Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Plus Size Stigma

I'm a big girl.  I've got curves. I've got extra padding.  I'm fluffy.  Most of all - I'm a fitness instructor.

It's a fight every day to remind myself, and everyone else, of that fact.

I loathe the look on a new student's face when they look at me and I know they're thinking "THAT'S the instructor."

But you know what I love even more than I loathe that moment?

The look on their face after 60 minutes of heart pumping, sweat slinging Zumba.  The look of "oh..damn... that woman... my body... ow!"  After a class where I turn those judgmental people in to believers I could walk on air.  I changed their perspective.  I broke down a bias.  I changed the way that person is going to view people... even if only for a short amount of time.

Tonight S and I did two ridiculous hours of Zumba.  We played instructor ping pong so we both could teach all out during the two hours and still have some recovery time in there.  New folks who had never been to our class got to see the best of what both of us are capable of.  That always makes me happy.

S is closer to what people expect to see when they walk in to a fitness class.  She is far more in line with the stereotypes of what an instructor should look like.  Together we are an unstoppable force and it feels amazing to feed off each others energy to get through 120 minutes of cardio.

The down side to all of that is being so hyped up from 2 hours of high intensity, music pumping, Zumba is that it's damn near impossible to get to sleep afterwards. 

The other thing that's got me up and thinking is the impending Hip Hop Hustle/Zumba Toning double feature I've got on my schedule for this weekend. It was hard enough being the fattest person in the room for my Basic 1 licensure but to be the largest person in the room for two days of 8 hours training sessions?

It's going to be a test of wills to not need to grab my bottle of xanax to deal with the fat girl stigma surrounded by those fitness professionals.  Those OTHER fitness professionals, I should say because I, too am a fitness professional. Regardless of what the fat stigma says... the two are not mutually exclusive.

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