The body positivity movement has brought a wider acceptance to those with larger body types. However, despite these changing narratives, there is still an ongoing stereotype that people with larger-sized bodies cannot be physically fit. But this simply isn’t so. Many plus-sized athletes shatter this myth.
It’s important to educate ourselves and others to broaden the overall understanding and enable those with stories to share to close the gap on these many misconceptions. Doing so allows us to remove old labels and generate new ones going forward. The world should respect both the power and strength that comes from plus-size bodies. Telling new stories will remove the ingrained negative stereotypes.
In time, we can rewrite the narrative and empower a new generation to think differently about others and themselves. Plus-sized athletes are seldom highlighted in mainstream media, but Instagram has become a powerful outlet for people trying to change stereotypes when it comes to physical fitness.
Inspirational Plus Size Athletes
The following athletes prove that you don’t need a specific body type to excel in sports. Many of them defy stereotypes and redefine what an athlete looks like. These body-positive athletes are role models for all people and are admired for excelling in their sport.
Morit Summers is a remarkable woman. She is a powerlifter and personal trainer and works for Lane Bryant as a fitness expert. Morit showcases her physical strength on her Instagram account along with new workouts regularly. Many people count on her for new ideas and inspiration on physical fitness.
Amanda LaCount reframes what was once considered the norm in the world of dance. At 16, she is a popular choreographer and dancer on Instagram. Amanda’s amazing dance videos have received 70 million views on social media, honoring her with an appearance on Dancing With the Stars.
Amanda aptly demonstrates that the world needs more people of various sizes and shapes to show that body size doesn’t limit your dreams.
Sarah Robles is known for weightlifting in the previous two Olympic games. Sarah won a bronze medal in the sport in the Rio Olympic games in 2016 and became a role model for everyone, showing that anyone can achieve their athletic dreams at the highest level if they put in the time and effort.
Sarah is a dedicated role model to many and demonstrated exceptional strength.
Ultramarathoner and Tough Mudder competitor Mirna Valerio offers inspiration for many plus-sized and average-sized people. She tells the story of how one person improved her health via physical fitness, taking her to her highest potential. Mirna offers motivation for those looking to improve their overall health. She is also the author of A Beautiful Work in Progress.
Mirna began running in high school and continued to run intermittently while in college and after graduation. She received a health scare in 2008, prompting her to return to running regularly. She first trained for a marathon, then for a 50K, and discovered she loved it, marking her decision to be an ultramarathoner.
Mirna admits that her size isn’t necessarily an asset when it comes to speed, but she comments that her excess body weight does help in terms of endurance. She has walked, biked, and run great distances. Mirna is evidence that no matter what your shape, you too can be physically active.
Olivia is a Ghanaian runner who began running after her twins were born. After their birth, Olivia was diagnosed with high blood pressure and was told to take medication. Instead of filling the prescription, she decided to start running.
Olivia started the Albany chapter of Black Girls Run. Today, there are almost 300 members. Olivia has done three marathons in one year and maintained her blood pressure at healthy levels.
She believes running has allowed her to overcome doubts. When she first started running, she was told she would get injured or couldn’t do it because of her size. Now, those same nay-sayers are asking her for advice. Olivia loves the fact that she is breaking barriers.
The Texas Ranger’s first baseman was the target of cruel jokes and body-shaming when he was on the cover of ESPN’s body issue at 275 pounds. He ended up with 314 home runs in his career. Prince feels that having a larger body type does not exclude you from becoming an athlete.
He also remarked that just because you work out regularly doesn’t mean that you will have a six-pack, either. His reason for remaining physically fit is to perform to the best of his natural ability.
Jared Lorenzen was a quarterback who was first drafted to play for the Giants, moved to play for the Colts, then played for the Kentucky Horsemen in the National Indoor Football League. The common perception is that to be a quarterback, you need to be tall and lean. Jared defied that stereotype.
At 6’4”, he weighed 286 pounds. He had a stellar career and people had a difficult time tackling him. Sadly, Jared Lorenzen tragically died at 38 from heart and kidney issues plus an infection.
Stanley Roberts stands at an impressive seven feet tall and weighs 300 pounds. Most people refer to him as a beast in the middle lane. From 1992 to 1993, Roberts had one of his best years during his brief career playing for the Orlando Magic. He had an impressive 141 blocks that season. Regrettably, his career was cut short due to an Achilles injury.
Many people thought there was no such thing as a heavier athlete in endurance sports, but Oliver Miller proved them wrong. Fans could witness a fast break then after ten minutes, Miller would come behind it. He was an exceptional basketball player for the Phoenix Suns in 1992.
These plus-size athletes prove that you cannot allow size and shape to define your abilities. None of these people allowed their shape to define who they were and what they could accomplish. They are breaking stereotypes and acting as powerful role models to future generations, proving that you can do absolutely anything if you want to.