Diet Culture in the Fitness Industry with Christina Montalvo | #3

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Click here to access a written transcript of this episode.

I chat candidly with Christina Montalvo, a body-positive strength and conditioning coach, about what she wouldn’t be caught dead doing now as a coach, how coaches can make the move away from diet culture, and how clients can be informed consumers of the fitness industry.

Christina started her fitness coaching career as a typical personal trainer drowning in diet culture. She cared way too much about calories and macros, and she focused her energy on helping her clients lose weight and change their bodies. Thankfully, she came to see the light and has drastically changed her coaching practice as a result.

Christina now runs her own body-positive gym, and she won’t even take new clients during the month of January because she doesn’t want to capitalize on people’s insecurities. She takes immense pride in all of her clients’ accomplishments that have nothing to do with shrinking their bodies.

We discussed:

  • How Christina originally got into the fitness industry because of her fatphobia, and the garage gym where she got her start.
  • All the things Christina used to do as a coach that she would never do now, from calling herself a weight loss coach to prescribing cardio.
  • How the fitness industry seems to be in crisis currently with a lot of coaches torn between the typical ways of weight loss and more weight-inclusive ways to work with clients.
  • Steps that coaches can take to make the shift out of diet culture and toward weight-inclusivity and Health At Every Size©.
  • The importance of seeking out representations of coaches and trainers in the fitness industry who don’t fit the mold of what a coach or trainer is “supposed to” look like.
  • The ridiculousness of believing that your clients should want to look like you.
  • Steps consumers of the fitness industry can take to find a coach who isn’t stuck in diet culture.
  • The problem with coaches who won’t respect boundaries and honor what their clients want.
  • Why Christina doesn’t take on new clients or run any promotions in January.
  • The pitfalls and rewards of being a coach who doesn’t sell weight loss in an industry obsessed with it.
  • How Christina defines health and wellness for herself at this moment in her life.

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Christina sits on a staircase with a silver kettlebell between her feet. She has one hand wrapped around it and the other is at her chest as she's laughing

Christina Montalvo (she/her) is a body-positive strength and conditioning coach. She owns the only woman-owned, women-focused, body-positive gym in the Chicagoland area and is best known for her podcast, The Confidence Project. You can keep up with Christina on Instagram.

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