Would You Feel More Comfortable Exercising In A Gym That Bans Skinny People?

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.”

Gym bans skinny people; More fitness centers move to create friendler environments for larger-size clientele [NY Daily News]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Sean says:

    Well if the physically fit people are banned aren’t you (hopefully) limiting the amount of time that their clients can come. I mean say someone that has 50 lbs to lose takes that off in a year. Then they can’t come anymore because they are the ideal weight.

    • frank64 says:

      In reality, most never take it off, or take some off, gain some back……….

      I notice in the gym there is very little actual change going on. Fit people stay fit, overweight stay overweight.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Sounds like great evidence that exercise doesn’t solve anything.

        • LunaMakesThings says:

          Exercise solves lots of stuff! It can make you stronger, more flexible, improve your heart and lungs, improve blood pressure, relieve stress, make you happier, make you sleep better, and the list could keep going on. What it doesn’t “solve” in most cases, is being bigger than you or society thinks you should be.

          One of the sad effects of the “Thin = Healthy” bullshit that permeates our culture is that if people start exercising and it doesn’t make them thin, they think it isn’t “working” and they give up.

          • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

            Exercise helps very little with weight loss unless you do massive amounts of it. If you want to lose a lb of week from exercise you would have to:

            Walk 3 MPH for 11 hours
            Run at 5 MPH for close to 5 hours
            Spend 4-5 hours on a stair machine
            Spend 7 hours on a stationary bike
            Spend 6 hours swimming laps

            This is an incredible amount of time to spend to lose 1 lb. And, if you are overweight and out of shape (which these numbers are figured on me being 50 lbs overweight; someone much smaller burns far less) it would be quite difficult to do many of these exercises for a sustained period. I was working out about 8 hours a week of very vigorous exercise and eating 1200 calories a day and losing only about 1/2 lb-1lb a week. Exercise is hard to stick to b/c it gives a limited return. It does help with energy and the like, which is why I still exercise 3-5 hours a week. But, exercise really makes very little difference unless you are a calorie burning machine.

            • Hartwig says:

              Part of the problem is that the body adapts to get used to your workouts if they are constant. As you progress you should also be shocking your body with new workouts and changing up the intensities and resistance levels. Working out and not seeing the results is super frustrating, but even if i don’t have gains for a few days or a week i still feel better after a workout than if i don’t work out.

            • BorkBorkBork says:

              1200 calories also sounds like too few cal/day. (Starvation mode = no weight loss).

            • LunaMakesThings says:

              My point was that exercise has many benefits exclusive of weight loss. If you go from sedentary to exercising regularly, you will most likely see many health benefits even if you don’t lose a pound. And if the goal, as so many people claim, of weight loss is to be “healthier” well, good news! You can actually be healthier even if you don’t get skinnier.

            • cantiloon says:

              Exercise (specifically building muscle) is what makes you a calorie burning machine. I lb a week is a very steady rate. I lost 30 lbs in six months almost exclusively due to working out. I barely changed the diet and drank lots of wonderful craft beer. Standard workout: weight training and usually about 500 estimated calories on various cardio machines three times a week. Certainly nothing close to the amounts you listed. I temporarily dropped the weightlifting to focus on running and now tri-training and have still kept it off.

      • RedOryx says:

        Being fit and being overweight are not mutually exclusive

        • frank64 says:

          Poor choice of words on my part. I have been going to the gym for years and I notice most don’t change that much in terms of weight. It doesn’t mean people shouldn’t go, maintaining is good, and the real benefits of the gym are health anyway.

        • rmorin says:

          Your sentiment is a popular one, but has some significant caveats.

          Simply the presence of adipose tissue increases the risk for DMII. Simply the presence of excess weight taxes joints (particularly the knees) physically harder. Simply the presence of increased weight is taxing on the cardiovascular system.

          This does not mean that an overweight individual will have all three or even one of these problems. What this does mean though is as an aggregate increased weight IS associated with significant negative health outcomes.

          I get very leery about people that laud the “fit at any size” philosophy because the science simply does not support that as an aggregate. Again, this does not mean you can make judgments on one person, but there is the simple fact that as weight increases over ideal, that health problems DO exist.

        • OutPastPluto says:

          That is not an excuse for you to be an out of shape lard ass that is unhealthy by any other objective measurement. Most people who violate the weight charts are not merely buff or a little too neanderthal.

          They are people with a problem kidding themselves and trying to absolve themselves of personal responsibility.

          I would be suspicious of any fitness establishment that doesn’t have any patrons that appear to have used the facilities to their benefit.

      • Not Given says:

        I had a mail person that wanted the job to lose weight by walking all day carrying a heavy bag. She stayed with it for several years without a noticeable change.

        • sparrowmint says:

          Because diet is the most important component of weight loss. You can lose weight on a completely sedentary diet, you just need to eat below your maintenance calories (ballpark being 10x your weight for the average person). Chances are she didn’t change her diet at all, but the increase in exercise made her even hungrier so she ate even more.

          • sparrowmint says:

            Er, I mean, “you can lose weight with a completely sedentary lifestyle” not “sedentary diet,” since that makes no sense.

          • LMA says:

            Or, alternately, if she wasn’t exercising, instead of remaining overweight, she would be obese (or more obese, whatever). So she’s still better off working out and eating poorly than sitting on the couch all night and eating poorly.

        • Jeff asks: "WTF could you possibly have been thinking? says:

          As I read somewhere: “If walking is such good excercise, why does my postman look like Jabba the Hut?”

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      That could be a fun goal! Can’t sign up unless you’re fifty pounds over, but if you’re twenty pounds over, you can graduate.

      With a diploma.

      And a crown.

      And some cake.

      (well maybe not the cake)

    • Hartwig says:

      If they were smart they would create a binding contract that you couldn’t quit the gym until you met their exit clause. Seems like someone would sign up for this as “Motivation”

    • sparrowmint says:

      Seems like a great way to keep weight loss from being permanent. People don’t stop needing to exercise once they lose the weight. Once they’re a lower weight, that’s when they need to exercise the most to keep it off because the base number of calories being burned by their bodies is lower. Take away the comfortable environment they’re used to having for exercise, and it’s going to make keeping it off even harder. Boom, they regain weight, and they’ll be back (unless they’re smart enough to reject the company for this stupid policy).

