This trans trainer is making fitness more inclusive

This trans trainer is making fitness more inclusive

Celeste Sloman

MY FITNESS TRIP started in my late twenties in 2008 and was prompted by my need to seek gender-affirming medical care. My gender designation at birth never aligned with the truth I feel inside. Society saw me as a woman because of my curves and treated me as such. So I decided to reclaim my bodily autonomy and redefine my gender by emphasizing a more masculine aesthetic.

Unfortunately, my doctor asked me to lose weight (which was not based on any medical diagnosis) so I could go on hormone replacement therapy. She even prescribed me diet pills which in turn caused severe constipation after only taking them for a week. Living in a rural, conservative state at that time resulted in a very limited number of physicians trained in how to provide adequate care to transgender patients. The fatphobia I experienced is also rooted in the medical industry and perpetuated by its providers.

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I also decided to seek out personal training services and ended up interviewing many personal trainers. I specifically told them, “I’m transmasculine and I’d like to masculinize my physique. Everyone was rude and didn’t want to support me. They would tell me things like, “You will always be a woman; you’re just fat. You need to lose weight. With my background in physical therapy and my knowledge of muscle anatomy – how to move and train the body – I decided I could do it myself.

“My body is a beautiful, complex, layered reflection of all that humanity can embrace.”

So in 2014, I launched Forseca Fitness, a mobile personal training service created to help reshape the world of fitness for trans men, especially black people. My job was to highlight the complexities and obstacles we face in traditional fitness culture, while building new, more supportive systems to replace them. This extended to the education center, Decolonizing Fitness, a resource center that people can visit as they enter the fitness industry. I educate people to get rid of the toxic culture of fitness and diet. I do my best to show people that it’s the world that’s rushing you. It’s not necessarily something you’re doing wrong or your body is wrong with.

ilya parker

Celeste Sloman

It’s a daily struggle for me to feel good about my body. Society’s expectations of how my body looks and moves are difficult, including assumptions based on my race, height, height, and gender. I feel more at peace with my body thanks to what I know, the way I have been able to accompany people and the fact that people come to seek my specific services. I always enjoy working with my clients because I see them develop a more healing connection with movement and their bodies.

How I feel about my body really comes and goes from day to day, sometimes minute to minute. I have chronic back and shoulder pain, and there are mornings when I wake up in such deep pain that I have to mentally disconnect from my body just to complete a daily task. If my pain subsides, I can fall back into my body and reconnect with all my senses. Also, being gender-bad can alter my mood and make me very dysphoric.

I feel like my body is perfect because it shows up, but it has to show up on a given day. My body represents the breadth of gender and a society determined to regulate us to the gender binary of male or female. My body is a beautiful, complex, layered reflection of all that humanity can embrace. – as told to Keith Nelson Jr.


This story appears in the October 2022 issue of men’s health.

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