Looking the part

June 2, 2009 at 11:11 pm 1 comment

This is a follow on post from the one before. If you haven’t read that, I suggest you start there. But it all began with a comment I read on somebody’s online fitness log. It went like this:

“Again, I saw something at the gym that annoyed me. A “Fitness Instructor” teaching a class who did not look the part. Similar to a trainer at the former gym I went to. How can I trust someone that doesn’t apply what they teach.

Sorry, but it makes me sick.”

For my initial reply, see the previous post. But I have been thinking about it some more today, and I realised that there was more that I wanted to say. Apologies to people who have come to my BBG blog after reading the exact same post on my TT log – I rarely do that, and it is worth visiting both, should you be so inclined (thank you, you nice people, you). But just to set my mind and rest, here is the rest of my argument:

So what do you think of when you see somebody working in a gym? You check them out, right. See what they look like. Because, to some extent, the author of the other post is right. You can judge a book by its cover. It is a fast, often efficient way of gathering a lot of information about a person.

  • Do they look professional?
  • Is their uniform clean and pressed?
  • Are they well groomed?
  • Do they look fit and healthy?

And all this gives you some indication of how good a trainer they are.

Or does it?

I’m sure we all know people who are thin as a rake, eat junk food morning, noon and night, and never gain a pound. Would you want to take nutritional advice from these people?

OK, you might say, what about someone who is muscular and lean, they obviously work out. Well, maybe, but ask anyone who trains athletes and they will tell you that their normal diets may well make a sumo wrestler blush, at least until a nutritionist gets their claws into them. They have good genes, or they out-train the rubbish they consume. Most likely a combination of the two. So, maybe you wouldn’t take nutritional advice from them either.

But at least, you may say, they know about training. Well certainly, they know about one kind of training. But do they know anything about exercise physiology in general. A quick look around any weight room will quickly rid you of the notion that the people with the biggest muscles are the ones to go to if you want good, safe, effective training advice for your particular body and goals.

What about the other side? What about people who don’t look the part? Well, I’ve already given you one side of the story – there may be people who are getting fitter but aren’t there yet. But is it possible to be fat AND fit?

Obviously, it’s not as common as fat and UNFIT, but clearly the answer is yes. You could start by reading this article. Or this one. Large, longitudinal epidemiological studies have shown that fitness levels are more important than weight. It is better to be heavier and fit, from a health outcome point of view, than to be thin and a couch potato.

And of course I am not saying that fit-looking instructors in a gym are not an inspiration, or that they don’t live the life, or that they can’t help you. Many of them will be dedicated professionals whose goal in life is to help you reach your goal. And buy a high-performance sports car, of course. But I’m sure most of us can tell you horror stories of things that ‘qualified’ instructors have told us to do in the gym. Certainly, in the past, anybody could hang out a sign and call themselves a personal trainer. Now, as the industry becomes more regulated, things are improving, but ask any woman who trains what happened the first time she went into the gym and said something like “I want to lose weight and get in shape”, and I bet over 90% of them will tell you that they were put on the treadmill for an hour and told to lift some barbie weights for three sets of 25. And did it ever occur to you that depending on the business ethos of your gym management, some of those people on the gym floor may have got the job because they looked the part, maybe at the expense of somebody who would have been a better trainer but didn’t.

So kudos for the managers at your gym for realising this fact: there are many fine, and fit, instructors and PTs out there who want to make your gym going experience a better one, and they come in all shapes and sizes.

But getting back to the “Fitness Instructor” that started all this off, OK she may be overweight. But have you ever tried to take her class? Let me guess, you don’t do girly aerobic stuff like that. You lift weights. But try it just once. I dare you. I bet it kicks your ass!


Entry filed under: Body image, exercise, fat loss, heath and fitness, inspiration, nutrition, weight loss, Weight training.

Don’t (necessarily) judge a book by its cover Turbulence Training 5th Transformation Contest – end of week 1

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Cynthia  |  June 3, 2009 at 2:34 am

    Well, once upon a time, when my feet weren’t hurt… I could dance RINGS around all my skinny friends! Oh, and I might do this AFTER taking an aerobics class.

    They’d sit out some tunes, too winded to carry on and I’d be getting my second wind and dancing on!

    However, eventually, I hurt my feet dancing.. so there is something to be said for not putting a load on one’s joints and weaker parts, like my blasted arches.

    Still, I easily work as hard as our water aerobics instructor, because I am often modifying the moves or traveling to make things a bit more difficult. So yep, you can be fat and still kick ass! Sorta kinda, at any rate.


