How Selling the Fear of Fat is a Lazy Business Practice

Dear Gyms, Fitness Centers, & Fitness Professionals,

I was cruising through my Facebook timeline and saw an ad from a local gym that harped on the fear of gaining weight over the holidays. I WAS HORRIFIED.  

Why was I horrified?  

  • I believe very strongly that people should not have to be afraid of fluctuating body weight.

  • I believe that people should not have to be a particular body shape in order to enjoy their life.

  • I believe that body size or shape does not determine health.

  • I believe that people should not have to prove their health or fitness status.

I believe these things as a fitness professional.

I’m a Personal Trainer who does not use body composition, weight, or physical measurements to track progress of my clients.

I’m a Group Fitness Instructor that gets people celebrating how their bodies move.

I’m a Health Coach that provides support for people to reach goals without micromanaging their diet or fitness.

There are so many ways to track progress of fitness and health goals that have NOTHING to do with body size, weight, and food. It takes creativity, listening to your clients, getting down to the “why” of their goals, and educating yourself. If it feels like it’s too hard, this is the perfect time for you to dig in and learn something new.  

Body Positive Fitness & Health Education

Start with Linda Bacon’s https://lindabacon.org/ website. At the very least read the Body Manifesto. Then dig into Health at Every Size and start unpacking your beliefs about body size, fat, nutrition, dieting, wellness, and health.  

Follow Fitness & Health Professionals supporting Race, Size and Body Diversity. https://superfithero.com/pages/body-positive-fitness and https://bodypositivefitness.org/

You can get clients without promoting weight loss.

I get it weight loss is big business. It might get people in the door, however it’s not what they really want. Connect with your clients at their pain points. Talk about strength, performance related goals, flexibility, balance, sleep issues, back pain, energy levels, etc.  

Weight loss programs promote disordered eating, over training, and self-harm. These are things you are trying to have your clients avoid, right?

Stop using fear as leverage. Start connecting with your clients or potential clients from a place of support, compassion, and curiosity.

Getting off the weight loss, diet, overtraining bandwagon starts with you. Stop going doing the path that harms your clients.

Other resources:

http://www.tracybrownrd.com/reasearch-why-diets-cause-harm.html