There’s been a LOT of conversation around this topic lately—in the news, online, and via social platforms. It’s possible my ears are just tuned in a little more than most—but it has definitely piqued my interest. People tend to either completely shy away from talking about it, or they delve in, ready to share their thoughts.
From celebrity body shaming to bullying in schools to a national push for a more focused approach to health and fitness, it’s clear there’s both a need to concentrate on this topic AND a need to find answers.
One topic at a time:
So, what’s the deal? Can a person be fat AND fit? Or plus-sized and fit?
There are a number of factors that define our health, and while achieving and maintaining a healthy weight should definitely be on our radar, it’s not the only thing that matters. Things like nutrition, activity level, mental health, and even quality of sleep all play a role in our overall health. In fact, the European Heart Journal offers research confirming that when blood sugar, blood pressure, and triglycerides are kept in check, the risk of dying of heart disease or cancer is no higher for overweight people than for those of a normal weight. Linda Bacon, Ph.D., reminds readers that, “Weight and health aren’t one and the same thing.”
I’ve seen a LOT of larger people working their asses off in the box, on running trails, in the gym…the list goes on. There’s a perception, especially in this country, that larger people are lazy, and that’s simply not the case.
We can look toward Olympic lifter Sarah Robles for an example of a woman who’s not exactly petite. In fact, she looks for plus-sized workout gear, and she’s as fit as they come! Not long ago, she spoke out about the fashion industry, specifically the difficulty that exists when looking for affordable, comfortable workout gear that fits. In her interview, she explained, “I’m wearing a dude’s jacket right now. And a dude’s shirt.” Not only do athletes want to feel comfortable in their gear, they also want to look reasonably great as well (It’s true, I’ll admit it!).
There’s a Difference
We all know there’s a difference between fat and big. And there’s also a difference between working and sitting on the sofa. Additionally, as CrossFitters we’ve learned there are different levels of fit. There’s no WAY I could hope to do burpees like a CrossFit Open athlete. Heck, I can barely crawl off the floor after I hit number 10!
So, yes, I’m going to go out on a limb and shoot down any naysayers—and I think my CrossFit friends would agree. I’m going to say fat people can be fit. And there are some plus-sized athletes who are shredding their goals day-in and day-out!
Are we as fit as we EVER want to be? Nope. Are overweight athletes as fit as the fittest CrossFitters? No way.
But are we on a path that can lead to even better health and fitness if we continue in the direction we’re going? Absolutely!
In the end, we’re all on different personal paths. And success will look a little different for each of us. The only jobs we have are to work toward improvement, support each other, drag each other across the finish line, and occasionally give our boxmates a spot when the bar is heavy. That’s what it’s all about.
That’s why I’m proud to be a CrossFitter. I’ve never set foot in a CrossFit box where everyone was thin, young, toned, and ready for the Open. It’s always a mix of different age groups, different skill levels, and different goals—accompanied by great coaches who have the skillsets to coach every level of athlete.
I’ve also never set foot in a CrossFit box where I’ve felt unwelcome or ashamed. CrossFitters are the most welcoming, positive group of supporters you’ll ever have.
So pull your size 2X workout pants out of the closet and get to the box!
(And if anyone knows where to find cute knee socks that will fit over my voluptuous lady calves, please let me know!)