By Derrick Lane, blackdoctor.org
Not at the L.A. Fitness club in Capitol Heights. Class attendees double-time it as healthy and “thick” fitness instructor Michelle Gibson counts them down from the front of the class.
“Four more, three more, two more, one!” Michelle yells, twirling her rope. She jumps faster and faster until the rope and her sneakers blur on the hardwood.
“Show-off!” yells a woman from the back of the classroom. Michelle laughs as she demonstrates hinge-kicks high above her own head. “Fight for your sexy!” she commands her class.
Michelle says she never lacks attention from men, and that they find her five-foot-four, size 14 frame sexy.
“Men have always said to me, ‘You’re not fat, you’re p-h-a-t,’” she says.
As a fitness instructor, she hopes to encourage African-American women to focus on exercise as a key to health, rather than using self-hatred to motivate weight loss. The women in her classes naturally agree with her inclination – and none of them are seeking to be supermodel thin.
“I’m a full-figured woman who would run circles around the average person, and I know it,” Michelle says. “I kind of think it’s my secret weapon.”