hi I am admitted to a massage therapy program to begin in January. It's a little late to be thinking like this but, I'm about 50+ lbs overweight. I'm a male, 5' 10" and I weigh 244. I should be around 190. Most of the weight is in my abdominal area - like a 'beer belly' unfortunately. So, I'm not just one of those overweight guys who looks like a 'big guy'. I just look like I have a huge stomach. I've been on a weight loss plan lately and so didn't think much of it until I went to orientation today. Everyone was in tip top shape! I feel very self conscious now - especially since I believe I will have to be nude with my fellow students (heard conflicting things about THAT, still not sure what's true or not). I would like advice: Should I withdraw from my classes this semester and postpone my entry to MT school for a few months to get into shape. I don't want to be known as the "gross fat guy". Or worse, make it more difficult for my fellow students to work on me.
Thank you for your time and help.
I'm about 5'7", and when I went to massage school several years back, I was about 235lbs. We started with 40 students of varying ages and body types. From the get go, the instructors impressed the importance of respect for ourselves and others. My classmates NEVER made me feel the least bit self conscious, even though I had a total "OMG! WHAT AM I DOING HERE?!?!?" moment erupting inside me the first day when one of the instructors got on the table and took her shirt and bra off under the sheet for a demonstration.
Not only did I survive this experience, I have since developed a much better acceptance of my own body, and have a better understanding and can empathize with those that have body issues.
You may see those other people in the class as being athletic and fit, but I can just about guarantee you that there are those in the group that don't see themselves the way you do, and may be even more unsure and insecure about their bodies than you may feel. Also, as pueppi pointed out, not every client that you're going to see as a massage therapist is going to have a "perfect" body. Clients come in all shapes and sizes, so should your practice partners so you can learn how to be comfortable, secure, and effective.
A quick note on the nudity issue.
Different schools handle their hands on classes differently, but overall, you should be given the opportunity to undress to whatever degree is necessary or appropriate for your class session, with some degree of privacy. My school had some curtains you could pull around yourself to disrobe in, then wrap in a sheet and go to the table. Others who were more comfortable, just took their clothes off on the table, underneath the sheet (sometimes their partner would help "tent" the sheet to give them room.) You should always have the option to maintain your modesty. Breasts and genitals should remain covered, and the instructors should be cultivating a sense of security and safety within the classroom.