We chatted to Cat Webb, founder of @goodtimespilates, about her passion for inclusive movement, her top tips for freeing yourself from body shame, the best spots for a coffee (or wine) in Gertrude Street - and of course - her favourite intimates.
Tell us about Good Times Pilates. How long have you had it and why did you start it?
The studio first opened almost 3 years ago, end of April 2018, but the journey began a long while before then. As a Pilates enthusiast, consumer, mover, teacher I wanted something more than what was being offered at the time. A space where every body was welcome, where people were empowered through positivity and evidence based movement rather than shame, where there were no assumptions or judgement or expectations, where the human experience was the highest priority, where people could explore movement, learn and be autonomous.
It took me about a year to find the right space and the perfect location, I knew Good Times would work best on street level and surrounded by other businesses that are part of the lifestyle of our members. So, we could really be part of the community and also to capitalise on the free advertising that foot traffic and driving past brings (our Pilates neon sign helps with that too).
What does Pilates mean to you in a personal context?
Pilates, to me personally is really the only form of movement I’ve consistently enjoyed and never got sick of! Before I did my first Pilates class at 27, exercise and wellbeing were not at all priorities in my life. I still really fu*king love it too, when I do actually have time to do it these days. I particularly really enjoy the original Pilates moves, that the man himself, Joe Pilates first created for the reformer (which he also designed and engineered) because they’re challenging and rewarding skills based moves.
How has Pilates changed the relationship you have with your body?
Pilates has been the catalyst for an ongoing journey of self-discovery and growth for me. Before Pilates I placed most of my self-worth and value on my physical appearance, I self-objectified. The changes that came from lots of exercise empowered me, for the first time in my life I felt strong and physically able to do some really cool sh*t. But, the physical changes also came with negative effects. I started placing a lot of importance on maintaining the new smaller, more muscle defined version of myself and I was self-deprecating when I didn’t keep it up.
Now, I’m in a position where I’ve learned to place greater value on my abilities than my appearance. This acceptance or neutrality even, has come through a lot of unlearning, self-discovery and education, but my movement experiences have allowed me the space to learn.
How do you deal with body shame and negative voices when looking in the mirror with just intimates on?
Firstly, I want to acknowledge the ongoing privilege I receive for being in a thin body, such as being assumed healthy and having a wide array of clothes available to buy, as well as a body that aligns with the dominant ideas of what is attractive. While I may have experienced body shaming (internally and externally) I have not experienced discrimination because of my size, and for that, I am privileged.
I’ve done a lot of work to get to a place where I no longer body shame, body check, spend time self-deprecating. It’s an ongoing journey, but some of the things I’ve done to get here are:
• Unlearning patriarchal standards and values of beauty
• Being compassionate towards myself
• Heralding my physical abilities and skills
• Looking into the ways I’m influenced and thinking critically of how I’m affected by external sources
• Learning to appreciate my body through caring for it
We’ve seen on you talk about a Feel-Good Inclusive Movement, can you tell us a little more about what this?
From a teaching and community perspective inclusive movement is about valuing the experience of the human/s in front of you above all else. It’s the practice of holding space that facilitates empowerment, gratitude and collaboration. It’s a distinct lack of judgement and assumption. It’s movement that meets people where they’re at.
What are your top tips to get people moving, if they’re feeling a bit stagnant?
• Movement with a friend is a good way to get motivated and feel accountable too
• Practicing gratitude for your body and all the cool things it can do
What are loving most about BITS?
I‘m enjoying finding lots of great intimates brands I didn’t know about before! I also really appreciate the BITS shoots and socials showing a diverse range of bodies.
What are your fave BITS pieces so far?
NICO is one of those brands I didn’t know about and now LOVE. Their ribbed bras are so comfy, plus functional and they look cool. I also have the ribbed shorts and pants from NICO which I wear around the house and also to teach Pilates, great fits too.
Your Good Times Pilates studio is right in the heart of Fitzroy, on Gertrude street. Where are the best places to hang out nearby?
This is tough. I’ll start with coffee…Burnside is my go to, everyday. For breakfast I love the crispy poached eggs at Archies and arepas at Sonido. For very very nice food and wine you can easily sit Poodle and Marion for hours. I’m also a big fan of the cheeseburger at The Builders Arms.