Satisfaction Factor

#22 - Movement & Wellness for All Bodies with Betsy Archer

February 23, 2022 Naomi Katz & Sadie Simpson
Satisfaction Factor
#22 - Movement & Wellness for All Bodies with Betsy Archer
Show Notes Transcript

This week, we're talking to Betsy Archer of All Bodies Movement and Wellness in Asheville, NC. We had the pleasure of speaking with Betsy about how her career as a fitness professional was molded by experiencing the negative effects of diet culture as a young athlete and into adulthood, and how she aims to provide a movement space (both in-person locally here in Asheville and online) that is accessible for all bodies; all sizes, all shapes, all abilities, all backgrounds, and all interests.

Betsy is a Health at Every Size-aligned and trauma-informed personal trainer and mental health therapist, as well as owner of All Bodies Movement and Wellness, a personal and small group movement studio where the focus is on helping people heal their relationship with their bodies and building a sustainable, accessible, and intentional movement practice that helps them feel better. All Bodies Movement and Wellness is actively anti-racist, trans positive, queer positive, fat positive and pro love.

And we also want to let you know that All Bodies Movement and Wellness has been selected as a top-6 finalist to receive a $10,000 impact grant in partnership with The BodCon! The BodCon is 1-day virtual conference focused on body confidence and radical self-acceptance, and they are partnering with RBC Bank to provide an organization with funds to further their work towards body confidence and empowerment. If the grant is awarded to All Bodies Movement and Wellness, it will be used to start an equity fund to help make personal and group training (online and locally in-person) more financially accessible to anyone, and to move into a larger studio space to serve more people. The grant is awarded based on a voting system so we would love for all of our Satisfaction Factor podcast listeners to go vote for All Bodies Movement and Wellness here: https://thebodcon.com/thebodcon2022. Voting closes on Friday Feb 25th at midnight and just takes a few seconds to do!

You can find learn more about Betsy and All Bodies Movement and Wellness on Instagram @allbodiesmovement, on their website allbodiesmovement.com, or by emailing allbodiesmovement@gmail.com.

You can stay up to date on all things Satisfaction Factor by following us on IG @satisfactionfactorpod!

Here's where to find us:
Sadie Simpson: www.sadiesimpson.com or IG @thesadiesimpson
Naomi Katz: www.happyshapes.co or IG @happyshapesnaomi

Naomi Katz:

Welcome to Satisfaction Factor, the podcast where we explore how ditching diet culture makes our whole lives more satisfying. Hey, everyone. Welcome back to Satisfaction Factor. I'm Naomi Katz, an Intuitive Eating, body image, and self trust coach providing anti diet support to free thinking grownups who want to reclaim their autonomy and consent from diet culture.

Sadie Simpson:

I'm Sadie Simpson, an anti diet group fitness instructor and Intuitive Eating counselor. I help other fitness professionals disengage from diet culture, so they can improve program enrollment, engagement, impact, and retention without shame and manipulation. Today we're talking to Betsy Archer. Betsy is a Health at Every Size-aligned and trauma-informed personal trainer and mental health therapist right here in Asheville, North Carolina. Betsy is the owner of All Bodies Movement and Wellness. This is a personal and small group movement studio in Asheville, where the focus is on helping people heal their relationship with their bodies, and to build a sustainable, accessible, and intentional movement practice that helps them feel better. All Bodies Movement and Wellness is actively anti-racist, trans positive, queer positive, fat positive, and pro love. A few other fun facts about Betsy- she loves all forms of the color teal, her wife and three kiddos, and the smell that comes after rain in the desert.

Naomi Katz:

We had the pleasure of speaking with Betsy about how her career as a fitness professional was molded by experiencing the negative effects of diet culture as a young athlete and into adulthood, and how she aims to provide a movement space, both in person locally here in Asheville and online, that's accessible for all bodies, all sizes, all shapes, all abilities, all backgrounds, and all interests.

Sadie Simpson:

Before we dive into our conversation with Betsy, we also wanted to let you know that All Bodies Movement and Wellness has been selected as a top six finalist to receive a $10,000 impact grant in partnership with The BodyCon. The BodyCon is a one day virtual conference focused on body confidence and radical self acceptance, and they're partnering with RBC Bank to provide an organization with funds to further their work towards body confidence and towards body empowerment. And if the grant is awarded to Betsy and to All Bodies Movement and Wellness, it'll be used to start an equity fund to help make personal training and group training, both online and locally in person, more financially accessible to anybody, and also to move into a larger studio space to serve more people. The grant is awarded based on a voting system, so we would love for all of our Satisfaction Factor podcast listeners to go vote for All Bodies Movement and Wellness, and we'll put the link in the show notes. Voting closes on Friday, February 25th at midnight, and it's super easy- just takes a couple of seconds to do, and it would mean so much.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, y'all, you'll listen to this interview with Betsy, and you will absolutely want to go support her in this. So please do so.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. Now let's talk to Betsy. Welcome, Betsy. Thank you for joining us on the Satisfaction Factor podcast. We are excited to talk to you today.

