American Dreamers: EVERYBODY in Los Angeles

Since 2004, Yelp has worked to connect millions of people to the best in local business. In that time we’ve met thousands of passionate small business owners, a group as hard-working and diverse as any you’ll find. In this series, we share stories of just some of the people who, through their commitment to building great local businesses, are sustaining the vibrant local communities we call home.

Wouldn’t it be great? Sam Rypinski asks that question quite often. Wouldn’t it be great if the fitness industry respected all bodies and needs? Wouldn’t it be great to work out in a space designed to support the entire community? He found inspiration in the question, and in his Cypress Park gym EVERYBODY, he’s found an answer: a radically-inclusive queer gym designed from the ground up to welcome members of all genders, abilities, and economic status. 

EVERYBODY was born from a frustration with the status quo. “I didn’t want to feel unwelcome in gyms anymore,” Rypinski – who identifies as a transgender male – said when asked what trends he aimed to correct. Fitness studios often cater to those who can afford expensive classes, a demographic he identifies as overwhelmingly heterosexual, upwardly mobile, white, and fit. “If you don’t fit that mold, you have to squeeze into a space made for somebody else.” So, together with his business partner Lake Sharp, Rypinski opened a new type of gym. One where “all bodies are worthy of being healthy, and every body is a good body. Because everybody has strength, even if you’re disabled, fat, or transgendered.”

Rypinski and Sharp take great care to ensure that EVERYBODY reflects these values. The site in Cypress Park was selected specifically for its proximity to neighborhoods with large queer populations. Conscious of LA’s rampant gentrification, they provide programming that serves the needs of their community. Neighborhood residents can join at a discounted rate and low-income memberships are available on an honor system. And the class schedule is designed to meet the needs of as many as possible. Demystify the Machine teaches newcomers the basics of using weightlifting equipment while Fat Kid Dance Party is aerobics as dance floor reclamation. HYPERCAMP is a neon-flooded group fitness experience that is one part bootcamp and one part fitness rave.

Within the space, design elements drive home EVERYBODY’s wholistic and inclusive approach to fitness. At 8000 square feet, it’s a large facility yet somehow feels both open and intimate. Natural woods, thoughtful lighting and limited mirrors (more form, less flexing) distinguish the space from a big box gym. Adjacent wellness studios incorporate massage, acupuncture, reiki, and more. The first of its kind, the shared gender-neutral locker room with private changing stalls ensures no member has to choose in which space they fit. At EVERBODY, everybody belongs.

As a young business, Rypinski knows that EVERYBODY has plenty of room to grow. A newly-completed outdoor patio promises new opportunities for expanded classes and community outreach. Beyond Cypress Park, however, he hopes his business can be a model for facilities elsewhere across the country. EVERYBODY is proof that a gym can offer both modern sophistication and an inclusive environment. It’s more than a good philosophy. It’s also good business.

Want to know more about EVERYBODY? Check out their website and be sure to read their reviews on Yelp!