  2. ScandalMgr says:

    Cue the “unfair to people of fitness” comments 3…2…1…

    • MMD says:

      And why shouldn’t those comments come? When is any kind of discrimination ok?

      • Amaras says:

        When it’s against the people whom use the term “YOLO”.

        • nishioka says:

          I’ve seen more people bitch about the term “YOLO” than I’ve seen people actually using it.

      • RedOryx says:

        That’s like asking “Why isn’t there a White History Month?”

        • MMD says:

          Huh? That’s what you got from my post?

          I don’t support businesses placing arbitrarily restrictions on who can patronize them. Are you saying you do?

          • RedOryx says:

            No, my point is that these gyms that cater to “people of size” will be in the minority, so those who are an ideal weight have other gyms than can go to.

            • MMD says:

              So your argument is “separate but equal”?

              • frank64 says:

                This is not about race, or any other legal entitlement. You can link them in words, but not law or intent. There is a big difference between this examples intent and in discrimination due to race, sex, and religion.

                If someone when discussing the real discriminating law had used the slippery slope argument, that this means business’s would then be forced to do business with everyone, no matter what, I would have said they were crazy. I see now I would have been wrong.

                • MMD says:

                  I never claimed to be making a legal argument. I’m making an ethical argument as well as a practical one.

                  You are supporting arbitrary distinctions between different kinds of people based on factors out of their immediate control. And once things get arbitrary, the slope is undeniably slippery. You’ve done nothing to argue otherwise except attempt to insult me.

    • bluline says:

      Yeah, because if fat people are angry about being discriminated against because of their size, it stands to reason that slim, fit people would be just as angry at being discriminated against because of THEIR size. What’s good for the goose, and all that.

      Plus, it’s likely quite illegal in the U.S.

    • Jawaka says:

      Nah, this isn’t unfair to anyone. Just think of it as a speciality shop catering to larger people. If they can make a living limiting their customer base then good for them.

      That being said, I wouldn’t be interested in this type of gym. I usually spend an hour a day on the eleptical cycles and spend a lot of time watching the other members who are clearly in better shape than I am for motivation and tips.

  3. Chmeeee says:

    I thought that the skinny people were eye candy and/or motivational for the horizontally challenged folks.

    • DarthCoven says:

      If short people are “vertically challenged” wouldn’t that make fat people “horizontally gifted”?

    • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

      I use the super-fit as motivation for my own goals when I go to the gym. I was intimidated at first, but getting over those insecurities is a huge step in achieving that kind of goal.

      Only working out with “people of size” is like choosing complete losers as friends so that you feel like you’re better than them.

      • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

        I’m not saying that fat people are losers, just that choosing to only work out around large people is another form of lying to yourself, which likely has a lot to do with how you got so big in the first place.

        • iesika says:

          Or maybe the overweight person has an endocrine condition, and getting constant glares, judgmental stares and unsolicited fitness advice that isn’t appropriate for an obese person from the fit and trim person on the next exercise bike is what keeps them from coming back to the gym to keep their heart and lungs healthy.

          The best thing someone can do to increase their success in a weight-loss plan is get a buddy with similar goals and work toward them together. I’m not in favor of banning skinny people from anywhere, but I can definitely see the point of a gym marketed to and specializing in people who have more weight to lose. Aside from the social stuff, fitness advice for the obese is very different than for someone who’s already fit. You don’t put a 300 pound woman on a Stairmaster – it would be terrible for her knees. Crunches are impossible if you’re extremely busty or have a protruding belly. Exercised classes geared to current fitness level instead of gym-average could be very, very helpful to a lot of people.

          • whogots is "not computer knowledgeable" says:

            +1000 to the advice thing. I would LOVE to find some challenging size-appropriate exercise classes, and I bet a specialty gym like this would offer them. I took a yoga class from a woman with no chest and a concave stomach. I wound up having an asthma attack after she scolded and shamed me into “resting” in child’s pose even though my boobs prevented me from breathing in that position. The whole thing was painful and humiliating, and I’ve only been to stupid wusspants “gentle” yoga since then.

            -1 to the endocrine part. I don’t have an endocrine problem, and it’s nobody’s business if I do or don’t. My weight is my own fault (well, and the fault of idiot idiot idiot stupid hateful middle-school gym teachers who told me I was lazy rather than getting me checked for asthma.) I’d go to an _empty_ gym every day (and have, when I had access to an underused facility.) Going to a conventional gym makes me feel gross and sad and inadequate. _That is a major obstacle to working out._ It just is. There are a finite number of hard decisions one can make in a day, and if someone can make going to gym an _easy_ decision for those who need it the most, that someone has done a great service for society as a whole.

            tl;dr Be less judgmental, Persistent Sound.

            • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

              I am much more heartened to see overweight people at the gym, especially if I continue to see them week after week.

              Endocrine problems? Maybe, but that’s a very small percentage and more often than not, that’s a symptom and not the cause of obesity. I also have mild asthma problems, but consistent exercise and plenty of cardio (and quitting smoking) help with that a lot. There’s a reason that doctors have patients with asthma do lung exercises. (And yes, not everyone can overcome asthma problems.)

              I used to not want to go to a busy gym for the same reasons, but one just needs to get over it. I’m not judging your weight at the gym and neither are most others, but I am gauging your scruples by your form and desire to do it correctly. I want people who want to be fit to get fit, including myself. I have a hard time NOT offering unsolicited advice on how to exercise with proper (and thus safer) form and speed, which will achieve the results one is after more quickly.

            • JemimaPuddleduck says:

              Yes! That’s exactly it – you have to make a lot of hard decisions every day (especially when you’re trying to lose weight; you only have to say ‘yes’ to a unhealthy treat once, but you have to keep saying ‘no’ to it constantly). These ideas that people ridicule, saying that you just need more will power:yes, but when you’re constantly making those hard decisions, you run out of will power. Make the decisions easier, and the will power lasts longer!

    • Hartwig says:

      Not to mention those who are workout junkies are great to ask for advice on new lifts and form questions. Sure you sometimes feel bad about your body at the gym, but that is why you are at the gym.

  4. MMD says:

    I get the intent here. But sorry – bans like this are discriminatory and extremely problematic.

    • frank64 says:

      I really hate how discrimination creep has really set in. A business is supposed to be forced to do business with all comers just because the word discrimination can loosely be applied? Our entitlements knows no bounds.

