Cosmopolitan UK
Strong Fit And 300lb Image Credit: Cosmopolitan UK
Strong Fit And 300lb Image Credit: Cosmopolitan UK

Strong, Fit And 300lb

Model, activist and now... unlikely fitness icon. Tess Holliday opens up about her wellness journey

Catriona Innes

The thwack of battle ropes as they hit the floor, sending dust flying into the air. A Lycra-clad woman raising hand weights above her head, before racing across ladders laid down on the floor. These – along with the steady pump of Calvin Harris tracks – are the sights and sounds that you’ll hear in any gym across the country, so par for the course that they’re unremarkable. And yet when model Tess Holliday is the woman in this scenario, it is remarkable. People pay attention to. They comment on her Instagram; they discuss her on panel shows; they write articles about her. This is what happened when, last year, Tess first began sharing her workouts on her social media pages. Her loyal fans feared she was turning her back on her self-love philosophy, while her trolls told her that she didn’t belong on the gym floor. A war broke out in her comments section. She had, unwittingly, stirred up a global debate about what happens when a size-26 woman works out. Here’s what she learned along the way.


“My first thought when Massy – the woman who became my personal trainer – left a comment on one of my photos was, ‘Is she trolling me?’ But then I began to scroll through her page and saw that we shared the same philosophies when it comes to health and fitness. She was using the right language. She’s not about looking good, she’s about what i

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