Betsy Archer:

Well, thanks so much for having me. I am excited to be here.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. So the first thing that we want to ask you- and this is something that we are asking everybody who is a guest on the podcast- is can you tell us a little bit about your experience with diet culture?

Betsy Archer:

Oh, yes, I can. I think the first story that comes to mind is having been a competitive athlete playing on like Olympic development soccer teams, and being the largest person on my team at the time. And having my coach cut me from the team. I was probably 14, and he cut me because he told my mom I was too big, and that I needed to lose weight in order to play. And it turns out there were other things happening in the background, but he took this opportunity to touch on this place where he knew that this 14 year old girl will be vulnerable, and use that as the reason for cutting me from this team that I had been on for five years.

Naomi Katz:

Oh, wow.

Betsy Archer:

Yeah. That's really the first time I remember heartbreak related to diet culture. I think before then it was hearing how my mom talked about her body. It was Slim Fast. That was like all over my house.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah.

Betsy Archer:

That was like what my mother would have for a meal. There was this idea that somehow Butter Buds was gonna save all of our waistlines.

Sadie Simpson:

I don't know what Butter Buds are.

Betsy Archer:

Oh my god, it was this like powder that you put on a surface and somehow it turned into a kind of a liquid. So it was like- it was almost like liquid- liquid butter. But it was- it didn't make sense. It was chemically wrong.

Naomi Katz:

Like defied physics. But-

Betsy Archer:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

-good for your health.

Betsy Archer:

Right. We also had like the squeeze butter-

Sadie Simpson:

Oh yeah.

Betsy Archer:

-that wasn't butter. It was basically like vegetable oil. It's really gross.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, I very much believe it's not butter.

Betsy Archer:

Yes. It is not. Not at all. No, no. So those are kind of my earliest memories. And also recognizing, probably when I was 10 or 11- so just pre-puberty for me- that my body type was not like anybody else in my family. My mom's side of the family are tall and thin. And my dad's side of the family are tall and muscular and thin. So recognizing that at that age that that wasn't good. That my that my body was different.

Naomi Katz:

How would you say those experiences both at home and as an athlete, like how did that affect your relationship with your body, with food, with movement, and stuff like that moving forward?

Betsy Archer:

Well, I developed a really disordered relationship with movement around that time where I hadn't before. And that came from me being like, well, fuck him, I'm going to lose this weight- quote, unquote, this weight. And so we had a pool, and I swam every day. And I was 14. And I lost 20 pounds that summer. And I was like, this is amazing. Look what I did. I exercise twice a day, look how disciplined I am. Don't I have so much willpower. And so really starting to buy into the- that messaging around how I was supposed to relate to movement and exercise. That really stayed with me. So I had kind of the competitive athlete part of me that just went to practice, and did what the coaches asked me, and didn't have any sort of disordered relationship with that. But it was really everything that I did outside of practice that really felt compulsive, I guess, and obligatory.

Naomi Katz:

It's so harmful when we see how, like just people think they're making offhand comments, and then it impacts us so significantly,

Betsy Archer:

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Especially when the people who are making comments have a smaller body than you have. So that was something that- that I noticed a lot, is that thin- thinner, people would say, oh, god, I'm- I'm so- I'm so fat, or I need to go on a diet, or I just need to lose weight. And when I'm thinking, oh, so what are you thinking about me? What is you saying that saying about me? And if I don't feel bad about this area, well, I should.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, you know, this is a conversation that we have definitely- like that we've talked about here before, and I so appreciate you sharing that, because it's- it's such a perfect illustration of why this kind of diet talk and stuff like that is not neutral. Like it doesn't matter that you're talking about your own body, other people are hearing you and understanding that you're also judging their bodies.

Betsy Archer:

Mm-hmm. Definitely. And now having three small kids, and one who identifies as female, and knowing how she's going to be perceived in the outside world, and knowing that- I don't say anything about my body in front of her, unless it's, oh, I felt really strong today. Or I wanted to do this thing, and I needed a little bit of help, instead of saying, oh, I was so weak, or I'm so out of shape, or whatever. Even though like both my wife and I are on board with the same language, sometimes I will catch her or myself on the verge of saying something about oh, that's jiggly part, or this used to fit me better, I've gotten so big, or whatever the comment would be.