      A business, unless it violates the obvious laws, should not be told it has no choice in who it may cater to.

      • MMD says:

        “Discrimination creep” sounds like code for “blame people for wanting to be treated like human beings”.

        Perhaps I’ll open a restaurant where I can arbitrarily throw you out because I don’t like your shirt. I highly doubt you’d be singing the same tune if something like that were to happen to you.

        • smarty-pants44 says:

          Southwest Airlines?

          • MMD says:

            Exactly – this proves my point. I used to like Southwest, but once they decided to become the weight and wardrobe police, I took my travel budget elsewhere.

        • Buckus says:

          You can arbritrarily throw people out because of their shirt. It’s your right as a proprieter, and last I checked, shirts weren’t a protected class.

          • MMD says:

            And you’re defending that as a smart business model? Really?

            My point stands – I guarantee your support for arbitrary restrictions like this would evaporate as soon as a restriction affected you.

            • frank64 says:

              I am thin, I still support the gym being allowed to cater to the overweight. I think they should be allowed to go to a place they feel comfortable(as long as it doesn’t have to do with race……)

              • MMD says:

                So this distinction happens to work out for you. Great! Will every arbitrary distinction work out for you, though? That’s the larger point I’m making.

                • frank64 says:

                  The larger point I am making is that it doesn’t need to work out for everybody, all the time, it is better to have business that may more completely work for individuals than they would for the general population. You are advocating that the need for all business to service everybody trumps choice.

                  This is about allowing people to find a place that feels more conformable for them, and I don’t think your argument explains why this should not be allowed. Linking it to race doesn’t work, because it isn’t, and the difference is so large that it does not lead to a slippery slope in reality, only in rhetoric. Discrimination laws don’t apply to this situation because it reflects the morality of it also.

        • frank64 says:

          I used no code words. I don’t equate a business not wanting me as a customer as not treating me human. That sounds like hyperbole to me, or a real entitlement attitude.

          Some restaurants do have dress codes, some people like to go to a more formal atmosphere, and some restaurants cater to those who want that. Would you like to force those type of places to accept people in shorts and t-shirts, thus destroying the whole atmosphere? I usually am wearing shorts and t-shirts, I have plenty of places to go, and would understand that the formal restaurant is not for me. It is about a business setting the atmospher he believes the clients would like, and as long as it does not involve race, sex, age, religion it should be OK.

          • MMD says:

            I don’t think you know what “entitlement” actually means.

            I don’t think it’s unreasonable for people to expect to be treated equally. Everyone is entitled – yes, entitled – to be treated equally and with respect. Spin things however you like, but the slope of your argument is extremely slippery.

            Also: the difference between this and your dress code argument is that you could change into an outfit that meets the dress code at the moment of your choosing. People can’t instantly transform their body size/type, so circumstances beyond their immediate control are preventing them from joining this gym.

            • frank64 says:

              As far as the dress code analogy, I was responding to your point on the shirt.

              “I don’t think it’s unreasonable for people to expect to be treated equally. Everyone is entitled – yes, entitled – to be treated equally and with respect. Spin things however you like, but the slope of your argument is extremely slippery.”

              They are not making a judgement on me as a person you are making more of it than it is. I don’t believe a business deciding they want to cater to only one group of people is being disrespectful to the other.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Discrimination and legal discrimination are very different things.

      This is not legal descrimination – thin people aren’t protected because they are thin. If anything, fat people are discriminated against more often; thin people can endure a little discrimination in this case.

      By pure dictionary definition, this is discrimination. But not all discrimination is bad. If a business wants to target certainly group to aide them, so be it.

      • bluline says:

        Who are you to say that thin people can endure a little discrimination? And what’s the definition of thin? And what makes such discrimination legal? Because there are other gyms thin people can go to? That’s like saying there are other schools black people can go to. Separate but equal was banned in this country decades ago. I think such a policy would be on very thin legal ice.

        • Coffee says:

          It’s not like saying that at all. Just because an analogy feels like it works logically doesn’t mean that it works in practice. Trying to compare the humiliation a skinny person feels for not being able to join a gym for heavier people and what blacks would feel for joining a whites-only gym just doesn’t work. Furthermore, when you segregate racially, you also segregate based on socioeconomic status because of the economic correlates pertaining thereto. No such (significant) difference exists between skinny people and overweight people. Finally, almost all gyms allow skinny people to join, so the implication that the “inherent unequalness” will somehow result in them having worse facilities doesn’t hold water.

      • MMD says:

        I’m with bluline below, and will add that I never claimed to be making a legal argument. I’m making an ethical argument.

      • Not Given says:

        They aren’t protected, like by a rule or law, they are thin-privileged.

    • wade says:

      It makes me wonder what everyone’s reaction would be if a “No Fatties” sign was hanging in the window. Would we then be more sensitive to the discrimination?

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        You are focusing on the one place in Canada that excludes both men and thin people while ignoring that all of the other places allow people of any size. Why is that? Laws and practices may be different in Canada, so if you don’t like it, move to Canada and appeal to people and authorities there. If you RTFA, you will see that business is a minority, and all of the other ones allow it, so in the U.S., the discrimination is non-existent. You are just looking for something to bitch about, when in reality, virtually all of these businesses allow anyone to join.

        • wade says:

          While I think that they’re well within their rights to discriminate against anything that is not legally protected, only a moran who doesn’t understand what discrimination is would claim that this is not discrimination. So, to help you out, here’s a quick google definition of discrimination:
          1.The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, esp. on the grounds of race, age, or sex.
          Oh, look, we’re providing unjust (unfair or unequal) treatment to one group (category) of people. We’re discriminating!

          And as for You are focusing on the one place in Canada that excludes both men and thin people while ignoring that all of the other places allow people of any size. Why is that?

          Well, let’s see; if you RFTA, you’ll see that (spoiler alert!) it’s about the one place in Canada that excludes both men and thin people.

          If you RTFA (did you RFTA???), you will see that business is a minority, and all of the other ones allow it, so in the U.S. (I guess what doesn’t happen in the US doesn’t exist, or isn’t worthy of opinion???), the discrimination is non-existent.

          Oh, OK; I was unaware that discrimination doesn’t happen as long as another separate (but most likely still equal!) accommodation exists. That’s good to know.

