I admit, I’ve never been considered “Plus Size” even if I was out of shape and overweight at one time, so some would say, “How could you possibly understand a plus size woman’s journey to the gym?” There is some validity to that train of thought, but after working with several full-figured beauties, I feel more than confident to give great insight on the topic.
Many plus size clients start with a lot of negative thoughts about starting the gym at the beginning of this year, middle of the year, almost any time of the year, not just because they’re overweight but also because many have never ever been to the gym or attended very infrequently at best. Some clients shared that the thought of being fat alone and stepping into a gym full of toned bodies was enough to make them hate themselves for being that out of control or internalized a self hating mindset that prevented them from even thinking going to gym was an option. One of my clients said, “I was told fat people just aren’t allowed to go to the gym.” Obviously, this is stupid as hell and I’ve always taken time to advise anyone that the only person who cares about whether or not you would “fit in” at the gym was the person they see everyday in the mirror.
Here’s some other truths that were shared about thoughts as a plus size woman at the gym:
One client stated: “I know this is just silly but I usually think about farting or whether the workout means if I bend over that the size of my butt is going to be a gym special.”
Another client stated: “I feel that working out means a lot more working things out as a plus size woman — there’s arguably a whole load more to consider not just physically, but emotionally as well. We have the same concerns towards ass sweat and hot personal trainers as everybody else, just a couple of extra worries that most of the time, aren’t even about our weight. I always stress when I’m going to the gym about whether I’m working out for the “right” reasons — and even if I’m changing my body through exercising, it doesn’t mean I hate how my body is right now.”
Another comment from a plus size client was, ” I often think I’m sweating more than anyone else and like there shouldn’t be puddles of sweat dripping on the floor!”
My response to that one is…There ain’t no correct way to sweat — so don’t sweat it! It’s a complete myth that the more you workout the more you sweat and that constitutes a better workout. I promise there’ll always be somebody sweating more than you at the gym. Men always sweat more than women so if it bothers you stand next to the guy who looks like a waterfall!
I’ve also heard this one. “Why can’t my gym outfit be as cute as some of the skinny fit girls?” Well it can be and there are many clothing lines such as Veracity at www.JadeGoldFitness that will keep you looking good and cover you in all the right places. In today’s market of plus size clothing there are several retailers that are taking fashion and fitness to the next level for all sizes including plus size women. Choose clothing that makes you feel good but let’s be honest; the gym isn’t about making a fashion statement, it’s about your health and fitness goals.
Last but not least, one of my clients expressed this thought: “I always worry about who’s watching me because I’m a massive people watcher and I don’t really want to be watched whilst I’m gasping for breath, sweat dripping off my chin, redder than a very red thing.” Let’s be honest, though — everyone’s too focused on his or her own inner stream of, “Am I dying? I’m definitely dying,” to worry about how you look.
So, my advice to any plus size woman who is considering joining a gym, hiring a trainer, starting any level of fitness and health protocol is, know that you are NOT ALONE! You have to know that your journey is your journey and if we are all honest, we didn’t all start off with the bodies you see at the gym. Many started right where you are and some with their health and even their life hanging in the wings. While I can’t guarantee that ignorance in gym life isn’t alive and well, I can tell you this; no one can live your life for you and part of the journey is just taking the first step out of your comfort zone into a zone that’s all your own. Own your TRUTH and allow yourself room to feel what you feel, but don’t allow national thought to paralyze you or keep you from working on your fitness and health goals.