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

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

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?


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  • basilandcatnip By basilandcatnip

    Yes, the needs of larger people from a physical medical fact are different and classes may need to be adjusted to make exercise more comfortable, safer, and modified positions so that a person can exercise for the entire 30-45 min class. I don't think they should ban people since there is a friendship and bond that goes along with exercise and losing weight, people shouldn't have to lose this support structure, especially while keeping the weight off.

  • MadHatter By MadHatter

    I think it's a good idea. It not only makes the people feel more comfortable, but they don't have to start comparing themselves or feel self conscious about a skinny super model looking person working out over there who might be looking at them weird because they are fat. Whatever makes them more secure and motivates them to go more frequently without the guilt is always a plus.

  • mintonmom By mintonmom

    I think that this is a wonderful idea for all the reasons already mentioned. I just hope that no one starts claiming this discriminates against thin people. I know that it must be so hard to go to a gym and stand next to a thin person, it is hard enough to motivate yourself to go in the first place.

  • efitzie By efitzie

    I don't have a problem with gyms catering to plus sized women, but I do have a problem with banning women who they don't deem "fat enough". What happens when a significantly overweight person has success at this gym, and loses a lot of weight. Will she then be deemed too thin, and kicked out of the gym? Also, imagine if a gym started banning members that they deemed to be "too fat". Can you imagine the outrage people would have then?

  • thebeverlyhillsmom By thebeverlyhillsmom

    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.

  • nicolesister By nicolesister

    Great idea

  • Easy2Save By Easy2Save

    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.

  • panda06 By panda06

    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.

  • Synistrugane By Synistrugane

    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.

  • rosiern By rosiern

    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.

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