Are You A Fat Shamer Masquerading As A Personal Trainer ? An Open Letter To Fitness Professionals


After seeing this New Idea article and this online video I was inspired to write his is an open letter to all my fellow Personal Trainers who look down their noses, attached to their chiselled bodies, and declare “If You’re Fat – It’s Cos You’re Lazy! “

Dear Personal Trainer

I do not doubt for one second that you are passionate about your job, and that you care about your clients. 

But since when did you think it was a good idea to insult the very people who you should have compassion for ? 

You do know right – that once you’ve said “Fat people are lazy” – that reporter doesn’t care about your REAL message, your LIFE LONG message –  that everyone should eat right and exercise ( which you feebly try to protest in the follow up interviews ) . 

NEWSFLASH : They don’t want sensible advice – they want to start a Flame War – and you played right into their hands.

Sure, sure, yadda yadda – I know you want to compare fat people to irresponsible dole bludgers. 

Fat people are stupid and can’t hold down jobs either – didn’t you know ? 

Yep that’s why there’s never been a fat politician, an overweight CEO, or an obese single mother of 3 who works full time .

I know you think you’re giving everyone out there in “Fat People Land” just the cold hard facts. You know,  a bit of Tough Love. 

Let me ask you this 

Do you think they don’t know they’re fat ?

Do you think they don’t WANT things to be different ?

“Hey you fat lazy bitch ! Get off your fat arse and go for a run why don’t you !”

Do you think that they haven’t heard it before ? 

They have been listening to that condescending crap from you and every other advertisement, magazine, fat shaming meme and all the other obnoxious bullies in their life that have been hurling them fat abuse for years. 

And if not for years – for their entire life.
For as long as they can remember.
And it happens every. single . f*#@ing day. 

If yelling at people and shaming them into losing weight worked – wouldn’t all the people in the Biggest Loser House be stick thin forever ?

Wouldn’t there be a much higher success rate instead of a shocking majority of contestants regaining most if not ALL of the weight they lost ?


It’s not emotional and mental abuse if it’s on TV !

When you say “Laziness is why we’re obese” 

Surely you’re not trying to speak on behalf of every single person , whom you have never met,  who has struggled with their weight.?

Seriously ? Are You A Fat Shamer Just Masquerading As A Personal Trainer ? WTF ? !

I know you think this helps your career, getting publicity like this, and it’s easy to cushion the blows when you have your friends and fans band closely to you and tell you how great you are . In their fierce loyalty,  they help you ward off the outrage from the internet, and then you get a guest spot on a TV show. 

You say “Haters gonna Hate . It says more about them than it does about me – they are just narrow minded people” …

But just humour me for a moment, picture yourself right now –  as a person struggling with obesity, they’re sitting at home and they’ve just read your article. 

If they were EVER to reach out for somebody’s help in that moment – that someone will never be you.

Because in that short sentence – you have just demonstrated how grossly you misunderstand them.

None of your clients will ever care how much you know, until they know how much you care.


But hang on… Have you ever been overweight ?

I don’t mean you’ve been pregnant, or that one time in 1998 when you at too much at Christmas.

I mean do you really , truly know what it’s like….

to spend year after year,
trying ……
struggling ….
going on diet after diet….
paying for trainer after treadmill 

and then no matter how hard you try, when you inevitably slip ,

You realise it’s just been impossible for you to sustain that level of mental concentration, will power and effort – long term.

Do you know what it’s like to be confused, frustrated, and bewildered why there are skinny people who eat whatever they want,
be lazy couch potatoes,
put in a fraction of the effort that you do
and yet you can never even hope to have a figure like them ??? 


And then what it’s like to get slapped in the face when you’re already down –
when people like you,

A fitness professional who’s mission is supposed to be to INSPIRE others –

Being fat means you’re forever on the hook, never allowed to relax, always being blamed for being weak and / or stupid.  

Soooo what you’re saying is that :

Every fat person is fat because they are inherently lazy.

Does that mean you’re saying every skinny person is skinny because they are inherently, motivated and driven ?

Oh you’re not ?

So you’re saying there are exceptions to the rule ? Ohhhh – That it’s okay to be lazy, as long as you’re not lazy and fat !



Tell me Damming Personal Trainer – Have you spent a day in the life of someone with an eating disorder ?

