Being Plus Sized is Not a Problem.

Today I saw a post on Facebook that really really bothered me!

Some ladies were inquiring about local plus size fitness classes. They wanted a facility and program that was exclusive to 'full figure women' who could exercise without the judgemental eyes of other gym goers preying on their insecurities. And since it is proven that having the support of like minded individuals increases your chance of success, they were looking for a group that share similar physical qualities because they felt it would be a more welcoming, understanding, and comfortable setting.

These types of programs are available in our community but when I was asked if I would ever consider offering a program like this in my facility, I said no. The reason I said no is because...

I hate plus size fitness classes!

Not because they are worse from an exercise or instructor quality standpoint. I hate them because they breed a mindset that your body type dictates what you can or cannot do. I hate them because they create a label that doesn't need to be there. I hate them because they promote an attitude of judgment based on what you look like, which is exactly what these women fear in a 'regular' gym setting. Only in this case, the one doing the judging is YOU! And finally, I hate them because you full figure ladies don't actually NEED them! You have just spent so long listening to society tell you that you are not strong enough, skinny enough, and beautiful enough that you believe you do need them.

Being plus sized is NOT A PROBLEM. The problem is allowing that label and your insecurities to keep you from participating the activities you want and being happy about who you are and how you look and feel.

Time to stop being the problem and start being the solution. Someone smarter than me said 'the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step'. Or in this case 3 steps. Here are 3 things you NEED TO KNOW to improve how you look and feel about your body and live the life of health and happiness you want!

 

1. You do not need to be 'fit' to go to the gym!

If I had a dollar for every time I heard 'I need to get in shape before I come to the gym' I would be writing this from my beach house in Hawaii. Do people not realize that is what the gym is for...getting in shape! I always think of those toys for toddlers where they have to put the circle block in the circle hole and the triangle block in the triangle hole.

Gyms don't have a special 'fit' sized door that only 'fit' people can get through. They have normal doors. For every person of any shape/size. And I will let you in on a little secret. Those 'fit' people who are in the gym were not all magically in shape the first day they walked in. They all started somewhere.

And what happens when you get 'fit'. Say you join a plus size program that you love, make a ton of friends, have great success, and make a significant change to your body. what happens when you are no longer 'plus size'? What then? Are you still allowed to attend your class...or do you now become one of those 'fit' people who doesn't need that class anymore. Where do we draw the line on what shape gets included or not?

 

2. The people you think are judging you...aren't!

I don't know what it is like to be 100-200lbs overweight. I can't even begin to imagine how difficult that must be physically, mentally, and emotionally when trying to adopt healthier habits. But I do know what it is like to look in the mirror and hate the skin I am in and feel like everyone around me is looking at my back fat in disgust. I know what it is like to be called fat, to my face and very publicly online.

The reason I got into fitness in the first place was because a martial arts film producer in LA (I am trained to do movie stunts by the way) told me that I was skilled but I wouldn't get hired because I needed to lose weight. And then when I made fitness my career, someone posted some photos of me on an anonymous website saying that I was a fat slob who shouldn't call herself a trainer. I tried not to show it at the time, but that hurt, and still does when I let me insecurities get the best of me.

What I didn't know then is that all the people I thought were judging me, were worried that I was judging them right back. If everyone is scared of being judged then no one has the time to do the judging. Make sense? Yes there are some jerks in the world who no matter what will tell you that you are not good enough. But those people will say that no matter who you are or what you look like. So why bother trying to please them? Start by being good enough for you!

 

3. Choosing a fitness program based on what you look like is STUPID!

In our facility many of our members work with a trainer in private sessions or participate in our group training classes. We offer weight training programs, kickboxing, modified strongman conditioning, powerlifting, athlete sport development, and obstacle race training. We train males and females. Our members range from 14-68 and are anywhere from a size XS to 4XL. Every single one of our members is different from the next. They each have different exercise history, skills, injuries, experiences, and most importantly GOALS!

In a day, I might work with a 50 year old woman who wants to improve her bone density and lower her cholesterol. Or a 35 year old stressed out workaholic who sits at a desk all day and wants to lose the 20-30lbs he put on after college. Or I might have an 18 year old athlete who wants to be the next world champion power lifter. Would I have these three clients do the same program? NO because that makes no sense! What if they all weighed 250lbs?

When you look at it that way doesn't it seem a little ridiculous to group people together based on their shape or size? Every person who walks through our door is a blank canvas. We as trainers need to assess you individually and modify our exercises or programs based on your individual needs and goals not based on what you look like.

 

At the end of the day, some women still want to stay within the comfortable confines of their plus size security blanket. I get that it is a comfort thing and that it does take time. I just hope that you don't let the label keep you fro living the life of your dreams. And if one day you step out of that comfort zone you may just find that you are more than you ever gave yourself credit for. 

REMEMBER! No one has the right to judge you or make you feel bad about your body, including YOU! Your shape, size, weight, age, gender, fitness level or whatever else do not make you any less and do not limit what you can do or achieve. And the day you stop thinking that is the day more than the weight off your body is lifted...