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NV company changes face of obesity

Body Exchange featured at upcoming Vancouver Wellness Show

BE well. Be happy. Be you: That's what organizers of the 2012 edition of The Wellness Show hope visitors take away from this year's offering, set to take over the Vancouver Convention Centre Feb. 17-19.

The trade show, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, will feature exhibitors, speakers, workshops, fitness and cooking demonstrations, food samples and contests on a variety of topics, and has grown to be Western Canada's biggest trade show dedicated to health and wellness. Last year's edition saw approximately 30,000 people attend. The Wellness Show was founded by North Vancouver resident Jeannette Savard, marketing and production manager of New Rave Productions.

A number of North Shorebased companies will be featured this year, including the Body Exchange. Founded by Louise Green in 2008, the Body Exchange is a fitness and adventure company for plus size women.

This will mark Green's first appearance at the show. "It attracted me because it's the largest wellness show in Vancouver and we're exhibiting with what I perceive as the best health professionals the city has to offer so I just wanted to be part of that," says the North Vancouver resident, a certified personal trainer, wellness coach and fitness expert.

Body Exchange takes a unique approach to fitness in that it's specifically targeted to a plus size clientele, intended to remove the psychological barrier many people can face when signing up for gyms or other fitness programs, says Green. "It really just sets the tone for the programs that everyone's in the same boat," she says.

Green was interested in filling a void she saw in the market where cutting edge fitness practises weren't accessible to plus size clients. Body Exchange training programs have been designed with that in mind. Also, it's not a weight-loss program; rather, it's a lifestyle program.

"It's basically just about getting people living a healthy and adventurous lifestyle at any size," she says.

Clients have the option of participating in: fit camps (fourweek progressive programs combining strength training and cardio in interval-style workouts); monthly adventures, like snowshoeing, hiking or biking; and, destination retreats. The 2012 wellness retreat will be held in Tulum, Mexico starting April 18.

Body Exchange has had a major impact on clients. "I have people regularly say it's changed their life," says Green. "I think what I'm trying to do is change the face of obesity. I think that there's a real stigma around 'overweight people can't do much' or 'they're lazy' or whatnot. What we're doing is we're getting people out at any body type and any body size. . . . I just think it's amazing that it kind of has a trickle down effect in all areas of their life. People will say they got a new job because they have more confidence because they're working out. It just really has changed people's lives in a lot of different ways."

Green is continuing to garner attention for her efforts. For example, she's appeared on XWeighted, and will be featured on an upcoming episode of Dragon's Den. She's also continuing to expand the business through licensing. In addition to North Vancouver, there are Body Exchange locations in Burnaby and Vancouver.

For more information on the Body Exchange, visit

The Wellness Show, Friday, Feb. 17 (noon to 8 p.m.), Saturday, Feb. 18 (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.), and Sunday, Feb. 19 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), at the Vancouver Convention Centre, east building. Tickets: $6-$30 (children five and under free). Info: