She offers 7 tips on choosing a trainer or fitness facility that supports your needs and offers a size-friendly environment, which can be important in maintaining an active lifestyle.
Looking for a new gym or trainer?
Entering a new exercise environment can be daunting. This is especially true if you are unsure whether or not the environment will embody a positive mentality when it comes to accepting different sizes. Consider the following when seeking a new trainer who will uphold size-friendly values:
1) Check the furniture for comfort, width, height and durability. Chairs/benches in the fitness facility should be high enough for the pelvis to be slightly higher than the knees while in a seated position.
2) The facility should feel like a safe space for you to thrive in. See if there are reading materials and resources that represent diverse images in the waiting area. This can speak to the nature of the gym’s mentality when it comes to size acceptance.
3) Be mindful of mirror placement. The work you are doing is meant to connect you peacefully and joyfully to your body. Mirrors can be an emotional trigger.
4) Ask whether the trainer/instructor incorporates Health at Every Size® basic principles into their work.
5) Surround yourself with those who are competent in working with larger bodies. Many trainers want to help, and more and more are stepping up to learn about working with a larger body. For now, recognize and trust your own feelings when it comes to weight stigma and discriminatory practices. Working with the plus size person is a specialty and not all fitness professionals are able to work in this field.
6) Make your needs known. If you find yourself working with someone who is discriminatory, know that you have the power within you to speak up to this person or move on to another who may be less judgmental.
7) The job of the trainer/instructor is to hear you – without any judgment – and provide the appropriate service necessary to help you move toward better health. This does not include a prescription for weight loss or fast results as most of this work takes time and consistency.
Fitness professionals cannot afford to make physical or emotional mistakes when it comes to working with a plus size body. You are absolutely enough– right now– in this moment. You are a valuable human being, a divine spirit, a child of God, a unique energy in the universe. You want to have people around you who know these facts to be true.
Know that you absolutely have the right to a movement program that works for your body – right now – exactly as it is. The trainer needs to meet you where you are with kindness and understanding in order to help you maintain an active lifestyle.
About Rochelle Rice, MA
Rochelle Rice, The Plus Size Movement Expert (TM), is the President of In Fitness & In Health in New York City. She is a nationally recognized speaker, author and educator for the plus-size population and the author of Real Fitness for Real Women. Rochelle earned her Master’s Degree at NYU specializing in her Plus-Size Exercise Program. She has been working passionately with the plus population since 1995, and will be celebrating this passion with her community at the annual Full, Fit & Fabulous. For more information about Rochelle, visit her website.