MW: Leah, please introduce yourself.
LG: My name is Leah, I'm 36, a mother of two (3 years & 8 weeks), endurance athlete, Body Positive Fitness Advocate and Specialist Fitness Instructor. I live in
MW: Leah, for many people this may be the first time the are hearing the term ‘Body Positive Movement’. What is it and in turn what is a body positive athlete?
LG: The 'Body Positive' movement has many 'faces', but to me it means that we represent a belief that it is time we not only viewed our own bodies in a positive manner, but everyone else's bodies positively at the same time. It's a celebration of the diversity of our bodies and no longer feeling obliged to
To me, a 'Body Positive Athlete' is someone who views their body in the context of how it performs for them and not what it looks like. We tend to have 3 core beliefs:
- We believe that the term 'athletic' defines a lifestyle and not a body shape.
- We appreciate our bodies for what they do for us and we give credit to the physical activity we undertake in both training and competing in our chosen
- We believe that a person has the right to pursue their athletic or fitness dreams without a fear of being judged for what they look like doing it.
MW: You are the publisher of the blog BodyPositiveAthletes.com. What prompted you to start this blog?
LG: Funnily enough, I started it out as a page of reference for all of the media appearances and freelance writing I was starting to do. I had no intention to use it as a blog because I didn't really have the time to maintain it - or so I thought!
One day I felt really compelled to write about something and then it went from there. I'm always humbled by the responses that my blog posts receive. I remember one of my first pieces about Plus Size Athletes was interpreted as promoting obesity. The post went viral and had over 3,000 shares on Facebook alone. However, I get great satisfaction from readers who comment 'Thank you. I needed to read this today' or the likes. It is encouraging to know that my post reached someone who really needed it.
"We believe that the term 'athletic' defines a
and not a body shape." tweet this! lifestyle
MW: Being a body positive fitness advocate and an athlete, how are you and your message being received? Are you finding any resistance or push-back from the fitness/athletic community as a whole?
LG: To be honest, the whole 'Body Positive' movement is relatively young in Australia, so much of my audience and support base is from the US, Canada and UK. Like anything else
, whenyou are advocating something that people are not awakened to, youcan get a lot of people that don't really understand the concept or the point of the movement. However, but when I do actually speak to people in person about what I do and the goals I have then they tend to be extremely positive and realizethe value of what I do.
Unfortunately, I have found quite a bit of resistance from the Fitness arena. Particularly when I was approaching them in context of assisting them with relating better to their plus size clientele. I used to get frustrated by it, butnow I understand that they simply are not my audience. Now I focus on the people who do need and want to hear the messages I promote.
On the flip side, of late, there have been some amazing body positive trainers and facilities who put their hands up to have their details feature on the Body Positive Trainer and Facility Directory on the blog. I really enjoy seeing them connecting with the right clients and everyone flourishing as a result.
Perhaps most positive response I get from the health and fitness sector is from Dieticians and Nutritionists, who I think are tired of competing with the fad diet and D
ie t Industry general, and are therefore happy to have some more advocates in their corner. in
|Photo Credits: Nicole Spears Photography|
Y MW: ouhave an amazing presence on Facebook with a private community of like minded individuals. Are you finding that this forum is helping people? What are some of the standout successes you are finding in the community?
LG: Hon estly, I thankful every day for the amazing spirit of support and friendship our community has. I think it is very rare for a group of people from such diverse locations and backgrounds to have such a sense of unity, mutual respect and positivity. am
Making that subtle shift in thinking and giving more credit to your athletic and fitness
end eavours ally is a life changing experience for people. I see people training harder, entering 'that' event they have always wanted to, or starting to talk about their activities with a greater confidence. It really is an re honorto sit back and watch people flourish.
I believe everyone has had a standout moment within their own
exp eriences so it's rd to single out people as there are too many! Your journey to your ha Duathlonwould be a great example, though- by training hard, backing yourself and conquering your event you have unleashed an athlete who has realizedthat anything you have always dreamed of doing is only a good training plan and your determination away
MW: Leah you are so right! I remember you saying that to me when you inquired as to how the event went; it was an
epiphanymoment for me. It put into words to elation of the how if felt to conquer something that once was impossible for me and it provided the strategy of how to achieve it again the next time. Thank you so much for that!
Well, Leah this was an awesome interview. Thank you for agreeing to do it. Thank you for the concept of Body Positive Athletes by definition. I hope that it gives as much hope and light to others as it has given to me. I wish you continued success in every aspect of your life and purpose.
To read Leah's
pop over to Body Positive Athletes. Also join the Facebook group to offer encouragement and be encouraged! blog please
Did you enjoy this interview? If so, please leave a comment below, noting a standout point for you.
Are you a Body Positive Athlete?