Have you ever wanted to start a workout regime or pop into a really fun workout class, but felt like you couldn’t because of your size? That was me, 6 months ago. Starting Pilates at a size 20 was very intimidating, yet one of the very best things I have ever done for myself. I started off shy, intimidated and full of irrational fears. Thanks to an amazingly supportive community behind me, I quickly caught onto the body positivity movement and found ways to grow confident in my ‘plus sized’ skin.
If this sounds familiar to you, then check out my top tips to help guide you through your plus size fitness classes with your head held high.
It’s all about mindset
Start with a mindset that you are just as worthy to show up in a public space to workout as much as anyone else in the room! We all show up to better ourselves and that should be a common ground that unifies you to the group. Kicking things off with this in mind should make you feel welcome and offers a sense of belonging.
Dress the part
Invest in proper yoga attire so that you can move freely and feel good while working out. Don’t buy a backless top just because it’s cute if you know good and well that you are not comfortable showing off your back! Trust me on this one. Buying an outfit out of pressure to be on trend might look good, but what is the point in wearing it if you don’t feel good? Confidence is cuter than any garment—shop with your preferences in mind.
Pssst. YogaClub has a style quiz that allows you to input your preferences and avoidances so that every garment you receive is curated around the parameters that make you feel your best (one of the many reasons why I love them!) And, they recently launched more inclusive plus size activewear sizes and now offer up to 3XL!
It’s always ok to modify!
Don’t be scared to modify a pesky intermediate pilates exercise. I mean let’s be honest, stuff can get real hard real quick in the studio, and sometimes our bodies just can’t adjust right away. THAT’S OKAY!
I couldn’t pull off a teaser for the life of me for months on end. My belly would just get in the way and I would wobble side to side. I had to use the ring of fire to coordinate myself enough to get into position. After practicing this way for some time, I got the courage to try the pose again on my own and sure enough, I had built up the stamina to do it! It wasn’t perfect and I still wobbled, but I did it!
Modifiers are our friend. Sure, it’s easy to feel ‘different’ in a sea of people when you are the only one modifying but when you are showing up for yourself, you have to remember that doing what’s best for you isn’t always going to look the same as the person next to you…which brings me to my last and final tip of advice:
Stay focused on you
Comparison is the thief of joy—be your own competition. Focus on bettering yourself in every breath, through each pose, in every movement. Zone in so deeply that peeking over onto another person’s mat is the last thing on your mind. This affords others the same level of privacy that we all wish to have while in class. It eliminates the dreaded stigma of being ‘watched’ or judged, and fosters an environment of personal growth and body positivity.
About the Author
Former plus-size model turned #PlusSizePilates aficionado, Jenn Vercammen is a mother to 3 (+ 1 on the way) and a lifestyle Instagrammer best known for her real and relatable content.