Body Shaming: There’s No Excuse For It

Body Shaming

I’ve been an Austin personal trainer for over 20 years now, and in that time, I have been to, and worked at, many a gym, including owning my own for close to 9 years now, the Austin Fitness Center. People have asked me over the years, is it difficult to own a gym, and is there a lot involved with owning a gym, etc. Of course it’s difficult to run a successful business, of any kind, as there are bumps along the way, and since you’re dealing with the general public, the occasional rude person who is not only inconsiderate, but entitled. That is no different than a restaurant, a bar, a hair salon, etc. One thing, however, that I have seen in every gym, except for mine, and the driving reason why I founded my gym, as opposed to working in them anymore as an independent personal trainer, is body shaming.

A lot of gym’s are filled with insecure people who are in desperate need of validation. Sadly, these people, instead of slowly accomplishing things, and building their self esteem, occasionally lash out, criticize, and even mock others who don’t fit their fitness ideal, whether they themselves even do, or not. I remember a “personal trainer” who found great joy in mocking others aloud for the whole establishment to see and hear. He fit the negative stereotype of the profession to a T, and in fact, was the driving impetus for me to found my own gym, even though my wife was in graduate school, and we had an 8 month old baby. It was well worth the risk, as being in such a toxic environment can really be awful.

There’s no need for anyone to disrespect another person. It happened once at my facility, and that person’s gym membership was immediately revoked. I have zero tolerance for such behavior. Body shaming is the same no matter where you go. If it’s a celebrity body shaming another, or some fool in a gym trying to body shame another person in an effort to bolster their appearance, it’s not only juvenile, but very telling of the person, or people doing it.

One of my favorite recollections, not only as a gym owner, but as a personal trainer, is the time when I was wrapping up working a session with a well known NFL player. He was a very large, well built, and extremely strong man. He was also very much a gentleman, as you will read. On the other side of the gym, was a young man of probably 20 or 21 years of age. He was quite tall at roughly 6’4, and quite underweight at 130 pounds. The NFL player, my client, was of similar height, but well over 260 lbs of lean muscle. The young man, a newcomer to fitness, as well as my gym, was on a bench press and struggling dramatically with the bar and a 10 pound weight on each end, for a total bench press weight of 65 lbs. My client, on the other hand, has no trouble performing bench press repetitions with 455 pounds. When my client saw the youngster having trouble re racking the weight, as he had fatigued himself so, he rushed over and lent him not only his assistance, but his time, and thoughtfulness. He advised the young man to rest a few minutes, and then try again, but this time, he would be spotting him. He offered nothing but kind words of encouragement. When the newcomer was ready, he hoisted the weight above his body, but this time, with the safety, and encouragement of his new spotter, he made the lift look effortless, and naturally, felt like a million bucks! The famous football player sincerely congratulated him on his accomplishment, and encouraged him to persevere. It was a touching thing to see.

Another instance that happened with a high profile personal training client of mine, happened a year or so ago. A 16 year old boy who was a huge fan of a famous filmmaker client of mine, and a man whom he idolized, was being picked on on school for being heavy. People were body shaming him at school, and his underdeveloped sense of self was deteriorating by the day. I spoke with his mother, who happened to be my son’s kindergarten teacher at the time, and she told me what a fan he was of this particular filmmaker. The next morning, while training my client, I spoke with him abut what was transpiring with this nice kid and told him that I was going to buy a dvd of his popular science fiction series, and asked that he autograph it for the kid. He said he’d do better, and better he did. He grabbed a 10 year boxed set, and had the entire cast and crew, including himself, of course, personally autograph it for this young man, and then drove down to personally hand it to him through 3 hours of rush hour traffic. No charge, of course.

No matter your size, athletic ability, or effort level in the fitness world, you have nothing to apologize for to anyone. Perhaps you can do a bit better, but that is 100% your business, and the fact is, that you will when you’re ready. If someone tries body shaming you, pay it no mind. It’s just an insecure person looking for attention. We see it all the time, and it doesn’t get any dumber or less interesting than that. I’m sure there’s plenty of other things one can spend their time doing than concerning themselves with a celebrity’s beach body…or at least one would think.

In all the years I’ve been a gym owner and doing Austin personal training, I can absolutely and unabashedly assure you, that positive energy will always trump negative energy. That holds true whether we’re talking about the motivation and mindset needed to force out more grueling reps when you’re exhausted, or whether you’re about to get under a very heavy bar. Body shaming, anger. resentment are quick burning fuels with no sustainability if you want to succeed as a weight lifter and as a human being, or really anything at all in this world. Inner strength comes from confidence, and confidence comes from accomplishments, both great and small. In essence, true strength comes from within, as does true inner peace. You aren’t confident and peaceful because of what others say or because of how you think others perceive you. That is no more than a false ego. Those who are truly strong and possess true inner peace, have no interest in body shaming, humiliating, or mocking others, but rather lending a helping hand, so that others may achieve as well.

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My name is Andy Bruchey and I founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition and sports specific training.
Body Shaming: There's No Excuse For It
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Body Shaming: There's No Excuse For It
Body shaming is a terrible thing that we see occasionally in gyms, but everywhere else as well. There's no excuse for it. Austin personal trainer writes of body shaming, why it's awful, and how to deal with it.
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Andy Bruchey- Complete Fitness Design
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About Andy

My name is Andy Bruchey and I am a longtime Austin personal trainer having founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition, and sports specific training for professionals. Contact me today to see how I can help you!
3100 W Slaughter Ln Austin , Texas 78748 512-484-2270