Get ready, because I’m about to blow your mind: When a woman is pregnant, her body actually grows to accommodate the burgeoning life within her. Which means that her belly will expand. I know, crazy! At least it was allegedly weird enough to a Planet Fitness worker who one pregnant woman claims told her to leave because her “belly was hanging out.”
The woman, who is 18 weeks pregnant, was working out at her local Planet Fitness when she says she was told to leave in the middle of her routine due to the aforementioned offending “belly,” reports ABC 4 News in Charleston.
“I was on the treadmill for about 10 minutes before I was approached by a girl who came up to me telling me that she is going to have to ask me to leave,” she told the station. “I was very confused by this and thought I may have heard her wrong. She told me again that I am not able to continue my workout until I change my clothes because I am in violation of their dress code.”
She happened to be wearing a “string tank top” which is banned by the gym’s dress code, one that she wears all the time as she has it in several colors. In fact, she wears it in her membership photo. So it couldn’t be that, right?
“I was very confused. She continued telling that my belly was hanging out and I need to get it covered up,” she says, adding that she responded that of course it’s “out,” she’s pregnant. The worker handed her a large t-shirt and told her that what she was wearing “was wearing was inappropriate and in violation of their dress code.”
She admits that sometimes the top of the shirt rides up when she moves around — as those who are engaged in physical exercise are wont to do — but it hadn’t been a problem before.
The Director of Public Relations for Planet Fitness released the below statement about the incident:
“The majority of Planet Fitness clubs are owned and operated by individual franchisees. Our corporate dress code policy, which is enforced at the discretion of club staff, states that jeans, boots, men’s string tank tops, or revealing clothing are prohibited. This particular location also had a stated policy that prohibited bare midriffs. In this instance, a staff member approached the member to inform her of the policy and offer her a free t-shirt to complete her workout. She was not asked to leave the gym as a result of her attire. At Planet Fitness, we are committed to providing a comfortable and welcoming environment for everyone,” the PR director added. “We are working with the franchise owner to clarify the dress code policy moving forward.”
But the woman is wondering why she’s been able to wear that same outfit for three years and no one minded, until she got pregnant.
“I have had equal amounts of my midriff showing from the day I began going to this the gym. The night of the 21st was the first time I attended the gym while noticeably pregnant,” she says.
While Planet Fitness has a dress code and a motto that’s all about providing a “non-intimidating atmosphere” so that members “can feel comfortable working out no matter which Planet Fitness location they are using,” the woman says she feels very judged.
“Planet Fitness advertises their ‘no Judgement policy. I have never felt so judged and embarrassed in my life,” she said. “I am 18 weeks pregnant, have a 3-year-old daughter. It is hard enough for me to get the motivation to stay healthy and exercise. Being told that I do not look appropriate enough to be working out really took the wind out of my sails. I feel like this was embarrassing and completely out of line. Nobody wants to go to the gym being told that they need to cover up their body because it is offensive.”
She’s canceled her membership and wasn’t charged a fee to do so, and while she has access to the gym for a few more weeks before her membership runs out, she says she doesn’t think she’ll feel comfortable enough to go back.