusive for people of all genders and sizes, races and has one trainer who is disabled (Amir, who is amazing!).



Type of exercise: Pilates, dance, treadmill, cycling, yoga and stretching, strength, HIIT and more.

Format: Digital online classes through a membership including both live classes, and also pre-recorded classes (which are the ones I tested and used once upon a time).

My personal favorite workouts: Andrea Speir pilates and ballet prep workouts, some of the dance workouts, and the shorter strength workouts.

Language status: Depending on the trainer, they can be full of body and diet culture messaging, or have none of it, so proceed with caution and challenge it when need be. The reason why I still wanted to include it?: it's very affordable for the very wide range of classes and trainers, and Andrea's classes are amazing (she is one of my top pilates trainers of all time with great visual cues to keep good form while doing the exercises at home).

Body diversity status: Not much body diversity among trainers. Trainers of all races.

Yoga with Adrienne

Type of exercise: Yoga and meditation.

Format: Free classes on Youtube for every style, ailment or focus you could possibly dream of.

Language status: It's been a while since I've done yoga with her, but from what I can remember she doesn't put much or any focus on reaching a specific body type (although there are some yoga for weight loss videos in her channel). She always puts the focus on feeling good in your body during the workouts and finding more attunement with your body.

Body diversity status: You only see the head teacher (Adrienne) in all videos.


Type of exercise: Yoga, meditation, qigong, T'ai Chi, and some other toning, dance and pilates classes (including the Windsor pilates classes I bought on DVD more than 15 years ago that I told you about in part 1).

Format: Online streaming workouts within a membership program by many of the top yoga teachers in the world.

Language status: It's been a while since I've done these classes, but from what I can remember there is less talk on pursuing a specific body size (although some specific classes and trainers do mention this), and more about connecting to your body, improving posture and flexibility, strength and feeling good.

Body diversity status: Not the biggest diversity in body size among trainers, but they get extra points for including trainers of various ages and includes specific videos for the later stages of life including a focus on relief from menopause symptoms, body aches or lack of flexibility as you age and more, which is rarely found in the fitness space.


Ballet Beautiful by Mary Helen Bowers

Type of exercise: Ballet / ballet inspired toning (more similar to ballet the barre), and always set to classical music.

Format: Her signature membership program Custom Workout Online Subscription or you can purchase some individual classes and digital dvds in her streaming library. No previous dance experience required.

Language status: Some mention of toning specific parts of the body and some names like bikini workout / supermodel series, in the names of some of the videos, but once the workouts get started it is all about the self expression, dance and exercise itself.

Body diversity status: You see the head teacher (Mary Helen) in almost all the videos as well as Yuki (who teaches the classes with choreography and are completely free from diet culture messages - and amazing!).

Tiler Peck's ballet classes "Turn it out with Tyler"

Type of exercise: Classical Ballet (at the barre and center) set to popular music (some ballet experience required, or just do the section of the class that is at the barre and adapt the movements when needed if you don't have previous experience).

Format: Free online classes in her instagram account. You have to do a little digging in her account to find the actual full length classes, but look in her videos tab, usually for an image of her next to a chair, with a split screen, or on a gray floor mat.

Language status: Free of diet culture language, it's all about the art form, posture, combinations and expression.

Body diversity status: You see the head teacher (Tiler Peck) in all the videos, sometimes with a guest or fellow student.


I have never personally tried it, so I enlisted the help of my dear friend Amanda Wagner of @fueling.veggie.athletes on Instagram, who is a soon to be dietitian, an athlete, and has a non-diet approach. She is a lover of Peloton and who better than her to give us the scoop.

Type of exercise: Treadmill classes, cycling classes, yoga, barre, pilates, strength, core, and more. You can have the Peloton bike or use your own equipment, gym equipment and/or just use the app without equipment.

Format: Digital online streaming workout membership.

Amanda's personal favorite workouts: Workouts with trainers Robin, and Tunde.

Language status:  Trainers push you to new places without the language revolving around weight loss or a specific shape, more so around gaining strength, flexibility and endurance, stress relief and fun, at least in the case of the trainers and classes Amanda has done so far. However, you do see numbers during the workouts when connecting to an Apple Watch or other device, and in the app, so keep this in mind if numbers are  triggering right now.

Body diversity status: Trainers vary in gender, race and age (although most are young), but not as much in terms of body diversity.

There are many other online workouts I have enjoyed through the years, and I have lots of recommendations, especially when it comes to dance workouts (both paid and countless classes available for free on YouTube, but I'll leave it here for today, and we might have a dance specific episode coming your way. For now, you've got lots to explore, and you have all the information so you can know what to expect from some of these classes and trainers. As you can see, no program is perfect, but I do think that many of the ones I've mentioned today are taking steps in the right direction, helping highlight all the benefits of movement outside of a very specific, thin beauty ideal.

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