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Blubberbegone Stats

  • Start: 16 stone, 45.7% body fat
  • Goal: 10 stone, 20% body fat
  • Today: 14 stone 13.6 lbs, 44.8% BF
  • Pounds lost: 14.4
  • Body fat lost: 0.9%
  • Exercise this week (Sat–Fri):
  • Total: 2 hr 5 mins
  • Jog/Walk: 20 mins
  • Walking: 20 mins
  • Burlesque: 1 hr
  • Pilates: 25 mins
  • African dance: mins
  • Tae Kwon Do: mins
  • Badminton: mins
  • Tai Chi: mins
  • Yoga: hr
  • Exercise last week: 4 hrs 40 mins
  • Joke of the Day

    I'm not fat - I'm a woman and a half.


    My Weight Loss Goals

  • 1. Crack 15 stone (210 lbs) for the fourth and final (I hope) time.
  • 2. Lose 10% of my body fat (14 stone 4).
  • 3. Fit into a size 18 (US 16).
  • 4. Get my body fat below 40%
  • 5. Lose another 10% of my body fat (12 stone 12/180 lbs).
  • 6. Get my BMI under 30 (12 stone 9/177 lbs) - no longer obese, just overweight now.
  • 7. Weigh less than my husband.
  • 8. Fit into a size 16 (US 14).
  • 9. Lose my third 10% (11 stone 8/162 lbs).
  • 10. Fit into a size 14 (US 12).
  • 11. Get my BMI under 25 (10 stone 8/148 lbs).
  • 12. Lose my fourth 10% (10 stone 6/ 146 lbs).
  • 13. Fit into a size 12 (US 10).
  • 14. Reach my goal weight (10 stone) and decide if I need to lose any more based on my muscularity and shape.
  • 15. Turn heads in a bikini!
  • My Fitness Goals for 2011

  • 1. Increase my cruising walking speed from around 5.0kph to 6.4kph.
  • 2. Increase continuous jogging time to 30 mins.
  • 3. Run a 5K for charity.
  • 4. Work on my crawl stroke and build up to 30 mins continuous swimming.
  • 5. Build up to 1 hour continuous and comfortable cycling.
  • 6. Squat 50kg.
  • 7. Do an unassisted chin up.
  • 8. Take a martial arts or self-defence class for at least 3 months.
  • 9. Beat my husband at badminton.
  • 10. Learn a new dance style.
  • My Blubber Reduction Journey

  • My highest measured weight ever:
  • Jan 1 2006 = 238 lbs (17 stone)
  • BBG blog starting weight:
  • Sep 16 2007 = 215.5 lbs (15 stone 5.5), 47.0% BF Lean body mass 114.2 lbs (8 stone 2.2)
  • Highest weight posted since then:
  • Xmas 2008 = 223.6 lbs (15 stone 13.6), 48.2% BF, lean body mass 116.0 lbs (8 stone 4)
  • Lowest weight posted since then:
  • Nov 16 2009 = 193.2 lbs (13 stone 11.2), 43.7% BF, lean body mass 108.8 lbs (7 stone 10.8)
  • Lowest body fat posted since then:
  • Sep 7 2009 = 194.2 lbs (13 stone 12.2), 42.6% BF, lean body mass 111.5 lbs (7 stone 13.5)
  • My blubber reduction journey 2011:
  • Xmas 2010 = 221.6 lbs, 46.7% BF, 118.1 lbs LBM
  • 5 Jan = 221.0 lbs, 47.1% BF
  • 12 Jan = 219.6 lbs, 45.8% BF
  • 19 Jan = 220.4 lbs, 45.8% BF (TTOM)
  • 26 Jan = 218.8 lbs, 45.2% BF
  • 2 Feb = 218.8 lbs, 44.7% BF
  • 9 Feb = 219.4 lbs, 44.9% BF
  • 16 Feb = 215.8 lbs, 44.6% BF
  • 23 Feb = 213.2 lbs, 45.2% BF
  • 2 Mar = 211.6 lbs, 45.9% BF
  • 9 Mar = 209.8 lbs, 45.1% BF
  • 16 Mar = 208.8 lbs, 45.3% BF
  • 23 Mar = 208.0 lbs, 45.1% BF
  • 13 Apr = 208.4 lbs, 44.4% BF
  • 20 Apr = 207.6 lbs, 43.3% BF
  • 27 Apr = 205.0 lbs, 45.8% BF
  • 4 May = 209.2 lbs, 45.2% BF (TTOM)
  • No. weeks: 18
  • Average weekly weight loss: 0.31%
  • 101 in 1001

    28 down, 5 goals revoked, 68 to go, and 94 days to do them. Check out the 101 page, above, for all the latest on my journey to be a better blubberbegone.


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