I’m a big believer that fat people can do almost anything and weight is very rarely an issue.
Of course, our society is quick to challenge that idea and the world of fitness is especially well known as a place that fat folks shouldn’t go. But is this really accurate?
We know fat people can be fit but can fat people be personal trainers?
Yes, they absolutely can! Fitness is measured in many different ways and fat people can be considered fit by many of them. Personal trainers rely on clients and many fat clients will feel more comfortable with a personal trainer that they can relate to. That means a fat personal trainer may even have an edge!
Let’s dive a little deeper into what you need to know about the world of fat fitness.
What (Exactly) Does A Personal Trainer Do?
I know, you probably have a good idea of what a personal trainer already does but it’s important to look at the job from a high-level perspective to make sure we’re on the same page.
You’ll also notice that the core components of the job have nothing to do with being fat or not.
At the end of the day, personal training is a type of knowledge work.
As a personal trainer, your job is to educate clients on training, exercise, and nutrition. That includes creating training programs, eating programs, and sharing plenty of tips along the way to make life easier for clients.
You’ll need to understand important scientific information around nutrition and exercise science but you’ll also need to share some of what the internet likes to call “life hacks”. That includes tips for preparing meals, selecting the right clothing, scheduling exercise into your day and more.
In short, personal trainers are teachers and their subject is fitness.
We wouldn’t discredit a professor’s knowledge because they were fat but we are quick to judge the abilities of a fat personal trainer despite the fact that teaching is the primary responsibility of both jobs!
As with any teacher, coach, or trainer providing positive encouragement is part of the job. Everyone will have their own styles and even the most hardcore of gym bros will provide encouragement to each other in their own way.
A personal trainer’s job is to adjust their encouragement style to their client’s in order to achieve the best results. Fat personal trainers may even have an edge here as it can be easier to encourage clients that you can relate to.
Accountability is one of the biggest reasons that people have for hiring personal trainers but holding people accountable doesn’t mean you need to yell at them!
Simply checking in with people on a weekly basis has been shown to improve results. There’s a reason people look for accountability buddies and not accountability drill sergeants!
Teaching Doesn’t Have A Body Type
As you can see, being a personal trainer requires you to teach others how to achieve their fitness goals.
Those goals could range from improving flexibility, increased strength or just reaching a level of cardiovascular fitness that allows them to comfortably hike.
Whatever it is, it’s your job to teach them and there’s no weight requirement for teaching.
That means the world of personal training is wide open to fat folks!
So Can You Be Fit And Fat?
The question of whether fat people can be fit is closely connected to the idea that fat people can’t be personal trainers.
For some folks, the idea of a fat personal trainer is equivalent to the old saying that the shoemaker’s children have no shoes.
As a personal trainer…aren’t you supposed to be fit and not fat?
Well, it’s that false dichotomy that’s really at the root of the problem.
Yes, being overweight does increase risk factors for several health concerns. But you can also find plenty of fat, heavy and big folks that can also be considered fit. Of course, there is a high end here and there are levels of obesity that do keep people from being fit.
But these levels can vary by person. As this controversial clip from Good Morning America explains, “you want to be fit as you can be at whatever weight you are.” That paints fitness as a spectrum instead of a binary this or that definition.
Additionally, there’s the fact that the definition of fitness can vary between individuals. Maybe fitness to you means that you can hula hoop for 20 minutes straight– which is actually quite the workout and also something that fat folks can do.
Then there are other activities like skateboarding, swimming and lifting weights. Again, all things that fat people can do.
Heck, fat police officers are regularly able to pass fitness standards set by police departments.
So instead of looking at physical appearance, BMI, or how many pull-ups someone can do it’s better to consider more objective health markers that don’t have to do with weight like blood pressure, diet, blood sugar levels, and activity levels among others.
These factors paint a bigger, broader, and more accurate picture of fitness instead of just looking at how fat someone is.
So not only can a fat personal trainer teach others about fitness but they can most certainly be plus-sized and healthy.
Benefits Of Being A Fat Personal Trainer
Yep, there’s plenty of positives to being a fat personal trainer. Let’s look at two big ones: comfort and relatability.
Combined, these two benefits could make some fat personal trainers more successful since they can target an audience that other personal trainers may have trouble with.
The best athletes have been blessed with truly exceptional genetics and while I have nothing against the gift they’ve been given I also wouldn’t expect them to understand what it’s like to be fat.
But you don’t have to be a professional athlete to heave exceptional genetics and the world is full of folks that seem to be able to eat whatever they want and still stay thin.
While it would be hypocritical to say that because of this, these naturally gifted people can’t teach others but they will lack the reliability that comes with having a fatter body type. It’s no guarantee, but it could make encouraging fat clients a little more difficult since they just don’t “get it”.
There have been studies that highlight a fat bias amongst personal trainers which can cause some interactions to be more demoralizing than motivating.
As a fat personal trainer, you could have an edge when it comes to relating to many clients which can help them achieve their goals.
After all, consider who’s hiring personal trainers in the first place. It probably isn’t the Olympic-level athlete or the professional bodybuilder. Instead, it’s everyday people that also have some extra fat.
Look, I know that reaching goals of any kind will include some discomfort.
It’s just part of the process.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to make things more comfortable and for many clients working with a fatter or heavier personal trainer can make the experience less stressful.
Downsides of Being A Fat Personal Trainer
The fact is, you will have a harder time entering the world of fitness as a fat person.
There’s no way around that and it’s just the current nature of the industry.
Some clients will purposely avoid you because you’re fat but those likely weren’t the right clients in the first place.
As long as you’re prepared for discrimination and some rude comments along the way, there aren’t any other major downsides to pursuing a job as a personal trainer.
Still, many beginner-friendly gyms like Planet Fitness regularly hire personal trainers and other staff that are overweight. You won’t be welcomed into every gym with open arms but there are jobs for fat personal trainers.
How To Get Started As A Fat Personal Trainer
The steps for getting started as a fat personal trainer are the same as any other!
You need to be prepared for hard work as you grow your knowledge and develop your skillset but you shouldn’t expect any real limitations based on body weight.
There are several organizations to choose from for accreditation and the most popular is NASM which you can learn more about here.
When it really comes down to it, there’s nothing stopping you from being a personal trainer- fat or not.
You will get some side eyes and rejection from certain clients. But you’ll also be able to improve the lives and fitness of many clients who will find you more relatable.
That means it just comes down to you!
So if you’re fat and you want to be a personal trainer, I say go for it and live life big!