You may have already heard of GalPal Events popping up at different hot spots around the city. The series of networking opportunities encourages women from all walks of life to connect on a genuine level.
But more recently, the group has expanded its reach to local gyms to focus on self-care through body positivity and acceptance. Alysha January, founder of GalPal Events, has always been very open about her own life and struggles on her social media accounts and her blog, Discover Charm City.
But when she started posting about her own personal fitness journey, one of her followers reached out to see if she planned on having a GalPal fitness event. “I hadn’t even thought about doing it,” says January. “But once she said it, it wouldn’t leave my mind.”
January then reached out to Lift Yoga + Strength in Mt. Vernon to host the event, with no real expectations on who would show up. “I had been doing a lot of research on fitness events and thinking about what their promotional materials looked like, and to be honest, it was discouraging,” she says. “It was either everyone was very fit, everyone was all white or all black, or it was an ad aimed for only plus-sized girls. And I just thought, why can’t we put all of these beautiful women together? We are all on this journey.”
So, January reached out to local photographer Becky Stavely and asked her to shoot promotional photos for the first event featuring girls of all shapes, sizes, and colors. “The pictures really resonated with people,” says January. “Because of the vision we put out there, I think people really felt less intimidated and more welcomed.”
GalPal has now held three fitness events and January hopes to continue hosting more on a monthly basis, trying out different gyms and work outs. “I just want everyone to feel comfortable,” she says. “I don’t care if you are black, white, purple, yellow, green, whatever. I don’t care if you are a size 0 or a size 24. You are going to be greeted by women cheering you on and building you up and establishing a sisterhood that every woman needs.”