    • MMD says:

      And leaving discrimination out for the moment, here’s how things get problematic down the road, when some members succeed in losing weight (repost from a reply I wrote further down):

      “We only allow thin people who have paid our membership fees for many months/years. So yes, you see that we have thin members here, but sorry, prospective new member, but you should have joined if and when you were once fat.”


      “Hello, prospective new member who is sufficiently overweight to join! Oh, yes, that is a thin person over there – but, trust us, he used to weigh 75 pounds more than he does now!”

      They clearly have not thought this through.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      Only one place bans it and it is in Canada. They also exclude men. Weight Watchers used to not allow people to join unless they had a certain amount to lose, so are they discriminatory as well? But, let’s focus on the one place that does keep skinny people out. What if they offer weight loss services rather than fitness services? If they determine that you do not need to lose weight, then they have a right not to offer weight loss services to you. It would be like a drug rehab not taking sober people, a regular women’s store not having clothes for large people, or a meat market having nothing for a vegetarian. It’s simply a highly specialized service and is not more discriminatory than any of the above mentioned examples.

      • bluline says:

        A clothing store that specializes in a particular size doesn’t restrict purchases to only people of that size (ever heard of gift-giving?), and a butcher shop doesn’t discriminate against vegetarians as long as it allows vegetarians to make a purchase.

    • smo0 says:

      … also pointless.
      Being a gym member, I see fit people working their asses off. They don’t watch the people around them – they don’t care. They watch the tvs and/or listen to their music, etc.

      What I see is ALREADY fit people, like the body builders and such glancing at each others direction in some homo-erotic way.

      The harshly judged are usually those who are already in the “winner’s circle.” Fatties don’t even get a second glance.

      Calm down you overweight people!

  5. foodfeed says:

    Hmm, seems like a good deal for those who care. I’d prefer a dark room with a bike and my thoughts if I had to work out indoors.

    • HenryES says:

      The Gold’s I go to would meet you halfway, they have a dark room with cardio equipment where they show movies.

    • akiri423 says:

      The gym I go to has 5AM spinning classes that are conducted in the dark. I can’t quite fathom why, but the classes are always packed.

  6. jiubreyn says:

    So what happens when the oversized person gets skinny? Is their membership then revoked?

  7. CharlesFarley says:

    If your personal trainer is successful at helping you achieve your fitness goals, you have to quit?

  8. wickedpixel says:

    What happens once you lose the weight – they kick you out?

  9. crispyduck13 says:

    With all the horror stories I read on Consumerist about how gyms just sign you up for shit you don’t need and then never, ever let you cancel your membership I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable joining ANY gym. Especially not one that will reward my weightloss by kicking me out.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      “gyms just sign you up for shit you don’t need”

      Don’t get the rustproofing, it’s a rip-off.

    • ZenListener says:

      They are not ‘kicking you out,’ they are releasing you to the wild. You have learned much, Grasshopper. Now it is time for you to leave the nest and find your place in the world as a skinnier, healthier, and possibly more judgmental person.

  10. StarfishDiva says:

    I see a problem with this simply because one of the biggest (no pun intended) reasons people choose a gym is proximity to home/work. I’ve taken off 60 pounds and by no means am at an ideal weight but I go to the gym because it’s CLOSE to my home and work, not because there are fellow fatties there.

    • JF says:

      I go to a gym that only allows women. I don’t go there because of that. I go because:

      1. It is close.
      2. Great price.
      3. Offers child care.

  11. Blueskylaw says:

    I will only work out in a gym if everyone else is fatter than I am.

    It’s an ego thing.

  12. FatLynn says:

    Equating size with fitness is problematic, and I would seriously question the expertise of anyone who thinks they are one and the same.

    • RedOryx says:

      That’s actually a good point, too.

    • Nikephoros says:

      Fit is defined by the task you’re trying to be ‘fit’ for. An Ironman triathlete has a radically different definition (which DOES correlate to leanness) than a normal civilian does.

    • rmorin says:

      Your sentiment is a popular one, but has some significant caveats. Do you mean “fit” as in physically healthy? Or “fit” as in able to complete a given physical task? For being healthy, you statement misses the mark a little.

      Simply the presence of adipose tissue increases the risk for DMII. Simply the presence of excess weight taxes joints (particularly the knees) physically harder. Simply the presence of increased weight is taxing on the cardiovascular system. This is not opinion, this is science.

      This does not mean that an overweight individual will have all three or even one of these problems. What this does mean though is as an aggregate increased weight IS associated with certain negative health outcomes, I hope you are not attempting to state otherwise?

      I get very leery about people that laud the “fit at any size” philosophy because the science simply does not support that as an aggregate. Again, this does not mean you can make judgments on one person, but there is the simple fact that as weight increases over certain thresholds, that health problems DO exist.

  13. Rubberduckgrrl says:

    I’d do it. This is one of the reasons I stopped going to the gym – others staring at me while I’m huffing and puffing. I’m self-conscious. I admit it. But at least I was there trying – the dirty looks and snide remarks were NOT helpful. (And don’t tell me to speak to management, they can’t control the childish behavior of their members.) Now I work out at home.

    • FatLynn says:

      This is the part that amazes me. People really make nasty comments to/within earshot of you?

      I’m not saying that I doubt you, it just astounds me that people would be needlessly cruel like that.

      • Agent Hooter Enjoys Enhanced Patdowns says:

        I’m stunned. I’ve been to a couple of gyms and never found this happening. Particularly the YMCA which has been the friendliest most diverse of the gyms.

      • Bsamm09 says:

        Really. When I’m in the gym the last thing I want to do is talk with someone let alone make comments. I always wear my headphones and avoid eye contact. I’m in there to get in, get out and can’t stand people who want to socialize.

        I also don’t like the people who are on some piece of equipment and talk on their cell phones. That’s when I’ll make a comment but never about their appearance.

        • wade says:

          This really amazes me as well, because I can tell you with 100% certainty that I don’t give a shit what anyone at the gym looks like and nobody I’ve ever gone with to the gym has ever behaved otherwise, at least, not in my presence.

          In fact, if you aren’t hogging the squat rack or just sitting around on any equipment I need to use, there’s a pretty good chance that I wouldn’t be able to identify you if you robbed everyone else in the gym.

      • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

        I get remarks at my office. Someone left aerobics VHS tapes on my desk. And one of my skeletal coworkers is always telling me about the Dr Oz episode she Tivo’d, and what foods contribute to weight loss. I don’t need to go to a gym to be insulted, I just have to sit at my desk.

      • dootsie says:

        Yep. It’s real. They like to suggest that it’s probably your first time there, or that you’re a short-timer.
        And another thing? I’ve had staff members get that pained look on their face when I enter, then confusedly ask if there’s something they can help me with, like I just stumbled in looking for the bathroom or something.

    • chrisgoh says:

      It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like at the gym. Just the fact that you are there means you are working harder than 95% of the general population and that deserves some respect.

      • StarfishDiva says:

        Exactly, I don’t get this mentality!!!!

        I never see fit people walk up to overweight people at the grocery store to point at their cereal and Hagen-Daaz, frozen processed meals, and offer “helpful” advice….

        I never see fit people suggest the fatty at McDonalds choose a salad instead of the Quarter Pounder.

        But this type of behavior is allowable in a gym where the few chubs choosing to amend their bad behavior and habits with exercise; it is rather disconcerting.

    • somedaysomehow says:

      I’m with you. I’ve had this happen as well. People openly staring, turning their heads to watch you walk by, then stopping by your machine and motioning for you to take off your headphones so they can offer some “helpful” piece of busybody advice that only ends up triggering your eating disorder. Can you tell I’ve been there a million times? I hate gyms now.

      • bluline says:

        In all the times I’ve been to a gym, I have NEVER seen this happen (snide remarks, unsolicited advice, etc.). There are plenty of fatties where I go, and no one pays any more or less attention to them than anyone else. People just go about their business and leave. The only socializing I see is among people who already know each other.

  14. Vox Republica says:

    At first, I decided to write a joke; namely:

    I tried opening up a restaurant along these lines, but then Denny’s sued me into oblivion.

    Upon reading this joke typed out, I instantly despised it. “This is the kind of dreck that Jay Leno cranks out,” I remarked under my breath. Of course, that’s not entirely fair; Jay Leno’s rendition would be along the lines of:

    There’s a gym in Canada—have you seen this?—a gym in Canada doesn’t allow skinny people to go there. Wont’t allow skinny people, true story. The owner originally wanted to open a restaurant like that, but he ended up getting sued by Denny’s. [cue twenty-three seconds of mugging]

    In summary, I hate Jay Leno and his stupid hypothetical jokes that I wrote.

    Oh, and the gym idea doesn’t sound bad I guess.

    • Coffee says:

      My favorite part is how he repeats the last line of the joke over and over, as if the audience somehow didn’t understand the first time how funny it was and now needs to just hear it again to fully appreciate it.

  15. delicatedisarray says:

    I’m split on how I feel about this. On one hand I completely support wanting to create an environment that people, for the most part, feel comfortable and safe coming to. On the other hand, I get tired of hearing people make snide comments about my weight. I’m tall and fairly thin, but I am in no way in shape. When folks at work talk about going exercising and I’d chime in about how I’m trying to get back into running I receive rude comments. I don’t bother joining the conversations anymore. Just because someone isn’t morbidly obese doesn’t mean they are healthy. Do folks like me deserve our own gym, so we feel safe from the judgment of those who are 50+ pounds overweight?

    All that said, I think a gym is better off marketing itself to a certain clientele then it is posting a sign that says “No Skinnys!”

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      You need to learn to deal with people better and quit taking things they say so personal.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      Try being 50 lbs overweight and fit and trying to join a conversation about running or working out, both of which I do. People won’t even acknowledge me when that happens, despite the fact that I have lost 75lbs, so I must be doing something right. Nope, my BMI is 32 so I couldn’t possible have a place in a conversation about fitness.

  16. scoutermac says:

    I just go to Planet Fitness. Most people there are over weight.

    • kobresia says:

      I can’t decide whether PF is awesome or insane after seeing a segment relating to them on Colbert Report or something.

      I mean, on one hand, they apparently have pizza parties and give out tons of candy. I like pizza and candy! Good business model too, because it’s going to keep the customers in need of the services PF offers maybe just a little longer.

      It’s also interesting that they have the “No Lunking Zone” stuff, which I’m guessing is aimed at douchebags whose power grunts, over-obvious physical exertion, and slamming of the huge weights they’re lifting is passive-judgmental.

      One day, when I was bored, Google helped me find entertainment on some douchebag-bodybuilder forum threads relating to PF and how lame they are for discriminating against musclebound douchebags because they are jealous of their godlike physiques or something like that and how they can keep the slobs and fatties because that’s just how much PF sucks. Indignant douchebags are hilarious, just like the “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” model, who nobody really hated because she was beautiful. If anyone hates that kind of person, it’s again, the passive-judgmental crap that the line invokes, that whole, “you must dislike me because I’m awesome, not because I’m an asshole, and you’re just jealous”. That kind of attitude is what makes them douchebags, most people can get over not having their particular appearance or behavior welcomed in a place and take their business to a more appropriate venue without the passive-judgmental bragging.

      So yeah, while those things are awesome, they’re also kind of insane. As a naturally thin individual, I don’t worry much about weight loss, but I guess if I did want to exercise more in a setting like that, I’d rather go someplace that judges the passive-judgmental assholes and provides pizza and candy rather than disgusting slime shakes made with kale or wheatgrass.

  17. RandomHookup says:

    I used to love the gym I worked out at in the Army. I could go at mid-morning when it was empty, except for the 2 guys assigned to watch the place. They were both there because they couldn’t do enough push ups, so they watched my routine like I was some kind of gym god.

  18. crispyduck13 says:

    Also, if I walked into a gym with 100% overweight members why on earth would I give them my money? Whatever they’re doing there would appear to not be working.

  19. dolemite says:

    Whenever I see overweight people in the gym, I want to give them support and say “good going…the hardest part is getting in here!” Of course you can’t do that with strangers and some people would be offended…

    • somedaysomehow says:

      Yeah, don’t do that. I understand that your heart is in the right place, but… better not to.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      Agreed. Skip it. I’ve been going to the gym for a good solid year and usually stay on the cardio machines longer than the thin people, often twice as long.I don’t need the motivation of thin people who can’t last as long as I can in the gym. I know the thought comes from a nice place, but it comes off as condescending and misplaced.

