When I wanted to start my journey to fitness (I’m still on it because it’s lifelong!), I put it off for many years. One of the reasons was I didn’t see anyone my size on the forefront of the fitness movement. I thought the word Athlete was really reserved for football players and olympians. I didn’t identify as one and honestly, felt that my size meant I never could. Then, I heard someone tell me I needed to look up the definition of athlete. I grabbed my phone and Googled it. According to the dictionary, ‘Athlete’ is defined as:
“a person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength; a participant in a sport, exercise, or game requiring physical skill.”
Hmm..This makes me feel like I was right. I am not skilled and I am not really that full of stamina or strength. Feeling even more discouraged, I happened across another article that had a quote by Nike Co-Founder, Bill Bowerman that said simply, “If you have a body, you are an athlete”. Simply put, do you like to use your body to compete-even if it’s only with yourself? Do you like to be active? Then you are an athlete.
Athletes come in all sizes, skills and strengths. Some get a paycheck and others don’t for their athletics. The bottom line is, no matter who you are, there is inspiration out there for you to draw from the the spectrum of athletes. I find some of my greatest inspiration from the following ladies.
Valerie is behind Big Gal Yoga. She is an incredibly inspiring yogi that I aspire to be like. I am still a baby when it comes to the kinds of moves she can do! Valerie is truly impressive and radiates positivity and self-love. Check her out on her website and on Instagram. She has also done some videos for Rainbeau Curves, too! Watch here
Jessamyn takes body positive yoga to new levels with a simple question of “How do I feel?” rather than “How do I look?” when doing yoga. She teaches classes in North Carolina and you can find her on her website as well as her Instagram.
Mirna is the mastermind behind the blog Fat Girl Running and she is an inspiration to athletes like myself that love to run in organized events. I completed my first 5K 2 summers ago and fell in love with running as a sport. Her blog posts are raw and uncut and she has an amazing attitude I love. Find her on her blog, Fat Girl Running and follow her on Instagram.
I first heard of Leah Gilbert in her group, “Body Positive Athletes” on Facebook. The group is amazing for plus size (or any size!) body positive sports. Leah has not only inspired me to pursue the ‘athlete’ label, but also train better. Her website, Body Positive Athletes, uses lots of raw emotion we all have at times. Follow her on her website and join her Facebook group.