Updated: Mar 20, 2019
Are you on the lookout for a personal trainer but worried about how to find one who will be accommodating to your size and needs, whatever they may be?
Well look no further as I’ve compiled a list of things to make finding a weight inclusive PT a little easier.
1. SCOUT OUT THE VENUE BEFORE THE TRAINER:
Before you even get to the actual trainer searching business, I recommend trying to find the most suitable gym to your taste. Not all gyms are created equal and depending on the kind of experience you want, you’re going to have a lot of different options. A little research can go a long way in this instance.
What kind of experience do you want first of all?: A gym that has a leisure centre feel? Maybe a quieter, more boutique vibe? Is pumping music and dark like a club or jam, or do you prefer bright and open spaces. You may even find that you prefer to be outside instead of indoors.
Also, don’t forget about more traditional options like boxing gyms which usually offer 1-1 sessions in a more sports focused environment.
A tip to look at facilities without ever gong in, is to simply check out their online pictures, social media content, and websites. Many gyms now provide virtual tour services online so it’s even easier to see if it’s to your fancy without going in.
Also, if you’re in a fat body, or any other kind of marginalised body, then it may also help to know if the facilities are accommodating to all body types.
One great app that you can use for just such a purpose is called Ample, or you can go to the website ‘isitample.com’. You just type in what service you’re looking for, and the area you need, and it helps you to find someone near you that practices upholding the principles of size, and body type diversity. The great thing about this is that you can also find a whole host of other services such as doctors, who are also accommodating to all bodies.
Another great resource is the ‘Body Positive Fitness Alliance’, which is a website specifically for finding fitness professionals near you, who are committed to upholding the values of diversity in all its forms.
2. FIND SOMEONE YOU ACTUALLY LIKE:
When seeking out a personal trainer, remember that you are going to be working together in a partnership. It might sound obvious that you should like them, but you’d be surprised how many people just take the first PT that approaches them. Ultimately, this is someone you need to be able to trust and enjoy spending a whole hour with, week in week out.
So many personal trainers have a way of making anyone who isn’t up to their standards feel pretty worthless, but likewise so many are great people who got into the industry to help. If you’ve got a trainer who really gets you, and is pleasant to talk to, then your likelihood of actually showing up for each session, and doing the work, will significantly increase. How will you know if you like them? Well let’s go to number 3 to find out…
3. WATCH HOW THEY ARE IN THE GYM WITH MEMBERS AND CLIENTS:
The gym is about creating a community. It’s what Crossfit does so well and while people may joke and call Crossfit a cult, it hits many human needs, such as social interactions, and community, and that’s worth it for a lot of people.
When I’m working in the gym I make it my priority to interact with all of the members. I introduce my clients to other members. I like to use my presence and influence to let everyone know they can be brave when they walk in, and if they need it, then I like to metaphorically hold my clients hands through each area until they start to feel more at ease.
It’s watching how effectively are they are influencing the culture? Do they embody the values of Body Positivity, and Size Diversity? Is this a trainer who’s going to have your back if someone makes a stupid joke behind your back? Is that even what you would want? Maybe you’re more introverted and you’d prefer a quieter soul; an ally who will support you but can also put your through your paces.
When watching them, it’s not about how loud, or quiet, or even interactive they are, to be honest. It’s about how are they contributing to the culture and would you be proud to call them your trainer or do you think they might also be discriminating about you behind your back?
If you feel confident that they might be a good match for you then your next step is to …
4. INTERVIEW THEM:
Yes, I mean it. You’re spending your hard earned cash, so getting into the mind set that they’re working for you will help you to be more comfortable with window shopping before buying. What kind of questions should you ask? Well I suggest the following:
· Ask if they practice Health at Every Size.
· If they say no, then ask how they can accommodate to what your needs are.
· Ask if they’re willing to learn. If you really like someone’s personality but they seem very weight-loss focused, then maybe It’s worth the effort for you to ask them if they’d consider learning how you’d like to be coached. If they are willing to read books like ‘Body Respect’, without cutting corners, and, if they are truly willing to make that effort for you, then for me, that speaks volumes about their calibre as a trainer.
o Don’t be disheartened if they say they don’t have time however. Popular trainers may be too busy to change their entire viewpoint for one, new (refreshingly demanding) client. They just don’t have time.
o But hey! There are many rookie PTs out there to choose from who would be willing to learn as they are desperate to prove their worth and will go to great lengths to distinguish themselves from the bunch to get a head start in their career.
o If on the other hand, a trainer you speak to gets offended by you offering up potentially new info to them, and are rude, then you already have your answer. To avoid face to face interactions, you could also scout out the trainer, and then send them an email with your requirements and that way you don’t need to fear any verbal engagements if the idea makes you uncomfortable.
· Ask how many other clients they’ve trained that are similar to you, and what their experience in general is with your demographic. If your trainer has only worked with men within the age range of 25-40, and you’re a 60 year old, fat, woman, then you might have to question whether or not that’s the PT for you. Of course, again, if they show incredible enthusiasm and willingness to go home, research, and learn how to accommodate you then they may be worth a chance, but only if you get those good vibes.
· Lastly, make up your own questions that are unique to you. What are your needs? Maybe you’ve had a trainer before and didn’t like all of what they did. Can you communicate what about that experience you’d like to see again and what you absolutely cannot tolerate?
5. GIVE THEM YOUR BEST SELF:
Remember to let yourself shine as well. Spending time with a lovely human being and getting paid to do it is a privilege to me. I genuinely get excited to see my clients because we just gel. If you think they can be receptive to weight inclusivity ideas, then consider showing the best side of you. If not, then they’re probably not ready for such a radical shift. Their loss.
I hope you enjoyed this piece. Come and follow me on Instagram: @thefoodandbodycoach and subscribe to my free website mailing list to never miss my latest news.