|Sportive Plus Blog|
Thursday, November 29th 2018- by Louise Green
5 Tips for Finding your Fitness “Fit” at Every Size.
Louise Green, trainer, author, advocate, athlete
Louise Green is a global plus-size fitness coach, fitness activist and author changing the narrative and idealistic standards of our fitness culture.
Her fitness career began in 2008 when she opened the first plus-size fitness franchise, Body Exchange.
As an influential change-maker, Louise has helped thousands of plus-size women find their inner-athlete and love their bodies. Through speaking, writing and coaching women online she has lead the charge in creating a more inclusive fitness culture across the globe.
Smashing the barriers of mainstream fitness, Louise is the first plus-size athlete to be featured in elite publications such as: Triathlete Magazine, Bicycling Magazine, Canadian Running and Runner’s World UK.
Louise is the Author of Big Fit Girl and a Columnist at SELF Magazine.
You would like to know her better?
For more than a decade, I have worked with thousands of women who have approached fitness with trepidation. My observations have been that this apprehension is present because much of our fitness culture doesn’t include imagery of plus-size women in a celebratory way. Often, plus-size bodies are only seen as the “before” picture in weight loss and gym ads which often gives of a sense of rejection if you have a body that resembles the before picture.
It isn’t just the imagery, it’s the lack of body positive and size diverse fitness services. It’s also the lack of trainer knowledge in how to accommodate exercises for plus-size women. The whole fitness scene needs work and that’s why it can be hard to find your fitness fit at a plus-size woman.
This lack of representative imagery in our culture is problematic because it creates fear and intimidation around fitness and it also gives off an element of the unknown.
For example, when I first started running 15 years ago, I really wasn’t sure if I could be a runner because I had never seen a woman with a body like mine in any fitness media or advertising. This was before the age of the body positive movement and Instagrammers who publicly embrace their larger bodies, so there was no evidence and it left an element of unknown and question.
If we can’t see a likeness to ourselves in certain fitness activities, how do we know success at participating in these activity is possible?
We don’t and won’t until we try but (spoiler alert) I have seen thousands of women try their hand at boot camps, weight training, running, walking, triathlon and with the right support and training, they’ve had great success. I am here to tell you it can be done.
However, not everyone wants to run a race or complete a triathlon and that is ok.
During a recent coaching session with a client we unearthed that any sense of competition in fitness routine really turned her off wanting to participate at all. It took her years to realize that competiveness was a big deterrent to her adherence. While others, like myself, thrive on healthy competition. Some people thrive on intense workouts and some prefer something more moderate or gentle. There’s no right or wrong.
Finding your specific fit in fitness will depend, not only on your interests, but also your personality type and the inner workings of what motivates you to succeed.
Here are some tips to finding your specific fitness fit, (at every size).
1. Gauge your Enjoyment
Never feel like you “should” run or you “should” go to the gym. If this fitness thing is going to be a sustainable part of the rest of your life It’s going to need to be powered by more than a “should”. It’s going to have to be something you really enjoy that makes you want to keep coming back to it. Exercise is not an obligatory activity, there is a choice here and when we make a choice to engage in exercise that makes us feel good and brings us enjoyment the chance of longevity quadruples.
2. Reflect on Your Childhood
When I am faced with a client that has no idea what interests them as far as physical activity I ask them to reflect on what they enjoyed as a child. Children are drawn to their authentic interests without bias from the world (that comes later in life). If riding bikes or swimming in the lake was something you could do for hours on end without feeling tired, maybe it’s time to revisit these passions.
If you are unsure what physical movement really speaks to you, I recommend trying everything and anything. Rule out what you don’t enjoy and take note of what makes you feel on top of the world! Remember, ball room dancing, gardening, walking, are all activities that are physical movement. It doesn’t have to be the a-typical fitness trend that the magazines push like running, power yoga or CrossFit. Loosen the reigns on the typical fitness, be curious and experiment outside the box.
4. Assess Your Success
I always say that after each workout, whatever it is, you should feel successful. It’s when we leave a fitness class where we felt like we couldn’t keep up or felt shame about our bodies, it’s these moments that will sideline our fitness efforts. Feeling success must be a part of the equation for longevity. We may not be experts at the very beginning but we should feel some level of success and accomplishment to willfully keep coming back. If you repeatedly feel unsuccessful after a certain exercise, strike 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 greatly. Experiment with different groups like a walking club, swim class, running group or dance class. I have been involved with many running groups over the years and now some of my best friends are running partners. Great friendships developed over runs and post run coffees. When there’s a group you enjoy who are expecting you, the chances of you showing up and enjoying the training process are much more likely.
Once you find your fitness fit, there’s no looking back! Remember to find fitness that celebrates and works for your body. Surrounded yourself with supportive people and enjoy the process. Good luck!
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