Plus-Sized Gym Turns Away Members if They're Too Skinny

   By drodriguez  Jun 26, 2012

We’ve heard of gyms that cater exclusively to women, but now there are gyms cropping up where the plus-sized are welcome and those that are smaller-sized need not apply. The New York Daily News reports about a plus-size women friendly gym in Canada called Body Exchange that has placed strict ban on thin people.

Body Exchange’s founder, Louise Green, explains why she decided to turn away people who don’t need to lose a significant amount of weight. Green says, “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. People are often too fearful to become active. There wasn’t a model that offered camaraderie.”

There are other plus-size gyms that are now open that also cater to those with at least 50 pounds to lose, but most will also allow trimmer members to join. Michael Hayes, owner of Buddha Body Yoga in Manahattan, works mainly with overweight clients and though he has no ban of non-overweight people in place he admits that he prefers to draw in plus-sized members. Hayes explains, “I started my practice because I was tired of being the biggest person in the classroom. My whole life, I have always wished there was a place for other big people. So I created one.”

What do you think of gyms that cater exclusively to plus-sized members?

Do you think it’s fair for a gym to ban members who are not significantly overweight?


Make a Comment

moonkitten by moonkitten | Conover, NC
Aug 04, 2012

Umm...aren't they shooting themselves in the foot? What happens when their members start trimming down? Do they get banned from the gym or must they pack on the pounds they fought so hard to lose to retain membership?

patrossi2004 by patrossi2004 | Charlestown, RI
Jul 28, 2012

so what hasppens if you lose the weight......then you have to find another gym?

Alyssarae92293 by Alyssarae92293 | BOYNTON BEACH, FL
Jul 27, 2012

LOL. I love the idea! They should have this gym all across America!

JennysNook by JennysNook | BURLINGTON, KY
Jul 26, 2012

If the goal is to have a safe, non-judgmental environment where people can come to deal with their own lifestyle problems concerning food abuse and being overweight, and NOT to have a plus-sized hang out where you can bash the skinnies, ... then yes it's a great thing! Sounds very helpful.

vanel46 by vanel46 | CINCINNATI, OH
Jul 23, 2012

I don't think they should discriminate. The ideal gym has a area to accommodate the plus size people, women who don't want to exercise with men , and men who don't want to exercise with women, and when everyone is comfortable, there is a area where everyone can work out together.They have a gym like that where I live, they just don't have the plus size only part.

mandajanie by mandajanie | GREENACRES, FL
Jul 17, 2012

I think it's great that there is a place where plus sized women can feel 'at home' in a gym. However, turning away people because they aren't fat enough is ridiculous.

plogan721 by plogan721 | Columbus, OH
Jul 10, 2012

Good Idea. That way the classes can be more geared towards obese people. I hope they can partner with a gym so that when that person reaches a certain weight goal, and they no longer meet the requirements which got them there in the first place, their membership can transfer over to the gym that excepts skinny people.

Kristi by Kristi | WASHINGTON, WV
Jul 10, 2012

I have been the fat girl at the gym before. I used the thinner ones for inspiration and to make myself work harder. I'm 48 and in better shape now than I've ever been in my entire life. I'm not skinny. I will always have a bigger butt and thighs no matter what I do, but now they are muscular.

nancyshirah by nancyshirah | BOGALUSA, LA
Jul 06, 2012

Personally I think you should surround yourself with healthy successful people when it comes to weightloss. That would give me even more motivation to move! I also like the idea of having classes for plus sized women only. That way you can have encouragement & testimonials from women who are struggling as well. Weightloss is a personal battle for the skinny & the super sized alike!

rosiern by rosiern | Roselle, IL
Jul 05, 2012

There are many excellent comments here. I agree with many of them. Personally, I don't think thin women should be banned from joining. In my (not so humble) opinion, I believe having classes restricting who may join them. Classes for those who are obese, as the needs and physical restrictions. Classes for thinner women, who are capable of more strenuous activities. That way, neither group should feel embarressed or out of place.

Synistrugane by Synistrugane | WATERBURY, CT
Jul 01, 2012

i agree and disagree. I agree because plenty of overweight people want to go somewhere comfortable and safe from judgment. they need to work with other women at the same level they are inorder to keep the motivation going. If they see a woman who doesnt need to lose wieght they will get dicouraged. or if they see in intructor give the skinny lady more attenstion then they are getting its going to discourage them and they will quit. I disagree because how would they like it if they were pushed away from a gym because they were obese or over weight that isnt fair to other woman. we are all woman and dont need to hurt each other that way.

panda06 by panda06 | Redford, NY
Jun 29, 2012

I think that it is a great idea, but an even better idea would be to have groups or gym classes at regular gyms that cater to plus sized people and then over time as they adjusted to loosing weight they could sign up for other classes at the same gym and work their way into a healthier lifestyle. I think that segregating plus sized people to their own gym makes more of a focus on their size. Personally, I am a plus sized person and I wouldn't want to go to a plus sized only gym. I don't like working out with super in fit people because I feel like I'm being judged based on my ability but I want to be accepted at a gym that all people can use.

Easy2Save by Easy2Save | LEBANON, OR
Jun 28, 2012

Nothing would make me stop going to a gym quicker than having to workout with a group of people in great shape when I am not. I would want to huff and puff and sweat without feeling out of place. I think it is a wonderful idea! I hope people will understand and not try to cause problems for the company.

nicolesister by nicolesister | NEW ORLEANS, LA
Jun 27, 2012

Great idea

thebeverlyhillsmom by thebeverlyhillsmom | BEVERLY HILLS, CA
Jun 26, 2012

I think its a god idea. I am not over weight BUT I now that evenbeing thin I do still get self consious sometimes wen someone who ummm hasn't had 3 kids comes in and I can see how it would put some off of returning to the gym. I still prefer to workout at home with my trainer rather then in a gym, it is a very personal expereince. I will let hubs be there for birth but not yoga lol. I get t and I agree.