Health & Wellness

If only fat fell off when you yelled at it

ranplett/e+/getty images / Today
personal trainers get mean

Brett Contreras’s website tells us that he is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, considered by “many people” to be the “the world’s foremost expert on glute training.” He is considered by me, who has been a certified fitness professional since 1996, to be a sexist jerk who is giving fitness professionals a bad name by writing crap like “120 Tips on Strength Training for Women.

Some gems from his article:

“The vast majority of women believe in spot reductioneven if they’ve heard the truth about spot reduction on numerous occasions (many mistakenly believe that tricep, adductor, and low ab exercises burn fat in those regions)”

We poor, silly women. Seriously, maybe the reason so many women believe in spot reduction is that so many supposed fitness professionals, fitness infomercials, and gyms continue to lie to us about it—my gym has a 15-minutes abs class that promises to “flatten my tummy” and when I asked a Zumba teacher why she told us more than 10 times that we should shake our hips to whittle our waist, she told me that hip motion warms up the abdominal area and that melts the fat there. No, seriously. If you want to debunk myths about fitness, how about focusing on the people in your profession who espouse them for profit, rather than picking on the women who believe them.

“Women are not as proficient at learning gym lingo, learning the names of exercises, and learning which exercises work the various muscles compared to men.”

Who has time for vocabulary lessons when there are pedicures to get and men to tie down.

“Women tend to appreciate excellent form more so than men and aren’t as prone to ‘ego lifting…’”

We finally did something right, ladies! Maybe that’s because women aren’t under tremendous pressure to prove their femininity through bench pressing. Oh wait…

“However, many women lack the fortitude and dedication to ever see incredible results from lifting due to “being a lifter” rather than “being a student of weight lifting”


“Women don’t tend to care as much about science and researchanecdotes are often sufficient for evidence”

Is that what he assumed when he came up with his 120-item list? Because none of it is supported by evidence.

Our culture’s desperation for a single stereotype of beauty has led to a culture of fitness professionals gone wild. Dudebro thought it was professional to make this list. Then we’ve got Jillian Michaels and the rest of the Biggest Loser crowd insisting that fat people need to be physically and emotionally abused, treated as if they were subhuman, and shamed for their own good until they hate themselves healthy. Trainers around the country are doing the same thing, including this guy who actually made it his mission to body-shame two people who were paying to work out in the gym where he trains. He actually pointed and laughed at them!

How about we have personal trainers busting myths instead of creating them? We need fitness professionals who will encourage people of all sizes to find movement that they enjoy rather than suggesting that everyone should do the same thing to get the same body. We need employees at the gym to discourage body shaming and stereotyping based on gender, body size or anything else when it comes to fitness.

Even if fitness professionals don’t want to be the body-shaming police they, at the very least, need to stop being the problem.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.