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LITABELLE SparkPoints: (3,048)
Fitness Minutes: (4,658)
Posts: 169
2/11/10 10:00 P

I'll put in my two cents in... Before I ever would choose a trainer, I would sit back and see how he/she worked out on his or her own body. At my local CalFit, out of the giant staff, there are only TWO I would choose to work with, and neither of them are the physical model of magazine fitness...

PAPAMIKIE SparkPoints: (48,308)
Fitness Minutes: (108,468)
Posts: 3,984
2/11/10 5:34 P

I have to agree with biker's analogy. I will also note biker has already said he is making a comment on public perception not his personal perception.

Sorry, but this is about perceptions, not sparksPeople perceptions, not enlightened perceptions but general populations perceptions.

Does not matter if we like it or not, but overweight people are view in much the same light as accountants who knowingly commits a crime. A fat person presenting him/her self as a personal trainer will be treated just about the same as the accountant that uses his/her mug shot on his/her business card.

It is even common for overweight, out of shape people to view slightly more overweight, slightly more out of shape people as slobs.

This discussion should not stop you from going for it. Many here have lost 80 or more pounts (my self included). If this is your dream, then I encourage you to go for it, but realize that you will likely have to loose that weight ant keep it gone in order to be successful in Personal Training.

Edited by: PAPAMIKIE at: 2/11/2010 (17:37)
ANARIE Posts: 13,205
2/11/10 5:15 P

Your age is going to be a plus, not a minus. Your weight will be a liability IF you're still 80 pounds overweight when you graduate, but that's not very likely. If you do your homework, you're going to get yourself in better shape.

And if any of the kids in your classes say anything nasty, you look them straight in the eye and say, "Why do you think I'm here? I'm your lab, sweetheart. YOU will have no idea whether what you're learning works or not. I'M the only one in this class who knows what's going to be effective for the vast majority of clients."

And of course, get a really good "before" picture of yourself taken right about now. You'll be able to use it in your promotional materials. You'll be your own best testimonial.

As for the comparison to an accountant, it wasn't a good analogy. If you want to use that, it would be more accurate to say " accountant who can't balance her own checkbook." There's a huge difference between not being successful or not practicing what you preach, versus knowingly committing a crime!

2/11/10 4:23 P

YANKEEGIRL6...if you read my whole would reaize that I went on to describe what society views and perceives as "normal"! Please do not take one line from post...and try to make it look like an attack!

These were not my personal feelings about comparing the two!

JIJJI1313 Posts: 447
2/11/10 2:43 P

I will be honest. If you are going to get in shape then it's a great thing. Yet, I would not hire an overweigh trainer. When looking for a trainer I don't look for someone who is nice or has social skills I look for someone who will be straight foward, tell me like it is, and push me to the limit! If this person is in worse shape then me I will not trust them! Good LUCK!

RENA1965 Posts: 17,878
2/11/10 2:35 P

A lady came up to be and gave me some tips at the gym- a older lady. I appreciated it, when she took off her sweatshirt to show me the moves- wow..
She had 10 years on me but the body of a godess.. She is old school like me and has won 1st places in body building in many competitions in both Denmark and England during her competition days.. I think it is a click click situation..
I liked the way she came up to me, politely asked if I wanted the few tips.. I said yes please..
I am considering employing her when my oldest boy leaves home.. She teaches body pump and pilates- wow what lady.. She is a older instructor and I definitely don't want anyone younger than me or new of the school bench!!
1. She has been to the top of her field of knowledge and been around pro-trainers whom get people to win competitons.
2. She looks like what she is selling- I ain't being rude about any instructors carrying extra weight- but I am seeking pro body building instructor, because there are not many other women to gain knowledge from whom are willing to talk openly- so it is experience where they have been and done the stuff they teach..
3. I have been a gym rat many years- I remember stuff from when she was competiting and it was a chemical yes click.. More than her body features..
4. She stands by what she says, she don't need to get back on anything- no questions phase her.. She is looking directly at me in the eyes when she gives advice.. I like a instructor whom can answer all questions, on the gym floor she is better than some of the younger men instructors! She is not shy about poking muscles and calling them by their latin names either! I being from the medical world understand the body more by latin than just the butt or chest for example lol..!