Naomi Katz:

It's hard to be a human living in the world of diet culture, trying to eradicate diet culture from your family experience. Even being a person who has done all that work, it

Betsy Archer:

Yeah. still comes out sometimes. And it's just- it's so important to know that like there is no perfect experience of ditching diet culture. Yeah. It's nice when you see a little bit of the results of- though- of trying to ditch diet culture show up in your kids. I have this experience of being in the bathtub, and my daughter came in, and I could see her- she's just looking me up and down, head to toe. She was probably, I don't know, four or five at the time, and I was kind of bracing myself for what is she going to say? And she said, Mama, you're so powerful.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, yeah.

Betsy Archer:

I was like, I love you.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, my gosh.

Naomi Katz:

Oh wow.

Betsy Archer:

Yeah. I was like okay.

Sadie Simpson:

That's so amazing.

Naomi Katz:

That is- that's a beautiful story.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

I love that.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh my gosh. I know- we do the same thing here. Like I really try not to mention anything about bodies in front of my child. And actually the other day, I was listening back to one of our episodes. I think it was last week's Satisfaction Factor episode. And I rarely listen to it in the car with my kid because like- I don't know, I just don't like to listen to it in the car with him. But I was playing it in the car, and we had mentioned something about weight loss, and he said something- he was like, what does that mean? I was like, oh, huh.

Betsy Archer:

Good job, mama.

Sadie Simpson:

That's interesting. Okay. But yeah, it's wild, like, just to navigate this as an individual, and then also the considerations of how this can either affect your own children, or kids around you, or people around you, in a good way, or in a bad way.

Betsy Archer:

I have a child who's soon to enter puberty, and seeing their relationship with their own body, and how they're starting to recognize comments that other people make about other people's bodies, not even not even their own. But how does it hit when trusted people in their life make comments about other people's bodies? How do they, I guess, then not turn around and internalize that as a comment about them? So we just try to have really open dialogue. And when something is said, and I hear it, we talk about it afterwards. And so that they have a really positive body concept as their body is

Naomi Katz:

Yeah. changing, as they're gaining weight as pubescent children should, as they're growing taller, as they're discovering what it is their body can do. Just really maintaining that open dialogue, I think is what's going to be the most important. It's not that I- the dialogue was closed, but I grew up in

Betsy Archer:

If anybody's had Grape Nuts. Oh, I mean, it's that- that 80s and 90s era of Weight Watchers is like number one. We're going to give you all the low fat tasteless food. I grew up in a house where like we had chocolate chip cookies sometimes, but most of the time the treat was granola with- not granola, what's that called? Grape Nuts with honey. like paste. It's like, sweet paste.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, Grape Nuts with honey. Like, when you said granola with honey, I was like, okay, that's not- but especially- but granola is off limits when you're going- in that like 80s and 90s, it was all about like how bad granola was.

Sadie Simpson:

Mm-hmm.

Naomi Katz:

You guys remember that? Yeah.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh yeah.

Betsy Archer:

Yeah. I remember my dad's bran muffin phase.

Naomi Katz:

Oh, yeah.

Betsy Archer:

And there was a point where it was like, this tastes good. And now I, you know, throw up in my mouth a little bit thinking about his bran muffins.

Naomi Katz:

It's so funny how we can convince ourselves that things like that tasted good when we're in that mindset that like they're all we're allowed to have.

Betsy Archer:

Yeah, yes. Skim milk? Nope.

Naomi Katz:

Oh, god. I know, I think it speaks really strongly to how we want to have pleasure in our eating experiences, and when we're not getting it, we'll even go so far as to convince ourselves that we are.

Sadie Simpson:

Mm-hmm.

Betsy Archer:

Yeah. And that when we do take pleasure in the food that we're eating, that there's something wrong with that.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. That's bad.

Betsy Archer:

So we have to convince ourselves- yeah, that it's bad. So we have to convince ourselves, no, actually, everybody deserves to have this experience of enjoying what they're consuming that was made, you know, either with love, or quickly, or came in a box. It's Girl Scout Cookie season, which is- which is like a thing in our house. So like enjoying them.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

I did not realize it was Girl Scout Cookie season, and I'm going to have to seek some out now.

Betsy Archer:

All you have to do is go to your local big box hardware store, and they'll be standing out front on the weekend.

Naomi Katz:

Excellent, excellent advice. Thank you for that.

Betsy Archer:

You're welcome.

Sadie Simpson:

So you've talked to us a little bit about your experience in sports, and just growing up, and just some of the ways diet culture has affected you that way. Tell us a little bit about how this experience has impacted you professionally.

Betsy Archer:

There's a story there, Sadie.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh.

