Asher Freeman is the founder of Nonnormative Body Club and this month's Body Positive Superhero! Each month, we're highlighting the work of one of our heroes of the Body Positive Fitness community. Asher is a body positive personal trainer and uses their work to remind people that our bodies belong to us and we have every right to inhabit, nourish, and celebrate them as they are. Read our full interview below.
Who is your superhero?
N.K. Jemisin. I recently finished reading The Broken Earth Trilogy in which Jemisin completely redefined my personal understanding of power structures and how they're maintained. If we seek justice, we need superheroes like Jemisin who can distill the vast, overwhelming ways in which power and oppression function into approachable narratives. As Walidah Imarisha says, "All organizing is science fiction."
What's your favorite activity?
Eating delicious food with close friends and family.
Do you talk to your clients about their bodies? Tell us about that.
I talk to my clients about their relationships with their bodies. We talk about the shame and discomfort that so many of us carry from being told that our bodies are wrong or bad. I love hearing from them about the confidence and self love that comes from feeling physically strong. And I'm also available to talk about the hard times. When it feels like we do everything we can to care for our bodies, but still feel betrayed by illness or injury.
When did you change your own relationship with fitness? What was the pivotal moment?
Five years ago, I left a dream job under fairly traumatic circumstances. When endless hours of job-searching just led to dead ends, I realized how deeply I had internalized capitalist messaging about my worth being determined by my paid work. In an effort to regain my sense of self, I made an "unemployment bucket list" of free activities I could do as I searched for a job. One of the first tasks was to get a free gym trial and use it. I got seven! I spent an hour each day intently focused on how my body moves through space, and slowly but surely, I began to come home to myself.
Who is your perfect client and why?
I love vocal clients! When I'm teaching group fitness classes, I feed off the energy of a talkative group. I love it when people grunt and laugh and complain about period cramps. When I'm working with clients one-on-one, I appreciate a client who will say, "I don't like this exercise" or "I don't feel this stretch where you say I should." My job is to support people in feeling good in their bodies, and it's so much easier to do my job when I get direct feedback.
Is there anything special you're working on that you want to promote?
I am co-facilitating webinars on trans wellness education, binding health, and top surgery recovery for fitness professionals with my massage therapist colleague. We don't have all of the details yet, but you can get more info at https://nonnormativebodyclub.com/trans-wellness-workshops.
I’d also love to share info about the West Philadelphia running and walking group for beginners and returners to learn supportive stretches and strengthening exercises for injury prevention. We’ll meet for six weeks on Wednesdays at 7 PM. You can sign up at https://nonnormativebodyclub.com/group-fitness.
What’s your super power?
Calmness in crisis.