Edited by: RENA1965 at: 2/11/2010 (14:48)
ARMSPORTS Posts: 1,310
2/11/10 2:30 P

ArchimedesII is spot on with her statements. The most important characteristic is to be a people person. Energetic, enthusiastic, empathetic, competent, consistent, reliable, funny, etc. all rank above personal appearance to me. As long as you are working toward a healthy goal and leading by example you will be fine. I work with people of both genders and all age groups and yes, you will be judged first on your appearance. But your credibility and ultimate success will depend on your "intangibles".

PAPAMIKIE SparkPoints: (48,308)
Fitness Minutes: (108,468)
Posts: 3,984
2/11/10 2:03 P

"I dont want to be mean here. But would you use a tax man that was indicted for embezzlement?"

Sorry, but I see a huge difference between a trainer that's overweight and anyone who is just plain dishonest.

I do not think there is very much difference, in the eye of the public, and too be frank, getting hired by a company or an individual is about perceptions.

I feel bad for Edward Jones the investment firm, because their Name is so close to Earl Jones.

You may become competent in what it takes to lead to a life change. But I think you may find it difficult to convince people you are serious if you are carring 50 pounds too much.

I do not think you have to look like the model on the cover of a fitness mag., but I do think you have to match the perception of someone who cares about personal health and fitness.

2/11/10 1:50 P

Like some of the other posters said, I look for a trainer that I can relate to. For me that's someone younger, but for older people, it would be someone older. I picked my trainer after watching her workout with her clients. I like the way she spoke with them and trained them, That was more important to me than the way she looked. My bellydance teacher has lost a lot of weight, but still has a way to go and I admire her so much for sharing her story with us. It's great motivation. Good luck!

2/11/10 1:36 P

Thanks, you guys are so great and really motivating. Funny about the tax man thing, because I am an accoutant, LOL, but not an embezzler. I really appreciate all of the feed back and I really think this is a journey I want to take.


ROOBOY0000 Posts: 513
2/11/10 11:53 A

I say follow your dreams and don't let adversity put you off.


2/11/10 11:50 A

Good for you for having this goal! I think you CAN do it! I have had one personal trainer in my life. She was super fit and in shape but I hated her. She was mean and pushed me way too hard to the point I couldn't walk the next day so I didn't go back after two sessions. Like many others have said, personality, social skills, and motivation are more important. Would I want a personal trainer who is less fit than me? No, only because they should be pushing me some and I should want to keep up with them. But otherwise, I wouldn't mind. I actually prefer to do workout videos where the "background" people are overweight or at least not super skinny people who do everything perfectly and effortlessly. That's not the norm.

YANKEEGIRL6 Posts: 1,183
2/11/10 11:39 A

"I dont want to be mean here. But would you use a tax man that was indicted for embezzlement?"

Sorry, but I see a huge difference between a trainer that's overweight and anyone who is just plain dishonest.

EYEONGOAL Posts: 1,439
2/11/10 11:32 A

I agree that it might be tough to get hired at first. We know that there is a bias. Don't give up on your goal though. When you are closer to your goal weight or size, your journey will mean alot to others. My sister once went to a weightloss clinic and the very young person helping her was trying to sell her an expensive solution. She asked him if he had ever been overweight. He said "No". She walked out. I find alot of credibility with people that have gone on my journey.

2/11/10 11:25 A

It might be difficult to get hired until your get closer to your goal.

I dont want to be mean here. But would you use a tax man that was indicted for embezzlement?

Society is often very tough on us folks who do not fit into the mold of their perceived "normal".

My advice would be to go to school...get your degree...and if you have problems getting hired. However when you get close to your will be a must hire as you will more than likely be in much better shape physically and mentally than most other trainers!

Plus you will bring something to the table that many of them cannot! You were once in the same situation of those that you will be training! GO FOR IT! emoticon

KITTYCAT13 Posts: 100
2/11/10 11:08 A

What a coincidence. I too am 41 and have signed up to become a certified fittness instructor.

I taught arobics about 10 years ago.

Im ready to do it again.

Im not built the same but I am determined to look as good as I can.

Good Luck

COTEL1 Posts: 377
2/11/10 10:42 A

I agree fully with ARCHIMEDESII. I am a certified Personal Trainer and I have a little bit of weight I need to loose, but I lost 50 lbs when I started this job and I use all my experiences as best I can. People want to no that your human and not a machine. Life happens and NO ONE is lucky enough not to be affected. Good luck. We need more people that are like us in this field. emoticon

FITNESSLOVE1 Posts: 2,262
2/11/10 9:42 A

just keep trying.

