I recently had an employee take over a class that I was unable to teach anymore. He was an amazing instructor but, he was over weight. The class went from averaging 16 participants to 3 participants. I had a few members comment on his weight and make it known that is why they would not attend that class anymore. Is it okay for clientel to be biased about their instructors/trainers?
Both very excellent answers to this very sticky dilemma. I can understand a client looking at their instructor and laying judgment on their body shape or weight. I have done it myself. But I do agree with the resistance to change and the way he was eased into the class as well as to his style of communication, etc. I have lost half my body weight, but even my present weight is higher than many of the people I train individually or in classes. Genetically I am very resistant to burning fat and carbohydrates for energy and I am beyond menopause, so losing weight is very difficult for me. To go below where I am today takes near starvation which then, of course, hampers my physical performance. However, once someone trains with me or takes a class, they quickly begin to respect me because my fitness level is much higher than they expect and I can sufficiently “kick their butt.”
Client retention doesn’t weigh so much on your physical appearance or even whether you are faster than your client, but what it does weigh on is do you resonate with that client; do you communicate well with that client; do they feel you are listening to them; do they feel you are working toward their goals or physical needs; do they feel that you are “keeping them safe” while doing the exercises; are you able to motivate them and trigger self-motivating habits; are you knowledgeable about what you are doing; do you know how to modify to fit their rom restrictions, etc.
Now I would like to comment that a personal fitness trainer DOES need to live in a healthy manner and abide by the same rules they give their clients. If a personal trainer spends late nights out all the time, or I see them out drinking and partying, or constantly eating fast food, etc. I could not put much faith in them trying to lead me into a healthy and fit lifestyle.