When fitness comes to mind, people tend to think of grueling work and feeling insecure about working out alongside others who seem more knowledgeable than them. But EveryBody Movement & Wellness feels like home, with its bright, white walls, wooden flooring, and, in neon lights, “EveryBody” on the wall. It looks like a place where it can be fun to exercise—or, at the very least, accessible.
EveryBody Movement & Wellness aims to address the accessibility problems that come with gyms. “We’re trying to work with all the barriers to movement that exist,” Julia Naftulin, owner and founder of EveryBody Movement and Fitness, states. “And If I can’t eliminate them, at least, diminish them.”
In Naftulin's experiences at former fitness studios, she found that they didn’t explicitly make the inclusion of all different body types part of their mission. “It makes me sad that you need to make it explicit, but I think you have to make it explicit. Because so many people have been denied their dignity because of their size, their shape, their color, their background.”
Naftulin aspires to welcome demographics that are generally left out of the gym. This includes all genders and ages, people with lower incomes, and people with disabilities. She wants to offer a place where people don’t have to focus on technique, but instead a place where people can build confidence and community through movement. The studios offer a broad range of options—such as pilates, yoga, barre classes, high–intensity interval classes, dance classes, kids' classes (tumbling, jazz fusion, yoga), and wellness services (massage, psychotherapy, somatic movement educator, and health consultant services). Many offer sliding scale and donation classes.
This space is not only an inclusive space, but an actively positive space. Oftentimes, gyms are seen as places where people go to change their bodies to better fit societal norms. But Naftulin has a different goal in mind. “Fitness, whatever that means to the individual...has to be something that you like. It can’t feel like you’re dragging yourself to do it. Because what’s the point?” she tells me. “No one is expecting you to look a certain way when you come, or when you leave. I explicitly didn’t put mirrors up for that very reason.” She offers a host of options so people can find the “thing that really inspires [them]...taught from this framework of compassion.”
This compassion extends beyond just the fitness class setting. Recently, the studio did a fundraiser for a local family. But the philanthropy doesn’t end there. “Socially, I’m going to continue to do fundraising projects for causes that are important to me,” Naftulin states. Their next fundraising project is going to be for Girls Justice League, and in the future, they hope to form a better handicap accessible entrance for the studio.
Everybody Movement and Fitness is more than just a workout space—it’s a safe space. And Naftulin welcomes any member of the Philadelphia community into this safe space. As she says, “Come here. You’re safe. We’ve got something you can do with joy.”