  20. El_Fez says:

    Why the hell do people care what Fatso on the StairMaster or Slim Jim on the treadmill thinks? Put your walkman on, turn on Eye of the Tiger really loud and just mind your own business.

    • akiri423 says:

      This is pretty much what I’ve learned in six months of going to the gym. Never once has anyone spoken to me, and only once have I spoken to someone else (there was a gal on the treadmill next to me and we jogged “together” for quite a while, so I gave her a thumbs up and said “good work!”). In the group fitness classes, the only person who is interested in what you’re doing is the instructor, who’s there to correct you and keep you moving. With iPods and Kindles so prevalent, most people don’t interact with anyone else, if they even notice them!

  21. Hungry Dog says:

    I’m only judgmental when there is someone who is stinking up the place like the back end of a cow.

    • dolemite says:

      I’m that way with Mr. Roids grunting at the top of his lungs. Yes, yes, we all see you. Yes, that’s a lot of weight. Look out, don’t spill your 1 gallon jug of protein mix. Do you have a job? If I come in at 10 am, you are here. If I come in at 3pm you are here.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Maybe that IS his job – professional bodybuilder.

  22. suburbancowboy says:

    I find that seeing people more fit than myself is a huge motivator to get me to workout more.

  23. Cicadymn says:

    Not at all. I’m a big guy and I started going to the gym back in January. I’ve since lost 50lbs and still go 3 times weekly.

    You want to know what the best thing I experienced there was? Everyone. From the perpetually skinny, to the musclebound professionals, to other people trying to just lose weight have been some of the most accepting, nicest, complimentary, and supportive people I’ve ever met. Complete strangers would give me words of encouragement or compliment me after a workout.

    I was scared to go at first. But if you really want something you push through it. I know I wouldn’t want to workout in a different environment.

    • FLConsumer says:

      No one else is commented on your remarks, which I think is sad — Congrats!!!! Especially on sticking with it.

  24. MaytagRepairman says:

    Sounds like marketing to the most profitable customer. I am guessing overweight people are more likely to buy a multi-month membership but quit going after the first month.

  25. RedOryx says:

    I’m torn on this.

    As someone who has struggled with her weight all of her life (a year and a half ago I was over 300 lbs), I have stayed away from gyms for this very reason. I feel uncomfortable and self concious and it’s not that anyone actually *is* judging me, it’s the I perceive that they are and it’s an uncomfortable place to be. While I’ve taken up running and yoga and swimming and such, things that don’t require going to a gym, I also can appreciate a “safe space” for those that want to get fit in like company.

    That being said, I’ve lost 90 lbs and I don’t like the idea of finding a gym, doing the work, then being told I’m too thin to continue working out there. People pick gyms or activities because they are close to home or they like the instructor. But now that they are a certain weight they suddenly have to find anothe gym?

    • Jane_Gage says:

      Nothing in the article says that they kick people out when they reach their targets. In fact I think it would be inspirational to see a skinny member because that means they reached their goals.

      • RedOryx says:

        That’s true. And part of it might be the arrangement is so new and the people have so much weight to lose, it hasn’t become a factor yet.

      • MMD says:

        If that’s the case, things get even more problematic.

        “We only allow thin people who have paid our membership fees for many months/years. So yes, you see that we have thin members here, but sorry, prospective new member, but you should have joined if and when you were once fat.”


        “Hello, prospective new member who is sufficiently overweight to join! Oh, yes, that is a thin person over there – but, trust us, he used to weigh 75 pounds more than he does now!”

        They clearly have not thought this through.

  26. kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

    I’m not overweight (5’11”, 160), but I’m not in particularly good shape. (Yeah, yeah. I’m working on it.) So “slender” and “fit” aren’t necessarily synonyms.

    If you’re going to the gym with the primary goal of mocking overweight people, you probably have some issues.

    • Elizabeth B says:

      This is where I am. Slender, but can’t lift anything over 25 pounds without a lot of exertion, and I can’t jog more than a few minutes. I am actually embarrassed enough that it is hard to go to the gym. “You guys got anything for this bench press that weighs less than the bar? Maybe some sort of broom handle?” “Yes, I know I’ve [pant] only been running for [gasp] five minutes, but I am [wheeze] done.”

      I know people three times my size that run miles every day…

    • Elizabeth B says:

      This is where I am. Slender, but can’t lift anything over 25 pounds without a lot of exertion, and I can’t jog more than a few minutes. I am actually embarrassed enough that it is hard to go to the gym. “You guys got anything for this bench press that weighs less than the bar? Maybe some sort of broom handle?” “Yes, I know I’ve [pant] only been running for [gasp] five minutes, but I am [wheeze] done.”

      I know people three times my size that run miles every day…

      • VintageLydia says:

        I’m embarrassed, too! I set all the weight things at the lowest setting and I’m exhausted after only a few reps. I know I’m doing them correctly because I had a personal trainer show me how but I’m in terrible shape :(

        • GrayMatter says:

          Well, I was the same way at first, but I kept at it. Lo and behold, after 9 months I was able to do a lot of the things I was unable to even try at the start.

          So, keep at it. And watch out of the corner of your eyes–you will see other people in the same boat.

          Now, I belong to a locally run gym, not one of the chains. It is smallish, and by now I recognize a majority of the people. But at the start I didn’t; even then there was no feeling of not belonging. Perhaps because it was smaller, and locally owned, the people there were not as “jockish” as the other places I am reading.

          That said, keep at it; you will get better. And, you will find that everything works better and you get to sleep easily. After while, you will start to miss not exercising–really!!

          • akiri423 says:

            I agree with this as well. Find your niche – go at the same time every day, or to the same class(es), and you’ll find people who you come to recognize. There’s a guy at my gym who comes in every weekday evening wearing jeans (and, during the winter, a knit cap). He will run a couple of miles, then leave. There are a handful of us who go to the same 6AM yoga class. It will eventually start to feel like a community, even if you don’t talk to the other people – I don’t go in the evenings right now, and I miss seeing jeans guy! ;)

        • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

          Ditto. I did a lot of cardio stuff several years ago (aero-kick, hip-hop workout, several hours of badminton [we were crazy enough to play 8 hours at one point]), and my work entails a lot of walking and commuting, so I was quite in shape back then. Then I started slacking off. Several years later I tried jogging towards the park behind our home and within 5 minutes I was gasping for air. That’s when I realized I am totally out of shape.

