'Big Fit Girl' challenges body stereotypes with new book

Louise Green, a personal trainer and advocate for plus-size athletes, has a new book that says you can be fit at any size.

Personal trainer and self-styled body advocate Louise Green is encouraging plus-sized women to get fit

Personal trainer Louise Green says it can be intimidating for plus-sized women to participate in physical activity. (louisegreen.ca)

In a new book, a North Vancouver personal trainer is encouraging women of all sizes to unleash the athlete within. 

Louise Green, who also describes herself as a body advocate, says you don't have to be long and lean to work out and there are ways to successfully navigate the world of fitness as a plus-sized woman.

Green says a lot of women are reluctant to participate in athletic endeavours because the industry and media don't include spaces for, and positive representations of, plus-sized athletes.

"People can't see themselves in that and when 67 per cent of women are size 14 and over, that's a great number of women that remain invisible," she said.

What I found is my body has immense physical power.- Louise Green

Green would know because as a plus-size woman herself, her own fitness journey started with great apprehension.

"I was in this never-ending quest to lose weight," she explained.

" I was in my late 20s and I was wanting to get more serious about life ... I was trying to kind of transition out of this party lifestyle."

She signed up for a five-kilometre running program.

"I was terrified the first night, sure that someone would come up to me and say, excuse me, you have the wrong location. And when I went in, to my surprise, our run leader was a plus-sized woman."

That fitness leader completely changed Green's outlook.

"I think what it was for me is that I had always been approaching [fitness] in a way of restriction and punishment, from a hardcore perspective," she said.

"Her perspective was just get out there and live to your athletic potential. She never mentioned 'bikini season's coming' and never motivated us by underlying shame."

Green not only successfully completed the class but became a professional trainer herself.

However, she says she has faced challenges at work.

"People assume, not always, that as a personal trainer, how could I possibly know what I'm talking about when I quote-unquote haven't got it or that my body has limitations because of its size," she said.

"What I found is my body has immense physical power. If I set goals and put in the training time, the possibilities are really limitless."

For women who are interested in taking a leap of faith into the world of fitness, Green says it's about finding the right support network.

"If you have people who will approach you in the way that you want to attain your health and fitness and talk to you in the language that resonates with you, really again, things are limitless."

Green's new book Big Fit Girl includes tips, recipes and stories. It comes out March 18.

With files from The Early Edition

To listen to the interview, click on the link labelled 'Big Fit Girl' challenges body stereotypes with new book