I am writing this post for all of those climbers out there (or people who want to get into climbing) who consider themselves to be “fat” people. First of all, I hate the term “fat”. It is a pejorative term and should not be applied to anyone, much less oneself by oneself. For this post, though, I will use it because I want to make a point. The general public sees these climbing feats performed by skinny-as-a-rail athletes with lean muscle mass and a body fat to weight ratio of near zero. That is nice and all, but it is not an accurate picture of the climbing community at large. People should not think that because they are not zero percent body fat and have the muscular definition of an anatomy poster that they cannot climb. It just is not true!
Take ME, for example. I weigh 260 lbs, and seven weeks ago, I weighed 280 lbs. I am 5’2″ tall. That makes me, in the slang world of jargon, “FAT”. I climb, though, and because I climb, I’m in better shape and much happier than I was when I began two and a half years ago! My whole body is stronger. My ankle has recovered from an injury that was supposed to limit my mobility for the rest of my life and could not even be fixed by surgery. I have more muscle mass. I am more flexible. I feel better physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I have something to look forward to. I have a way to burn off stress. Yes, I climb! I guarantee you that I am not the “poster child” of climbing. In fact, I would likely go on a poster of who not to be like on a poster if we were judging strictly by image and the perception of what a “healthy” person looks like at a glance. I climb, though, because it makes me happy. I do not fit the gym-goer’s image of fitness…YET.
A person has to start somewhere, and today is as good a time as any to begin a journey toward better health and happiness. When you see a “fat” person in a gym, do not laugh. Instead, think how much courage it took them to walk into that gym, get on the wall, and climb their best knowing how much of a spectacle they would be to narrow-minded people who judge books by their covers. Think about the determination it takes that “fat” person to stick with a new exercise regimen and change for their own betterment with people staring and guffawing at them while they attempt to reach their dreams. Think about how differently that “fat” person gets treated because they are seen as being “out of their element”. Think about it. “Fat” people DO climb! They are better people for it, too. Before you or they know it, they will not be “fat” people anymore, either. They will be part of the climbing community, possibly even your friends, and probably your climbing partners. They are people! They are climbers! They are just like you! So be kind…and climb on!