This Gym Uses Real Members, Not Models, In Their Ad Campaign — And They Come In All Sizes

"I was truly moved to tears by the strength and courage of these members ... "

Gym advertisements are too often created using strikingly gorgeous models with immaculately chiseled bodies. These people are certainly beautiful in their own right, but they don't represent the average person hitting the gym. 

That's why Blink Fitness decided to take a different approach with their latest "Every Body Happy" campaign. Instead of models, the campaign features 16 of Blink's very own gym members of varying shapes and sizes. 

But Blink promises there's one thing that does connect them all — their self-confidence. 

To find members for the campaign, Blink Fitness asked people to send photos or videos on Instagram showing off their confidence and explaining why they should be picked for the ad. The gym received an overwhelming response, with over 2,000 submissions. Of the 2,000, they picked 50 semi-finalists to share their personal fitness stories during an in-person casting call. The casting agents evaluating the members, including body positive advocate and actress Dascha Polanco — who you might recognize from Orange is the New Black — and former NFL punter Steve Weatherford. 

"At Blink's casting call, I was truly moved to tears by the strength and courage of these members, whose stories prove there's more than one reason to go to the gym," Polanco told PR Newswire. "I struggle daily to find the courage to go to the gym and push myself to continue a healthy lifestyle, which is why it was motivating to see the pure joy and dedication Blink inspired in each member."

According to a survey commissioned by Blink Fitness last month, 82 percent of Americans say their relationship with their body could be improved. Additionally, 64 percent of Americans say they find it discouraging to work towards unrealistic body images they see in the media.

Luckily, the body positive movement continues to spread and many companies are making strides to be more inclusive with their advertising and casting, showcasing people with different body types and offering products that cater to them. 

Blink Fitness is trying to continue the trend and help people feel more confident in their own bodies and, at the same time, not feel intimidated to go to the gym if they choose to. 

"As consumers, we're constantly inundated with images of so-called 'perfect' bodies, and the fitness industry can be particularly heavy-handed with this," Ellen Roggemann, vice president of marketing for Blink Fitness, told PR Newswire. "At Blink, we want to redefine the aspirational image of 'fit,' to be about feeling confident in your own skin. Who better to help us with this mission than our actual members? Through this new campaign, consumers will learn about someone like Celestino, who regained the ability to walk again at Blink or Amy, a working mother of three, who maintains her health — and sanity — by making time for fitness."

Our Curvy & Confident content is fueled by Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident: 101 Stories about Loving Yourself and Your Body — a book filled with stories by those who embrace their body, no matter its shape or size.

(H/T: Yahoo