My favorite organizer – who also happens to be my sweetie pie – believes that the natural reaction of people who are being screwed over is to organize.  When they start to organize, though, they’re confronted with barriers, many of them imposed by the forces doing the screwing over.  Understood this way, the work of an organizer is to remove those barriers, so the organizing that people are naturally inclined to do can get done.

So, in honor of the fabulously ferocious first class of BOLD (Black Organizing for Liberation and Dignity) being in town this weekend, here are the four monster barriers to fitness…and what you can do to remove those barriers and get damned fit.

4. Sitting still.  That couch you’re sitting on is monster barrier number four to your body doing what it wants to do, which is to be in motion.  A body in motion stays in motion.  A body in an office chair stays in an office chair. And that sh*t will kill you. Here’s a stat: people who work jobs that have them sitting still have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease as people working jobs that have them moving around.

(A clarification – it’s not the sitting that causes the drop in insulin effectiveness, the disappearance of fat-burning enzymes, the switching off of electrical activity in your legs, etc…it’s the sitting still.  If you’re sitting for long stretches because you have limited function in your legs, but are able to be active in other ways, you’re good.  If you’re sitting because your job is in front of a computer, getting up and walking around every half hour is good.  Add five squats and five pushups on the top of every hour, and you’re great.)

Anyway, we’ve come to believe – both in our brains and in our bodies – that our natural state of being is to remain stationary.  If we sit really still in front of a computer for eight hours, our prize is to get under a snuggly at home, and sit very still watching Mad Men.  The bad news is that sitting still has become a habit.  The good news is your body so desperately wants to move around, that coming out for a queerfit workout even once a week is enough to break that habit. It won’t happen instantaneously, but it will happen. Promise.

3. Refined sugar. The stuff is addictive and probably poisonous. Bad combo.  What else is there to say?

2. Cash moneys.  Whether it’s the $250 a month that crossfit gyms charge, or the $25 a month at the YMCA, cost is a barrier.   Monster barrier number two may not be a rational barrier – you might know full well that you dropped more on double martinis at the club last night than it costs for a month of yoga – but it’s a barrier nevertheless.  Rather than try and reason with you, we just made queerfit free.  So boomsauce, baby, that barrier’s gone. Done. Erased. Next?

1. Shame.  One of my favorite Atlantans Connie Curry, who with Ella Baker was the adult advisor on the executive committee of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), was on a panel a few years ago when she was asked a long, rambling statement/question about the need to take down capitalism.

“Hmmm, capitalism,” she said. “That’s a biggie.”

And so it is with shame.  Purveyors of all manner of useless fitness/health/beauty crap both create and exploit the shame that we feel about our bodies.  It’s a zillion dollar industry, and is not going to go away in our lifetime.  Toss those of us with bodies that are creatively gendered, bigger or smaller than average, differently abled, inappropriately sexualized, or otherwise queerly situated into this commercialization of shame and, well, hmmm, that’s a biggie.

We can drown in this cesspool of shame, or we can try to create  a place where there we can engage in new, difficult, intense, athletic physical activity without shame.  Lots of pain, but no shame.  The most important element in creating this place? Your weirdo queerio self.

So come on. Come on to queerfit tomorrow or any Saturday morning. Participate in 100 Days of Phys Ed. You may never get to the point where you’re shameless, but you will get to where you can do a hellavu lot of push-ups. And that’s pretty great too. See you tomorrow!