Betsy Archer:

So when I had my last experience with attempting intentional weight loss, I had signed up with a gym that was pretty toxic, looking back. And they promoted supplements, of course that they sold. And they promoted this very specific ways of eating. And I kind of like fell into all of it. And at one point, there was a new trainer who came in, and this trainer lived in a really large body, and was the best trainer that I had ever had. And as she came in there, I started to kind of put these pieces together that, oh, wait a minute, this person is super strong, this person is super fit, maybe there's an alternative route to getting what I wanted, which was to feel confident and capable in my body. And I thought the only ways to really feel that were through losing weight. So after I had that experience, and started to kind of unpack the things that I had paid this gym to give to me, and then everything else that had come before, I decided that I wanted to provide a space for other people to move their bodies. And- that was just completely free of any judgment. A place where people felt like their body autonomy was respected- actually a place where people were told that they have body autonomy, because a lot of people would start by coming in and not realizing that when a doctor says, you know, you need to adopt a vegan diet and run five days a week, that actually is not true, that they can make the decisions about how to move their bodies and how to eat. And so I started with just like converting the garage at my own house into a studio. I wanted it to be pretty. I wanted there to be bright colors. I wanted there to be lots of plants, and lots of light, good music, and I wanted somebody to walk in and be like, I feel like I'm hanging out with a friend in my living room, and I'm gonna develop these habits that are going to help me feel better.

Naomi Katz:

I love that you made it like this whole experience of pleasure, basically, like as opposed to like, this is really intimidating. Like I think a lot of people when they walk into a gym- and I honestly think a lot of gyms intentionally try and cultivate- this sense of like almost intimidation, that like there's- that helps position them as an authority, like that helps manufacture there's a need for somebody to show you what to do and tell you what to do. Because the- just being in the space makes you feel so intimidated and like lost. So I love that you like intentionally- not just in what you were teaching, but in the space that you were teaching it- tried to cultivate this sense of like, no, you're welcome here.

Betsy Archer:

Yes. And there was that, and there was having the experience having gone to a CrossFit box. Can I say CrossFit?

Naomi Katz:

Sure. Oh, we do.

Sadie Simpson:

We name all kinds of brands.

Betsy Archer:

So I had the, you know, this experience of going to a CrossFit gym for three months before I burned out. But it was dirty, there was chalk dust all over the place, it kind of smelled bad, everything was really dark, everything was like gray and black, and there was no air conditioning and no heat. And you just suffered through because that's what you were supposed to do. And I was like, so I'm going to create the anti-CrossFit. Even my kettlebells are pretty- they're like pink, and green, and blue, and yellow. And I wanted to have different implements that might make movement feel a little bit more accessible, like some playground equipment. So I have hula hoops, and jump ropes. And even my rower is really pretty, and it sounds- you know, it's a water rower, so you get the rush of the water as you pull it. So just trying to make somebody feel like they can walk in and not have to be terrified.

Sadie Simpson:

So you said you initially opened your gym in your garage? How has that evolved over time to where now like you have your own studio space. What led to that?

Betsy Archer:

Twins going to kindergarten. So I started out with this plan, and I knew that this idea was filling a void, particularly in Asheville. And so I just trusted that it was all going to work. And so my plan was: renovate the garage, when the twins go to kindergarten we move, I find a space where I go to work every day and build something and in a brick and mortar spot. And so that's what has happened.

Sadie Simpson:

Wow.

Betsy Archer:

Yeah.

Sadie Simpson:

That's awesome.

Naomi Katz:

I feel like there's so few instances of talking to somebody where they're like, yeah, it was just exactly what I planned. That's amazing.

Betsy Archer:

I mean, I definitely did not plan for COVID.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah.

Betsy Archer:

Yeah. But you know, even with COVID, I was able to pivot in- in a way that appealed to people. And I had an incredibly supportive landlord, who really made it possible to hold on until we could get back to in person. Because we were forced closed for, I don't know, eight months-

Naomi Katz:

Yeah.

Betsy Archer:

-by the state.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Betsy Archer:

And so then, you know, coming back in person in May of 2021, and really starting to build from there, from what had been a completely virtual experience.

Sadie Simpson:

You mentioned that there was a void that needed to be filled in the Asheville area. Tell us a little bit more about that void and some opportunities that you see for your studio in our local Asheville area.

Betsy Archer:

There are a lot of places in the world- not gonna name specifics- that are- that have taken on the term body positivity, and are trying to incorporate that into what they do. And really, it is this white, cisgendered, heterosexual, female version of- of body positivity. And what I am proposing with this studio is it's radical body neutrality. And so this idea that like there is no value in your body looking a certain way, moving a certain way. There's no value in you eating a certain way. This idea of radical body neutrality, where somebody doesn't feel like they need to fit into any mold, whatever that is, in order to have their body accepted. So people walk in the door, and, regardless, we offer them an opportunity to move in a way that is accessible to their body in that moment. Sometimes that means that I will do 50 minutes of stretching with somebody because they didn't sleep the night before, and they- maybe they had a sick kid, and they haven't eaten very well, and they just don't feel great, but they still want some movement. So they show up and we do what their body is asking for in that moment. And sometimes somebody will come in and be like, I am really stressed out, I have all this frenetic energy, I really need to get it out, and so we ramp things up a little bit.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. Oh, my gosh, I love that so much. And I mentioned this a couple of months ago on one of our episodes, that I was starting to do some in person personal training again. And I'm actually working with Betsy. So for those of you who are listening out there,

