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WHITE CENTER, Wash. — It’s pretty rare to see a gym with a doughnut as a logo, but No Judgement Fitness in White Center is no ordinary gym.
“Basically, if you walk into a traditional gym and feel uncomfortable, you’re probably gonna fit in here,” said owner Sophia Walker.
Walker has lived many lives. She attended law school, was a D1 soccer player, and then became a certified personal trainer. From there, she moved to White Center, where she opened No Judgement Fitness in the detached garage behind her house. The gym hosts weight-training classes throughout the week, but there’s so much more to it.
As a queer woman, Walker wanted not just to make a unique gym that felt welcoming and safe for queer people, but a place where people of all body types, abilities, and backgrounds could come together.
“I didn’t know that it was going to be as necessary as it was when I opened it,” Walker said.
For many people — women, queer people, fat people, people of color — gyms can feel intimidating and even harmful. And for those with eating disorders, they can be a minefield.
“I have never seen a straight guy go up to another straight guy and say, ‘Let me tell you how to do that,’” Walker said. “It’s happened to me five times.”
Straight cis men are welcome at No Judgement Fitness, of course — but Walker says that everyone who attends needs to understand that it’s a unique space.
“My favorite thing about this space is the way that Sophia has created a truly body positive, even fat positive, space,” said Haley, a regular class-goer. “That is, you’re not going to find any of the hallmarks that a lot of gyms have that are participating in really harmful diet culture — assuming that everybody wants to lose weight, or that losing weight would be healthy for everyone.”
Several eating disorder clinics refer their patients to No Judgement Fitness.
“There was someone who I know it took a lot of courage to come in,” Walker said. “And at the end of the class, they cried. But it was happy. And it was relief. And that’s probably going to be one of the most meaningful days of my entire life.”
Another hallmark? No mirrors. Walker says mirrors are both distracting and harmful to one’s form when weight lifting.
“In my experience, I have found that people pull out of form more often in the mirror, because when you’re dealing with weights, so much of the time one of the prompts is to tuck your chin, which gives you a double chin,” Walker said.
No Judgement Fitness offers 45-minute strength-training classes as well as individual personal training sessions. And if you’re looking to concentrate on arms, there’s a class for you — Lesbian Arms. The name speaks for itself.
“If you want to come, you will fit in. As long as you’re cool with gay people,” Walker said. “We’re very, very, very gay.”
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