Body image and fitness trainers / yoga teachers.

About two years ago, I started gaining a lot of weight and honestly couldn’t shed it, no matter how careful I was with nutrition and how intense I made my workouts! Ever mindful of the industry I am in, even that I was body shamed when I was a boot camp instructor, I began to really work hard to shed the pounds.

That I was gaining weight wasn’t shocking, I am in my mid forties and andropause is setting in. And yet, I remember how one client said that if a trainer doesn’t look the part, how would clients and potential clients have faith that they can make a transformation in them? Fair argument!

Group fitness instructors, personal trainers and yoga teachers have a dilemma of maintaining a great looking body, even though some work crazy hours and have bad sleeping patterns (after all, our busiest times are early mornings and late evenings).

This article from IdeaFit, which unfortunately now is unavailable to me, talks about the crazy situation that fitness professionals have to deal with. In addition, we have to compete with Insta famous trainers with little or no experience except looking good. This piece, also from Ideafit, states:

“Research confirms that social media isn’t helping much to promote body diversity and positivity, partly because the fitness message is often reduced to body-conscious pics and objectifying exercise demos. In one study (Carrotte, Prichard & Lim 2017), Australian researchers conducted a content analysis of social media posts tagged with #fitspo (short for “fitness inspiration”) on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Among the 415 images analyzed (mostly taken from Instagram), posts of women were significantly more likely to be sexualized, show the full body and emphasize the buttocks; posts of men were more likely to have the face visible in addition to the body. In terms of overall appearance, the women in the #fitspo content streams were typically “thin and toned,” while the men were typically “muscular or hypermuscular” (Carrotte, Prichard & Lim 2017).”

And more interestingly, it continues:

An online survey conducted out of California State University, Monterey, showed that 63% of male and female respondents (most of whom exercised weekly) agreed that the fitness industry on social media implies you have to look a certain way (Norton 2017). It’s not a stretch to imagine that social media might exacerbate body image concerns for just about everybody. In fact, a meta-analysis—where researchers analyzed a group of correlational, experiential and longitudinal studies on body image and social media—revealed that spending more time on social media correlated with negative body image, including higher levels of body dissatisfaction, drive for thinness and appearance comparisons (Fardouly & Vartanian 2016). This pattern was similar for men and women.

My experience of andropause was one of the reasons why I started focusing on bodybuilding to stabilise the male hormones in my body. Now I am totally enjoying the journey, and have to face another stereotype: “You don’t look like a yoga teacher”. Well, so long as those who come for my class enjoy them, and they learn something from me, I have no concerns.

What do you think of your body? And what do you think about trainers with less than perfect bodies? Tell me in the comments below!