Betsy Archer:

Yay! you might be starting to put some of these pieces together. But I actually experienced that last week working for your studio. I had somebody show up to one of their sessions, and they were like, I've had a migraine all week, like I feel like crap, I don't know what I'm gonna be able to do today. And I was like, well, one, you know, you showed up, so that's something, even if you feel like crap, even if we can't, you know, do the full 50 minutes of even our session, like let's talk about it for a minute. And we were able to sort of shift from this place of, oh, gosh, I've had this migraine for a week, I feel guilty, I feel kind of bad for not being able to do something, I don't know why I'm even showing up to this session, to, well, let's shift gears and talk about like what could you do in this moment to support yourself. Could you close your eyes and do some slow deep breathing? Could you do some like tension and release of like some muscles around your neck, or your shoulders, or your back? And we just ended up having a really good conversation about how to honor what you need in your body in that moment, and we were able to get some kind of restorative feel good movement in there. So I love that so much. And that's one thing that I love about working with you, and working for the studio too, is that we're able- like it sounds super freakin cliche- but we're able to meet people where they are. But really mean it. Like not just say, I'm gonna meet you where you're at, but like really, truly honest to God, like, meet people where they are in the moment, and kind of help them find what they need in that moment. And I love it. Yeah. I find that also like being up to date on some of the research around movement is really helpful for some clients. So you can say, you know, oh, you've had this migraine- movement, and particularly weightlifting is really great for migraines, but not while you're having one. It's really- you know- so let's- I love that

Sadie Simpson:

Mm-hmm. you're like, yeah, let's figure out how to support your body today. And then we can go back into the strength training when this passes. Yep. And we did. This week.

Betsy Archer:

Yeah.

Sadie Simpson:

It was great.

Betsy Archer:

That's awesome.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

I love that so much. And I love the point about like actually meeting people where they're at, because I think that's a really common marketing tool right now, much like body positivity has become like this marketing tool, that there's a lot of rhetoric out there about, like, oh, we'll meet you where you're at, but like, not really. But we really mean by that is we're gonna try and make sure that where you're at fits where we want you to be.

Betsy Archer:

Right, we're gonna make sure that- that you fit into this box. We're gonna do this one size fits all workout. And that's why the terminology that I use is- feels important in talking about intentional movement versus exercise. Sometimes I say working out or exercise, and I'll say, here's what I mean is intentional movement, just because those are like entry words for a lot of folks.

Sadie Simpson:

Mm-hmm.

Betsy Archer:

But it's also part of the reason why we talk about small group training instead of group exercise. Because with small group training, what we're doing is actually focusing on every person in the room, and their own body needs, and showing them different adaptations of movements if one doesn't work in their body, versus like, you go to- even even at the Y- you go to the Y, and there's 25 people in a class, and you're expected to just follow along, and if it doesn't work in your body, then you're in the back, and you're like, oh, god. Like that one time I went to a Zumba class, I was like, I am an idiot. I'm uncoordinated. I have no business being here. Versus like, if there was a Zumba class in the studio here, it'd be like, you feel like an idiot, you look like an idiot, yay we're all idiots.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. To be fair, like in my classes, I do say that. I'm like, you just do whatever the crap you like doing.

Betsy Archer:

Yeah.

Sadie Simpson:

Everybody else is worried about what they're doing. Nobody's looking at you.

Betsy Archer:

Yeah.

Sadie Simpson:

But yeah, I love that.

Betsy Archer:

That's why I love you.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, man. So what would you consider to be the most rewarding part of your job?

Betsy Archer:

There are two things that come up. One is when I move really, really slowly with a client with a particular movement. So squats in particular- the actual protective way to squat eludes a lot of people. They're like, I- you're telling me to do 47 things, it doesn't make sense in my body. But when somebody gets it, and you see them put that together, that's really rewarding, because it's not about the squat, it's about them laying down new neural pathways that help them set up more functional movement. It's about them building the strength to support the movement, which means that they've also built their mobility and their flexibility to get into the movement. So it seems like, just, what do you mean, they can squat? But it's- it says a lot more. And then the clients who say, you know, when I first came to you, I had this injury, and I haven't hurt in however many months, or I haven't hurt in a year, or, you know, I sprained my ankle the other week, and I was healed in a week because everything was so strong.

Naomi Katz:

Do you find that clients are surprised when they start to notice these benefits without actually seeing any change in their body size or anything like that? So especially things around like knee pain, or joint pain in general, and stuff where, so often, the prescription for that is to lose weight.

