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Plus-Sized Personal Trainer: Is It Possible to Be Both?

A trainer flexes her bicep showing off her strong arm.

There’s no denying how much bias and misinformation there is about larger bodies in the fitness industry. Not only are people hypercritical of people who are larger than the arbitrary standard of what it means to be fit and healthy, but they’re also quick to dismiss those who hope to work in this industry.

This is why it’s easy for plus-sized individuals to doubt whether or not they can become certified fitness trainers and work as personal trainers. But how true is that belief? Let’s talk about it:

A plus-sized person can definitely be a fitness trainer

There’s no doubt that a plus-sized individual can be a personal trainer, and a great one at that! A trainer’s physique and size have very little to do with their ability to coach and train someone, and body size is not even the most accurate indicator of fitness knowledge or health levels. Many people with larger bodies excel at fitness activities and are incredibly strong, flexible, and agile, despite what many assume.

As for working as a certified fitness trainer, you can still complete your training regardless of body weight or size. Many successful trainers have paved the way for other plus-sized individuals to pursue their dreams and prove that they don’t need to fit a supposed standard of what a trainer looks like.

Two fitness trainers pose happily for a photo.

What is a personal trainer’s role anyway?

Speaking of working and qualifying as a personal trainer, we should talk about what a personal trainer does anyway and why it doesn’t matter what someone’s body looks like to be great at this job.

A personal trainer’s job is to help you come up with specific goals and helps you create a well-rounded plan to accomplish them. Their job entails working on a one-on-one basis with you, focusing on your particular needs, pushing you where necessary, challenging you to work smarter and harder, and sustainably reach those goals.

A personal trainer will coach their clients, devising workouts aligning with their goals and progress and demonstrating, correcting their form and posture, and identifying problems and speed bumps along the way. As such, a certified personal trainer’s body size, weight, or physique has very little to do with their ability to coach.

Some might argue that it’s about a personal brand and find it challenging to depend on a fitness professional that looks different from the norm, but nobody is entitled to know why someone’s body looks the way it does, and neither does it discount their knowledge and skills as a trainer because of it.

Does weight or body size affect fitness levels negatively?

There’s no simple answer to this question because it is widely debated, but the proof is in the pudding at the end of the day. Plus-sized individuals continue to defy claims and assumptions about their fitness levels, successfully competing against, training with, and coaching straight-sized individuals. They have repeatedly proved that their weight does not hinder their ability to work out or practice healthy habits.

Sometimes people’s bodies are genetically predisposed to being bigger, others have health conditions that make them gain weight, and in many cases, they’re happy at the size they are. Weight loss isn’t and shouldn’t be a goal for everyone, and you can still be great at your job without being a size 6.

Fitness isn’t solely measured by physical appearances but by other factors, including resting heart rate, core strength, muscular composition, and more, so don’t be quick to assume that people with bigger bodies can’t be strong or healthy. You can be fit and train clients regardless of what the scale says or the clothing size you wear!

A curvy trainer listens to music while carrying a yoga mat.

The advantages of working with a plus-sized trainer

There is also no denying the advantages of working with a plus-sized trainer. Many clients are looking for plus-sized trainers who won’t push them to change their bodies, focus on more holistic health and wellness goals, and give them a realistic view of a healthy body that doesn’t fit an outdated standard.

A lot of clients find that they’re able to relate more to their plus-size trainers because they can resonate with their own goals and desires to be healthy without the pressure to drop down to or be a certain size, weight, or shape.

Their presence in the industry is disruptive enough in the best way, inspiring people to pursue their health and fitness journeys and drown out naysayers who have a narrow outlook of what it means to be strong, healthy, and fit.

A healthy fitness trainer works out at the park.

Plus-sized trainers with plus-sized perspective and empathy

Perhaps what makes plus-sized certified fitness trainers so great at their job is their unique ability to empathize and offer perspectives that other people can’t. They know how challenging it can be to exist as a larger-sized person in a society that demonizes them and how exclusionary the fitness industry has been to them.

They can empathize with their clients who could be struggling to lose weight or whose fitness and health goals aren’t centered around having a smaller body; they can also help them find enjoyable ways to move and train without straining, injuring, or hurting themselves in the process.

While not true for everyone, many personal trainers can empathize with clients struggling with body image and help them overcome certain reservations and insecurity through their coaching services and work.

Simply put, there is no ‘right’ body type to become a certified fitness trainer or to work as a fitness professional. Our fitness trainer programs welcome people of all sizes, shapes, fitness backgrounds, and levels to pursue their dreams of working in this industry, inspiring their clients, and breaking stereotypes of being fit. Sign up for our personal trainer certification and get started!


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