Take a cue from one amazing and curvy trainer, who ditched fitness ideals to unleash her inner athlete.
As early as she can remember, Louise Green fantasised about being a runner. But her lifestyle didn’t fill the bill. “I smoked, drank, and ate crappy food,” says the Canadian fitness trainer. “I’d go to the track, muster up one or two laps, and quit.”
Desperate to lose weight, she cycled through failed diets, most of them ending in a discouraging binge. Green felt lost, alone, and trapped in a defeating cycle.
But she didn’t quit. Instead, she signed up for a learn-torun 5K clinic. When another curvy woman decked in workout gear introduced herself as the group leader, Green’s jaw dropped. She’d never seen someone who looked like her in the fitness field, much less a trainer.
Heading home that night, Green couldn’t stop smiling. “I realised that I didn’t always have to struggle,” she says. “I could live my athletic dreams in my current body.” Green ran that 5k. Then she ran a few more.
Today, she no longer dreams of being an athlete— she is one. And she helps others become the same. “I train for triathlons. I swim, run, and cycle,” Green says. “Exercise wipes my head
clean. I have to have it.” Got athlete dreams of your own? Read on for Green’s top tips.
FIND THE JOY!
1 Start slow.
Too much too early leads to injury and burnout. Take an honest look at where you are now, then work your way up gradually. Walking is an excellent start, Green says. It’s free, and most anyone can do it.
2 Inhabit your body.
The pressure to be perfect is exhausting. Forget it. “There is no ideal body. Everyone is different—so let’s celebrate that,” Green says. Focus on your own positive thoughts. Believe in yourself for exactly who you are.
3 Do what you love.
Not sure what that is? Think back to childhood. If you loved to swim, revisit the pool. If dancing was your thing, try a Zumba class. Were you always on your bike? Hop back on.
4 Make time.
“Scrolling the Internet or watching TV? Replace some of that stuff with exercise,” Green says. Put it on your calendar like you would a meeting.
5 Find your team.
Surround yourself with strong friends who push and motivate you. Hold a mini interview with potential trainers, asking things like: “What does fitness look like to you? Can you give examples of exercises I’d do?” If you like what you hear, that’s a good sign.
6 Get S.M.A.R.T.
“Approaching fitness without goals is like flopping in the wind,” Green says. Make goals specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. An example: I will walk a 5K next month with only two rest breaks.
7 Buy good gear.
If you’re uncomfortable in your clothing, your workout will reflect that. Green’s musthaves:
a supportive sports bra, compression leggings or pants with drawstrings, and properly fitted athletic shoes.
Eat right. Before a workout, Green likes Greek yogurt and fruit, natural peanut butter on whole grain bread, or an apple with a handful of almonds.
9 Make it social.
Exercising alone can be intimidating or plain boring—you’re more likely to succeed with a buddy. “My friends became people living a healthier lifestyle,” Green says. Next time you grab coffee with a pal, take it to-go and hit the trails. Or do Zumba and dinner with friends.
10 Give yourself a chance!
Starting is the hardest part, so just go for it. “No greatness comes from easy things,” Green says. “Walk through the fear and you’ll be better for it.”
“Look at exercise as a joyful way of moving your body rather than something hard-core and punishing.”
—Louise Green, trainer, author