Poll: Should Skinny People Be Banned from the Gym?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Having joined a gym recently just for the fitness classes (which I am still enjoying), I was appalled when I came across an article talking about a gym in Canada saying that they don't allow skinny people to join their gym. While I can understand where the founder of that gym is coming from in regards to creating a friendlier atmosphere for those that are overweight, I believe that there are plenty of people that have feelings like they are not adequate enough to be in the gym, including "skinny" people.  

This particular gym only allows plus–sized women to join, which is great if that works for the people that become members of that gym and if it gives them the confidence and motivation to work out, then that is fantastic! However, the gym that I go to has members of all shapes and sizes, both male and female, and I have yet to experience anything other than encouragement from the owners, trainers and other gym members. Now, I know that is not the case at all gyms, which is also why I previously blogged about me being a bit nervous about taking workout classes. I find that I get motivation from others in my fitness classes, no matter their size. I would hate to lose any of those members due to them being a different size than me, which is why the idea of banning people of a certain size seems a bit crazy to me. Besides, just because someone is skinny, it doesn't mean they are healthy and the last time I checked, fitness and health comes in all shapes and sizes.

So tell me, what do you think about banning skinny people from the gym? If you are overweight, would not having skinny people working out in your gym make you feel more comfortable and motivated to work out?

Should skinny people be banned from the gym?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
See more: fitness in the news gym


JOJO12952 3/13/2018
No, "skinny" people should not be banned from the gym because they need to be able to maintain their weight and get stronger. Report
JOJO12952 3/13/2018
No, "skinny" people should not be banned from the gym because they need to be able to maintain their weight and get stronger. Report
TERESA12718 2/4/2018
This is just another one of our many excuses lol!
I am almost 250 and I don’t care who’s at the gym! I go and we work out! My work out buddies are size 1 and 3 they do it for running/ track purposes. We all have are reasons that mean everything to the individual. I say go be happy join a gym and have fun! Oh and by the way we also swim together too. Report
TIF 11/19/2017
as a skinny person I hear a lot you don't need to work out your already skinny.but you know what I like to walk do Pilates do weight train classes and dance ZUMBA. it's fun and it is what help me stay thin.also I swim and my ave step count a day is over 12 miles.people should be able to do what they wAnt without a gym telling them no.i would find a new gym Report
EVILCECIL 11/12/2017
This is ridiculous. LOL. Report
It's not fair. Fitness classes are not only for losing weight. It's more about staying fit and healthy. Instead of banning skinny people, a better option would have been to have workout sessions that target weightloss which are available only for those with a bmi above normal weight. Report
Thanks for sharing. Report
Every overweight person I talk to, who is thinking about losing weight always uses the fear of "skinny" people as an excuse to not start working out. And in the end that's what it is, an excuse. I work out at a university gym. 40,000, 18 year old, hard-bodied men and women running around in skimpy shorts and no shirts. But the reality is, in the gym, no one is paying any attention to you. And even if they do look at you, they will have forgotten about you by the time they reach their stair climber. If they are alone they are laser focused on their workout. If they are in a group, they are far too busy chatting to notice you. No one is peeking at your readouts, no one is going to mock you. This isn't a 1980s brat pack movie where the jock is going to push you down and take your lunch money. I have never had a problem in the gym. In fact, the only real interactions I've had, have been "skinny" people asking me if I know how a machine works, because they are new to the gym. And let's pretend for a second that there is some guy or girl who is going to give you the stink eye, are you really going to let them and their petty hatefulness stand in the way of your health and happiness? Report
Is there another gym that will accept thin people and men? Additionally, skinny is a rude word for thin. It's not ok to describe other people's bodies using insulting language. Report
I don't think they should be banning anyone Report
Skinny doesn't necessarily mean healthy, so why should a person be banned from trying to better themselves, and who defines "skinny"? Report
That's just as bad as banning large people from a gym. Nobody should be banned based on physical appearance. Report
Two things to consider here. Should they be allowed? As long as it is not publicly financed entity they should have great latitude as to what they are allowed to do. Should they do it is an entirely different question. Good intentions is not good enough. It is a bad idea from my view that will fail on its own so no one should force it to fail. They simply won't get enough people sign up to pay the bills and will have to either redefine overweight or close. They are targeting such a small niche that it simply will fail under on its own Report
That is ridiculous. And what happens when the plus size reach their goals? They have to leave? LOL Won't last. Those who have walked the path and reached their goals can inspire others to do the same. Report
It won't last, Curves was sued for trying to have women only clubs. They've now lost almost 3/4 of their franchises. Report
I was a member of a "Private" gym. A friend was lucky enough to marry a rich guy and he built a new house including a gym so he could play basketball with his buds, and she could do whatever with it while he was busy constructing new houses. She called all her friends, invited them and their friends to come for fitness classes, which she was a certified fitness coach, whatever. She asked if I would be willing to lead a "fat ladies" class because she had several that would come as long as it wasn't led by a "skinny girl" and skinny ladies were not there, too. I accepted. Before it started, some neighbor complained about how many cars were parking in the woods of the "gym" and while the city didn't have any rights to restrict them, they did and the "gym" was put out of business. I guess the neighbor should have been invited, too. But I think a gym should have as many classes of people and classes for them so no one feels intimidated or left out. Plus if you leave out the skinny people, you'll not stay in business long as most "fat people" do not buy gym memberships or we wouldn't have so many of us fat people out here. Report
People should be able to open whatever type of establishment they want. The first gym I ever joined was Victory Lady. It was an all women gym and that was best way for me to learn how to workout without feeling overwhelmed by self consciousness. There was a man that joined, I saw him once. I think perhaps he thought his odds would be good? We "stink-eyed" him out of there pretty fast! If you have a large enough community, having this sort of gym is a great option. It is incredibly intimidating to start working out. It would be better to simply cater to your specific clientele, everyone else will get the message and you avoid discrimination law suits. I wouldn't dream of joining a "beefcake" style gym, because I know it wouldn't be a good fit for me, not because I'm not allowed to. Report
Perhaps they didn't explain it properly. They might have been concerned that those "too thin" (not sure who defines it) could be anorexic. There was a woman when I was taking physical therapy who paid to use their equipment after the official PT was completed. She was so painfully thin that for once I didn't mind so much the flesh on my body. There does come a time when that problem needs to be handled, but I sure wouldn't want to be the one making that judgement. Report
The poll question misses the point and is indicative of the perpetual offense industry in the western world. The gyms in question have chosen the clientele they wish to serve. As a business it's their prerogative to do so. Skinny folks aren't being "banned" but rather simply aren't being served by these particular establishments. Banned. Such ridiculous rhetoric. This particular gym has also chosen to serve only women. Should all men be appalled? Rather than being appalled the author should take stock of the fact the world doesn't revolve around her opinion or feelings. Report
In the article it said it was only for overweight women. I have no problem in a gym specializing in whatever they choose to have as members. If they are private, or if the public accepts the policy that a public gym would like to enforce is ok by me.