          Just started jogging this week, and I could see a small change. Definitely want keep this up. I don’t know what I’m gonna do this winter, though. I am not much of a gym person. Probably invest on a treadmill.

    • who? says:

      I don’t think gyms have nearly as much of a problem with skinny people mocking fat people as they have with fat people having the perception that they’re being mocked by skinny people.

      • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

        I was basing this off this part of the article:

        “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.

        I read that to mean a sub-population of skinny people who like to work out with ‘people of size’ to boost their own self image.

        • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

          No, it’s fatty chasers who like to work out with people of size. There are men who love larger women and vice versa.

  27. KommonCentz says:

    I joined a gym (or more accurately started using the one I was already paying for) back in the beginning of March – fat, smoker, convinced I would have a heart attack the first 5 minutes on a treadmill.
    Was I embarrassed to go? OF COURSE. First time I went was 6am on Sunday to keep a low profile. After that I only could go in the evenings after work. Have been going religiously since – and only once in that time did I ever hear someone making fun of me, and couple of other members immediately told him off.
    Being embarrassed of how I looked was a motivation, not a reason to not go.
    And now I am not embarrassed at all…30lbs down, 6 inches off the waist. Just in time to avoid a yearly embarrassment of not wanting to take of my shirt to go swimming…

  28. TommyTutone says:

    And while they don’t get many people coming in the door, they make up for it with milk shake sales.

  29. saifrc says:

    I think the owner of a such a gym needs to own another gym as well, where the successful people go when they reach their target weight and longer “have 50 pounds to lose”.

    First, it would demonstrate continued concern for the customer — you’re not just cutting them loose after they reach their goals.

    Second, it’s a way to continue to profit from the customers who reach their goals — they’re not cutting *you* (the gym owner) loose either.

    Third, it’s the best hedge against the risk of weight-loss success. If people are successful, you make money off them at Gym B (maintenance), but if they’re not, they keep paying for their membership at Gym A (weight loss).

    Ideally, the two gyms would really be one membership, with perhaps different physical facilities. The goal is to provide similar services and resources, but not have people feel like they’re being judged by their peers. This might be a way to avoid discrimination…although the law has already spoken on “separate but equal”!

  30. Jet Phoenix says:

    I am curious—is the exercise equipment, chairs and other stuff bigger? Being overweight and working on it, sometimes regular gym equipment scares me. It looks to fragile or beat up to take my weight. Or worse, I know there is no way I will fit on it….at all.

    So if the equipment was specially designed for rotund folks, I think I may be all for it.

  31. RayanneGraff says:

    I swear, I hate america. I’m so sick of the ridiculous kid gloves-treatment of “feelings” in this country. Oh no, we can’t let anyone feel bad about anything, ever, cause apparently it causes irreparable damage to the delicate psyche of the pudgy, flaccid american. Can’t give a slacker a failing grade, it might make them feel bad. God forbid fat people have to look at thin people, it might make them feel bad!


  32. Snakeophelia says:

    Come to the YMCAs! Trust me, if you want to see humanity represented in all shapes and sizes, all forms, all ages, and to feel comfortable working out no matter what your fitness level is, don’t join a gym. Join the Y. Even in high-income areas, where the facilities at the Y are likely to rival any fancy gym, you’ll see a much broader cross-section of the population.

    • majic2516 says:

      Agreed. YMCA for all fitness levels. I was self conscious at first both in the exercise areas and in the showers, but there are all shapes and sizes of bodies and body parts that there’s no reason to be ashamed of yourself.

  33. dush says:

    Average Joe’s, where they like you just the way you are.

  34. phobos512 says:

    In 3.5 years of going to a gym regularly (5 times a week barring some time I had to take off for major knee injury), I have only ever seen one thing that actually made me want to make fun of someone. It was 2 weeks ago and it was a new guy, *very* large (about 6′ but easily 350+ lbs based on the visual size), who was coming for what I imagine was the first time (he also has not been back since, at least not in any of the two hours every evening that I’m there).

    He had non-diet ginger ale for his refreshment. Soda. A liter bottle of soda. Most off thing I’ve seen at the gym. I’m there thinking to myself, you walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes at 1.2 miles an hour, sweat pouring off of you, and you brought SODA for refreshment? *facepalm*

  35. Skittl1321 says:

    I don’t have any particular opinion on gyms that don’t allow skinny people (although can they have a gym just for them? So they don’t have to deal with the judgement that comes from overweight people?).

    And yeah, there is plenty of judgement toward skinny people. I hate dumb ass comments like “people of size” or “real woman”.

    Skinny people have a size too, and skinny women are real women too.

    Of course, I’d need the gym for in-between people. The ones with 10-30 pounds to lose.

    • RedOryx says:

      I was having that conversation with a friend the other day. The whole “real women have curves” BS (and I say that as someone who would be defined as a “real woman” in that respect) — I have plenty of skinny girlfriends who definitely have curves.

  36. HenryES says:

    When I started going to a gym, I wasn’t so much overweight as just generally out of shape. Once I realized that the other people there weren’t really paying attention to anyone else, I didn’t feel intimidated.

  37. lettucefactory says:

    I don’t know. It’s complicated.

    I’ve gained and lost (and gained and lost and gained and lost and gained…) the same 50 pounds several times.

    When I am overweight at the gym, I tend to assume the people around me are know-it-all Type A perfectionists who have never known what it’s like to be heavy, and I feel embarassed to be around them. It definitely makes going to the gym harder than it already is.

    But when I am thin at the gym, I see overweight people there and I don’t feel judgemental or hostile toward them. I wish I could somehow telepathically send them a message that they do in fact belong there and have nothing to be ashamed of.

    Obviously, these things live in direct contradiction. Having been a thin person at the gym during phases of my life, I logically know that the folks there aren’t busy hating on fat people. But when I’m fat, I’m still awkward and self-conscious and want to hide anyway. I know most thin people would applaud my efforts at health no matter what size I am that day, but most of them also would never “let themselves go” the way that I have. If they looked in the mirror and saw themselves in a body like mine, they would be actively, physically repulsed and frightened and angry. How can I not know that when Skinny McSize2 is pounding along on the treadmill next to me at 7mph while I’m barely breaking a fast walk?

    So I can see why people would join such a gym…though it doesn’t sound like a great business model.

