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The Unapologetic Fat Girl's Guide to Exercise and Other Incendiary Acts
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The Unapologetic Fat Girl's Guide to Exercise and Other Incendiary Acts

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  353 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
This empowering exercise guide is big on attitude, giving plus-size women the motivation and information they need to move their bodies and improve their health.

Hanne Blank, proud fat girl and personal trainer, understands the physical and emotional roadblocks that overweight women face in the word of exercise. In this one-of-a-kind guide that combines exercise advice with
Paperback, 224 pages
Published December 26th 2012 by Ten Speed Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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Apr 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've been struggling for the last few years with how my body has changed and how I look and feel. Sometimes I feel like a badass with swagger to prove it. Sometimes I feel like my body is just a meatbag I have to drag around as a place to keep my brain. Oftentimes I feel ashamed, and I am goddamn done with that noise. Nabbed this from the library and so far it is an empowering voice for acceptance. I am myself. My body is part of me, and I (inside my body) am capable of mighty things.
Julian Griffith
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: how-to, reviewed
Disclosure: I won a free, signed copy of this book by participating in a comment thread at Hanne Blank's blog.

That said: this book is great. It's written in Hanne Blank's usual friendly, no-nonsense, and very, very funny style, which some readers may be familiar with from books like Virgin: The Untouched History and Big Big Love, Revised: A Sex and Relationships Guide for People of Size. It's full of encouragement about exercise that has absolutely nothing to do with losing weight or inches, and
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is just AWESOME.

Disclaimer: I am not the target demographic for this book, in that I fall within the range of what's generally considered "not fat" and I have not had the social experience of being considered overweight. I say this just to make it clear that my perspective is from outside that lived experience, and thus there are some things that this book might be lacking that I'm just not aware of.

Ok, disclaimer over. I loved this book. I recently started voluntarily exercising for t
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
My life has so much more potential for confidence and happiness now that this book's words are inside my head. Need to re-read and re-read until the unapologetic attitude is reflexive.
Feb 08, 2017 added it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I didn't finish it but I still think it might be helpful to those looking to reframe exercise.
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I think I can feel people I know in real life that follow me on goodreads judge me for reading this. Anyway, this review is going to be kind of personal and stuff so I apologize.

I wasn't quite the audience for this book. It's taken me 2 years of running to admit this but I am a runner. I started running approximately five years ago, after we ran 12 minutes in gym class. I distinctively remember thinking "pfft, 12 minutes, that should be easy,". And nope. It wasn't. I couldn't run 12 minutes. Th
Danni Green
Sep 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: having-a-body
This book provides a lot of useful info from a strong motivational framework. I would have liked to have seen it address a wider audience; it seems to presume that its readers are relatively able-bodied and can afford things like gym memberships or exercise classes. It also seems to take a "just get over it" approach to handling the internalized fatphobia that gets in the way for many fat people who may wish to exercise, which is an approach that may work really well for some people but didn't s ...more
Sep 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book as I felt a lot of it was relevant to me and how I'm feeling about exercise/being active lately. The whole book has a great attitude which I feel I've picked up on to give me an even stronger feeling that I shouldn't feel embarrassed about getting out there and doing whatever activity I want to. There's a list of resources to make things easier (including a mention of the Couch25k site which I'd already decided to do and a 200situp site which I'm now also going ...more
Sep 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good guide for beginners - beginning exercisers, beginning size-accepters - written with gentleness and good humor.

