50% OFF DYNAMIC DUMBBELLS

Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds

FREE MASTERCLASS - DEC 7

Listen to Your Body Podcast 344 - Body Acceptance, Powerlifting & Living Your Fullest Life w_ Christina Malone

Body Acceptance & Powerlifting w/ Christina Malone

Christina Malone has been an athlete in a larger body for her whole life. When she found the sport of powerlifting, she used what she had been told would hold her back for her entire life as a positive attribute.

Christina is dedicated to helping others who are hurting, stuck in the cycle of diet culture and body negativity by learning to love themselves and fight for body diversity and acceptance in the fitness industry.

Listen to Your Body Podcast 344 - Body Acceptance, Powerlifting & Living Your Fullest Life w_ Christina Malone

Click play to listen right on this page, no app needed:

Or, listen on your favorite app: iTunes (Apple Podcasts) | Spotify | Stitcher

Key Takeaways

If You Want To Live Your Fullest Life You Should:

  1. Accept that your value has nothing to do with what you see in the mirror 
  2. Stop feeling responsible for other people’s reactions to you and your body
  3. Find a fitness routine that focuses on what your body feels good doing
  4. Advocate for your health and your options at every size

Fitness as a Big-Bodied Person

Christina is a state-record holder and national-level athlete in the sport of powerlifting, a body inclusivity coach and speaker, and happens to be in a larger body. Her passion is finding ways to help other people find peace with their bodies, learning to appreciate everything they are, and how to be in fitness as a big-bodied person. She is powerful and raw and here today to share how picking up a barbell has helped her feel more at home in the gym and her body.

The Power of Powerlifting

At one point in her life, Christina was using exercise to punish her body for being the size that it was. That was before she fell in love with the technique of powerlifting and how it made her body feel. Powerlifting allowed her internal perspective about her body size to shift, which was a life-changing experience for an athlete in a bigger body. Instead of being told that her weight was going to hold her back, powerlifting allowed Christina to harness her energy on learning to come home to her body’s purpose.

Other People’s Comfort Is Not Your Responsibility

While the conversations and attitudes towards body diversity and body acceptance in the fitness industry are changing, we still have a long way to go. Just as we have accepted height differences and race differences in the fitness industry, Christina believes that we also have to accept body size differences. What you look like in the mirror has nothing to do with your value, worth, or ability. 

It is not your responsibility to make others feel comfortable around your body. Everyone’s body is different, and when we are able to accept others regardless of what diet culture and body negativity tell us, we can break down the barriers of the fitness industry and explore fitness with freedom.

Are you ready to start living your fullest life? Share what part of Christina’s story resonated with you most with me in the comments below.

In This Episode

  • The lifts that are involved in powerlifting and how it is specifically unique (8:50)
  • Which practices can help you get into the right mental space to perform (13:42)
  • Why body diversity awareness in fitness and sports is important, especially now (21:51)
  • How the industry is changing in relation to conversations around body acceptance and bigger bodies (29:47)
  • What it is like navigating the medical system as a plus-size athlete and woman (34:20)

Quotes

“[Powerlifting] is really the only sport I have ever done that I am not sitting there saying ‘hey I am big, but…’, it’s ‘hey, I am big, and…’.”  (8:25)

“When I weight lift and when I am powerlifting, it’s me, it’s the bar, and it’s the plates on the bar. And nothing else exists for me outside of that platform, the judge in front of me, and what I need to execute on the platform.” (14:12)

“You could take 100 or 200 people and give them the exact same diet and the exact same exercise routine, and they could have a similar background, and they would still come out of it looking different. And that is just inherent, that everyone’s body is going to be different.”  (23:47)

“We are at that point, where how do we go from accepting and valuing bigger bodies that are athletic to accepting bigger bodies without needing that modifier. And how do we become compassionate to all persons, because you exist in the world and you deserve to be treated with a certain amount of humanity, and I think that is a bit lost unfortunately with a lot of bigger-bodied people.” (31:25)

“For me, living my fullest life means living up every single part of my life and reaching out to the very edges of everything that I could be, and not saying no to opportunities or to things because I doubt myself or it’s something that you ‘shouldn’t do’.” (40:53)

Featured on the Show

Join the Group Strength Nutrition Program Here

Christina Malone Website

Follow Christina on Instagram | Twitter

Follow Steph on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Pinterest

I’d really love it if you would take 1 min and leave us a rating and review on Apple Podcasts!

Related Episodes

Ep 335: Breaking the Body Stereotype with Amanda LaCount

Ep 331: Strength Training & Your Relationship to Exercise

Ep 302: Finding Joy & Acceptance in Fitness for Every Body with Kanoa Greene

Body Acceptance, Powerlifting & Living Your Fullest Life w/ Christina Malone FULL TRANSCRIPT

Steph Gaudreau
Lifting weights has the potential and the power to change your life. This week on the podcast, my very special guest is sharing how picking up a barbell and becoming a nationally ranked amazingly strong power lifter has helped her feel more at home, both in the gym and in her body.

