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?
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.”
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.
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.
It’s an unfortunate truth that “image is everything” when it comes to something like fitness and health. In our industry, having the technical knowledge and know-how is only one facet of what our clients look for when choosing a fitness professional to work with. Rightly or wrongly, clients take in the ENTIRE picture when looking at their instructor/trainer. Do you also “look the part?” Do you look like you train as well, and “walk the walk,” as well as “talk the talk?”
Because our industry involves physical fitness, clients will always base at least part of their judgement of a fitness professional on how they look. This doesn’t mean that every trainer must be an Adonis or Wonder Woman. But what it does mean is that we as trainers have to be aware of the potential for client bias in this regard, and so must take as much care as possible to stay in “shape” which, unfortunately means to most of the lay-public, “looking good/healthy.”