Personal Trainer Gains 70 Pounds to Better Understand Client's Plight

By , SparkPeople Blogger
A few weeks ago I came across a blog regarding personal trainer, Drew Manning of Utah, who decided in May of this year to take on the challenge of gaining weight via an unhealthy diet and lifestyle so that he could better relate with his overweight clients and the daily struggles they undergo to reclaim their health. In six months Drew Manning went from a healthy 193 pounds to a whopping unhealthy 264 pounds.

I'm not too sure if Mr. Manning is doing this to better understand his client's plight or for publicity, but regardless of his intentions, you can't argue the impact the videos and pictures have when you see how quickly one can lose his/her health by resorting to unhealthy habits. While most of us will not gain 70 pounds in 6 months, even just 5 pounds a year (less than half a pound a month) can add up to well over 50 pounds of extra weight in just a decade.
On November 1st Mr. Manning began the second phase of his Fit2Fat2Fit mission by going back to the healthy lifestyle he had before embarking on this jaunt of unhealthy habits. He will spend these next six month chronicling his journey to reclaiming his health.

I know the challenges of being 80 pounds overweight and the struggles that go along with carrying the extra weight, but in all fairness I am not sure anyone could relate to me and my issues.

While I may not know what it is like to be 100 or even 150 pounds overweight, I struggled and do struggle  with many of the same issues countless of  those who are or who have been overweight. The need to let go of perfection, along with the shame and guilt was a big turning point for me in letting go of the diet mentality. After 30 plus years of dieting, I finally learned that I do not have to have a PERFECT life to have a healthy life! However the biggest factor I discovered on my journey was the power in having others help me along the way.  The support and encouragement, not to mention accountability from others, whether here on SparkPeople or in my real life, was a huge turning point. I felt I was able to reach my goals, not only in my weight loss journey, but my running journey as well, by having others boost me up when it would be far easier to throw in the towel.

Having  worked with a number of certified personal trainers over the years, the relationship between trainer and client can be quite motivating especially when there is a strong rapport and respect for one another. In all honesty I must say I never considered my personal trainer's past history as a factor for hiring. What I  needed was someone who could encourage me and educate me on the process of reclaiming my health. They weren't supposed to be my friends and tell me what I wanted to hear, but what I needed to hear.

Four of my all-time favorite personal trainers were men. Not one ever had a weight issue. They were all young enough to be my son. One was a runner, one a former NCAA swimmer, one a minor league baseball player and one a Lieutenant in the United States Army. But the one attribute they ALL had was a positive attitude in helping others reach their goals. They all encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and live the dream of being healthy and fit. They didn't sugar coat things--in fact they told me like it was and never accepted no for an answer. They believed in me even when I didn't believe in myself. They pushed me when I wanted to give up and most importantly they celebrated my successes no matter how small. To me, those are all signs of a great personal trainer.

If given a choice, would you choose a personal trainer who has struggled with their weight in the past over one who never has?  What do you consider good attributes for a personal trainer?