Steph Gaudreau
The Listen To Your Body podcast is all about helping women who lift weights, get stronger, fuel themselves without counting every bite of food, perform better in and out of the gym and take up space. I’m a strength coach, nutritional therapy practitioner, and certified intuitive eating counselor Steph Gaudreau. This weekly show brings you discussion about building strength, without obsessing about food and exercise, lifting weights, food, psychology, and more. You’ll learn how to eat, train, recover, listen to your body, and step into your strength. Hit subscribe on your favorite podcast app. And let’s dive in.

Steph Gaudreau
Hello, and welcome back to the podcast if you’re newer here, Hi, welcome. I’m so glad that you’ve joined us. And if you’re a returning listener, you know how much I love you. Thank you so much for making this show. such a joy to produce week after week, year after year. I really appreciate you. This week on the podcast, I can’t wait to tell you about my very special guest. And before we do that, I just want to remind you that very soon I’m going to be launching a group online strength nutrition program. If you are someone who’s lifting weights, you want to know how to fuel yourself properly, so that you do get stronger you build muscle, increase your energy, and really improve your performance both in and out of the gym, then I want to invite you to join the waitlist, where you can get more information from me as it comes out. And very important to note, if you want to do this without counting every single piece of food that you put on your plate and in your mouth, then this could be potentially a match for you to join the waitlist and just get more information from me as it’s available. You can join at bit.ly/GroupWaitlist, bit.ly/Group with a capital G, Waitlist with a capital W.

Steph Gaudreau
Alright, let me tell you about my very special guest today. Her name is Christina Malone. She’s a body inclusivity coach and a speaker who helps people feel at home with their bodies. She is passionate about helping other people take up space in fitness as big body people. And she’s sharing with us her journey to finding a love of lifting weights, specifically power lifting. And her journey to being a nationally ranked really badass and strong power lifter. And why this was so life-changing for her. She’s also talking with me about what it’s like to be an athlete and a plus-sized body and having to navigate the medical system. It’s really important that we continue to have these conversations. And I’m so grateful to Christina for coming on the podcast today. So without further ado, let’s go ahead and jump into the interview with power lifter body inclusivity. Coach and speaker, Christina Malone.

Steph Gaudreau
Hey, Cristina, welcome to the show.

Christina Malone
Hey, there, nice to be here.

Steph Gaudreau
I’m so excited to chat with you. I am relatively new to your world on Instagram. That’s how we connected and I’m just really glad to be having this conversation today with you because the fitness industry, which is where you sort of residing in, not just as an athlete, but as a coach is, is having a bit of a moment recently with, with some of the things that you’re really passionate about talking about. And I think it’s really important to lend to the mic, so to say, to folks with different lived experiences, and that really enriches the conversation. So I’m really glad that you’re, you’re here.

Steph Gaudreau
I’m really glad that you’re sharing what you’re sharing on Instagram, or social media, or with your clients and in the world at large. And I hope that this conversation will give some folks either a new perspective, different perspective, reassurance, or wherever, wherever, whatever they’re needing as they’re coming to this show. I think they’re gonna find it.

Christina Malone
Excited to talk about it.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, talk to me about okay. There’s so many, I usually think about going into these conversations. I don’t always like to start off by saying, you know, just like, tell me about yourself. Why powerlifting?

Christina Malone
Yeah, that’s a good question I believe in Yeah, that’s a good question. So, for me, powerlifting was not really a, it wasn’t like I started off athletics and thought, Well, I’m gonna immediately go in and be a powerlifter. For me, I have been an athlete in one form or another all my life and in every single sport. I’ve been and I guess also preface this with I’ve always been a larger body person. I’ve always been big. I’ve never been smalls, I really have no kind of frame of reference for what that’s like to be a small or quote-unquote, acceptable size body in it really any sport I’ve ever done. And so I kind of bounced from sport to sport, just because I love to train I love to compete. I love the grind of, you know, the day on day work, participating in sports and then competing, I know at fairly high levels in sports, but in every single sport I did, I always found that I was justifying my reason for being there, saying, you know, Hey, I know I’m a big girl. But look how good I am. Look how high I can jump in volleyball. Look how good of an outside hitter I am. Look how fast I can ride this horse.

Christina Malone
And when I got into college, I started running marathons, because dealing with some disordered eating and issues with body image really just kind of got worse over time. Because I think like with anything with experience, it’s kind of living in the world can be very difficult as a bigger body person. And I got to the point with running where I realized I was justifying that to myself, it was like, it’s okay that I am in this big body because I can run 10 miles, it’s okay, I can run marathons, so I’m okay. And I had this moment after college when I was running in my neighborhood. And I realized that I had allowed basically exercise to become something I was using to punish my body with. And it was no longer a positive thing in my life that I was doing. And I was like, you know, paid this is, I remember looking down because I literally ran into my feet repeating in my tennis shoes. And I realized, you know that this is crazy. Like this is this is what it takes for you to be, quote-unquote, healthy, which the doctors were talking to me that I saw at the time, and like, Oh, this is the best you’ve ever been when I was literally in pretty much organ failure from dieting & over-exercise.

