One of the main reasons given for avoiding the gym is anxiety or embarrassment about trying to exercise while surrounded by people who are already in shape. But some gyms are now actively marketing their services to the people who need to lose the most weight, and at least one has a policy keeping the fit folks from joining.
The NY Daily News takes a look at a few of these gyms that are intended to provide a place where overweight people can work out without having to share machines with people who are merely maintaining their level of fitness.
“Many of our clients have not had successful fitness pasts so I can see the anxiety before we get started and I can see the relief and happiness after we finish,” says the owner of a Vancouver gym where membership is only open to plus-size women.
“It’s intimidating going into a gym setting,” explains one gym member. “I honestly think some people in a gym setting are judgmental to people who are overweight or have a different body type.”
Meanwhile, one former Biggest Loser has opened a gym in Omaha that doesn’t limit who can join, but does market itself to people who are at least 50 pounds overweight.
“What we have found is that there are some sub-populations who like to work out with ‘people of size,” he tells the Daily News.
And then there is the owner of a Chicago gym who says that the idea of working out with people who are all in the same boat is what’s bring the customers to his door.
“We make it known that our specialty is working with people who have at least 50 pounds to lose,” he explains to the News. “Most people who come here, come here for that reason.”