BIG FIT GIRL (ON STEREOTYPES) // BY LOUISE GREEN

(via)

Louise Green is a longtime friend, kick-ass plus size trainer and now author of Big Fit Girl (a book for fat athletes- can we just say fathletes?!?) a resource that is much needed and be can found in US bookstore health sections (and online obvs) starting TODAY!

I may be in the middle of mending my fucked up relationship with exercise, but Louise is already killing it- reclaiming movement as her own and for her own purposes. She coaches people (not just in person, but now in written form) who want to become athletes but are afraid that they cant because of their size. She shows that it's the fitness industry that is failing YOU, not the other way around.
I love her for challenging these tricky issues and showing that you don't have to participate in athleticism... but if you want to, it's yours for the taking.

The following is an excerpt from Big Fit Girl on stereotypes- why they're harmful and how to smash 'em like you mean it.

(ETA: This book is written for people who want to enter the world of serious athletics and it written from this strong POV. If you're someone looking for a softer approach to starting exercise/movement I would HIGHLY recommend Hanne Blank's The Unapologetic Fat Girl's Guide to Exercise and Other Incendiary Acts... I loved it.)

---------

I ran my first half-marathon in San Francisco. When I woke up on race day, my stomach was churning with both fear and excitement. Getting ready in front of the mirror that morning, I repeated my mantra: You are an athlete. You are a champion who has put in the training time. You belong here.

When we arrived at the race location and I caught my first glimpse of the start line for the 30th Annual Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon and 5k, I felt even more determined. This was the beginning of one of the most demanding days of my life, and I was filled with excitement and growing confidence. As I approached the desk to pick up my race package, I caught the eye of the young man behind the table. He asked my name and without hesitation reached for the 5krace package. He assumed I was participating in the (much) shorter race.

This moment speaks volumes about how people perceive those of us with larger bodies and why many of us feel that we don’t fit in. My body size communicated to him that I was not physically capable of running the event’s longer race. This happens at most events I participate in: someone might make an out-of-line comment or show surprise or express an assumption about what my body is capable of. The same thing happens when I tell people that I am a personal trainer and I own a fitness business.

“I am here to run the half-marathon,” I said sharply. “Oh,” he said, quickly fumbling for my race package in the other box. I took my number and the event-branded race shirt that was three sizes too small and joined my husband.

The little voice inside cheering me on had been reduced to a whisper. As we stood silently waiting for the race to begin, I couldn’t help feeling defeated. I had trained for months and run hundreds of miles, and yet this encounter left me feeling like an impostor. I had felt this before—like I didn’t fit in.
Unfortunately, this feeling of sitting on the sidelines can be common among women of size who participate in races; perhaps you have felt this way too. Throughout my career as a trainer, women have shared stories of fitness classes, races, and high school gym classes where their potential was repeatedly overlooked because of their size. As humans, we crave acceptance. And these memories of rejection linger and hold us back.



While many people assume that fat automatically equals unfit, a growing number of highly respected researchers and agencies say otherwise. Dr. Steven Blair is a renowned exercise researcher at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. His research shows that excess weight is not “the enemy.” Not getting enough exercise and being cardiovascularly unfit are much greater contributors to poor health than any extra pounds can be. Blair stands firmly by his research showing that fit, fat people outlive thin, unfit people. The National Cancer Institute also backed this finding, reporting that physical activity is associated with greater longevity among persons in all BMI groups: those normal weight, and those considered fat.

Although many studies demonstrate that a fit body can come in a range of sizes, many people can’t see beyond the stereotypes. Larger bodies seldom appear in advertisements for gyms or in fitness magazines. When we do see a fat body in the media, it often accompanies an article about the latest demonizing obesity study and shows the person from only the shoulders down, dehumanizing the person. Athletes like me who fall outside of the athletic norm often feel we don’t fit in because we’ve been told, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, that we don’t.

Changing our fitness experience means surrounding ourselves with positive influences and finding teams of people who leave stereotypes at the door. And because we seldom see athletes of size in our daily visual landscape, it’s up to you and me to change the perceptions out there.

---------

P.S. You can check out her Tedx here called "Limitless: Lets Think Again About Atheleticism"
P.P.S. You can also read about my feels on dance classes and orgasms here in Exercise Classes and Fat Girl Freak Outs

No comments

Back to Top