Christina Malone
As like this, this isn’t maintainable for the rest of my life. So what is it that my body’s actually naturally really good at doing? And what is it that it wants to do? And I kind of took the time to think back on it. and was like, you know, I’m really good at being strong. I’ve always been really good at being strong. So what’s kind of like marathons, CrossFit. I went into CrossFit, and then eventually from that got picked up with a coach there who saw that I was really good at powerlifting are really good at being the scene of the big movements and training for that and just kind of evolved into the sport and tried it a couple of times did a competition for the early on, and just fell in love with it.

Christina Malone
And it’s really the only sport I’ve ever done that I am not sitting here saying, Hey, I’m big, but it’s fine, big.

Steph Gaudreau
And yeah, thanks for sharing that. And there’s so many things I want to ask you based on. But for anybody who’s not familiar, what, what are the lifts involved in power lifting? Because, yes, like this. So we talked a lot about lifting weights. I used to do Olympic weightlifting, like we use the term weight lifting in a general sense, sometimes. And then what specifically is the sport of powerlifting? for anybody who’s not familiar?

Christina Malone
Absolutely, yeah. So powerlifting is consists of squat, the benchpress, and the deadlift. And so those are the three main lifts that we train and compete. Of course, in the process of training for powerlifting, you do every lift under the sun, most of us do some versions of Olympic lifts as accessory training. But powerlifting is really about static power versus kind of dynamic, moving the weight in motion, which if you look at an Olympic lifter, you know if clean and jerk stance or whatnot, the weight is kind of you using some momentum in the body positioning plus strength to get it up in the air and get to move the weight through the motions for the whole scheme of the lift. Whereas powerlifting is very much explosive, raw power sort of the way that we’ve heard it most commonly described by other lifters. So it’s really about what is the maximal amount of you know, kilos, I can pick up off the ground or off my chest or for the lifters with powerlifting.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, absolutely. Do you have a favorite of the three lifts?

Christina Malone
Oh, yes. Alright, so it’s funny. My nickname is actually SquatStina in the gym, guys hear that a lot. So no back squats are my, they’re my longtime love with powerlifting I kind of made it a personal goal to fall in love with bench pressing over the last year, year, and a half because it was the lift that probably lagged behind my competitors the most. And I came into powerlifting with some torn rotator cuffs and I was a volleyball player, I rode horses, so like I’ve really done a number on my shoulders. And so I was out, I’ll never be able to lift more than, you know, 100 115 pounds. And you know, now I’m training well into the two hundred on my benchpress. And so now I’m just kind of fallen in love with the technique to get that lift. Right. So I would say it’s squats and bench press kind of coming up. They’re still not in love with my deadlift. But I think it just kind of comes and goes.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, well, I’m definitely teaming squat. So we have that in common. Deadlifting has never been my strong suit. But there’s something about I don’t know there’s the deadlift, right and squat are somewhat different in the sense of like, the deadlift, right is like picking the weight up off the floor, like starts and stops on the floor and then squatting. You’re like I got to put this weight on my body. I’ve got to go down. And then the lift begins. Right. Right. It’s a completely different, like, completely different mindset. So…

Christina Malone
Yeah, I think there’s, for me personally, there’s just something to pushing against the weight to stand back up. There’s just something too, that it’s just triggering that urge to just fight it back. more slippery than the deadlift. But yeah, absolutely.

Steph Gaudreau
How long? Have you been powerlifting? for about four years now? Okay. Yeah. And you have You’re a very accomplished lifter as well. Right. So you’re competing, or you’ve you have been in competitions? Yeah, so I’m the two three-time Oregon State Champion for my super heavyweight weight class in powerlifting. I hold the Oregon State record for squat unbeaten for two years. And that’s when I within the Federation, compete. And I should always say there’s two main Federations in the United States. I compete in the USA PL currently. So I went to nationals in 2019. And then, of course, COVID head, right. So we were all queued up to do states and the nationals in 2020. But obviously, that’s that card cancel. So, but yeah, continue to train, I was one of the lucky people is able to actually build a home gym, during COVID. So I built a full powerlifting gym into my garage, my neighbors loved it.

Christina Malone
They actually have been very, very cool about it. But you know, we just explained about the bang in the playing of iron, you know, in the garage. But see, I was able to continue to train, and I’m in a really great position for 2022.

Steph Gaudreau
That’s super exciting. I mean, just, I wanted you to go through that. Because there is this extra level of if you want to be a competitor, and you know, and to be a record holder at that. And to step on that stage that takes an element of mental strength and focus and badass this that is sort of above and beyond. You know, when you go into competition, and you’re stepping on that platform, and you’re doing your thing, what are some of the, I guess the practices that you have developed that really help you to kind of be in that that mental space to perform?

