TransActive Fitness: Measuring Up

Size doesn’t matter, or does it?


There are many ways to measure our physical progress, depending on goals. Weight, size measurements, BMI, amount of weight that we can lift, number of times we can lift it, how long can we hold a posture, how balanced can we be, the list goes on. They key is finding the measures that work in a way that gives us quantitative feedback AND motivates us, as opposed to missing important data and crushing our self-esteem.


For trans folks, standard measures are differently complicated and can be dysphoria inducing. FOr example  the BMI scale (which is controversial in and of itself)  is gendered. Since hormones greatly affect fat distribution, it is hard to know which scale to use for a binary trans person, nevermind someone who is not. It can be greatly distressing to be assessed by the scale of a gender we do not identify with, especially if we are not even sure that it is offering useful information.


Weight is not gendered as a measure itself, but social norms of heavy and light, big and small, play into what weight we feel comfortable with for our gender. Some of these weights are unattainable in a way that is  healthy in the frame we are given.

So what are healthy aspirations and measures? As any good trainer and trainee know, it is different for each unique body.


I told Mike where I wanted to go, and that is where we are putting our focus. The BMIs and weight measurements give him points of reference to dial in some strategies to attain those goals, and those numbers are not what interests me, I don’t even really ask. He does not attempt to force me into making them MY measure.


What is YOUR measure of your progress? Be kind to yourself and understand that one size does not fit all when it comes to measuring success. None of the standardized measures were made with trans people in mind. Work with the trainers that are interested in expanding their toolbox, rather than putting us into a box. We are worth it.