Trainer Jesse Corbin Shares His Coming Out Journey Through an Empowering Virtual Workout
Coming out or leaning into one's true self looks different for everyone - some eschew labels, while others find strength in leading with the pieces of their identities that were hard-fought to own. For certified personal trainer and iFIT coach Jesse Corbin, building a special workout around his self-acceptance journey felt like a cathartic representation of the ultimate reconciliation he forged between his faith and his sexuality.
In a new 30-minute workout now available on the iFIT app (a free 30-day trial is available for new users) and iFIT-powered fitness machines including NordicTrack, ProForm, and Freemotion equipment, Corbin leads viewers through a progressive virtual fitness class that incorporates walking, running, and hiking through and beyond Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats. As part of the platform's Heart to Heart series, the workout also gives Corbin a chance to recount his own coming-out experience, offering words of wisdom informed by his own struggles and triumphs throughout the years.
"Admitting I was attracted to men and then finding a way to embrace and celebrate that part of me was very hard because for much of my life I felt alone and isolated in those feelings - unable to safely explore an important part of my identity," shares Corbin. "Because I understand that pain and sadness first-hand, I was so excited to have iFIT as a platform to share some of my story and connect with individuals around the world who may be in a similar position. While my story is difficult, it has also led to growth, positive transformation, and a lot of love; that is a message I want to share with the world and that I pray can encourage even one person." (Related: The Case for Being Upfront About Your Sexuality On the First Date)
Moving along with Corbin through the workout as you listen to his journey is a seamless experience with iFIT-connected equipment that automatically adjusts speed, resistance, and incline to match your coach's instructions. (Interested in your own? Check out the iFIT-enabled NordicTrack T Series Treadmill, Buy It, $999, amazon.com, and NordicTrack Spacesaver SE7i Elliptical Trainer, Buy It, $1,145, amazon.com) Removing the need to fiddle with knobs or buttons means users can focus fully on an instructor's cues and empowering words - and the breathtaking settings.
"We intentionally used both the location of the workout - the Bonneville Salt Flats - as well as the structure of the workout to mirror the trajectory of my story up until now," explains Corbin. "The Salt Flats are stunning but can feel like a lonely and barren desert. If you walk far enough, you reach outcroppings of rocks that allow you to climb higher and experience beautiful views."
The workout itself mimics Corbin's personal experiences, starting out with a slower walk and increasing in intensity over the course of the half-hour class. "In the first part of the workout, we walk as I share about the time I spent alone, trying to understand who I was and what I was feeling," he says. "Toward the middle of the workout, we pick up speed into a jog as I reach the part of my story where I began to grow through my experience and pain. Finally, we begin an uphill climb into the outcroppings of rocks as I remind my iFIT family that the greatest roadblocks in our lives can be transformed into stepping stones that can elevate us - if we change our perspective." (Related: How to Start Running for Beginners)
The workout culminates with a journey to the edge of the Flats, a moment that's meant to represent Corbin's celebration of the moments that have empowered him to step authentically into his true identity, he explains.
"Even though the world we live in today has become much more inclusive and open, there are still many kids, teens, and adults who feel unable to explore themselves and express their true identity," he says. "I have spent much of my life struggling to love all the parts of myself and am still on a journey of self-discovery and acceptance." (Related: Read This If You've Ever Worried That You're "Not Queer Enough")
While Corbin's Salt Flats workout centers on his coming-out story, the message is meant to go far beyond a discussion of sexuality. "Whether it's a career that your family doesn't support, an interest or passion you feel ashamed of, an opinion you feel judged for, or any number of other things that may cause you to withdraw and hide your true self, we all have barriers on the path to loving and accepting ourselves unconditionally," he says.
For Corbin, the ultimate goal of the Heart to Heart workout is to encourage people to move forward in life with pride - whatever that means for them. "I want everyone to walk away with confidence and purpose - confident that they are worthy, that they can be with the person they love, that what others call weird is actually wonderful," he says. "And that following their dreams and beliefs can produce a joyful life. My challenge to anyone listening is to lead with love and live authentically."