Discover more from Lou O'Reilly takes out the trash.
The one about reinvention.
Truth hurts. All the trigger warnings.
Gosh it’s been a long time, eh.
It was weird actually because when I started this Substack site I had SO MUCH TO SAY. And I loved writing for you all so much, sometimes I wrote two and three times each week because I couldn’t possibly wait to tell you how excited I was about a topic.
But then one day as I hit send (of my last email) I had a mild, existential crisis shortly afterwards. And the hit was like a sack of bricks.
It occurred to me that I was a fat personal trainer. Yeah no shit, Lou, I hear you say.
I wasn’t deluded about my fat body. In fact, before now, I celebrated my diversity in the fitness industry. But it dawned on me that all of my colleagues were thin, and were working so hard with their clients to help them not look like me. Not be my size. The size of my body and what I looked like was essentially enemy number one.
And I don’t know why, but that thought floored me a bit. It’s not like I haven’t heard or seen it all before. I mean for goodness sake, we only have images of thin people up on the walls of our gym. They all look quite angry, too, which is also something I never understood, but I’ll save that for another day.
Anyway, while the flooring feeling was happening I struggled to find where I belonged in the gym as a working professional. And following that came a bit of a spiral of shitty thoughts that actually, I am out of my mind for thinking that I could be fat and a personal trainer.
Holy shit, Lou. What the hell? You’ve done some bloody weird shit in your life, but this kinda tops it. And I thought back to all the awkward times in my 2 year PT career. Because that’s what you do, right? Your brain can’t recall where your car keys are, but it sure as shit can haul up memories of red hot humiliation.
The time a lecturer said “we all know what a fat person’s goals are when they walk into the gym” and it felt like everyone had their eyes on me.
Another time learning all about Turkish Get Ups. Holy smokes, readers, that was a trip. If you’re not familiar with the exercise, google it. Your mind will be blown when you try and find the relevance of this exercise for regular people coming into the gym.
My brain is exceptional at bringing these memories back. A few more came through. Same sort of humiliation. Good times.
And so it was a relief my old mate ADHD brain had got bored of those memories and decided to give me a bloody good talking to and it came up with these three things:
Fitness is for everyone. Everyone. No exceptions.
Fat people can be trainers. Sure they will probably be a lone wolf on the gym floor amongst a sea of thin trainers, but it’s ok. We can still exist and work, and be useful to our clients.
Fat people can do hard things. We all can, regardless of body size. But as I’ve written about before, everything is harder for fat people. Regardless, we will press on, because we can.
And so it was at this point, the end of March 2021, and I was due for elective surgery to take care of a hereditary issue. I would need 2 months post-op to heal, and couldn’t lift anything more than 5kgs, so I took a break from the gym, from Sweaty Pals, from everything. I had my surgery, I recovered really well (because again, fat people can have surgery and recover really well) and I am now at the eve of my return to the gym; my two months is up.
Except it isn’t. Because tomorrow, I’m not going back. Not yet anyway.
Truth be told, I actually don’t know what I’m going to do with Sweaty Pals or my career in personal training.
The main purpose was to help women like me find a way to move their body in a joyful way. Does that look like a 30 minute session in a gym?
I know I still have lived experience and professional experience, and knowledge that I can share. And some of it might be really really good, and really useful. It might be the nudge you need to change how you move. So it isn’t awful anymore. And actually might be fun.
That stuff I’ll share will be coming in these emails. Maybe not every week, but as often as I can. You can subscribe to the free version, or support my writing with a paid sub which has a few extra bits and pieces in it.
Thank you for reading, I hope you stick around, and please, anytime you like, drop me a line email@example.com.
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