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?
You all have wonderful answers! I appriciate your insite that you have shared with me. This situation had me perplexed because they all knew him and loved him before he sat on that spinner. I really don’t think that this experience has any correllation with his professionalism, work experience or his ability to teach.
As LaRue mentioned, “image is everything” in health and fitness! Clients should have the right to choose who they do, and do not want to work with. But – they should know that an instructor/trainer’s credibility extends beyond their own image. I am sure that we all know that there are trainers out there that look the part, but they should not be training.
Some very insightful and compassionate responses from my colleagues. While we all have different body types, different genetics and different ideas about what constitutes a fit body the external representation is often telling about the internal. Body language speaks.
That having been said, many people find it more motivating to follow a leader that is not body beautiful, but a body more alligned with their own, or many are motivated by someone who has had to overcome their own genetic predisposition. Can the client relate to the instructor or trainer?
People are motivated by fun, and by aspirations that are seemingly attainable. A trainer or instructor that is misalligned with her/his audience will find it more challenging to create rapport and build a mutual vision.
Absolutely, Unequivocally, Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt!
If you don’t look the part, then you’re chasing pavement in this industry. That’s not to say that you have to be 3% bodyfat or look unnatural or intimidating, but you should at least be able to outperform your client 98% of the time. That’s not saying you should compete with your client (unless that’s the motivational style that works best for that client), but you have to be able to maintain your composure after high intensity bouts so that you can effectively motivate your clients to move forward and push the limits!
Like a good friend once said to me, “It ain’t right, but I understand.”
While I understand the concerns when it comes to body image, it was also the same thing that kept me from teaching group exercise for over a year after getting my specialty certification. I was always concerned that I was too fat or I would have a hard time teaching because of my exercise-induced asthma. This has been a recurrent problem for me and it is tough to see students who are thinner than me.
To my credit, I don’t look like I weigh as much as I do and I have had students comment that they were happy that I looked like a “real” person and not a skinny twig bouncing around the group ex studio.
I teach well, I keep the class fun, and I show modifications for everything. We work hard but if I had to wait until I lost a few more pounds then I still wouldn’t be teaching. Now I teach tap and jazz, Turbo Kick, and Hip Hop Hustle. I am confident in my knowledge of nutrition and exercise and I can see the response people have as I speak to them; it’s one of respect.
The last thing I need is to spiral down to another bout with an eating disorder because I feel like no one should be listening to me because I have a few extra pounds.