Christina Malone
Absolutely. One of the things I always say about powerlifting, about lifting weights in general that for me, it’s almost some people get really loud. And they’re very, you know, you’ll see people kind of screaming at the bar making a lot of noise when they lift, I am overall a more quiet lifter. Because for me when I weightlifting, and when I’m powerlifting, it’s me, it’s the bar, and it’s the plates on the bar. And nothing exists out for me outside of that platform, the judge in front of me, and what I need to execute on the platform. So before I step out there, I visualize that lift, probably 6070 times as I’m warming up, going into the warm-ups, and then as I’m standing there waiting for this call my name bars loaded, stabilize, and hit the go out and start your lift.

Christina Malone
For me, it’s absolutely quiet in my mind. And it’s bringing my mind to that point where I can completely focus all of my energy on exactly what I need to do and not waste any energy, attention going anywhere else to the crowd to nervousness that it’s free. It just all drops away. And I’ve completely focused on what I need to get done.

Steph Gaudreau
Now there’s like a beautiful focus like this is just the one thing that matters. And I think he’s, you know, thanks for sharing kind of your own personal practices there, I think that can be really helpful for people as, as they’re even learning to train in lifting. It’s hard right, it’s hard to execute a pretty heavy lift when your mind is going other places.

Christina Malone
Absolutely. Yeah, I think if you, if there’s any part of you that’s not focused on moving that way, or you have any doubt that it’s going to go up, like the way it’s going to move, it’s it’s not going to move down. Honestly, if you’ve kind of beat yourself before you’ve even attempted to lift, which is I think visualization is really important. I think it applies to so many areas of your life. But you know, get to the point where it’s already Your mind is already done this list like it’s already happened. And so your body is just going to follow where your mind goes and executes what you’ve already laid out. So for me, that’s a lot of what competing is, you know, I’m lucky I have a lifetime of competing in other sports, but powerlifting is different. weightlifting is definitely its own unique competition.

Steph Gaudreau
Earlier, you were saying, you know, you’ve been a lifelong athlete, you’ve participated in lots of different sports, and you always felt like you had to kind of justify your being there as somebody with a bigger body. What specifically about powerlifting and lifting weights, allowed that to kind of change for you, I guess, from an internal point of view, because you hear this a lot, you know, people who have gone from I used to race mountain bikes, right. And there was always this premium placed on just being as small as you can. And although I have a different kind of lived experience, that’s when you were saying that I was something I could relate to on some level as well. So why do you feel like this modality, this sport, has been such a life-changing experience for you as an athlete? Who does have a bigger body?

Christina Malone
Absolutely, yeah. So the difference with powerlifter anything to any other sport I’ve done in our big bender competitor in is that in powerlifting, and weightlifting, in general, there’s this concept of mass moves mass, right. And so the bigger your body, generally speaking, the bigger the number of weights, you’re going to lift, it’s why, you know, super heavy weights lift significantly higher than the lightest weight loss. So to an extent, there’s this point where having a larger body is advantageous, it’s, it’s good for you, it’s good for the sport. And, of course, you can’t just have a big body walk in and do a 400-pound load. But that’s not, that’s not gonna happen. But having the ability to build more muscle to have the capacity for higher muscle, I kind of just genetically build a very dense, honestly, strength-focused muscle type, which is really lucky for me. And so for me, every component to this sport, it was like, Oh, hey, your body is great for this. You know, I had a coach that looked at me and said, Yeah, you’re built to do this sport, you know, everything about you, you’ve got big bones, big muscles, I have big joints. I’m just proportionally big everywhere and my whole body.

Christina Malone
And it’s the first time I’ve had a coach, look at that and say, That’s exciting. Let’s work with your body and maximize all of these really positive attributes. And they were all attributes that, you know, 10 years ago, I would have said, I didn’t like about myself because I was too big. I was to this to that, you know, whatever the body or Reno aspect, you want to talk about that with powerlifting. It’s, again, it comes back to this, I’m big, and it helps me lift all of these weights. It’s not I know, I’m a big girl, but I can do this work. It’s seen that body size is a positive attribute.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, I can imagine that that’s, it’s a completely different perspective. It’s a different energy. And I know, I’m thinking like, as a coach, gosh, to be able to go into that situation and help somebody See, what are the positives to how they are showing up currently as they are? And how that can be worked with? That must have felt so free.

Christina Malone
Yeah, there really was. And I’ve had some really good conversations with the coaches I’ve worked with, you know, over the last four years, and it’s been very transparent and frank with them and saying, you know, hey, when you work with a bigger-bodied athlete coming into the sport, understand that this person has probably heard that they can’t do something because their body is too big. And it’s held us back from experiencing life in so many different ways. For me, personally, like I like I’m a scuba diver. I didn’t do that until probably four or five years ago because I was too terrified to do it. I thought I’m too big and too big and too big. And it’s like once I had that conversation with my coaches like, hey, this has been my experience, you know, helped me get past this mindset of thinking, I’m too big to do anything good as I’m having to negate my body size, and working with people and having those open conversations with my coaches who have all been straight-size or small body of people. And I think it’s been really helpful for the community here in Portland, hope it’s been helpful in terms of just being transparent about, you know, these are some of these struggles and kind of the mental baggage that bigger body athletes are going to bring into the sport and how to have those conversations in a positive way.

