By: Louise Green
In 2008 I gave birth to my son; three months later I decided, despite my leaking boobs, the tail end of postpartum and weighing in at my all time heaviest weight of 242lbs, that this was the perfect time to become a personal trainer.
Upon acquiring all my certifications I opened my business, Body Exchange, and I dedicated my services to the plus-size woman. Since then, I’ve trained and interacted with thousands of plus-size women and helped them realize and achieve their athletic goals, at any size. And, through this journey I’ve come to own my own story as a plus-size athlete. Together, we continue to crush societal perceptions of what bigger bodies are capable of simply by showing up and doing the unexpected.
Here’s what I’ve learned from stepping into the game plus size:
One: An Athlete is an Athlete
Over time I’ve come to define myself as an athlete and I consistently refer to the courageous women I train as athletes as well. The Oxford Dictionary defines an athlete as: “A person who is proficient in sports or other forms of physical activity”. Nowhere, in the meaning is there a descriptive of body size, mention of professional, paid, athletes or Olympians. It simply refers to proficiency. My interpretation, coupled with what I consistently see in my world, is that anyone who laces up and gets out there is truly an athlete. Regretfully, it is the media and marketing message that has painted its own picture of athleticism and has left a cross section of athletes out of the conversation. That is a critical mistake on many levels.
Two: We are Walking Billboards
If we can’t see plus-athletes in media or advertising we only have our community environment to seek this visual cue. Active athletes of size are a vital visual representation in the public eye, after all “how can we be what we cannot see”? I’ve learned to take my position as a trainer and plus-athlete seriously. I had a profound experience when 15 years ago my first run leader was plus size, she changed my entire perspective on what is possible. From this experience, I’ve learned that by showing up we are someone’s hope for inspiration.
Three: Owning My Story Changed Everything
When I first became a fitness professional, I couldn’t see anyone else in the fitness industry who looked like me. As a result, I felt like I didn’t fit and kept myself small. Brene Brown has a brilliant quote: “You can either walk inside your story and own it or you can stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” The moment I started to own my story and be proud of who I am, everything changed. I realized that my success lies within my differences. I may not look like other athletes or trainers but that’s what makes my approach different and inspirational.
Own it, even if in the beginning you walk alone.
Finish Reading Six Lessons I’ve Learned As A Plus Size Athlete HERE
About The Author: Louise Green is a globally recognized “fit and fat” voice at the forefront of the Body Advocacy movement. She is a successful plus-size athlete, personal trainer and the Founder of Body Exchange; a fitness platform dedicated to plus-size women, with 6 Canadian locations. Green is additionally a writer, speaker and international host of health retreats. Her work with thousands of plus size women was the catalyst to writing her groundbreaking book, Limitless, offering the public a new perception on size diversity and athleticism. Her goal is to abolish weight-stigma and support every “body” to pursue their athletic dreams. You can find Louise on Facebook,Twitter or her blog, LouiseGreen.ca.