Great Shape: Vanity or Health?
Guest: Steve Washuta
Podcast Release Date: 5/24/2021
Welcome to Trulyfit the online fitness marketplace connecting pros and clients through unique fitness business software.
Steve Washuta: Welcome to the Trulyfit podcast. I’m your host Steve Washuta, co-founder of Trulyfit and author of Fitness Business 101. On today’s podcast, our topic is plus-size trainers. Is this an issue? Often trainers will struggle with their own weight or fitness level. Critiques from both inside the fitness world like colleagues, and from the general public on a trainer’s appearance are not uncommon.
Should all trainers be in tip-top shape? What are the reasons they wouldn’t be? In this episode, I will go over what is considered a taboo topic in the fitness industry. A Personal Trainers job is to teach, direct, and assist their clients to a healthier version of themselves and/or to help them reach their client’s goals. There was nowhere in that phrase that I utter anything about the trainer themselves being in great shape. However, many clients expect their trainers to have a particular aesthetic appeal.
Let’s first go over the client’s needs and expectations of their trainer. The client is paying. This is a free market. In this free market of personal training, they can decide to pick anyone based on anything and any reason they want. You as the trainer also have the ability to refuse to train a said client.
With that past us we must understand that this is not offensive for clients to want a trainer who is in great shape. Maybe provides them with a motivational tool to see their trainer in great shape and it pushes them a little bit extra in each session. Maybe they feel as if their money is better spent. I repeat, their money was given to someone who is in great shape because they believe that they have superior knowledge of the tricks of the trade. Regardless of the reasoning, the clients have the right to pick a trainer based on any reason they deem appropriate. Be it vanity knowledge, age, credential, vanity, knowledge, age, credentials, or otherwise.
On the flip side, the Fitness Studio hiring a trainer should be very cautious in using looks when hiring a fitness professional. Firstly, we know that agent genetics are much bigger players in the role of one’s looks. If you don’t agree with that, that premise, you have a lot of reading to do still. That is not a debate. In fact, fitness studios gyms, and clubs will benefit from having a variety of professionals of different ages, different backgrounds, and different fitness levels. Getting back to why it is a bad idea for studios to hire based on vanity.
Reason number one, older experienced trainers are less likely to be in great shape. Let’s say you’re 58, you have grandchildren, you’ve been teaching step and spin and weight training classes for 30 years. You most likely have both injuries and limited time to work out yourself. That doesn’t mean you haven’t had a previous period in your life where you didn’t lift and exercise and weren’t in fantastic shape. It simply means that now at this point in your life, you were focused on your overall health and not your vanity and your client’s health.
Let’s take Bill Belichick for example. He is a coach. He’s a football coach for the New England Patriots who are an NFL football team. If you don’t know, he is considered by many to be the greatest football coach of all time. He is nearly 70 years old at this point. At no point in his career, could he tackle a running back or could he defend a wide receiver. But that’s not his job. His job is to teach people how to do that. And as trainers, it’s our job to teach people how to get in shape. Of course, we have to demonstrate sometimes, but we don’t have to be the most proficient at it. We just need to make sure our clients are doing it appropriately and safely. Don’t judge a book by its cover. A million other cliche terms come to mind here.
Reason number two, because age and looks have a causal effect. What I mean by that is, the younger you are, the easier it is to be in shape. In most general circumstances, hiring for looks would mean that you have less experience on your professional roster.
I’ve had clients at my gyms who sought out the oldest trainers because they thought that they probably had the most knowledge. Or they were themselves over the age of 50 and wanted somebody who understood what they were going through. I’ve had clients who sought out trainers who have had surgeries because they were on the verge of getting surgery so they want to make sure they’ve had a trainer who has gone through surgery so they know what is coming on the front end of the surgery and the back end of the surgery so somebody who is healthy and 24 years old, may not be able to help them with that right you need a variety of people on your team to handle all the different fitness and health-related circumstances that your clients may have.
This may sound like an infomercial against young trainers, it’s not. Young trainers bring new exercises, new techniques, and research fitness fads, and great energy to any facility. Now let’s touch on why fitness professionals themselves shouldn’t get down on one another or themselves for being out of shape. Life is tough. we all struggle at certain times based on the externalities going on in our lives. Maybe a female trainer just had a baby then a family member passed away and then her husband lost his job causing her to work more hours in the day leaving no time to work out.
This isn’t an outlandish example that I just gave us. This happens. Health and fitness as I always say is a marathon, not a sprint. We will fall in and out of shape throughout our careers. It’s important that we have support from our colleagues, our loved ones, and most importantly, from within to stay the course and no, it is just a blip on the radar.
For those who are genetically bigger, or do not fit the modern-day aesthetic appeal, whatever that may be at a given time, good for you, good for them. Good for those trainers who do not feel pressured to pretend vanity is the only, or in fact a good measurement of health. Many of the IG models you see both males and females are on illegal steroids. They probably have special lighting in their photos. They may actually be unhealthy for all you know, lab work and doctors verify our health not likes on our ab pictures.
Overall, I hope trainers and the general public understand that being in shape does not mean you are knowledgeable in fitness. You can understand your body well, and still have no clue on how to help those who don’t share your genetics, sex, age, health, or injury background. We must focus on credentials experience and most of all learning on the path to becoming a great trainer. I say this often. But the best trainers I know all and I mean every single one of them all follows these steps. Whether purposefully or accidentally they still did.
If you do those things, three of those three things along your journey, you will be successful. In summation here, being in shape can mean it can that you do understand the body. It can get you more clients. It can mean that you are dedicated to your health and wellness. And it’s a great marketing tool. Nobody denies that and I consider myself to be in that category for most of my career and still right now. However, we must support our colleagues who struggle with health and weight. We must not pretend that their knowledge or lack thereof is a reason why.
- #1- They shadowed or worked alongside other great trainers and took tips and techniques from both of them.
- #2 – They worked at multiple locations that could be a big gym, a small studio and outside boot camp. And they experienced different modalities.
- #3 – They worked with various fitness levels and ages as they all present different issues that you can learn from.
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