Steph Gaudreau
Oh, yeah. Gosh, that is so like, impactful to also hear that, from your perspective and saying, you know, these are some of the things that you probably don’t know because you’ve not had to experience this and like, how to either hold space in those ways or to meet that person with the sort of kindness and listening and compassion that they probably have men showed before shown before. I imagined that’s really powerful. Yeah. Earlier, before we started recording, you were sort of talking about what are some of the things that you’re really passionate about? And obviously, this is, this is a huge topic. But you sort of mentioned, you know, like, why? First of all body diversity and fitness seems like it’s kind of grown in this awareness. This is growing as something that people are talking about more than bringing more awareness to, why does it let’s talk about why it matters period, you know, by diversity and fitness for at plus-size athletes, like, why is this important that we have these conversations, first of all, and like why is now such an important time?

Christina Malone
Absolutely. I think it’s it’s really important to talk about body diversity in sports, and just body diversity in the human race. Just in general, I think we do a really good job of understanding that diversity exists in almost every other living creature, think about like, animals, we understand that when we say there are breeds of dogs and types of dogs, there are different athletic types within, within animals. And then we understand that there are differences in people. And we’ve accepted that there’s going to be height differences and racial differences and all these things. But body size seems to still just be something that’s very triggering for people that if you aren’t in this socially accepted body size, then you are, you aren’t worth it. And you’ve done something wrong. Like you’ve earned that body size by failing yourself in some way, you’re eating too much. You don’t work out something’s, quote, unquote, wrong with you. And so for, for folks trying to do athletics, you come into it with this, you’re so much of your energy has been historically spent on trying to shrink your body into this digestible, acceptable version of yourself. And by the time you’ve done that, I mean, how much of your athletic capacity Have you given away because your energy is spent chasing something that ultimately just isn’t maybe nationally what your body wants to do or to be?

Christina Malone
And what have you left behind by doing? So I think we’re starting to understand that better in that you could take, you know, 100 200 people and give them the exact same diet and the exact same exercise energy and they could have a similar, you know, background, nonsmoker, smokers, whatever it is, you know and remove those factors, and they would still come out of it looking differently. And that’s just inherent that everyone’s body is going to be different. So I feel like I’ve heard a lot more of that discussion on social media. So I think it’s really timely to kind of translate that, you know, one step further, and say, Okay, great. We’ve accepted that bodies look different. So now, what is the body diversity in runners? What can body diversity look like in weightlifters? What’s the body diversity in cross country runners of different sports and understanding that just because someone doesn’t fit what’s historically been the norm? It doesn’t mean that their performance is going to be exemplary in some way?

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, that gives me a lot of things to think about, too, is as you’re speaking on this. One of the other kinds of kernels that sometimes come into this conversation, and I hear this from anyone from my clients to people online that are talking about these topics as well. And one of the things I know you talk about is body acceptance. And I know this can be really challenging for people, especially when they feel like they’re unhappy with their bodies or their bodies don’t fit what society says is, quote-unquote, acceptable. And sometimes the conversation is, well, if I accept what I don’t like, then, you know, like, how do I rectify like acceptance with also wanting to change, or acceptance with wanting to even, like, get stronger? You know, how do I accept something if I want to change it? Or how do I accept something if society is telling me that it’s wrong? It’s, it’s not desirable? It’s bad, you know, how do you help people kind of navigate that, that space? Or how do you define even body acceptance?

Christina Malone
Great questions, great questions. So, for me, body acceptance doesn’t necessarily mean that every single day, you’re going to love your body. So you’re not going to wake up and never struggle with it, and never have a moment where you don’t like what you see in the mirror. For me, body acceptance is when you’ve moved past that being the most important thing about yourself, and understanding that your body has value, no matter what it looks like, and that the value of yourself is not linked to any physical characteristic. And so it’s getting to that point where you can accept your body for what it is, and not have those modifiers. I’m trying to think of the right way to necessary phrase that, but it’s, it’s not about, I’m gonna run around and feel positive about myself every single day, it’s just realizing that the value that you have is just, it’s not linked to what you see.

Christina Malone
So I think that’s really one of the first steps. And one of the things that I help I try and help people with is understanding that that concept of that you may not every single day, be able to feel fantastic about yourself. But let’s break it down into why you might not be feeling that way. Did you try on a shirt, and it didn’t fit you correctly. And because of that, you got some feedback, right? From the feeling of the fabric on your body feeling tight, that stressful, that stress response. And well, that was the last thing that was happened that day, or it’s going to pick up on those other things that are happening. And understanding that a moment of discomfort with your body or disliking your body, really has very little to do necessarily with you. It’s not your fault. It’s not a bad thing.

