We were initially introduced to Louise Green in 2012 when we told you about her Body Exchange fitness boot camps. She continued to win us over as she shared fitness tips and her views on the representation of plus size athletes.
When thinking of a person that speaks to the “fit and fat” woman in all of us, Louise was the first person to come to mind. I encourage you to read her interview this month and get to know Louise Green, the fitness expert and the woman.
DailyVenusDiva.com: What made you decide to become a fitness expert and how long have you been a trainer?
Louise Green: I have been a trainer since 2007. I had a trainer that encouraged me to become a run leader in a learn to run 10K program she was conducting. I was plus size and came with apprehension, but I found that I loved it and it immediately felt like my calling.
DailyVenusDiva.com: What do you love most about training others? What’s the most rewarding?
Louise Green: I love instilling in people the concept that athletes come in all shapes and sizes. I love instilling that mindset and watching women grow with that empowerment and watching them consider a new path, that you don’t need to lose weight to kick ass.
DailyVenusDiva.com: Why do you think that people feel that athletes have to look a certain way and can’t be plus size? Where do you think that mindset comes from?
Louise Green: That mindset comes from the lack of representation laid out before us in society. Brands will rarely align themselves with the plus size woman because of the negative undertone the media presents when it comes to obesity. This results in virtually no visual representation of the plus size woman in fitness and health.
DailyVenusDiva.com: In what ways do you dispel negative myths about being plus size and fit? How can other men and women fight against those negative weight stigmas?
Louise Green: First, I live an athletic lifestyle and put aside my personal fear to represent the plus size woman in athletics and then I coach other women to do the same. I do this by talking to my clients like athletes and creating a space where their athletic dreams can be limitless. I think it is a challenging fight because it requires people to step out of their comfort zone and into a society that can lack acceptance, but the more we see plus size bodies in fit and athletic roles the more it creates a safer environment and entices others to follow suit. How can we be what we cannot see?
DailyVenusDiva.com: One of the many safe environments that you’ve created is Body Exchange. What made you start the plus size fitness boot camp?
Louise Green: It was through my volunteer work as a run leader and my personal experience in boot camp environments. I was usually the biggest girl and often at the back of the pack. It often felt intimidated and I’d see other plus size men and women join in only to not come back after a few times and I realized that the fitness industry was harping on people of size to get moving yet they were entirely missing the mark on their needs as far as environment, appropriate training and building tribes of support. I did some research and found next to nothing for the plus size aspiring athlete. So, I decided to build that space.
DailyVenusDiva.com: I applaud you for seeing something that needed to be done and doing it. Did you experience any hurdles in the beginning and how did you overcome them?
Louise Green: I had just had a baby, my Son was 3 months old when I opened Body Exchange, I was the heaviest I’d ever been and wasn’t in the place I am now with body love and self acceptance. I was still in a place of seeking acceptance from the fitness industry so I guess the hurdles were my own internal struggles with owning my mission, this concept and myself. Over time, I’ve really come full circle in self acceptance, advocacy and standing up to change our society but in the beginning really played its small.
Of course, I’ve also received backlash from some of the public for my concept, but as my own confidence built that has reduced almost to nothing.
DailyVenusDiva.com: What do you tell other plus size women who are in the same mental space that you were in when you opened Body Exchange? How do you encourage them when they haven’t fully accepted themselves but want to set fitness goals?
Louise Green: I still often have many women who come wanting that quick fix and who honestly believe they will be happier and a better person when their body is smaller. I gently educate them on the damage I’ve seen through the past 8 years. I try to instill my message by attraction and showing women a different way rather than giving them too much verbal information. The women who work with me know what I am about and they know the quick fix isn’t going to come from me so we work on building them up as athletes, building confidence and opening up their minds to unlimited possibilities.
DailyVenusDiva.com: Right now, Body Exchange is in Canada. Do you have plans of bringing it to the U.S.?
Louise Green: Yes, my goal is to bring it to the U.S. I have been interviewing people to open locations in the U.S. we’ve come really close to finding the right people, but for some reason or another, it hasn’t been the right fit. I do plan to market, more aggressively, the business opportunity for Body Exchange USA.
DailyVenusDiva.com: That would be amazing!!! Have you ever thought about doing virtual boot camps?
Louise Green: No, I haven’t! Something to look into but I’ve done virtual training, it has been an issue with the equipment. I have a ton of different equipment I use that would be hard to produce my program over the web.
We do boxing, use battle ropes, weights, med balls, TRX, it would be difficult, but I do need to figure out a way to reach more women, more quickly than I am!
DailyVenusDiva.com: Speaking of boxing. That’s something that’s on my to-do list. I’ve never boxed a day in my life, but it just seems like a great workout. So, I really hope you’re able to bring your boot camp here. Tell me about your book, Limitless.
Louise Green: The book, Limitless is dedicated to the plus size woman. After looking at the fitness books in the book stores for years, I had the same reaction I did when I was attending those boot camps. I thought “these books just don’t speak the right language, or send the right message to the plus size woman” They are all about getting flat abs in 30 Days or shredding 2 dress sizes in 2 weeks, they still remain full of empty promises and dis-empowerment for our audience. Limitless is full of practical advice, but also how to change your mindset to believing you are an athlete and that your body is an amazing machine at the size you are today. It finally speaks her language.
Ironically, I just submitted my 3rd draft today to an interested publisher, after 18 months of shopping it around, I think we are very close to a traditional publishing deal.
DailyVenusDiva.com: What type of message do you want readers to walk away with?
Louise Green: The message I want readers to walk away with is that if they can find the right support, find their tribe of like minded women and find fitness that “fits” then her athletic potential is virtually limitless. Additionally, I want readers to know that greatness does not come when you are thinner, fitter, younger or more beautiful, it is happening right now if you pay attention. You can totally kick ass in the body you have today, every “body” has limitless potential.
DailyVenusDiva.com: We often reference plus size women, but what about plus size teens. How can a teen benefit from your programs, books and DVD?
Louise Green: I think the information in my book and the DVD is applicable to any age. I think teens need the same education around what is happening in society and why often many of us feel sidelined. Being a teen is tough, but I believe exercise is one of the most empowering things you can do for self-esteem. It’s a really good question Stephanie, perhaps a virtual program for teens is in the future.
DailyVenusDiva.com: That may be the way to go. Speaking of your DVD, what made you decide to produce a fitness DVD and where can we purchase it?
Louise Green: I produced the DVD because I had a lot of women contacting me about when we were opening up in their community. I wasn’t able to give a definitive so I created the DVD so people could join in at home. The great thing about the DVD is that you can start in a chair if you need to and then slowly progress to a more intense workout over time. The language used throughout is “building athletes” language and makes the DVD empowering and attainable to any “body” and fitness level. Right now you can buy the DVD on my website at www.louisegreen.ca or www.bodyexchange.ca, soon Collage Video in the USA will be selling it on their site and they are also pitching it to stores like Barnes and Nobel for USA sales.
DailyVenusDiva.com: Louise, the work you’re doing is phenomenal. When you’re not busy inspiring other women, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Louise Green: Thank you. I enjoy training my own body! Right now I am training for my first full triathlon and each year my husband and I do the Ride to Conquer Cancer, it’s a 240km ride from Vancouver to Seattle to raise money for Cancer research. I love being active. I also love spending time with my Son, Eli — he is also training for a triathlon!
DailyVenusDiva.com: So your entire family runs right along with you. I love it. What message do you want to leave our readers with?
Louise Green: I believe our body size holds no weight in our dreams and aspirations, what society is telling us is simply a lie.