Should You Hire a Fat Personal Trainer?

No one will mistake me for Dwayne Johnson anytime soon, but I consider myself to be in reasonable shape. I’ve owned my personal training company for a few years, and have been working out for over a decade. If you saw me on the street, I’m confident you would say ‘yeah, that guy looks like he works out.’ Stalk me on Instagram and decide for yourself.

This is certainly not a politically correct statement, but if you are a trainer, I believe you have a responsibility to be in shape. You should not only be a guide and resource of information to your clients, but you should also set a standard and inspire them. Personal training is not like other jobs. Credentials and experience are some, but not all of the determining factors for an ideal trainer. Would you hire a tattoo artist with cartoonish ink on their body or a stylist with hair like Sideshow Bob?

I’m not saying an overweight trainer doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Many of them are actually quite knowledgeable from my experience. But, there’s more to this job than shouting instructions. Certain clients will have high fitness levels and can be pushed to their physical limit. Is it appropriate to have a client perform an excruciating cardio circuit if you couldn’t handle it yourself? Shouldn’t you practice what you preach? Let’s be honest, when you see an overweight trainer waddle around the gym, don’t you roll your eyes just a little bit?

You may wonder why a person would become a trainer in the first place if they don’t live the fitness lifestyle themselves. The truth is, the process of getting a training certification is quite simple. Buy the book, take the test, pass the test. Boom, you can now legally train anyone you want. Pretty low cost of entry into a potentially lucrative industry. A person with good sales skills can make a successful living as a trainer, even with the extra fluff around their waist.

Conversely, many people with great physiques are completely clueless as well. There are tons of gym rats who look great in spite of themselves. Look at any ‘gym fails’ compilation and you’ll notice that quite a few of the victims actually have some quality muscle. Genetics are a major component when it comes to building a physique.  Some people can develop a well-sculpted physique doing almost any routine despite subpar form and no mind-muscle connection.

I don’t expect most people to agree with me. In their eyes, they probably think a trainer should have the knowledge and communication skills to help clients reach their goals and improve their health. There is no doubt that those are two attributes every trainer should have. In this day and age, we are scorned when we pass judgement on others based on appearance. Personally, I feel the need to display a respectable physique 24/7/365. I hold myself to a high standard. I would be completely embarrassed to huff and puff after demonstrating an exercise or joining a client for a jog as a warm-up. This is the profession I chose. If you hire me, it’s a honor.  I have an obligation to look the part.  If you introduce me to someone as your trainer, I want their reaction to be “well shit that makes sense” not “oh really” followed by muffled laughter.