Christina Malone
And one of the things I do speak to pretty extensively with folks, as most people in the bigger body have experienced bullying, have experienced verbal discrimination, harassment. I think there’s the whole other topic to go into that too deeply. But how do we underscore from this point of hearing this negative feedback from everything around you from social media, from people from your life, comments in your comment sections, messages in your inbox, and understanding that that is people reacting to your body, but it’s still not your fault? It isn’t your fault, that other people can’t peacefully coexist with your body that’s really on whoever is reacting to you. And it really has very little to do with you. And I think once you kind of decouple that feeling of I’m responsible for their reaction, it creates a space where you can start to heal from that. And so it’s, it’s, it’s good, it’s hard to, it’s hard to make that connection that that person being horrible to me, it really speaks more to them and their issues with however they’ve been brought up to think that it really has to do with you.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, thanks for sharing that. I know. It’s one of those things that it’s like, there are so many layers to uncover, there are so many things to tease apart. And yet, the way you described it is so, so beautiful. And insofar as it really gives people kind of their power back in that situation, right? Like, and I can, I can only imagine, you know, how it feels to be like, that is like judged on appearance, right is like, you show up, and it’s like, that’s what people see. And that’s what they’re going to like fall into your society and what they’ve learned and conditioning and programming and like you said, how they were brought up and the beliefs that they were told about bodies and things like that. And so, do you feel like you know, things, the conversations changing? Obviously, you’re part of this movement to bring these conversations forward yourself. But do you feel like things are moving in a positive direction? That there’s still a long way to go? I mean, like, what’s your sense of how this industry is changing in terms of having these conversations?

Christina Malone
Yeah, I think it’s, overall I’m seeing positive traction. And when I think about, you know, the Willamette Weekly here in Portland is a pretty big newspaper and you know, they did a cover article on me and they put me on the cover. They didn’t, they didn’t put me on the back page they didn’t, wasn’t a small picture. It wasn’t like a teeny little infographic like it was a big full page. This is a big body athlete. And they were very blunt in the headline, and I think it was something like his season elite athlete, but you think she’s unhealthy. And so I think they saw that for me.

Christina Malone
And I’ve seen that in a few other publications of people, that kind of bluntness, I feel like is fantastic. Because before it would have been, like, She’s so pretty, she’s a big girl, but and there’s a lot of these modifiers that are put onto these to having a bigger body and being visible. And so I’ve seen more and more of that, and then that experience of doing this article. For me, that was an indicator that things are changing, you know, even 10 years ago, I’m not sure I would have seen that. And then seeing that kind of replicated elsewhere, and other publications and social media. So I think that part of it is changing. There’s just a long way to go. I think we’re at that point where How do we go from accepting and valuing bigger bodies that are athletic, to accepting bigger bodies without needing that modifier?

Christina Malone
And how do we? How do we become, you know, compassionate, to all, just because you’re a person like you exist in the world, you deserve to have come You deserve to be treated with a certain amount of humanity? And I think that’s, that’s a bit lost, unfortunately, with a lot of bigger-bodied people.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, absolutely. I’ve observed so many conversations, where it’s like, somebody comes in is just like talking over, talking over people who are saying, like, Hey, this is my lived experience. This is my life experience, almost like you’re not there. And it’s sad.

Christina Malone
It is sad. Yeah. And I think COVID has done a lot. Although, obviously, he’s done a lot of bad things. COVID I think with being in a bigger body, I even know if I should like, say, like in this podcast, like, how aggressive and how nasty, some of the comments from people are around having a big body and COVID. And it’s like, it’s created this space of, you know, there was a lot of discussions around, you know, what was a confounding factor for, you know, for dying from COVID. And for quite a while, in the beginning, I feel like early 2020, and maybe like mid-2020, there was a lot of discussion around hate to give a big body, you’re going to die from COVID. And when really, we looked at the, you know, the overtime and the statistics, you’re gonna have to show that overtime. And well, I’m certain they’ll be doing studies on this for years. But I got so many comments in my DMS from people being like, a, you know, what’s up fatty, you’re going to die from COVID I’m so glad COVID here, it’s going to take you out anyway.

Christina Malone
It’s just way nastier than that. But I’ll leave this off just because they’re not positive. But it almost created this space to it was okay to judge that person, or bigger body person for being vague. It’s like, Oh, well, I’m just concerned for your health. I’m just concerned that you’re going to get COVID and, and that attitude of Well, I’m just being nasty, because I’m concerned for you has been there for bigger body people. And that’s something I have not really seen much of a change in over time, unfortunately. But I do think COVID brought it kind of to the forefront. And at least it’s been talked about.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah. I appreciate you sharing that. And not like concern trolling. Right?

Christina Malone
Yeah.

Steph Gaudreau
It’s like, so unproductive too. And I hope things change.

Christina Malone
Same.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah. Hope I’m hopeful. But also like, like, why is this such a? Why is this such a point that people continue to harp on, you know, and like, there are probably more productive things that we could focus on and talk about, you mentioned also, this sort of interesting place to be in I’ll call it, you know, interesting in air quotes, interesting in space to be in which is being a plus-size athlete, and having to sort of navigating even the medical system or some of the assumptions that people make about you, or just what that’s like to, to navigate that conversation. What have you experienced with that?