    • lettucefactory says:

      Although at my thinnest, I didn’t belong to a gym at all. I just walked everywhere I possibly could, sometimes for 3 hours a day or more.

      Some days I think the only thing you need to lose weight is the free time to walk instead of eat.

  38. t0ast says:

    I say great if the gym is legitimately focused on that type of fitness improvement (specialized personal trainers, equipment, etc.) but for something more run of the mill? It seems unnecessary and/or unreasonable.

    (Some quick background, I’m 6’3″ and weighed 215 lbs at one point in college. Not grossly overweight, I know, but definitely neither healthy nor fit. It eventually started to bother me, so I took it upon myself to fix it. A year and a half of gradual, self-driven diet and exercise changes let me shed ~50 lbs and keep it off for 5 years and counting. Now I keep up a steady regimen at 24-Hour Fitness for maintenance and gradual general improvement with no specific goals.)

    A few thoughts from experience:

    No matter what level of fitness you’re at, there will ALWAYS be someone skinnier, stronger, faster, etc. People need to accept this and also consider what good it might do. Use those people for motivational targets, or at the very least, take the opportunity to enjoy a little bit of eye-candy. Also, if one is lucky enough to find a gym with decent patrons, chances are that they might be able offer up some helpful suggestions for whatever workout(s) are being attempted. If it’s genuinely helpful, great, if not, then there’s no reason to not just carry on and not worry about it.

    If people are assholes about you not being fit, then they’re probably still going to be assholes even if you were, and you should probably move on to a different gym if possible. Anyone in a gym maintaining appropriate etiquette and giving it an honest effort is deserving of respect, no matter what shape they might currently be in. We all had to start somewhere.

    One doesn’t also need a whole gym of similarly shaped partners to get motivated. Even just having one workout buddy goes an incredibly long way. Hit up a friend or acquaintance if that type of support would be beneficial.

  39. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    This country is turning into such a sad bunch of pussies.

    If that offends anyone, tough shit.

  40. Dagny Taggart says:

    I am skinny, but really, really, out of shape. No one would feel intimated by me once they saw me passing out after 2 minutes on the stairclimber.

  41. SamiJ says:

    Some gyms cater to gender (women only )
    Some gyms cater to level of fitness (ie you must be superfit)
    Some gyms cater to money ($$$$ to join, / must be sponsored by 2 existing members)

  42. Clyde Barrow says:

    “Would You Feel More Comfortable Exercising In A Gym That Bans Skinny People?”

    What? More neurosis made up by the OP? Really? How is this even considered something to think about? Who makes up this dribble?

  43. WB987 says:

    A gym that’s set up for people with no significant level of fitness isn’t going to be able to address the needs of people who actually want to get fit or strong once they’re at their target weight. It will still, however, address the needs of people who spend 30 minutes on an elliptical doing nothing and just want to be able to tell friends “I went to the gym today!”

  44. powdered beefmeat says:

    I place virtual horse blinders on and hit the gym. I don’t talk to anyone, rarely make eye contact do my thing and leave. It’s not a social club it’s called time kick your own ass! I could care less what other people look like, or at what current state their physic is. One shouldn’t worry about others; it’s ok to be selfish when it comes to fitness.

    So get there and punch a pant leg full of shrimp!!

  45. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    What’s even better is the man with the 100 lb scrotum story on that same site. It looks like he has to wear a hoodie instead of pants to keep it harnessed.

  46. duncanblackthorne says:

    This is one of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever heard.
    People who are not (or no longer) in need of weight loss can serve as positive examples to those who need to lose weight, and they can also give useful advice to people who want to lose weight. Banning them is just dumb.

  47. HogwartsProfessor says:

    No, I wouldn’t go to the gym in the first place. I don’t have the money for that.

  48. SilverBlade2k says:

    Half of the reason I go to the gym is to look at the fit girls in skin-tight gym clothing, or to see bare female stomachs.

    If all I saw was big ugly men, I wouldn’t give the gym my money at all.

  49. jacobs cows says:

    Just get a pair of comfy shoes and walk your dog.

  50. Snip says:

    Luring people into the gym, especially those who need it the most, is always going to be a challenge because not very many people are comfortable sweating in spandex in front of near strangers.

  51. glitterpig says:

    No? If they only want to take the money of people who want to lose weight, they’re not actually motivated to help them lose that weight, because then they won’t be able to take their money any more. That’s why I didn’t join the gym right next to work, where they have rules against exerting yourself too hard and free pizza (or bagels, if you come in the morning) once a month.

    I want a gym that wants me to reach my fitness goals, whatever those might be.

  52. corridor7f says:

    I joined a co-ed gym about 4 months ago and haven’t experienced any of the issues that women often complain about – I haven’t been hit on / leered at or made to feel overweight / out-of-shape.

    Honestly, I think a lot of it is in your head. An innocent glance can be interpreted as mean from someone who is very self-conscious. People do look at other people, that can’t be helped.

    • lettucefactory says:

      I don’t know – we have a handful of commenters here who say outright that they go to the gym, at least in part, to look at the women. They aren’t even slightly embarassed to admit this. How many more think it, but just have the decency not to say it out loud?

      This doesn’t mean every woman is subject to a gauntlet every time she sets foot in a gym, of course. But it’s not entirely a figment of the imagination, either.

      • corridor7f says:

        I must not be as fetching as I think then. ;)

        That, or I’m just good at ignoring other people. Let’s say that.

  53. Verdant Pine Trees says:

    I’m overweight and I have never had anyone snark at me, just the occasional rude, judgmental stare (usually from another woman). But I’ve occasionally received the same snotty stare in movie theatres and restaurants. Internally (well, sometimes audibly) I just laugh at the insecure little bitch.

    I suspect that people don’t usually mess with me or call me names because I appear confident and have a lot of energy (a brisk walk).

    But I just wanted to post to tell those of you who are overweight – if you go to a gym that is kind of a “neighborhood” place, or located near an area with a lot of families, I think you are far less likely to get crap, and far more likely to make friends. It’s the gyms that are “meat markets” that will make you feel uncomfortable. You can usually tell from marketing whether they are trying to sell “eye candy” or a place where you can work hard.

    As for those of you who use terms like “fatties” while describing how you don’t care about overweight people at your gym, using a rude term like that puts a lie to your claim.