I like the resource guide for clothing, sports bras, etc.
I really like the list of specific exercises to help you get strong enough to get up off the floor.
I wish there were more specific workouts, like, a Couch to 5Kish program for people who haven't exercised ever (or in a long, long time).
I like the funny, friendly, and encouraging tone that Blank has in this (and her o
Jan 16, 2013 rated it liked it
I think this is a great book for someone who is just getting into size acceptance, and just getting into exercise, but as I am heavily into both, it didn't really help me much. I was hoping to learn more about other exercises from a fat girl's point of view, but it's a bit vague. However, I do appreciate reading a book on exercise that doesn't talk about weight loss the entire time!
Spook Harrison
Mar 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: health-physical
Very informative and positive. Breezy chat and really useful discussions on body movement, body image, our bodies in the world...overall, a good read! Glad my library had it!
Dec 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Giving me great ideas about how to workout now that no longer commute by bike! And making me feel good about being a big girl that just likes to move her body.
Apr 07, 2015 rated it liked it
As a fat girl who also exercises, i figured I should check this out. I suspect it could be a very useful book for someone, however, for me there wasn't a lot that was new.
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
You know, I'm not the target audience for this book (not because I'm not fat, but because I already have a pretty solid commitment to exercise), but it's always good to get the reminder and it's always affirming to hear that my body is amazing and special and I should have autonomy over it. This is one of the best messages of feminism (and certainly isn't limited to fat women, which is clear in this book). Everyone deserves to have the relationship with their body that is theirs alone. And the t ...more
Mar 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cagne by: Captain Awkward

I picked this up thinking about my mom. It's more something one has to read by themselves, although there's some ideas for simple ways to put some working out in one's life, and the criteria to judge trainers/teachers as fat-friendly will be useful.

I've found relatable the parts about dealing with feeling self-conscious exercising in public, as no one is immune from jerks getting in the way.

May 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is (mostly) for (fat) people with little experience with physical activity and body acceptance. I am not a vigorous exerciser myself, but I know and understand the basics, and I've been reading about body acceptance for years now. Therefore a lot of this was old news to me, but I did pick up a few new tips and got a lot of inspiration. I am also not from the US so certain information was just not relevant, and as stated in the book, a lot of the resources will be out of print or gone o ...more
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I saw this title in my library's collection, and though like other readers I don't identify as "fat" (just a little overweight), I was looking for a fitness book that would motivate me for reasons other than weight loss, because there are SO MANY other reasons than weight loss to exercise!

I ended up really enjoying the book. I have been an on and off gym rat for years (mostly off, lately), but there was still new material in here for me. Most of it was the less technical stuff: about how we all
Aug 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
the 4-star rating is for the intent, and for how encouraging this book likely is for a self-conscious fat woman who's been abused about her size all her life, but is contemplating exercise. heck, i wish the title wasn't so strongly gendered because plenty of fat guys i know could use the information here just as well, even though they don't get quite the same type of grief. furthermore i would recommend it for people who might not have an issue with size, but who might have other body issues, su ...more
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a fantastic book for those of us who have ever felt like we can't get out there and move our selves because we're fat, whatever level of fat that means.

There is a lot of "rah rah" here but it's not bullshit or trite, it's soild and meaningful and really does have an impact on your self esteem. The advice is real- how to get off the floor, for example. If you lack trunk strength and you realize that you can't get up, that could be embarassing so this could be seriously important info.

May 08, 2015 rated it liked it
This is Body Positivity 101. As a longtime resident of Tumblr, I immediately recognized all of the confidence building portions of this book that focus on the idea that our self-esteem is everything. Some pages read like 'Fuck Yeah Self-Esteem' posts. The biggest takeaway I got from this is that confidence is what helps us best enjoy and reap the benefits of fitness. Learning to accept your body in motion is a big deal to a lot of people (myself included and I'm only a size 12) and this book hel ...more
Jul 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013

Hanne Blank is someone whose writing I have enjoyed for almost a decade now. She appeared with some regularity on the LiveJournal blogs of other authors I read regularly, and her confidence and intellect were readily apparent. I started following her there at the mostly-defunct LJ, and I have made it a point to read her books at they come out.

This book was one in which I was particularly interested, since Blank's blog entry from back-in-the-day about being a fat girl on a bicycle was particular
Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a very 101 book. The author's characteristic gentle humor shines through and makes it a charming, friendly approach to what might be a difficult subject. Ms. Blank makes an effort to be inclusive and talks about ways to work around potential physical issues one might have as a fitness beginner or a differently abled person.