Christina Malone
Yeah, so a lot of experiences in this area. And this is something that almost every now I think, I don’t want to say every bigger body person I talked to has had an experience in this area like this are somewhat related to it. When you get seen by a practitioner as a bigger-bodied person, the first and only thing they see is your body size, the number on the scale, and your BMI. And as a plus-size athlete, it’s really problematic because my body weight is higher as an athlete than it would be if I was sedentary, right because muscle weighs more than fat. I have a significant amount of muscle on my frame that’s obviously required to do what I do. At the level I do it. And for me, I am very lucky that I’m pretty well educated, I worked in the veterinary field for 10-15 years. So I know the jargon, I know how to talk to doctors. So I’m able to self-advocate pretty strongly.

Christina Malone
But I think there are a lot of folks that don’t have that background and don’t really know that they can advocate for themselves or even how to do it. And I think the problem with being a bigger-bodied athlete is, again, that assumption that you aren’t healthy, they’re going to treat you from that lens, medicate you at the wrong levels because they don’t understand your body composition, I recently had to have minor surgery. And I have a third frustrating anesthesiologist, where I was trying to chat with him like, Hey, you know, I understand that you have not met me, you’re looking at my numbers on a chart. But you know, here is some information that may be helpful for you to have. And I literally go into every doctor’s appointment I have with a binder of information with all of the lab work that I’ve had, showing that I don’t have diabetes, I don’t have a thyroid issue. I’ve never had any blood sugar issues or anything like that. And then all the DEXA scans and body scans and body composition work that they get done as an athlete, because it’s important to understand for training, but it works as a defense mechanism because I can put all that data in front of them. And I’ve literally just watched doctors go, oh, okay, and then start to treat me like a person.

Christina Malone
So yeah, I just the concept of that. It’s so difficult for you to get care delivered that is not talking about your weight. Especially when it’s completely not relevant to the topic at hand. So, for example, I went for a sinus infection once, and I had a doctor tell me that I wouldn’t have gotten sick if I wasn’t overweight. Okay. And my, my response was, as I hear what you’re saying, but let me ask you, how many people have you seen this week for a sinus infection, and were they all fat, and I usually just get silenced, or they divert off the topic because they don’t want to say that. And so that constant, having to be in that space of being defensive, all the time of being ready to justify and defend yourself is really exhausting. And I, I worry about other people that don’t have the medical background, I don’t know that they can self-advocate, and they just take the advice that they’re given.

Christina Malone
Honestly, one of the little tidbits that I think I’ll put in here is that the extent to which the advice can be bad as literally five years ago, I was probably the lowest body weight I’ve ever had, five, six years ago, because I was again, I was really disordered eating, I was literally eating 12 to 1400 calories a day and running, you know, yeah, running pretty much every other day, three to seven miles. It really negative body stuff. And I had a doctor look at me and say, Hey, you know, you’re making good progress. But what if we put you on a Phen Phen-like stimulant to stimulate your body to lose more weight?

Christina Malone
Yeah. And had I done that? I really want to know what the difference to my cardiovascular system would have been. But and I worry about how many people don’t notice, say no to that, or don’t even know that saying no, it’s an option. And what the damage is that it’s doing? So many things we can talk about in that area.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, I really appreciate you, you know, sharing your personal experience, bringing some of that stuff to light. Talking about what it’s like, and, you know, having to do all of that work. You know, as you said, you have a whole binder of stuff and paperwork. And it’s almost like, on one hand, the numbers, you know, can kind of do their you know, they kind of do their thing and communicating it. But on the other hand, it’s like, your own personal experience, what you communicate and share is like, you know, it’s almost like that doesn’t have as much emphasis, you know, there’s not as much validity to it. It seems like the system doesn’t get it either.

Christina Malone
Yeah, you’re automatically not believed. I think as a bigger body person when you say anything, that contra indicates the popular narrative that, you know, big body, people are lazy, don’t eat correctly, and to some extent deserve their body size or have burned their body size by failing in some capacity.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah. I appreciate you sharing that. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I would love to. There’s so many things that I want to ask you and we’re, like, run at a time which is just it’s amazing because it’s been a really powerful conversation. But I do want to ask you one last question. And that is, on your website, you have written living my fullest life in my big body, and I would love for you to kind of encapsulate to us like, to you what is living your fullest life? What does that mean? And why is it so? Why is this so revolutionary, almost is so powerful for you to just be like, I’m out here living my fullest life?

Christina Malone
Absolutely, it’s a wonderful question and a great thing to end on. I think. For me, living my fullest life means living up every single part of my life, and reaching out to the very edges of everything that I could be, and not saying no to opportunities or do things because I doubt myself, or it’s something that you shouldn’t do. For me, living my life to the fullest in clothing that my body feels good in, not what I’m supposed to be wearing, or that’s quote-unquote, flattering. It’s wearing shorts, not overheating, wearing a crop top, getting too hot in the gym. And working out in the sports bra, when it’s 115 degrees in Portland.