SHANANIGANS29 Posts: 381
2/11/10 9:41 A

I just wanted to of my favorite Zumba instructors is probably about 50 pounds overweight. She is an incredible instructor and she kicks your butt during class.
Another of my favorite Zumba instructors is 8 months pregnant and can still teach an entire class with only minimal modification. Her class is one of the highest attended at my gym :)
I say GO FOR IT!!

2/11/10 8:49 A

Thank you so much for you replies. I am a controller at the moment so I would keep that job for a while and PT evenings and weekens. I never thought about older people prefering older people to work out with, this is very encouraging. I really like people and I want to be able to help people and I figured that helping myself first would enable me to be able to help. I was kind of concerned that the people at the school would be all young and in shape. But like you said there are all shapes and sizes.

Thank you so much for you input.


ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (201,343)
Fitness Minutes: (301,253)
Posts: 27,435
2/11/10 8:42 A

I'm 46. I work part time as a group exercise instructor as well as a personal trainer. You can read my spark page for more details.

If you feel passionate about fitness and good health, then I'm going to encourage you to become a personal trainer. You don't need a degree in physiology to be a good PT or group exercise instructor. But, you will need certification. You can be certified through many reputable organizations such as AFAA, ACE, NASM, ACSM, ISSA, etc... google search any of those names and you'll find their websites. they are all highly regarded in the fitness industry.

Fitness does come in many shapes and sizes. One of the trainers at my gym is built like a marathoner. Another is built like a linebacker for the Patriots. Another carries a few extra pounds. Most PTs do not look like Jillian or Bob Harper. Most of us don't make that kind of money either.

I'll be honest with you, entry level PTs do not make a whole lot of money. In fact, most of the PTs I know ALL have another job. So, don't go into fitness thinking you'll make money. You'll only make money when you have a good client base.

One of the best instructors at my gym is a few pounds overweight. He probably needs to lose around 20-30 pounds. however, he's a fabulous instructor. the members love him and his class.

There's another instructor who's cut and looks like he should be on the cover of Mens Health. The members don't like him. He has zero social skills. What makes a good instructor ? It's not just someone who understands fitness. It's someone who's good with people. If you're not a people person, you may find working in fitness difficult.

Once again, don't assume size is detrimental to becoming a good instructor. Yes, you will need to lose weight if you want to be taken seriously by your clients. Does that mean you're going to have to look like a cover model for Oxygen ? NO !! as I said, fitness comes in many shapes and sizes and yes, there are some really great instructors who carry a few extra pounds.

I've read several threads where fellow SP members have said they wouldn't work with a trainer who didn't walk the walk, as they say. However, if they found out that person had lost over 50+ pounds, that would be different.

You'd be surprized how many people are intimidated by someone who's really physically fit. they think they won't be able to keep up. Therefore, having a trainer who they know have been where they've been would be a plus.

I'll tell you, the Baby Boomers don't want to work with a college aged PT who wears a size 0. They want to work with someone there own age who understands their needs. Because honestly, someone fifty years old has very different needs than someone who's twenty.

Gyms need more older trainers !! there IS a market for PTs in their 40s. So, yes, I encourage you to get certified. But, I also encourage you to lose some weight too.

Good luck !!

GARYM1A2 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (20,294)
Posts: 1,426
2/11/10 8:20 A

I think if you start a good workout program and learn to eat right. when you get to a good weight them you will be a good trainer as you will have a better understanding of what your customers are doing.
As you are now, some customers will be more comftable will you as you are less intenidating than a body builder trainer. Some people are so unfit that they will not goto most trainers as they are afraid the trainer will make fun of them.

ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (202,187)
Fitness Minutes: (197,740)
Posts: 15,875
2/11/10 7:38 A

The one thing that makes me respect a trainer is if they walk tne walk and talk the talk. If they are overweight, but working on improving nutrition and exercising, that is fine. A person might look like a bodybuilder but subside on McDonalds and never exercise (trust me, a LOT of trainers do this) - that is completely pathetic in my book.

2/11/10 6:23 A

I am new to this site, but I wanted to put something out there and get an unbiased answer. I am a 41 year old woman and I am about 80 pounds overweight. I am seriously considering going back to school and becoming a certified personal trainer. I am worried that I am just gonna make a fool out of myself and the fact the I am overweight and 41 I wont be taken seriously. I am afraid if I do the class it is going to be all young and in shape people. I am going to an open house for the school next weekend. I just wanted to get some opinions from others to see what you think.


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