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

Aug 6, 2019

A woman running and giving a high five to a man who's off-frame with the words "Diet Culture in the Fitness Industry with Christina Montalvo | #3" superimposed over her

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 and I both started our fitness coaching careers as typical personal trainers drowning in diet culture. We cared way too much about calories and macros and focused on helping our clients lose weight and change their bodies. Thankfully, we both came to see the light and have drastically changed our coaching practices 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 internalized fatphobia and obsession, and the garage gym where she got her start.
  • All the things Christina used to do as a coach that she wouldn’t be caught dead doing 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 new, more weight-inclusive ways to coach and help 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, and 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, and the problem with coaches who won’t respect boundaries and honor what their clients want.
  • Why Christina doesn’t take new clients in January or run any promotions.
  • 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, which includes rest and play.

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Featured on this Episode:

Christina 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 find her on Instagram.

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Hi, I’m Shohreh! I’m a weight-inclusive wellness coach on a mission to help you give diet culture the finger so you can eat, move, and live guilt-free.

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