Christina Malone
It’s scuba diving, it is going on trips, it’s wearing a bikini, whatever makes your body feel comfortable, and living my life in a way that I’m not doing it to make other people comfortable with me or my life. It’s not, it’s no longer my responsibility to make other people comfortable with me. That’s not my job. That’s not living your life. That’s living a story that someone’s telling about you. You deserve to be that character in your own life that is full, robust, it’s your life, it is your story. It’s not just something saying about you. And so living your fullest life is getting to that point where you get to do that and be fully present in your own life in every single way you ever dreamed of doing it?

Steph Gaudreau
Felt like a full embodiment?

Christina Malone
Yep. Yeah.

Steph Gaudreau
Beautifully said. Yeah, I appreciate that. Thank you so much for coming to this show and sharing so much of your personal experience. So much of your life, you know, the things that have been challenges for you the ways that you’ve carved out, you know, and redefined for yourself what that story is like that story you that you want to live into, because it is your life, and also for bringing to light in your own words. A lot of the issues that this industry still needs to do better with and places that the industry needs to grow and change. And also for giving a nod to other people who are like, Yes, I want to go like do this thing or go power lift. Like now I’m excited. Christina is like motivated me like, I want to do this too. And, and for showing up and being yourself.

Christina Malone
Yeah, absolutely. It’s really my goal with all that I’m doing in terms of whatever articles I do, I’m looking to start a podcast here within the next two to three months, talking to other people and really breaking these breaking down these barriers and fitness as I really want to help people find their way to have this freedom to explore fitness and explore living their bodies and explore this. And it’s really, my goal is to be the person that I would have made a decision to hear or to see when I was 15. And at the beginning of really this the lowest one of the lowest points for me, in this body acceptance journey, I want to be able to be that person or get a resource to that person and help them not struggle, the way that I struggled. It doesn’t have to be this way. And it can’t be better, and it is going to change.

Steph Gaudreau
You’re doing it. You’re absolutely doing it. And I just can’t wait to see how things continue to evolve for you. Tell us where can people connect with you? Where can they get to know even more about you follow along with you on social, that sort of stuff?

Christina Malone
Absolutely. So I’m pretty active on Instagram on my handle is @C.Sharp85. And I’m sure we can link it as well. But I’m very active on Instagram. So it’s probably one of the easiest ways to reach me. I do have a website, ChristinaLifts.com. You can reach me there for coaching if you want to do one-on-one or any of the group sessions that I’m working with, as well as keep up with any of the media that have been participating in. So those really are the two easiest ways to reach me.

Steph Gaudreau
Great. Yeah, we’re gonna link all of that up in the show notes. And definitely if you’re listening to this right now go follow Christina on Instagram. Go like check out her lifts. It’s a thing of like powerful raw beauty to watch. I get excited when I see other women lifting and it really inspires me. I hope if you ever make it to San Diego or if I’m ever back up in Portland, it’s been a while. But you know, maybe we can lift together at some point, you can teach you some, some, like, more technique on power lifting and like, you know, share some of your expertise with me. There will be really super fun to do that.

Christina Malone
Absolutely. I’m here for that. Let’s question kilos.

Steph Gaudreau
Yes, I love it. Ah, that’d be so good. Christina, thanks so much for being here on the podcast. Really appreciate it. Thank you. I really appreciate the opportunity. It was wonderful speaking with you today. Thanks.

Steph Gaudreau
All right, that’s a wrap on this episode with the very wonderful, the very powerful, and the very incredible Christina Malone. If you want the episode, show notes for this podcast. And you can go ahead and find them on StephGaudreau.com. Of course, that is my website. And then you can also if you love this episode, you were inspired by it in any way, please share it out on Instagram stories and tag Christina and myself, we would love to hear what you took away from this episode. What resonated for you is hit the old subscribe button, or tell someone else about this podcast that matters because it helps your podcast app, get a little signal that you like this show, and you want to hear more of it. And it’s more likely that they will share it out to people who aren’t following. So it’s your way of giving it a little nod and helping to spread the word very organically. So you can do all of those things. And then of course, if you want to jump on the waitlist for the upcoming strength nutrition program that I’m running, go ahead and do that at bit.ly/GroupWaitlist group is capitalized and so if you want a shortcut to find that link, then just hop over to my Instagram to the LinkedIn profile, and you’ll see the waitlist on the list of links. Thanks so much for being here. And I’ll be back next week with another episode so make sure you stay tuned until then. Have an amazing strong week.

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Hi, I'm Steph!

Nutrition and fitness coach for women, Lord of the Rings nerd, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more, not less: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.

DYNAMIC DUMBBELLS Program

Build muscle, strength & power AND take all the guesswork out of your workout with this 3x weekly written-for-you dumbbell strength program.

GET FREE DUMBBELL WORKOUTS

Strength Nutrition Unlocked

For women lifting weights who want to get stronger, build muscle, have more energy, and perform better. Implement the four keys you need to unlock your next level of strength in this 8-week program.

Get free dumbbell workouts