Betsy Archer:

Oh god.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah. And so, do you find- do you find that- working with clients who have that kind of pain, that they start to see that relief without necessarily focusing on weight loss- that that's like a revelation for them a little bit?

Betsy Archer:

Yes. And I think that the revelation comes when we do very small movements. And so when we do like a lot of isometrics, so holding in a extended position, I think clients are like, I wasn't sore from that workout, and I think that means I'm not doing much. And then they're like, oh, I've been doing this for a few weeks. Oh, I feel stronger. Oh, I was noticing I- I work with a lot of folks with back pain- like, oh, I was noticing I was taking the groceries in from the car and it didn't hurt. Like oh, yeah. Like and all we're doing is lift your pelvic floor and pull your belly button in.

Naomi Katz:

Obviously, that's a big diet culture narrative that you must spend some time unpacking- that, like, I have to be sore for this to be effective.

Betsy Archer:

Mm-hmm.

Naomi Katz:

Do you find that there are other like common themes or narratives that you find yourself unpacking with people pretty often?

Betsy Archer:

One of the other things that I end up talking to clients a lot about is this idea about how often they should move, and in what ways they should move. So beyond like physical exertion, feeling like I have to be breathing really heavy, and I have to leave a workout super sweaty, and I have to do that four days a week in order to achieve, quote unquote, fitness. So helping folks unpack how do you like to move in your body? What messages have you gotten about how you should move in your body? What are movements that you don't like? People say, oh, I hate to run. And I say, okay, well, we'll never run. They're like, what do you mean, we'll never run? I have to run. No, no, you don't. And so, same thing- like, I hate lunges. I'm not gonna do lunges.

Naomi Katz:

Oh, you and me both. They are my least favorite thing in the entire world.

Betsy Archer:

Yeah. Yeah. I'm probably never gonna do lunges. Maybe. Probably. So like, helping- really helping folks recognize that they- I say all the time to my clients, you are the autonomous owner of your body, you make these decisions about how you move, who you move with, where you move, how strenuous, how gentle, what exercises you do. And so I say to my clients, like what I'm giving you is an offering, and you can choose to do things the way that I have offered, or you can say that doesn't feel good in my body. So them- I think the- the narrative of them not having a choice when they've engaged in a specific program with me, or with, you know, at any other gym- like, oh, I'm in this spin class, I have to go as hard as the spin teacher's telling me, I don't have a choice. I had a conversation with a client recently where I said, if you have to go home and nap after our sessions, we've gone too hard. They're like, what do you mean, I always nap after I work out.

Sadie Simpson:

Alright, so we talked about the most rewarding part of your job. What would you say is the most challenging part?

Betsy Archer:

Well, I would say that the most challenging part of my job is really getting people to believe in the Yeah, and eventually, it may click, and it may not. possibility that what I'm saying could be true, in terms of their ownership over their body, in terms of their ability to make decisions for their own bodies. And really starting to undo all that messaging around, you have to go at 90% of your max capacity four days a week, or you're really not even moving. And when I say we're gonna go at 60 to 70% of your max capacity because that's more sustainable long term, people are like, huh, alright. You know, but there's this- there's this, like, I'm not sure I believe you. But it's okay. I just keep saying it. Yep. Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

So Betsy, you're a personal trainer, you're a studio owner, but you're also a therapist.

Betsy Archer:

Correct.

Naomi Katz:

So can you tell us a little bit more about how you tie healing your relationship to your body and like healing from diet culture into your therapy practice?

Betsy Archer:

Sure. So in my therapy practice, I focus on working with folks who might have things that show up somatically- so in the body- so things like anxiety or depression that really impact how you feel in your body. That's kind of the basis for the work that I do. And there's definitely a lot of unpacking the- the messaging that folks have gotten from their parents in particular, or from partners, or just from being a human moving through the world. The narratives that people have around what they should, quote unquote, should and should not be able to control. Or we have- I have a lot of clients come to me and they will talk about the advice that friends give them when they are in some sort of relationship with anxiety. And they'll say, yeah, my friends are like, go for a walk, meditate for five minutes, have you tried... Have you tried forest bathing? That was my favorite. Right. When obviously, it goes well beyond forest bathing or five minutes of quiet on the floor. The type of therapy I practice is called Narrative Therapy. And we talk in the- in the narrative worldview, we talk a lot about how the problem is the problem, not the person is the problem. And that really gives people this opportunity to recognize that they're in relationship with these different things that affect them. And if we can talk about being in relationship with- with something- let's talk about being in relationship with anxiety- then we can talk about what does a relationship look like? What sort of control do you have over relationships? If you had, like a housemate who was invading your space, how would you talk to that housemate about, it's fine if you're here, but I need you to be on the other side of the room? So like, it's kind of this different way of approaching the work.

