Personal Trainers After WLS: One-Size-Fits-All Doesn’t Work

I was in the Personal Trainers’ office at a local gym recently, and saw the following caption attached to some popular cartoon characters:


“I’m fat because obesity runs in my family.”

“No, you’re fat because no one runs in your family.”


One of the cartoon characters was laughing hysterically, the other was not.


I will reiterate where I found the aforementioned cartoon—in the personal trainers’ office at the gym. These are the very people to whom we entrust our feelings of physical inadequacy or unattractiveness. These are the experts to whom we look for guidance in our fitness routines, diets, and, in some cases, relationships. How could they be so crass?  So arrogant? For interviewing and hiring personal trainers after WLS, we need to make sure they are what we need and the best fit for us.



What Some Personal Trainers May Think


Perhaps I’m being overly sensitive, but I have had several encounters with personal trainers who claim that overweight patrons are just lazy. As I mentioned in a blog several years ago, when I offered bariatric information and seminars to the clients of the chief personal trainer at a major gym, he responded with, “I don’t see the problem.  They just need to diet and exercise—calories in, calories out.”


Much to my utmost dismay, I have had numerous patients tell me their personal trainers are abusive, discriminatory, and have even fat-shamed them in their efforts to lose weight.  I even heard of a physician assistant who specializes in weight loss, sent two women crying from her office, after she accused them of drug-seeking when they asked for a trial of appetite suppressants to help in their stalled weight loss efforts.


People who have not struggled with their weight will never understand why one person can eat a small serving of ice cream and gain three pounds, while another can go on a weekend pizza and fast food binge, and not gain an ounce. Our genetics, hormones, medical conditions and metabolism are all different from one another’s. It seems as if some people can talk on the phone to their mother for 10 minutes and gain five pounds (ahem, no hard feelings, Mom), while others can graze all day in front of the television without any weight effect whatsoever.



One-Size-Fits-All Personal Trainers After WLS Don’t Work


We are fortunate to have resources available to us that have examined the effects of specific exercises and structured diet plans on various body types. We can now tailor unique programs to patients that are struggling with more than 30 pounds of excess weight, without hurting them physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.


The often utilized, one-size-fits-all model of personal training does not necessarily apply to clients with a higher BMI.  Coaches take previous injuries into account when designing diet and exercise plans, why don’t more trainers design programs for clients with different weights?  More importantly, why aren’t more personal trainers sensitive to weight as a disease process, rather than labeling it as a symptom of laziness.


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Shared from: Obesity Help