A question I sincerely have is when a member becomes skinny will they be banned from the gym immediately without asking the other members if they are okay with the idea, or is there a written policy where this occurs it is understood. Also will there be a weigh-in if a suspected member is now in the skinny category. Another thing is will there be members who wear padding in order to not be banned? This may be a bit silly to imagine someone wearing a fat abdominal suit in order to be allowed to remain without the consent of the owners of course. A face fat suit would be impossible as sweat would cause a person to over heat as well as melt if there is special effects make up used. I think I may be looking a bit too deep into this, but the possibilities are a legitimate thing I can see someone doing for whatever reason. The melting thing if quite funny, I must admit. :) Report
I think that's a crappy idea. So "skinny" people do not have the right to stay in shape? What if it was somebody who lost lots of weight and they need to maintain it? People who aren't overweight may need to exercise to stay healthy. Maybe they have underlying health problems. This is a dumb idea. Report
So, how exactly do you define skinny? What about someone who is petite with a big gut? To me it's ridiculous. I never pay much attention to those at the gym because I'm focused on me! What's the difference between seeing plus size person chowing down at McDonalds as opposed to the gym? If I'm rude, it's going to come out no matter what. People need to stop being so thin-skinned and self conscious. If you are working to improve your body, than great. But to ban someone else for being closer to what one perceives as ideal or 'skinny' is childish. Report
A slanted question is not really a question at all. That being said, I think the staff at the gym could easily set the tone. I once belonged to a gym where some pro athletes worked out. Most of the time I felt comfortable, the desk clerks and trainers knew my name and would even joke around with me. Sadly there were times when I looked around the room and was the biggest person in the room and I would feel down but what kept me coming back was understanding that my self esteem issues are my issues and the only way to deal with it was to stay the course. I paid my membership and was going to get my moneys worth. The staff at the gym can go a long way in making members feel comfortable. BTW, I don't know if I want to go to a gym where it looked like no one was making progress. Report
I definitely disagree with this practice and feel it is discrimination against skinny people. This practice makes as much sense as "women only" gyms like Curves. While the "idea" of encouraging overweight people to visit a gym it shouldn't be used for denying skinny people. The gym should be a neutral place where all body types are welcomed. The gym should focus more on providing an environment free of any type of hassle. I love that the Planet Fitness gym has their policy listed that no harassment will be tolerated. Recently a gym attendant instructed a member to leave because he was harassing a lady about doing yoga. The offending member was told to leave for the day and that future harassment will mean termination of his membership. The environment that people work out in to me is the most important issue. Report
I don't think the gym was banning skinny people. They were designing a setting to encourage women who were heavy to join a similar community. I don't have a problem with this if it encourages heavy people to embrace fitness in a welcoming environment. There are lots of options for "skinny" people to get fit. Years ago I found a similar environment when I was looking for aerobic classes - it can be daunting to find yourself in a room of seemingly fit people while you're trying to learn the moves and become more active. I found classes for "big and beautiful" women that were a catalyst for me at that time. Kudos to those who feel comfortable wherever they are! Report
Ridiculous. I attend a group fitness class twice a week. I am far and away the fattest woman at the gym - I need to lose about 50 lbs. The next biggest person I have seen there might need to lose 10-15 lbs. Most of the attendees are in amazing shape and I find that inspiring. Hopefully someday I will be as fit and buff as the rest. I fail to see how being at a gym filled with people my size or larger is supposed to instill confidence that their program works to help me achieve my goals. Report
There are people who should be banned from a gym. Those who make unkind comments about a person's weight and/or treat overweight people with disrespect. I have experienced that on a few occasions. Also, thin people need exercise as much as heavy people do. Report
I'm a 61 year old grandma that is close to my goal weight. I like family classes. In that corner are the folks that properly could teach the class, in that corner are the new mothers, some brand new mothers some there because they have a 3 year old tag along. In that corner are the tweens, they put their own spin on everything, but having a blast. in the 4th corner are the ones that need low impact, smaller range of motion or some other modification. we are all there, you pick where you fell in. The instructor sometimes turns the class over to someone else and makes her rounds, joining in with each group along the way, because we all belong there.

