Did you hear about the guy…

So yesterday I came across this article, about a personal trainer who has decided to gain weight to better understand his heavier clients.  He is currently working on getting to a “goal” weight of something like 265, at which point he is going to live with his “new” body for a while and then work to take the weight off.  I guess the goal is to ultimately train alongside his clients–now that he understands them better, they can understand him better, too!

On the surface, I think this comes off as an interesting (even if I hesitate to say “good”) idea.  As the fitsugar blog post author points out, though, the issue is far more complicated than this experiment would have a person believe.  As a personal trainer, this guy has made a commitment to health and fitness that his overweight clients have not been able to make in the same way.  His gaining weight and then sitting for a while with it is not going to change his psychology, nor will it change theirs.

I believe this guy has the best of intentions (and I choose to believe this rather than thinking that he’s just trying to pull some sort of publicity stunt or drum up new clients in a tough economy) but I don’t feel like I can really get behind the concept.  It does, it has to be said, raise some interesting issues related to weight loss, motivation, and human psychology, though.

So what do you all think?  If you were one of this guy’s overweight clients, would you be comforted to know your trainer was working so hard to experience what you do on a daily basis that he had stopped working out and was feasting on fried Snickers bars?  Or would you just find that insensitive and useless?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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5 comments

  1. Hmm….I don’t know. On the one hand, I can see how it could be a good idea. On the other hand, it kind of reminds me how Tyra Banks will dress up in a fat suit or get all uglified as some sort of ridiculous social experiment. Given the fact that he’s a trainer and is having to force himself to get fat, I would guess that he just doesn’t have the same struggle with diet/exercise that his clients do. I don’t think that’s a struggle that you can just create for yourself, so I wonder how much he’s ultimately going to understand about those who do genuinely experience it.

  2. I think it’s an interesting idea. He will probably be able to understand the physical struggle their clients have when trying to exercise. But as you said, he is a personal trainer and he is getting fat on purpose, and even while doing that he already has his mind in loosing that weight after some time, so he wont be able to understand the psychology of it all. But still, I think it’s a fun experiment for the guy and id I were one of his clients… well I have no idea what I would do!

  3. I think it is all for publicity.

    Or, he hates the fact that he was never a fatty and can’t use the “I know what you are going through, man, I use to be you”.

    What’s the plan? Sit around as a fatty for a few days and then start losing?

    I don’t like it.

  4. You know, I didn’t even think about all those various, “I dressed up in a fat suit for a day” pseudo-experiments that thin, glamorous people do in order to prove that they can understand what it’s like to be overweight, but I think this really does fit well into that category. I just hope this doesn’t become a trend.

  5. I don’t think it would work all that well. One of the things that personal trainers seem to do is model well. And not in a physical sense persay. Like a child modeling good practices after his mother. I can’t see that happening if your trainer is chowing down while you are working out. Plus, it just isn’t healthy to gain weight…even if it is on purpose!

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