I grabbed your attention, I hope! The other day I was watching a video by the wonderful Miss Cassey Ho of Blogilates, called The Perfect Body.
Wow. It definitely spoke to me and I’m sure it spoke to you. I feel for Cassey and the message she is sharing, because, let’s face it, we’ve all had people judge us by our looks. It happens all the time in life, but when you get judged based on the way you look as a basis for your professional ability, that is a whole other issue!
The thing is, I’ve heard those thing kinds of things being said about me too.
“You’re a trainer? You don’t really look like one.”
“She isn’t even fit.”
“But you’re not skinny.”
I don’t know when it happened, but people have their soapboxes piled to the sky these days, and it’s getting really old.
By the way, I throw the word imperfect in *quotes* because it’s such a bullshit word. Seriously, how many times do you hear in a day/week/month/year, “there’s no such thing as perfect” but yet it’s so easy to judge people for being less than this so-called status.
I’ve heard all sorts of (albeit rhetorical) questions about professionals and appearance, and, after giving it some thought, I also came up with the following responses.
Would you go to an overweight doctor? Yes, actually most of my doctors have been slightly overweight, and when I was sick, they helped me get better.
Would you go to a hairdresser with bad hair? Plenty of hairdressers I have been to do things to their hair that I would NEVER do, but they still make me look great, so yes, I do and I would.
Would you go to a dermatologist with bad skin? Yes, I have also done this, in fact my dermatologist told me the reason he got into the field was because of his own personal suffering with painful cystic acne his entire adolescence. He uses his heartfelt connection to help others every day, scars and all.
What’s my point here?
My point is that just because these professionals don’t look like what (supposing you pigeonhole people based on their physical appearance) a doctor, hairdresser, or dermatologist “should” look like, doesn’t diminish the quality of services they are trained to provide. In fact, the very reason they most likely became interested in their field, probably came from their personal experiences or struggles, which motivated them to want to help others. This also means, they are only human and still struggle.
This absolutely applies to the fitness world as well, if not more so. Many people think that because a person is a trainer or fitness instructor they should have 0% body fat and look like a fitness model. While some trainers do look this way, a lot of us, well, don’t. I am not a heavy person, but I am petite and curvy and even though I have muscular legs and arms, I don’t have a washboard stomach and I probably never will.
My “imperfect” body makes ME a better trainer.
I know, in this society, I am a walking advertisement, but just because I maybe don’t look the way another person believes that I should, doesn’t mean I’m any less good at or worthy of what I do.
When I was at my ZUMBA licensing, our ZES (Zumba Education Specialist) was incredible; she exuded confidence by being bubbly, energetic, and shaking it like it’s nobody’s business. She’s also not a size 4 or 6, and doesn’t apologize for it – she is awesome at what she does, and that’s all that matters! At about 5 hours into the training, she sat down to talk to our group about the importance of not judging people or allowing people to judge us by our size.
“You don’t know why a person is out of shape or overweight, and believe me, I used to be one of those quick to judge types. Years ago, I probably NEVER would have listened to a person my size trying to teach me about how to make other people fit, but I have struggles and ZUMBA is what gave me my life back. Don’t deny that from others and don’t allow anyone to judge your ability to lead based on how they view your body.”
However, people do this all the time and it’s got to stop.
I’m not a good trainer because of what I look like. I’m a good trainer because I’ve BEEN THERE. I’ve been overweight. I’ve struggled with bulimia and emotional eating. I’ve overexercised and injured myself. I went through periods of despising physical activity. I have struggled and I have overcome and I can help others do the same.
I used to be a person who didn’t have the tools to make myself healthy, and NOW I HAVE THEM.
I know how much work and commitment it takes. I know that changing your life and working out isn’t easy.
I’m not always going to be the best fit for some people, but for others, I might create a sense of challenging comfort or a relatable struggle.
My body fat percentage and abs are not what make me a better trainer.
What makes me a better trainer is: I’m the struggle and the progress, and whether the package I come in changes from pregnancy, aging, illness, or just a series of life events, the service and passion I provide will be the same. The only lasting change, will be the wisdom I gain along the way – and that, in my opinion, can only make me more valuable.
Do you feel fitness professionals have a duty to “look” the part? Have you ever not taken a class because the instructor “isn’t fit”? Do you believe in fitness at any size?