I gave the book five stars because it's successful in pointing someone to resources they might want and framing fitness as a positive thing that does not revolve aroun
Kalla [A Bookish Nerd]
This book was super funny. Hanne kept me interested with her jokes and stories of her experiences as a thick woman. Even though it was funny and had lots of important info, I still felt a little robbed.

Yes, I'd like to lose some weight. Just to minimize my chub. The author made it out that wanting to lose weight was a bad thing - that we should focus on what our body can improve internally like breathing, stress, etc. And while I want that, too, I don't want to be condemned because I want to lo
Jul 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this! I never thought I was one for self-help kinds of books, but that is not what this book really is. I would say it's motivational. It makes the reader question their own reasons for wanting to move more, and acts as a guide for what the reader wants to do or not do, and in what way might work best for them.

This book doesn't deal with the BS of working out to get thin, but instead working out to take back ownership of your body. The author makes it clear that if you do not wan
Jan 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I think this book has forever changed my relationship to exercise, my body, and moving through the world. I started reading it after my neurologist suggested aerobic activity to help alleviate a migraine condition I was developing. Having consumed a lot of Healthy at Every Size and Fat Activism content on the internet, I was uncomfortable starting an exercise program out of a sense that it was a thinly veiled attempt to make me lose weight. But this book made me feel in charge of my own wellbein ...more
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever felt like you needed to get in better shape before you would be ready to exercise with "the real athletes"? Or feel like you look too gross in your workout clothes to show your face at the gym?

While my athletic prowess is far far ahead of the main audience for this book, I took two great things away from this book:

1) It is not your job to "prettify" the world for other people. You do not owe it to people to make sure that they only get to look at people that they find attractive.
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It might sound dramatic, but being fat in public, especially trying to do movement (walking, dancing, sports, gym, ect) while being fat in public, often IS an incendiary act, at least judging by the strangers making comments, yelling, or throwing a ball from a moving car (things that have happened to me personally). This book is specifically catered to fat people, but I think it can benefit anyone and everyone. The takeaway that I got from this book is important reminder that "taking care of my ...more
Rachel Blom
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved this book! A lot of the info wasn't new to me, especially why exercise is good for you and info like that, but it was good to read it again. I appreciated the practical resources and info as well, which did contain some new tips.

But the highlights (aside from the brilliant tone of voice in this book and the laugh-out-loud sense of humor Hanne Blank has!) to me were the encouragement and the empowering words. I am fat and I've been body-shamed on more than one occasion when working out.
Aug 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Nice. Very strong health promotion approach -- asset based, inclusive (of size, age, dis/ability) with a Health At Every Size viewpoint. She covers not only the physical aspects one might expect, but also the various internal and external mental stumbling blocks one might encounter. Lots of great checklists for assessing whether an activity or facility is right for the reader.

I particularly like her Incendiary Act #7, which is "Flail Proudly". Good advice well beyond the physical realm!

This was a fun book that really helps to break down the psychological barriers many overweight women have put up that prevent them (us) from moving their (our) bodies. For me it wasn't as useful, because I already know that I love to hike, regularly walk to work and enjoy CrossFit. It was reassuring though that the "moving" in and of itself is what is emphasized in this book, not losing weight or worse, attempting to achieve a standard of beauty that is not possible for most people (even if they ...more
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Hanne Blank is a writer and historian.
Periodicals which have featured her work include Penthouse, In These Times, Southwest Art, Lilith, Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture, the Baltimore CityPaper, the Boston Phoenix, Santa Fean Magazine, and others. Her short fiction and essays are frequently anthologized.

Ms. Blank's work has been reviewed in The New York Times, The Chicago Sun-Times, The W
More about Hanne Blank...

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“You have the right to not have to constantly manage how you look for other people’s sake. You aren’t here to decorate the world for other people. You’re here to live in it for yourself, no matter what that looks like.” 3 likes
“I want to get one thing straight right from the start: I am not a natural-born jock. I am about as intrinsically athletic as an oyster, with the innate grace and sporty prowess of a brick—a very cute oyster and a very intelligent brick, if I do say so myself, but oysterly and bricklike nevertheless.” 3 likes
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