Naomi Katz:

Wow, I love that so much. And I also- like I can't help but note how it's almost like the antithesis of how we relate to things in diet culture.

Betsy Archer:

Mm-hmm.

Naomi Katz:

So like how we relate to control- which, you know, diet culture is all about control. Like, you know, the idea of things being in relationship- which I feel like diet culture is such a transactional thing that we like, a lot of times, we lose the ability to recognize things as relational. And of course, like the embodiment aspect of it- which diet culture is so much about disconnecting from the body. But like the big thing- the problem is the problem, the person's not the problem- I feel like that's- I mean, honestly, I feel like that speaks to all kinds of higher level systems and how we process them as individuals within those systems. Where like, there's so much push to be like, I'm the problem. And it's so helpful to be able to say, actually, there's other things that are the problem here, it's not me, and really-

Betsy Archer:

Right.

Naomi Katz:

-put the focus back on where the problem really is-

Betsy Archer:

Right.

Naomi Katz:

-instead of just blaming ourselves for it.

Betsy Archer:

If we think about being in- having a relationship with diet culture, we also can end a relationship. So we can make a conscious decision to be like, there's the fucking door. And even if it's, like, picturing incrementally this some sort of characterized or anthropomorphized diet culture moving towards the door, it's getting distance from the person, and getting distance from this idea that they have control over you- that diet culture has control over you.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes. Oh my gosh, I think that's gonna be really helpful, honestly, for so many people to hear. Like, that was helpful for me to hear. Personifying diet culture, almost, and utilizing that as a way to, like, break up with it and to end the relationship. Dang.

Betsy Archer:

Yeah. And to know that, like, it's something that you can talk back to.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Betsy Archer:

Oh you know what, I used to believe you, but I don't- I'm not so sure anymore that what you're telling me is true.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah.

Betsy Archer:

Or fuck you, you've hurt me enough, get out. You know, like, so really- yeah, it's a really powerful tool. And it's- it's a different way of- of looking at the hold, I guess, of diet culture.

Naomi Katz:

I love that.

Sadie Simpson:

Can you tell us a little bit about like some of the intersectionality work you've done? So I was like, you know, stalking all of your social media and things from the last year or so. Like you did the Queers Unlearning, with the group- like the six week focused group on unlearning the damage of diet culture. Like tell us a little bit more about what you've done in that aspect? And also, like, do you have anything coming down the pipeline, kind of like this?

Betsy Archer:

Yeah. So I'm really interested in affinity group spaces. And so, whether that's spaces for BIPOC folks, spaces for trans folks, spaces for queer folks, spaces for people who've never engaged in intentional movement and would be really new to movement- I'm sure there are a lot more affinity groups that I- that I'm thinking of. But I really love this idea of seeing what happens when you have shared identity, and how having shared identity impacts your ability to connect with your own body, to connect with the shared experience, and to kind of move through the painful places together. My hope is that in the next iteration of the business, that I'm going to be able to start offering some of these affinity group spaces.

Sadie Simpson:

Tell us about the next iteration of your business. So you've just had a name change and a rebrand. Kind of talk to us about that a little bit and how that came to be.

Betsy Archer:

It's funny, I was just talking with my wife about this today, and she was like, if you had it to do differently, I love that. I love making shifts to better align with what would you have named your business All Bodies Movement and Wellness from the beginning? And I don't think I would have. So I started the business as PlayFit AVL, and I wanted it to be very clear in the name- again, going back- that it was the anti CrossFit- that was part of it, and that it was a place that might be a little bit more accessible. Playfulness is often a little bit more accessible, and there's a ton of research about all the benefits of play for adults. But what has become clear is that that's not exactly what I- what I do. So what I really do is try to create a space where anybody can come in and work on that healing their relationship, and work on building sustainable movement practices that help them feel better, so they can do what makes them happy. And so having the name All Bodies Movement and Wellness, it just feels like it more encapsulates what is actually happening in the studio. we're doing. And I think a lot of times we start out in one place, and then sort of, as we go along, realize like, this isn't quite it, and like having the space to shift is so important. Yeah, and in some weird ways, the pandemic has like opened up that shape- that space for so many people to pivot. You know, that was like one of the buzzwords of the pandemic, is I'm gonna pivot.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah.

Betsy Archer:

We're pivoting. They pivoted. So like how there's- I think it was a space to really sit with what it is you're doing and why. And it's really- I mean, it's very much aligned with the kind of the narrative therapy- it's like, what's the story about how thing- you think things have been? What's the story about how you'd like things to be? And what are the barriers and discrepancies between the two?

Naomi Katz:

Mm-hmm.

