5 tips to find your fitness no matter your size.
Louise Green is a world-class fitness trainer, activist and author, changing the narrative and idealistic norms of our fitness culture.
Her fitness career began in 2008 when she opened the first plus size fitness franchise, Body Exchange.
As an influential changemaker, Louise has helped thousands of plus size women find their inner athlete and love their bodies. By speaking, writing and coaching women online, she led the charge in creating a more inclusive fitness movement across the world.
Breaking the barriers of traditional fitness, Louise is the first plus size athlete to be featured in prestigious publications such as Triathlete Magazine, Bicycling Magazine, Canadian Running and Runner's World UK.
Louise is the author of Big Fit Girl and a SELF Columnist.
For over a decade, I've worked with thousands of women who approached fitness with trepidation. My observations were that this apprehension is there because so much of our fitness culture does not include images of plus size women in a positive way. Often, plus size bodies serve as a “before” image in weight loss and gym ads, which often feels like rejection if you have a body that looks like the previous image.
It's not just a question of image, it's the lack of varied fitness services adapted to different body types. It is also the lack of knowledge of trainers on how to adapt exercises for plus size women.
This lack of representative images in our culture is problematic because it creates fear and intimidation about fitness and also exudes an element of the unknown.
For example, when I started running 15 years ago, I really wasn't sure if I could run, because I had never seen a woman with a body like mine in the media or advertisements for the fitness. This was before the era of the body positive movement and 'instagrammers' publicly embracing their plumper bodies. So there was no proof that I could do it and that left an element of unknown and several questions.
If we fail to recognize ourselves in certain fitness activities, how can we know that it is possible to succeed?
We don't and we won't until we try, but (whisperer) I've seen thousands of women try their hand at boot camps, weight training, running, walking, triathlon and with the proper support and training, they have had SUCCESS. I am here to tell you that it can be done.
However, not everyone wants to run a race or complete a triathlon and that's fine.
In a recent coaching session with a client, we discovered that any sense of competition in her fitness routine really discouraged her from wanting to participate. It took him years to realize that competitiveness was a big deterrent to his membership. While others, like me, thrive on healthy competition. Some people prefer intense workouts and some prefer more moderate or gentle activity. There is no right or wrong answer.
Finding the right program for you depends not only on your interests, but also on your personality type and the functioning of what motivates you to succeed.
Here are some tips for finding YOUR fitness program (no matter your size).
Going for a run or going to the gym should never be an obligation. If this fitness activity is going to be a sustainable part of your life, it will need to be fueled by more than “should”. It's something you must really love and will keep you wanting to keep coming back to it. Exercise is not a mandatory activity. When we stop seeing it as an obligation, but rather as a choice, exercise gives us a feeling of well-being and gives us a fourfold chance of living a longer and healthier life.2. Reflect on your childhood
When I'm faced with a client who has no idea what interests her when it comes to physical activity, I ask her to think about what she loved when she was young. Children are drawn to their genuine interests without prejudice (this comes later in life). If you can ride a bike or swim in the lake, you can do it for hours without feeling tired, maybe it's time to revisit your passions.3. Experience
If you're not sure what physical activity actually speaks to you, I recommend trying anything and everything. Eliminate what you don't like and take note of what makes you feel on top of the world! Remember that ballroom dancing, gardening, walking are activities that constitute physical movement. It doesn't have to be what magazines can promote like running, power yoga, or CrossFit. Have fun, be curious and experiment, think outside the box.4. Evaluate your success
I always say that after every workout, no matter what type, you should feel great. We must avoid taking a fitness class that we are unable to follow and / or where we are ashamed of our body, because it is in these moments that we risk giving up. Feeling success should be part of the longevity equation. We may not be experts at the very beginning, but we should feel like we are progressing, succeeding and willingly coming back to it. If you often feel unsuccessful after a while, delete it from the list and try something new.5. Find a social element
Studies have shown that when there is a social element to exercise, the chances of longevity increase dramatically. Experiment with different groups like a walking club, swimming class, running group, or dance class. I have participated in many running groups over the years and now some of my best friends are running partners. Great friendships have developed over the races. When you are part of a group that you like and that is waiting for you every week, the chances of continuing and enjoying the training process are much more likely.
Once you find the right exercise for you, you won't want to go back! Remember to choose an activity that celebrates and suits your body. Surrounded by people who are supportive and enjoying the process. Good luck!