When I was well over 200 pounds I could go to this new gyn, now that I'm close to my goal weight, I have to say goodbye to all the folks that motivated me and join a strange gym? What about passing on what I learned, what about showing people what they can do. Report
I'm very confused with the message sent here : the motto for the last couple of months (years ?) has been "Let's show all different types of women" but what I understand from such decisions is "Let's show plus-sized woman". I'm afraid that that "skinny-shaming" is not healthier than the "fat-shaming" movement. If we want to see ALL types of women, we'll have to see skinny women, since THEY are REAL women, as much as plus-sized women Report
I think if someone wants to set up a gym for women of a certain weight, it's ok. They also banned men and no one was upset. At my gym, I've noticed that most people seem to segregate themselves. The older women are in the pool class. The young guys play basketball. Most times I'm the only women on the weight machines. They also have classes for seniors, and beginners and more advanced. Report
Banning skinny people from a gym? Heck no! Punishing someone for their body type is wrong in any fashion. It is practically body-shaming in its true form! Especially, if some are there not to stay skinny, but to work on building lean muscle in order to stay at a healthy weight. This was the case for my sister. She has always been very tiny and unless she ate a mountain of food, she would drop weight to a scary degree. The doctor said build up your body or I will have to put you on thyroid medication. She went and strength trained, built up her muscle mass, and now her body is regulated. Now, I'm a curvy woman, I mean really curvy. It never once bothered me that fit/skinny girls go to the same gym as me. However, if a gym catches anyone (curvy or thin) body-shaming others then by all means ban them. As for gender only gyms, that is a whole different issue. In two small phrases: cat calling and sexual harassment. Report
How do you think "skinny" people stay that way? Anyone can be a jerk at the gym regardless of size. The point is that you're all there for the same purpose, to get healthy! Report
With all body types at the gym it can be motivating for each body type. When I went to the gym and saw people in shape working out it motivated me to stay on track. Some would offer encouragement and tips for working out. When I was in better shape and I saw someone getting in better shape, I encouraged and complimented them. It's not a contest, it helps when we help each other. Report
It's bad enough that GoodLife Fitness in Canada has tons of locations "for women only" - basically banning men from the gym so women can "feel safe" or whatever. It's equally ridiculous to ban skinny people from the gym. However, there are always other options but the bottom line is discrimination. Report
Skinny people allowed, but ban the gorillas that chuff and grunt and throw the weights to the floor! Report
Good lord, where to start...for starters, banning thin people from exercising encourages the notion that exercise is just a chore that must be done in order to lose weight. People of all sizes may have various reasons for wanting to exercise, ranging from just liking how it feels, competing in a sport, weight loss, weight maintenance, and socializing. Rather than banning people of certain weights or sizes, gyms must make a point to foster an atmosphere of acceptance of all body sizes. From my experience as a personal trainer (a 240-pound trainer), the trainers carry a lot of the responsibility for how welcoming a gym may be to certain populations. Report
What happens when the "obese" members lose weight? Do they get kicked out?''

And define "skinny". I am skinnier than the person next to me but I have pounds to lose. Could someone like me now exercise at that gym?

