While we do live in a very, very free world, there are some standards you should maintain to be seen as a health professional.
The way you look communicates so much. When someone sees you for the first time, they are consciously or unconsciously taking note of your:
- Facial expression
- Facial hair
- Skin tone
- Skin condition
- Clothing – style and cleanliness
- Shoes – style and cleanliness
- Muscle mass
- Fat mass
- Smell – fragrance, body odor or no smell
- Tone of voice
- Energy level
- How you move
- Eye contact or the lack thereof
As a personal fitness trainer, you should do everything you can to make sure that your appearance is acceptable for the norms of that community.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t be yourself. I used to bleach my hair platinum blonde every summer just cause I wanted to. But, I didn’t smell or have things in my teeth or wear wrinkled or dirty clothing.
Lots of deadlifts and regular exercise gave me good posture and, with some muscle on my frame, I looked like a fitness trainer. I didn’t even have that much muscle. At 6’ 1” and 175lbs, most people didn’t know I was a trainer or wouldn’t have guessed it unless I told them.
Overbearing muscles can also be a put-off for clients. You want your client to have their attention on themselves and attaining their fitness goals. A training session is not time to show yourself off and it is not why they pay you. You are the helper in their story.
Checking yourself out on the above list should be enough to get by in terms of appearance. Any one of them being out could be a reason someone doesn’t want to work with you.
Building up Your Awareness
Some of us (me particularly) don’t care too much for image and fancy clothes.
I have always cared about being genuine and not fake. It took quite a while for me to start to get all of the points on this list in tip top shape.
My appearance was never a problem, but it could be improved. The biggest reason was that I just wasn’t as aware of these points as other people were.
So, here’s a drill to help build your awareness if you are like me. Walk around and pay attention to people, noting everything in the list above. It’s not nice to stare, but you can still pick up on these things.
Pick a good friend and start working him or her over. You’ll be surprised to find that you haven’t noticed quite a bit.
Appearance isn’t everything.
But if you, a fitness trainer, are claiming to have a full command of massive bodies of knowledge such as anatomy, exercise physiology, weightlifting, stretching, plyometrics, and all sorts of other things – then please demonstrate that you can brush your teeth and comb your hair.
Bad smells put people off. A piece of salad in your teeth may show that you eat healthy, but it is very distracting.
Most people decide right on the spot whether or not they want to work with you. You’ll either be ready for it or not.