You Can Now Take Drag Queen Exercise Classes And RuPaul Would Be Proud
RuPaul fans, we have some very important news that might just make your new year: you can now take part in drag queen exercise classes.
Personal trainer Jordan McInerny's fitness classes are the ultimate way to let off some steam (and are probably the only thing that could get us motivated to move in our post-Christmas haze). Tbh, you can sign us up now because we are SO excited.
Jordan, 43, is renowned for injecting a little humour into his workouts, having always included lip-syncing as well as leaving his clients in stitches at his routines.
But in a bid to offer a "fun, safe and welcoming" alternative to "testosterone-filled" classes, Jordan decided he wanted to make a change and came up with the idea of Drag Diva Fitness, having held the first class - all run by drag queens - in January 2019.
Many of us will have experienced the sometimes intimidating and daunting prospect of returning to the gym (especially after scoffing all the chocolate over Christmas) but the personal trainer, from Tooting in south London, wanted to provide an antidote to the 'macho male trainer' stereotype.
"I've been a fitness instructor for seven years and I'm always lip syncing to the music and making a fool of myself because people just love it," he explained.
"Then I thought, 'Instead of me making a fool of myself I could find professionals to do a much better job of it for me - drag queens!'"
Before launching, Jordan trialled the workouts by setting up a charity drag fitness class last October and managed to raise over £400 for Lymphoma Out Loud.
At £12 for an hour-long session at the Bankside Fit Hub, southeast London, the class includes a series of workouts to a variety of different soundtracks. We're talking retro disco and 90s girl bands like the Spice Girls and Destiny's Child.
The classes are run by a team of fabulous and inspirational drag queens, dressed in wigs and fishnets with Jordan explaining the "whole thing is infused with fabulous, fierce drag culture."
From a 'check your nails' bicep curl (we're definitely trying this) to the 'hey girl' shoulder press, it's easy to forget you're actually doing a workout.
"When I'm talking through the exercises they're not just 'squats,' they're 'sl*t squats.' So, we drop to the floor and slap down like we're having a wild time," Jordan explained.
"We're not doing shoulder raises, we're doing 'zig-ah-zig-ahs.' I like to tweak names and put slight twists on what's going on by doing stuff like that.
"I describe the 'hey girl' shoulder press as being like the moment when you're in a busy club, and you look across the dance floor and see your best friend, shouting, 'Hey girl.'
"We also do a 'checking your nails' bicep curl, which involves lifting a weight in one arm up to your shoulder as if you were lifting your hand up to glance at your fresh manicure.
"It's just about making yourself comfortable, so people can get into it and not realise how much work they're doing."
Determined to unleash the "inner diva" in his clients, Jordan explained every class finishes with a strut.
"We finish every class with a catwalk strut," he revealed. Every member dons a wig and props, such as a megaphone, boxing gloves, - or even a fake cigarette - and walks up and down in front of the rest of the group, who are cheering and screaming.
"I want people to feel safe and good in an exercise environment and that's what it's all about. The strut is a central part of that.
"Another key part is halfway through, when each queen takes over instructing the class by performing a unique dance - from belly dancing to twerking - and the class join in for a good five minutes.
"As you can imagine, the queens hold no daggers when it comes to spurring the class on, but it gets the sweat pumping! It elevates the whole thing from a fitness class into a show."
Jordan also has drag queen assistants, including "the original three" - Mary Poppers, Bella U Voyage and Mayowa Monae.
"At first it was hard to find drag queens to motivate our classes but Mary, Bella and Mayowa have all been there from the start," he explained.
"Now we have over a dozen drag queens - and kings - on rotation, with roughly two to three in each class. The drag artists perform differently depending on their mood and no two classes are the same.
"They can go from energetic and lovely to insulting and encouraging the class not to exercise. You just never know what's going to happen next."
Despite the incredible idea, Jordan explained at first, it wasn't as simple as it may sound.
"It was hard to find drag queens that wanted to be involved," he continued. Everyone has their own body issues and drag queens are no exception.
"But we've created an environment where people of all shapes, sizes and genders can enjoy themselves in a safe space.
"It is a fitness class and I work people hard but because they're enjoying themselves, they don't realise just how hard they're working."
One year on and Drag Diva Fitness is a regular sell out with up to 30 people attending the three sessions which run three times a month.
To find out more about Eventbrite, which has listed more than 5,000 drag events worldwide this year, visit Eventbrite.co.uk
Featured Image Credit: (Credit: Pank Sethi Photography/PA Real Life)