Betsy Archer:

Yeah. And so how can tuning into those barriers and discrepancies help you move towards the story the way you want it to be. And for me, like the shift is really the story about how I wanted it to be. I really wanted to be able to have this place where anybody could walk in at any time. And so that was kind of the shift and the pivot, the rebrand, the rename, the expansion of offerings, all of that.

Naomi Katz:

I love that. That's so needed- like just a space like that for people to be able to just feel welcome, and have access to, and it's just- it's so important. I love that.

Betsy Archer:

Yeah, I'm excited. I have big plans to maybe take over the world one day, but-

Naomi Katz:

Oh, could you? I would live in that world.

Betsy Archer:

I'm working on it.

Sadie Simpson:

Is there anything else that you specifically want to say that we have not asked yet?

Betsy Archer:

I just want to talk about how important these conversations are, and how people don't engage in these conversations in their regular life, and they don't challenge the dominant paradigm about weight and movement, and I think it's so important. It's so important for people to see their bodies represented. It's so important for people to hear that there are people in bodies different from them who believe in their autonomy, who believe in this idea that you can actually heal your relationship with your body, that you don't have to keep this relationship with movement or with eating that doesn't serve you. Yeah.

Sadie Simpson:

I love that.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, absolutely. And thank you so much for having this conversation with us.

Betsy Archer:

Yeah, thank you for inviting me.

Sadie Simpson:

And for providing a space-

Naomi Katz:

Yeah.

Sadie Simpson:

-where people can like engage in that.

Betsy Archer:

Yeah.

Sadie Simpson:

So tell us a little bit more about how people can work with you. How do we get in touch with you, how do we find out what you're offering, and all that good stuff?

Betsy Archer:

The easiest thing is to follow us on Instagram @allbodiesmovement. You can also check out the website at allbodiesmovement.com or email allbodiesmovement@gmail.com. You're sensing a theme at this point? Yeah, so those are pretty much the easiest ways to get in touch. Our offerings will be posted on Instagram. The hope is to not only expand small group offerings, but maybe start to offer soon maybe like a dance movement class, maybe like some super fun other movements that I can't talk about yet. But you really should check out. I would expect in the next year for lots more offerings to be coming down the pike.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

And right now you have in person one on one training and small group training in Asheville, and then also virtual training options.

Betsy Archer:

Yes, I have had clients in Canada, California, Washington State, Michigan. I have several clients in the DC area. There's like a little cluster. Yeah, so we will see- we will see folks anywhere.

Naomi Katz:

Fantastic. That is awesome.

Sadie Simpson:

All right. We like to wrap up by asking everybody the final question. Betsy, what's satisfying for you right now?

Betsy Archer:

What's satisfying for me right now, Sadie, is that I'm building a new chicken coop out of reclaimed wood, and it has cost me $28.30 total. And that feels extremely satisfying.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes.

Naomi Katz:

That is amazing. Let me just tell you that my neighbor, who I know listens to this, and who has chickens, and a rooster, and everything will be really, really excited to hear that.

Betsy Archer:

Well that's great. So if they need any tips about turning pallets into a chicken coop, I can point them to the YouTube channel.

Naomi Katz:

Fantastic. That sounds really satisfying. And I just- it's so funny, like I don't have chickens, but my neighbor does, and I love them so much. I love hearing them. I love that they're out there. There's like something just lovely about having chickens around.

Betsy Archer:

There's something amazing about when the car pulls up and these four little feathered creatures run, with their little butts shifting side to side, over to the car to say hello.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, they're so sweet.

Betsy Archer:

Yeah, my wife has actually been deathly afraid of chickens. Like somehow they were going to, you know, poke her eyes out or something, up until like the last three weeks, so.

Naomi Katz:

That's awesome. That sounds really satisfying.

Betsy Archer:

We call that a chicken shift, a satisfying chicken shift.

Naomi Katz:

Well, Betsy, thank you so so much for- for talking with us today and sharing your amazing outlook on all of this stuff with us. We really appreciate you having this conversation with us, and, you know, like Sadie said earlier, creating a space for these conversations here.

Betsy Archer:

Yeah. Well, thank you so much, both of you. And thank you for hosting this- this space.

Sadie Simpson:

That's all for us this week. Thanks to Betsy Archer from All Bodies Movement and Wellness for joining us today. Be sure to check out her website and Instagram page for up to date information on how you can get connected to personal and small group training locally in the Asheville area or online, and be sure to go vote for All Bodies Movement and Wellness to win that $10,000 impact grant.

Naomi Katz:

If you enjoyed this podcast, we'd love to connect with you over on our Instagram page @satisfactionfactorpod. Go ahead and comment, let us know what you think about this episode. And one simple thing you can do to support us is if you're listening on Apple podcasts or Spotify, you can leave us a rating and a review, as that helps us to reach more people.

Sadie Simpson:

We'll talk to you next week.