I can't tell you how many times I've heard or seen memes that accuse not-exactly-ripped trainers of not living up to their profession. I won't deny that I've attracted a lot of clients solely based on my physique. It's rare someone will inquire about my qualifications, background and training style -- though I wish they would. I'm naturally flattered when people tell me that the way I look inspires them but then I'm somewhat concerned when they go on to bash and diminish another trainer that isn't in the same condition as me.
Yes, anyone working in the health and fitness industry should practise what they preach. If there's a trainer who smokes, boozes, eats at McDonald's on the regular and never works out while trying to pick up a gym check, well, good luck to them. But honestly, I've never met a trainer like that. Every trainer I know is in this difficult-to-make-ends-meet profession because of a deep passion for fitness and the desire to spread it.
So why don't most trainers look photo-shoot ready? Because, unlike me, most trainers aren't also paid fitness models. And most trainers, unlike me, aren't so shallow to be complete slaves to aesthetics (Well, that's not exactly true about me; It's certainly not the only thing I care about, though it is of particular concern to me given my modelling work.)
1. Maybe they have their heads in the books
The best trainers in the world have higher degrees in sports science, regularly write, contribute and engage in scholarly discussion, participate and interrupt studies and are always reading and learning. All the mental exercise might leave them with less time for pump physical iron.
2. They are more concerned with other aspects of fitness than merely body composition
Ultimately, fitness is not about looking a certain way. It's about feeling and being certain way. Yeah, I get it that most people join the gym not to feel better but to look better. And I won't deny that isn't a major motivator for me, too. But it's a major mistake to obsess over this one aspect of fitness and forget about aerobic and muscular endurance, strength, power, speed, agility, co-ordination, flexibility and balance. Don't overlook the greater importance of having healthy heart, lungs and brain and a body that is pain-free and moves with ease. Looking like a Health and Fitness magazine cover model has little to do with all that. And the best trainers know this.
3. They are so dedicated to their profession and clients they put themselves second
It could be that they are such an awesome trainer they are so busy attending to 8 clients a day, giving everything they have to them and are left with so little for themselves. I know those occasions when I'm at the gym from dawn to dusk training others the last thing I want to do is stay another hour and train myself.
4. They are injured, dealing with emotional or mental injury. They are human, too
Many trainers are passionate athletes, whether pro, semi- or recreational. Like just about every athlete to have ever lived, they sometimes get injured that could sideline them for months. Some trainers, like me, are competitors. Sometimes the stress and metabolic damage from constantly trying to be extremely in shape takes its toll. Some trainers are also human and face human issues such a breakups, deaths in the family, financial hardships and depression. It's easy to judge a book by its cover without first reading its contents.
5. They are on a fitness journey, too.
Buddha said life is flux. Like our finances, emotions and well-being our fitness won't always be at the summit. You have to start somewhere, and usually, like Drake, it's from the bottom. On the way you might plateau, hit rock bottom again, slowly ascend, finally reach your goals only to have the whole cycle repeat itself. Fitness isn't a destination that once you get there you can kick back and put your feet up and expect to stay there. It's not any different for trainers.