‘I’m a Fat Personal Trainer, and This Is the #1 Thing I Tell All My New Clients’

Photo: Getty Images/ Artem Varnitsin / EyeEm
"I’m Tasheon, and yes I’m a fat personal trainer located in Tacoma, Washington," Tasheon Chillous, CPT, introduces herself in an Instagram post. Somehow, there are still people who are surprised by this—which unfortunately tracks, given that society is pretty fatphobic. There's still this toxic idea that being healthy only looks a certain way (i.e. thin, white, toned, but not too muscular). And if you're at the doctor's office as a bigger-bodied person, you're likely to be told that whatever symptoms you have can be cleared up by losing weight, leaving your actual issues undiagnosed.

In addition, the fitness industry isn't really known for being inclusive. “Fatphobic and transphobic trainers, gyms that don’t meet the accessibility needs of disabled folks, and fitness clothing brands that don’t carry sizes above 2XL are just a few examples of how the industry alienates people," Ilya Parker, founder of social justice platform Decolonizing Fitness, previously told Well+Good. But there are fitness pros, like Parker, out there looking to change that—and Chillous is among them. A theme throughout her posts: Movement is for everyone.

Yes, bigger-bodied people included. "I believe movement is for everyone, and I love working with fellow fat/plus-size baddies who want to move their body for a specific goal or want to feel better or want to create a movement practice that isn’t attached to diet culture and fatphobia," Chillous writes in one of her captions. (Say it again for those in the back.) Chillous shares that she hasn't always had a healthy approach to movement. "Like a lot of folks, I’ve been tangled up with diet culture since childhood. But I’m in such a better place and able to be a provider in this space to help folks also find a better relationship with movement in all the ways," she says.

Just in case you need another reminder, Chillhous writes, "For my coaches and gym goers in fat bodies: You deserve to take up space in every place you decide to move in, and if someone says anything look them directly in the eye and do your thing anyway.”

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