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Sunday, January 27, 2013

hot or not?

I recently witnessed a rather heated online argument about whether or not it was unthinkable for a personal trainer to be overweight. (Started, as you might possibly imagine, by a personal trainer who was built more like Mr Blue Shorts above than Mr Green Shorts.) Plenty of people said they didn't care what their trainer looked like as much as what their trainer's clients looked like in their "after" shots.  Other people said they didn't care what their trainer looked like as much as they cared what he or she knew. Some people said it would depend on their goal. If they were aiming to lose weight, they'd prefer to train with someone who had been overweight themselves and had managed to change their body rather than someone who'd always been effortlessly thin. If they were aiming for maximal strength, they'd prefer an experienced powerlifter, whether said trainer were the stereotypical beefy, big-bellied powerlifter or a twig who didn't actually looked like she or he lifted when in normal clothes. And a minority of people agreed with the author of the original post: they thought a trainer should look like a fitness model, more or less, and they wouldn't hire someone who didn't.

So, what do you think? Does a trainer need to have a typical "hot" athletic-looking body*** for you to hire them?

I am perhaps biased in this, in that my beloved former trainer, the woman that turned me on to lifting heavy shit, was not particularly thin.  But holy crap, was she strong.  And she was encouraging and personable and enthusiastic about exercise.  She didn't need to look like Jamie Eason for me to trust what she told me and to look forward to working out with her. In fact, her looking like an average woman was probably even more encouraging.  It made me believe that I, also an average woman, could get strong too (well, maybe not as strong as her) if only I put the work in.

My old trainer doesn't train people any more, having taken a promotion in her other job, but the other trainers at my gym don't exactly fit the fitness model mode either.  One's a skinny middle-aged endurance athlete.  I wouldn't personally care to look like her, though many many women would, but if I wanted to eventually run a half-marathon or something, I'd be pleased to learn from her expertise.  One's a somewhat chunky young woman with a degree in exercise science. I don't know for sure, but I wonder whether she was a college athlete in one of those sports where having a bit of extra weight on you is to your advantage.  If I were an overweight person who wanted to become more fit, I'd be really comfortable training with her, someone who isn't thin but is very fit.  There's an older male trainer who looks utterly average in every way and a younger male trainer who looks relatively athletic but isn't overly ripped or muscular.  I see no reason I wouldn't train with either of them provided they could help me with my goals and our personalities clicked.

So, yeah, I guess I am firmly on the my-trainer's-looks-don't-much-matter side.  Which I suppose is fortunate, since I'd like to get into training people and I am in no danger of looking like Jamie Eason myself any time soon. Or, y'know, ever.


***let me make clear that I don't think looking like a fitness model is necessary for actually being hot. In fact Mr Blue Shorts there has a little too much pec and visible abs for my own personal preference.


  1. If I weren't too cheap to hire a personal trainer, even though I could really use one because I'm kinda half-assed on my own, I'd like to hope I'd choose solely based on credentials, experience, approach, recommendations etc.

    But all things being equal... I'm superficial enough that I'm more about LOOKING strong than actually being strong. I figure I can hire people if I ever need to move a piano, which I probably won't since I don't own one. Which means I'd like a muscular physique with a little less body fat in order to show off any muscle mass I manage to build.

    So I suspect that of two equally qualified trainers, I'd at least subconsciously gravitate to a gal, if possible, who looked more like my ideal--buffed and slim. But as long as someone knew the best way to point ME in that direction, that would be cool.

  2. I think the "subconsciously" is an interesting and important part of this. It's easy to say what we'd do, but in practice, when face with two qualified candidates, would we hire the one who's more in tune with our own aesthetic ideal without even realizing why?

  3. I would choose a trainer based on their training and their personality. Unfortunately, all of the ones that I have run across all seem to train exclusively from The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises. It's ever so important for me to have a skinny jeans or bikini-ready workout and I can indulge in chicken skin guilt free too! Yes, I'm snarky. Now I have a question for you. Do you still love creatine? If so, which brand?