Would it be too far of a stretch of your imagination to think that the true cause of someone’s obesity – is more about the relationship that they have with their self-worth than it is about the food they eat and the exercise they do or don’t do ? 

Could it be possible – that you do not know the specific situations of every obese person in Australia ? 

Would it be probable – that for all the support you receive about your message –  there are thousands more that have been driven further into a pit of helplessness and despair?

I thought you got in this game because you wanted to UPLIFT and INSPIRE people NOT cut them down ! 


What if I said – Australians are obese because Personal Trainers are crap at sales and marketing ?

Every single day obese people are bombarded with quick fixes and gimmicks on infomercials, through dodgy multi-level marketing schemes, pills and potions and impossibly restrictive diets. Dave Hargreaves, a fellow PT crusader against Fat Shamers says : 

” The media shows people every second of every day that there’s all manner of reasons they can’t be successful

  • your foods are toxic
  • you have inflammation, 
  • you have a slow metabolism
  • processed foods make you fat
  • gluten makes you fat
  • you have a thyroid condition, 
  • bread makes you fat 
  • fruit makes you fat, 
  • sugar makes you fat etc etc

Even if most of them have tried their arse off atleast a couple of times and gotten nowhere because the industry mostly promotes ineffective methods….

Society still looks down on fat people for lacking motivation

Despite the fact that those very same consumers, time and time again, hand over their credit card, hoping against hope that THIS is going to be the solution that will FINALLY save them …

People who are overweight still bare the brunt of unscrupulous marketers, and then shoulder the blame for failing. 

But yeah, let’s keep making feel like they’re the ones who have failed. 
It’s the most enduring pyramid scheme that world has ever seen – but with a unique fall back position. 
In what other industry can you blame the CONSUMER instead of the PRODUCT when it fails ? 
More than $1 million dollars every day gets spent on weight loss products that are ineffective at best, and unsafe at worst ( Better Health Victoria ) 

People keep getting fatter – diet product sales continue to grow, Personal Trainers keep blaming fat people – WHAT THE HELL is wrong with this picture ? 
Personal Trainers hold the key to the holistic weight loss solution – personalised advice, ongoing support and quality education – but attention grabbing like this is completely counterproductive – it makes you the last choice, not the first.  

What if I said – Australians are obese because Personal Trainers make “the healthy way” look way too hard.

By punishing your obese clients, by making them workout til they want to puke, by pushing them way past their level of ability –  

By calling referring them to being like “Lazy” “Soft” and “Dole Bludgers” – how can they not felt guilty and ashamed and anxious.

The very same feelings that produce emotional, behavioural, and physiological – that makes them crave fatty foods and store fat more stubbornly.

Yes, yes, yadda yadda SOME people will enjoy that training . But the majority won’t. 

Your No Pain No Gain philosophies are actually contributing to the problem. 

It’s in our human nature to reach for the quickest, fastest way to alleviate ourselves from pain. That’s why we’re at the top of the food chain. We have the ability to think critically. We have the resources and means to avoid conflict and pain .

The problem is – this pain we feel about “that who we are isn’t enough” – that’s been manufactured by greedy corporations with billion dollar agendas who need to make shit up for us to feel bad about ourselves. And we’ll do anything to avoid this pain, even if that includes going for the quick fix over the healthy alternative.


What if I said – Australians are obese because the media loves to portray Personal Trainers to be cold hearted muscle bound ego maniacs ?



In one week of The Biggest Loser America –  three contestants lost consciousness, two threw up, one suffered a stress fracture in their knee and a thirteen year old boy fractured his foot.

Watching that – who WOULD want to hit the gym?  A study published in the American Journal of Health Behaviour  reflected that viewers watching The Biggers Loser rather than be motivated to exercise, will in fact be not to. 

I mean seriously – how can you blame them for thinking it’s all too hard, they’ve been bamboozled to the point of delusion with all the diet propaganda. It’s a wonder anyone knows anything to eat, since somewhere, someone has written a book on why they can’t eat it !

And Personal Trainers keep portraying themselves as heartless slave drivers .

The healthy way of diet and exercise – just seems like way too much effort for way too long, for far too little results along the way and a MASSIVE risk, and a high probability of failure, disappointment and shame !




Look I get it, I know it’s easy to get caught up with this whole media thing

I was once flown down, all expenses paid, to be part of a studio audience on SBS insight.

