Runner’s World: Shattering Stereotypes about Fat and Fitness

by Laetitia Wong

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I’m pretty sure plus-sized Erika Schenk has better stamina than I do!

The 18-year-old has been running for nearly a decade, but her body type is definitely different than those typically featured on the covers of fitness magazines. I guess that’s the reason why the world was shaken up when images of Schenk grazed the cover of the August issue of Women’s Running, knowing for a fact that the magazine’s decision to feature a plus-sized model was a huge one.

Schenk mentioned in an interview, commenting that “Some women believe that since they have curves, they can’t run or shouldn’t run. Running is for every body at any time.”

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There has long been a stereotype that all runners are skinny. Akin to being so caught up in the stereotypes of beauty, ebony-skinned beauties VS the typical white American skin, we forget that beauty, as well as runners, comes in all shapes and sizes. There isn’t just two polar opposites: The skinny and the fat, the blacks and the whites – But rather there are a variety of multi-dimensional races, cultures, body shapes and beauty types; those that deserve to be celebrated and rejoiced just as much as the others.

Contrary to popular belief, many doctors and cardiologists have argued that weight and physical fitness have little or no correlation to one another.

Schenk has definitely attracted her fair share of negative criticism, with the overwhelming response garnering both negative and positive comments. However, the response was leaning towards the positive side, with one woman commenting that Schenk was “An amazing inspiration for women everywhere.”

What do you think? Do you applaud these magazines for making this big leap?

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