Weak at First Sight? Let’s Talk About Being Underestimated by Fitness Instructors

You know what really grinds my gears?

Lately, I’ve been finding myself in many new studios. For whatever reason—some of my favorite classes are getting harder to schedule, and I’ve also been trying to “broaden my horizons” and try out new spots.

I’m not normally easily angered, but I’ve been noticing an unsettling pattern when I arrive at new studios:

Instructors—primarily male instructors—grossly underestimate my physical performance. I’ve racked my brain and can’t reach any logical conclusion other than that it has to be based solely on my physical appearance.

I have to think that these instructors see me as a woman of average build, without largely defined muscles (obviously meaning I’m not strong) in “cute” workout clothes, instead of as an athlete or serious competitor. Just because I don’t frequent your classes, doesn’t mean I don’t work out regularly elsewhere.

Once, as we were being assigned a two-laps-around-the-block run, an instructor said to me, “When was the last time you ran or did anything?” Exact quote. I looked at him (whilst screaming WTF in my head), laughed, and replied, “A lot.” Really?!

This initial (and inaccurate) judgment is very frustrating to me, especially having been an athlete my whole life. Maybe this is a flaw of not being a loyal customer at one place—a lack of rapport—but I also don’t find it to be a welcoming or particularly successful strategy for securing new clientele.  To me, it seems so logical to simply inquire about someone’s current fitness level upon meeting, rather than to just passively recommend five-pound weights for the class. Normally I “get over it” a couple of minutes into the workout, when I’m lifting 3X+ what the instructor recommended. But still, bottom line is: rude AF.

Have you experienced this judgment? Does it bother you as much as us? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s