I’m no model – far from it. I’m also not a celebrity. But as a personal trainer, I can’t escape occasionally getting my photo professionally taken.
Whether I’ve had a photographer hired for business cards, a website (oh, hello) or some sort of promotional reason (I did once represent this Body By Jake product), generally a trainer in L.A. is going to want some decent photos to show around the industry. And I’ve had my share.
My first photo shoot (at age 23, bikini bod prime, haha) was on the beach with an awesome photographer – a luxury I didn’t realize until later shoots. He helped me pose, had great artistic vision for shots, and took just enough photos to make it worth the cost without exhausting me completely.
There have been several shoots since – none of which gave me that same feeling of satisfaction. Sure, that early shoot was a happy combination of peak physical condition (sigh), good photography, and a bit of beginners’ luck. But moreover, I feel like each year I spend in the fitness industry makes it harder and harder to see my own body in a positive light. And it drives me crazy.
We all struggle with body image, I know – whether you are tall, short, fat, thin, muscular, scrawny, shapely, or any other combination of descriptors, you probably have “ugly” days. We all do. But as a trainer (and this applies to lots of other jobs in the fitness industry), even on “ugly” days, you have to show up, perform in front of people, teach classes, train clients, and simply be the representative of what a “fit person” looks/acts/sounds like. And it’s pressure.
Take this photo, for example, from one of my least favorite photo shoots (don’t get me started on the fact that the hairstylist never showed up and the makeup artist was a joke). All I can do is tear this photo apart – my hair is flat, my arms look big, my thighs are enormous, my waist looks thick, my face looks shiny. Nothing about this photo makes me proud to be me, and nothing about it makes me want to sell myself as a representative of my industry. Yet these photos live on in different venues (this was a contracted shoot) and each time I encounter one being used to represent a fitness brand, I am not only embarrassed but horrified. How could anyone think this is what a fit person looks like?
What a terrible thought.
I am the epitome of a fit person. Not only is fitness my profession, it is my passion. I work out daily, I do yoga, I run, I lift. I make and eat my own clean, healthy food. I don’t smoke. I practice stress relief techniques, I get enough sleep, and I prioritize my time in order to do all of the above (exercise, cook, sleep) so that I can set an example for my clients and peers. This is what a fit person looks like. My body is healthy. I am well.
After having an awesome photo shoot today (pics pending, guys!) with a fantastic photographer, I can’t help but be split between excitement and anxiety. Of course I want the photos to turn out well, but more than that I want them to turn out looking like me. The person I know that I am and the person that I want to represent my brand, this brand, ThisFitBlonde.
Do you like having your picture taken? When do you feel like you are truly yourself?