They didn’t tell me until I got there that they weren’t interested in my opinion as a Fitness Professional, they just wanted me to run down Personal Trainers and saying they’re all cowboys and push people too hard.

I didn’t play ball. There was no way I was going to make such a sensationalised generalisation.

In some cases this is true. In my personal experience this had also been true . In some cases. 

But I would not paint the whole of my industry with the same brush as a tarnished few. 

Even this week I was asked to be a part of a big deal industry event as a part of a panel discussion.

I was even going to be rubbing shoulders with Commando Steve. 

But, the proviso was – that I had to speak on the Negative side. 

That would mean I would have to say exactly as these trainers did : That either

1. Yes, I believe we have to further perpetuate the idea that saying the words “you are fat” means fat shaming, that being fat means that you are less worthy of a person, and that it is an insult. 

Or 2. I would have to say “Fat people are lazy, irresponsible and just love eating cakes and pies and lying on the couch all day “. 

So I politely declined. 

Even if I got to hang out with Commando Steve. 

Bet your arse. 

You don’t have to sell your soul just to get a few headlines.

People are not fat. They HAVE fat.

And we need to help them accept this and recognise that having fat doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you – and integrate that self-acceptance into positive lifestyle changes.

100% of the overweight women I work with are self motivated, smart and highly driven.

They are anything BUT lazy.

They’ve applied those very same qualities that make them wildly successful in life – to losing weight.

WITHOUT any permanent results.

Australians spend up to one million dollars a day on fad diets that have little effect on their weight, and may be nutritionally unsafe.” (Better Health Victoria)

And yet 63% of Australians are overweight or obese…

The harder we try, the more we spend, the worse the problem gets.

How is that being lazy ?

Statements like this make me embarrassed to be a part of our industry.

We are all better than that, and we can all hold ourselves to a higher standard than that.

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6 Comments on “Are You A Fat Shamer Masquerading As A Personal Trainer ? An Open Letter To Fitness Professionals

  1. Pingback: Stating the bleedin’ obvious… | Mens sana in corpore sano

  2. I applaud you for everything you have said, over and over and over again. You actually understand what it’s like to be a fat person in this world and after years of yo-yoing and actually being made fatter by the weight loss industry I have finally begun to understand why I have this awful relationship with food, why I use it to destroy myself, to harm myself, to shield myself. I’m finally listening to myself instead of to the ‘experts’ and making huge progress in so many ways. I’ve never been lazy, I’ve rarely been unwell, I’m healthy, fit, active and fat but learning to use food as fuel and not as a drug.

    I don’t like to steal limelight but I posted this on my own blog recently about a UK wannabe celeb who has decided to put on 4 stone in weight so she can lose it again to show how easy it is, a woman who cried because fat people made her do this hideous thing to herself just to prove that it’s easy to be slim… it defies belief the ignorance of the self professed intelligent woman have a read if you wish

    For this kind of act, this woman gets air time on national TV she is paid to do this for a documentary her own emotional issues which cause her to crave fame are pandered to to shame fat people she has a Twitter following who think she is brave for speaking out about lazy fat stupid people.

    Thank you for getting it.

  3. Absolutely fantastic article Bianca and definitely worth reading to the end. My favourite line you used was “People are not fat. They have fat”. It’s so true and such a great way to look at it. It’s no different than someone having diabetes or cardiovascular disease. A bit of compassion and understanding can go a long way to helping some on a journey that can improve their health and gradually turn their habits around.

  4. Thank you for writing this! I’m at the point where I no longer call myself a Personal Trainer, I’m embarrassed by it..I call myself a Health Coach! I can not cope with The Biggest Loser and I saw 5 minute of Bringing Sexy Back..When the overweight lady met her PT for the first time, he made her run and not stop..She ended up in tears because of the pain..What are we teaching people? Shows like this are sending the message that being fit and healthy is torturous..I’m so fed up…and the saddest part is sending healthy messages to clients..They are so confused by it all…They are confused by common sense messages like eating a healthy well balanced nutritious diet because they’re sold on some message that carbs are bad, or you must eat at certain times or go high protein.. What can we do? What can I do? Lets join together and spread a better message.

  5. That image of Jillian responding to the contestant complaining about having back pain, that everything will be hurting when she’s done. That’s the type of excitement at someone else’s suffering I have seen the villains in horror films have.

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