When we think about fitness, the image that often comes to mind is intense workouts, competitive environments, and an overwhelming focus on physical appearance. This traditional view can be daunting and unwelcoming for many. But what if there was a place that turned this concept on its head? Welcome to Babes of Wellness in Compton, a gym that’s not just challenging these norms but completely rewriting them.

In 2018, Katalina Novoa, the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, saw a gap in the fitness industry. She observed how conventional gyms often felt unsafe and unwelcoming, especially for women and queer people. Driven by the question, “How can I create a safe space for women and queer people to feel safe again?” she founded Babes of Wellness. This gym isn’t just about physical fitness; it’s a sanctuary where every member is encouraged to connect with their body in a positive, nurturing way.

One of the unique features of Babes of Wellness is the 12-week Senoras program, tailored specifically for women aged 50 and above. This program embodies the gym’s ethos perfectly. It’s not about pushing limits to the extreme but about understanding and embracing where each individual is in their fitness journey. Here, exercise feels like a celebration of the body’s capabilities rather than a punishment for its limitations.

“We’re really helping in mobilizing and teaching them what it feels like to connect with their bodies in a way that feels good, that feels like a celebration of what their bodies can do, not a punishment for what they can’t do,” Katalina shares. To that end, she endeavors to meet the Senoras where they are in their fitness journey. That’s why at Babes of Wellness, communication isn’t a barrier; it’s a bridge. Whether it’s through language choice or the nature of the exercises, everyone can find a welcoming space.

This approach resonates deeply with clients. Anna Perez, one of the program’s members, shares, “I feel good about myself. I’ve found a place that encourages me, not just telling me, ‘You have to do it this way.’ I feel great when I come here and I feel great when I leave.”

Other members echo the sentiments, expressing how Babes of Wellness is more than a gym; it’s a movement. As Katalina envisioned, it now stands as a beacon in the community, especially important in spaces where traditional gym environments have felt alienating. Katalina’s vision goes beyond physical fitness. It’s about nurturing self-care and self-love. This ethos is the heartbeat of Babes of Wellness, where the focus is on emotional well-being as much as it is on physical strength.

Most importantly, the impact of Babes of Wellness extends into the broader community. By creating a space where women and queer folks can feel safe and celebrated, the gym has become more than a place to work out. It’s a community hub, a source of empowerment, and a testament to the power of redefining conventional fitness narratives.

As Babes of Wellness continues to grow and impact lives, it stands as a shining example of what happens when fitness meets compassion, understanding, and a deep commitment to inclusivity. It’s a reminder that fitness is not just about the physical; it’s a holistic journey of the mind, body, and spirit.