I am pursuing personal training for a bunch of reasons. In order of importance, these reasons are:
- I really, really like moving things around and being freaky strong
- I like being able to walk, scurry, sprint, ride my bike, swim, and play on swing sets without getting winded
- I like being flexible and bendy
- The apocolypse
- It will likely improve my cardiovascular fitness and overall health
Keep in mind I, personally, find all these things important. You may enjoy (or tolerate) physical activity because of all, some, or none of these reasons. Or you may not. I love a Health at Every Size mentality and will continue to talk about it (a lot), but health is not a moral imperative. Health is not a ticket to basic dignity and respect. I’m at a place where I’m doing things that I enjoy, that improve my health. This does not make me better or worse than anyone else.
It does, however, make me do ridiculous things like meet with a personal trainer. Rob and I introduced ourselves yesterday, and we sat down at my local hamster wheel to fill out the appropriate paperwork. We talked about goals, what I’ve been doing for fitness lately, why I’m coming to this gym (online coupon for a month’s membership and 4 personal training sessions). And then we get to the fun part. I’m far enough removed from my dieting days that my weight and such are more of a passing curiosity than a cause for panic, so we measured my weight and body fat percentage. He wrote down the numbers and said, “Of course, we’d like to see your body fat percentage around [number redacted] percent.”
“Well, that’s a relative “we”. See, I’m here to work on these goals, regardless of any changes in weight or body composition.”
“But diabetes, cardiovascular disease, mortality….”
We went a couple rounds, with me citing these studies, and him citing his book of clients. I’m thrilled for his clients. They have achieved something that they wanted. But only one client he showed me had maintained the weight loss past five years, which seems to correlate with the statistics I cited in our conversation. Her goals are not my goals, and those odds are not odds I’m interested in.
We stopped debating when I said, “Here’s the deal. If I lose weight, you get a giant gold star and a letter from me for your book. If I don’t lose weight, but I do gain strength and reach my other goals, then we still both win.” We came to a truce and he sent me out for a warm-up of my choice. I like the elliptical machine.
We then did barbell squats, leg presses, leg extensions, and wall sits. And by we, I mean I. He pushed me to do reps, and we laughed as my legs shook. We gossiped and talked a little smack. It was glorious. I’m sore today, but I can’t wait to go back next week, after doula training. While Rob and I don’t see eye to eye about weight, I have an ally in my corner because I was able to advocate for myself and put down boundaries about what I wanted out of my personal training.
I know that many large women have trouble finding workout clothes in their size. They either can’t find it or can’t afford it.
I remember wanting to start working out a few year ago, having nothing appropriate to wear, and going to Target, where the only pants and shirts I could find were just a smidge too small, but what else was I going to do?
Well, I’m older, wiser, and love online shopping. Of course, I’d love it more if I could shop in stores, but I’ll take what I can get for the moment.
In stores, Old Navy carries workout gear through an XXL. Their regular sizing is generous, and an XXL will likely fit through a 22/24, even though they’re marked as 20. They have capris, yoga pants, sports bras, tanks, and t-shirts, and carry compression gear. Online, they carry sizes 18W-30W in their plus section. While the selection is a bit smaller and the fat-tax is pretty generous, they carry all styles of gear at decent prices. I went on a spree a few years ago, so Old Navy is what I wear, and I find it pretty darn comfortable!
You’d never know it by their pathetic in-store offerings, but Target carries some decent women’s workout clothes online. Unfortunately, their search function is difficult to use. Some good sleuthing will find you good deals, though.
Woman Within has cemented a place in the online shopping experience. It is great for basics, has excellent prices, and they consistently offer up to a size 40W. Workout pants, skirts, shirts, comfortable swimsuits, and sports bras are available.
Junonia is synonymous with classic plus size activewear. They’re a little pricier, but they’re known for quality and a variety of clothing to cover every activity from skiing to golfing to swimming to tennis to running. Their sizing goes up to a 6x/40W in some pieces.
I’ve heard great reviews of Sparkle Skirts from the fitness group I’m a part of. With pockets, compression shorts, and as finely obnoxious of a print as I could ask for, I’m excited to order one in the future. Sparkle Skirts offers sizing up to a 3x.
Share your favorites, too.