“Big Fit Girl” Louise Green is kicking down myths about plus-size triathletes.
Louise Green is used to the stunned stares when she tells people she’s an endurance athlete. She’s aware that she doesn’t look like the picture most people have in mind when they think of triathletes. She knows most people her size wouldn’t be caught dead doing a triathlon, much less one in a spandex suit. But Louise Green doesn’t really care.
“In general, there are myths surrounding plus-size people’s capabilities in any sport,” she says. “I often get surprised reactions when I tell people I am a trainer or triathlete. We’re not accustomed to seeing larger bodies achieve greatness in sport.”
If anything, stereotypes about plus-size people fuel Green’s fire. As a personal trainer and author of Big Fit Girl (part memoir, part sharp social commentary), Green is all about kicking down negative myths about body size as a way of clearing the path for every body to enjoy sport.
“When we circulate negative myths about a person’s capability—or more realistically, an entire demographics’ capability—based solely on appearance, it becomes oppressive,” says Green. “If we can move away from these myths and quick judgments we then make fitness and sport more approachable for everyone.”
The 45-year-old Vancouver resident, who took up triathlon five years ago as a way to change up her running routine, says she encounters stereotypes every day. Take, for example, the prevailing belief that exercise is merely for weight loss: “I think in general, we are conditioned by society to believe one narrative of what health and fitness can look like, and generally that’s lean and ripped,” she says. “However, that body type is difficult for a lot of people to achieve. If you train like an athlete and eat like an athlete, usually a side benefit of that is a change in body composition. That may not necessarily equate to thinness, but it leads to improved health. I am all about focusing on athleticism over focusing on the scale—that concept has changed my life for the better.”
“I am a strong advocate of not allowing your weight to get in the way of doing anything,” Green says. “Triathlon has such incredible rewards, and I don’t want anyone to miss out on those. The accomplishment of finishing the race, the community, the positive lifestyle that comes with training—the benefits are really endless. Once you get out there, you will see body size diversity and realize that triathlon can be for every ‘body.’”
Tri Gear For Every Size
“It’s fantastic to see that more companies are starting to offer larger sizes in gear for female triathletes,” says Green. Her top kit recommendations:
Kits in sizes up to 3XL
Tri kits and cycling shorts up to 4XL
One- and two-piece kits up to size 4XL
Two-piece tri kits up to 4XL
Tri kits up to 2XL
Tri kits up to 2XL