ACE has partnered with Lewis Green, creator of Size Inclusive Fitness Academy (SITA), to launch the new Size Inclusive Fitness Specialist Program, which launched last month. The creation of this program is part of ACE’s larger efforts to help create a more inclusive fitness industry.
Louise is also an award-winning author, educator and fitness trainer. We caught up with Luis to talk about the importance of the event. That and how we can all work to become more engaged fitness professionals.
ACE: Why is the size inclusive fitness specialist program important?
Lewis: Size Inclusive Fitness Specialist programs are very important. Because we are dealing with marginalized populations. And often it carries over into areas of fitness. In general, our industry lacks coverage at scale. And, as a result, it creates barriers for people in large buildings to access the exercise area. As the numbers in the population increase with the increasing number of bodies. That’s now about 70% of the US population. Fitness professionals have the opportunity to be catalysts for creating lasting health outcomes for this population. If we can educate experts in this field, we have a great opportunity to make a huge impact on the health of the country.
ACE: What do you think is important for fitness professionals to understand about weight loss?
Lewis: It’s important for fitness professionals to understand that weight bias is very prevalent and that we live in a weight biased society where this bias becomes normalized. Statistics show that weight bias is more harmful than being overweight. This is because prejudice spreads among individuals through social pressure and internal weight bias. Intrinsic weight biases can have serious consequences for mental health outcomes. and overall biased weight individuals create high levels of barriers to overcome. The problem is that many trainers and organizations are unaware that they are operating with weight bias. Because this bias is widely acknowledged and accepted in Western societies.
AC: How did you get into this job? And can you tell us more about Sita?
Lewis: I had a very profound experience in 2004, when I joined a running program [and] my coach was plus sized. She was the first plus size woman I had seen in fitness leadership or anywhere for that matter. She looks like me and trains me to be an athlete without talking about calorie expenditure or diet culture. I never exercised after that situation. And that’s the trigger that led me to … Becoming a Fitness Professional In 2007, I opened Canada’s first plus-size training camp. And since then I have trained, taught, spoken, and written on the subject of fitness and fitness for everyone. I opened the Size Inclusive Training Academy after developing the Size Inclusive Fitness Specialist Program, which now educates trainers from around the world.
ACE: How do you think fitness professionals can help their clients improve their image?
Lewis: I think it’s important to work with clients from a position of neutral weight. And I know many trainers will find the change difficult. But here’s why… Most of the time grown-ups have to fight their bodies for a very long time. They dislike their bodies and deal with weight bias surrounding body size almost every day. Some people have had traumatic experiences in the fitness and wellness space, such as joining a diet program at a young age. My parents forced me to run after school to lose weight. or being endlessly bullied Obesity is one of the least recognized things in America. And this customer feels like it’s part of their normal life. Many people in larger bodies already feel that their bodies don’t work and live with weight bias.
The most important thing for a fitness professional is not to add to the excess weight and negative experiences this client is already going through. Make clients feel that they own their bodies and that their bodies are capable. Train and treat them like athletes. When we focus on weight loss and weight restriction with clients who have a history of body mistrust. Hate or long term injury we are literally making the situation more painful. Work with clients to build them [and] don’t talk about appropriate size or weight loss. We know that regular exercise improves health indicators. People will feel better and better when we empower our clients through exercise and care for their bodies. Their confidence level will be high.