Gym Bodies : Exploring Fitness Cultures book cover
1st Edition

Gym Bodies
Exploring Fitness Cultures

ISBN 9780367560355
Published April 29, 2022 by Routledge
220 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Drawing on empirical research, this fascinating new book explores the embodied experiences of ‘gym goers’ and the fitness cultures that are constructed within gyms and fitness spaces.

Gym Bodies offers a personal, interactive, ethnographic account of the multiplicity of contemporary gym practices, spaces and cultures, including bodybuilding, CrossFit and Spinning. It argues that gym bodies are historically constructed, social, sensual, emotional and political; that experience intersects with multiple embodied identities; and that fitness cultures are profoundly important in shaping the body in wider contemporary culture.

This is important reading for students, tutors and researchers working in sport and exercise studies, sociology of the body, health studies, leisure, cultural studies, gender and education. It is also a valuable resource for policy makers and practitioners within the fields of sport, leisure, health and education.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introducing (Our) Gym Bodies and Fitness Cultures

James Brighton, Ian Wellard and Amy Clark

Chapter 2: Conceptualising Gym Bodies

James Brighton, Ian Wellard and Amy Clark

Chapter 3: A History of Gyms and the Evolvement of Contemporary Fitness

James Brighton, Ian Wellard and Amy Clark

Chapter 4: Embodied Methodological Considerations

James Brighton

Chapter 5: Gym Spaces

James Brighton, Ian Wellard and Amy Clark

Chapter 6: Being Personally Trained

Ian Wellard

Chapter 7: CrossFit

James Brighton

Chapter 8: Spinning

Amy Clark

Chapter 9: Reflections

James Brighton, Ian Wellard and Amy Clark

Appendix 1: Judgement Criteria employed

Appendix 2: WOD Acronyms in CrossFit

Appendix 3: The original ‘Girls’

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James Brighton is Senior Lecturer in the Sociology of Sport and Exercise at Canterbury Christ Church University, UK. His theoretical and empirical research interests lie in the social and cultural analysis of sport and fitness, the sociology of the body and disability studies. Methodologically, he is interested in interpretive forms of qualitative inquiry including ethnography, life history and narrative analyses. He is also a qualified fitness instructor and personal trainer.

Ian Wellard is an independent writer based in Cornwall, UK. His main research interests relate to embodied practices, physical activity, gender and sport. Much of this research has been generated through ethnographic studies, which draw upon qualitative and reflexive approaches to the ways in which embodied identities are constructed and negotiated. Ian is also a qualified Level 2 CrossFit coach.

Amy Clark is an independent scholar based in Kent, UK. Her doctoral research employed a feminist phenomenological framework to help reveal the embodied experiences of women within fitness cultures. Methodologically, she is interested in how sensuous forms of ethnography can be used to explore lived, fleshy corporeality of others who experience multiple forms of oppression as a result of their embodiment. She is also a qualified personal trainer and Spinning instructor.