*Edit: I also find it encouraging to exercise alongside people who I would like to have similar fitness levels to, both in weight and abilities. Report
I'm totally with CLEO27-what defines a person as "Skinny"? Would overweight people stop just short of being skinny just so they could continue to use the gym? Report
That's the dumbest thing I've read in ages, and there's a lot of excruciatingly dumb stuff afoot out there at the moment.

That said, if someone started up a gym that banned chatting, giggling, machine-hogging, and smart phones, I'd join it. Report
What a horrible thought. I've been big for a while now and when I would hit the gym there would be tons of thinner ppl there. Does it bother me? Heck no. I'm there for myself, not to watch others or judge. Report
No. Exercise is for all. We should be helping each other not ostracizing for any reason. Report
There is one girl who works out at my gym who is quite obviously anorexic. She works out like a fiend every day, but does not have a healthy body. I would be OK with banning this type of "Skinny" on the grounds that the gym is to promote healthy fitness not provide a place for one to abuse their body. My gym otherwise has a great mix of people looking to lose weight (where I started) and fit people looking to maintain and improve their fitness (where I'm getting to). Report
Yeah, and a skinny only gym would have everyone in an outrage. How does discrimination create any concept of "friendly?" It just encourages more body hate, and body shaming. What happens when these people lose weight? They get kicked out, and lose the support system, and friends who helped them get that far?
It doesn't matter if your thin, or thick, naturally, or by choice, everyone benefits from regular exercise. Some people can't gain, but still want to be healthy. You don't need to be overweight to workout, you can workout to maintain, you can workout to keep your heart healthy, you can workout to build muscle, and so on. This gym's message, my my eyes, is "gyms are a place for overweight people to lose weight, and that's it."
Another important point is, if you can't handle seeing people thinner than you, how do you even live? You see people with different bodies than yours literally everywhere! Do you never go online? Do you order food and have it delivered to your house, so you don't have to go to the grocery store? Do you buy clothing online online, ad only from stores without models or mannequins? Seriously, you'd have to be a hermit to never see another body.

Also all this says is "yes, you should be ashamed of your body. yes, seeing thinner people should feel threatening to you. yes, you should only stick with 'your kind' of people, because no one else can possibly accept you." It's enforcing an extremely negative self image, and encouraging the idea that skinny people, and overweight people are too different to ever get along, be friends, understand each other, love each other, respect each other, and so on.

The fact that anyone supports a message like that blows my -explicative- mind! Report
I actually feel like that initial "getting over it" is an important part of changing your life. Yes, there will always be people with better bodies then you. You can accept it and continue on improving yourself, or you can give up and go home. And in reality, no one really pays any attention to anyone else in the gym. And on the rare chance that someone does notice you, they will have completely forgotten about you as soon as they leave. Report
If anything maybe they have a "beginners" area for overweight people only that is secluded from the rest so that those that ARE uncomfortable can feel more secure. I don't agree at all with banning skinny people from the gym. Running next to someone in better shape than me on the treadmill gives me motivation to keep going! And I hope that sometimes I motivate others as well! Report
There are two questions here, 1 should they be allowed to ban fit people and to that my answer is absolutely. It is there business and if they want to try to build a business on a very niche clientele that is their choice. Now on the question of whether it is a good idea or not, I really don't think so. Currently we treat overweight people as sort of an untouchable class and it seems to be OK to treat overweight people badly. The answer to that is not to turn it around and treat fit people badly. Let us all mix together and we will make friends with some and not with others and let it go in a natural way. Report
So then, if you work hard, loose weight and become thin, you get banned from your gym? Then I wouldn't want to go there in the first place! I would feel I was being kicked out for being successful! Report
I think it is perfectly ok to have a space reserved for obese women with body issues to work out. We live in a fat shaming society. I have worked out in gyms and they can be hostile and unfriendly places for fat people. Having a safe place where these women can overcome their fears and work towards getting healthy is great and shouldn't be condemned. They are obviously women who would never go to a regular gym or even work out because of fat shaming. There are plenty of other gyms out there that cater to a variety of people, including the thin, so I don't see what the big deal is. I have more of an issue with gyms who allow obviously anorexic women to work out for hours on end. Working out on a treadmill next to a woman weighing less than 80lbs is frightening. Report
That is so wrong so the skinny people have gained weight to workout!?!?!?!? They need the workouts to stay in shape and I agree with CHANGE4FUTURE about banning fat people from fast food places. Report
Very unfortunate wording.
I believe they might have meant well, but this doesn't sound good.
If they want to encourage overweight people to come to the gym, they could offer special classes designed specially for overweight people. Report
Close email sign up
Our best articles, delivered Join the millions of people already subscribed Get a weekly summary of our diet and fitness advice We will never sell, rent or redistribute your email address.

Magic Link Sent!

A magic link was sent to Click on that link to login. The link is only good for 24 hours.