Our Story

We are an eating disorder survivor & a fitness professional. We are a client & an instructor. We are friends. We are campaigners.

workEDout is a campaign by Leah Newton and Carly Wilkinson, to open up the conversation between fitness professionals and those suffering from eating disorders (EDs). We want to make it less of a taboo subject. Through this, we hope to empower fitness professionals to further educate themselves about this topic.

Leah and Carly are friends who met in a class Carly was teaching, which Leah attended. Before attending Carly’s class for the first time, Leah had suffered from an eating disorder for over five years, from which she had recently recovered. Since meeting, discussions over coffee have become a friendship, and our campaign – workEDout – has been created with the aid of a lot of flat whites!


As our friendship developed, we found ourselves talking about all aspects of eating disorders and fitness. We realised that so much still isn’t spoken about, mainly through lack of confidence or knowledge around the issue, or because it’s scary to know what’s the right thing to even say.

We traded ideas and experiences on how to make a fitness environment safer for those who are unfortunately at any stage of an eating disorder, what instructors are trained to do when they suspect someone in their care needs support, or how someone in recovery should best be encouraged back to a mentally healthy place through exercise.

“Can we talk?”

We decided to focus all of these questions on something we could campaign for, in a defined way, with a specific outcome. We are passionate about empowering fitness instructors to feel confident in supporting clients with eating disorders, whether that’s those at risk, currently suffering, or in recovery.

And so, that’s the focus of workEDout. Our campaign exists to encourage fitness professionals to upskill in this area so they feel more educated, and in turn make clients feel more confident in asking for help if they need it.


In launching this campaign, we hope we’ll empower fitness professionals to:

1. RECOGNISE the signs of eating disorders in clients, by furthering their education

2. APPROACH clients sensitively & confidently, when there is concern

3. REFER clients who require specialist support to the necessary services, in a way which feels authentic to the instructor-client relationship

We also hope our campaign will embolden those who are suffering from eating disorders, to feel safer and more comfortable approaching their trainers for advice and support.


What we’ve done so far

We’ve spoken to numerous people who have suffered from, or who are currently suffering from eating disorders. We’ve also spoken to fitness professionals of all types, to see what the current conversation around this topic looks like.

We’ve created a number of short videos where we discuss our findings, and our own experiences as a gym instructor and client who has recovered from an eating disorder. In these videos, we’ve shared information for fitness professionals on how to gain further education into this important topic, and better support clients in need.

Once the campaign has officially launched, we’ll be taking our findings to local gyms and instructors, through talks and workshops where we’ll share our experiences to further the conversation.


Professional backing

Although we are not affiliated with them, we have gained recognition and support from national eating disorders charity Anorexia Bulimia Care (ABC). ABC have given us permission to promote their CIMPSA-endorsed CPD course, “Understanding Eating Disorders for Fitness Professionals”. You can find out more about this and other resources, HERE.


Leah in the press

Leah has shared her story from eating disorder to recovery with The Bristol Post and Bristol Women’s Voice.


Our Research

We would like to thank those with eating disorders who took time to speak to us in confidence, and so honestly about their experiences.

We’d also like to thank all of the fitness professionals who shared their experiences to help widen our research, some of whom were happy to be named below:

Gemma David // Sarah Harradine // Carly Lightbown // Elle Linton // Jane Rogers // Molly Williams // Chantal Wood


Interact with us

You can find us on

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

and Instagram: Carly // Leah

(Quick thank you to Pete Silk at Good Times Studio for creating our logo as a pro-bono project!)

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