Poll: Should Skinny People Be Banned from the Gym?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  276 comments   :  34,958 Views

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,
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!
NEXT ENTRY >   Butter: Is It Healthy?


    I don't go to gyms for a few reasons and one of them is constantly feeling like I have to already be fit to join a gym or try a yoga or zumba class. I'm shy and insecure, not just about my weight either, and the idea of seeing mostly fit people around me just gets my anxiety revved up.

    If the gym owner wants to have their business cater to a specific clientele then I'm fine with that - it's their business after all. There's women-only spas and the like out there so why not have a gym that is for the overweight and obese population? Considering the stats on it, they aren't cutting their potential client base that much and would draw in the people who feel uncomfortable in the typical gym environment. Heck, they could require a body comp analysis before sign-up so the 'skinny fat' people would be allowed in too, but the larger people would know that the person is more like them than the ones who normally frequent gyms and thus not feel insecure. If you want to cover 'weight maintenance', just offer blocks of time and certain classes for those people - think of pools and their schedules. - 6/22/2014   4:59:33 PM
  • 225
    Whuut?! They're banning "skinny people" from they gyms? LOL!!!! Good luck with that. I think we're all in the same boat here and I like to people watch. I love watching people at the gym who are very cut and developed work out! That way, I feel like I learn something from them. I talk to everybody at the gym now. Where I never used to before. But, I will ask whoever questions about their training or a particular piece of gym equipment. I hope they don't do that at my gym; or else I would boycott the establishment. That's just me. I love people. - 5/17/2014   1:02:33 AM
  • 224
    Sounds like a really dumb idea to me. Research consistently shows that the more you interact with overweight people, the more likely you are to keep gaining weight. I like being around thin, fit people as a source of inspiration. There are two young couples in my neighborhood who are Marathoners and many times when I am tempted to play on the computer instead of getting my evening walk, I'll see them running past my window, and it gets my sorry butt out there moving. - 5/16/2014   2:39:46 PM
  • 223
    I have not read all the comments, but I notice that most people are upset with the "Plus size" part of the "Plus size women."

    Nobody seems to mention that men are also banned. - 5/16/2014   10:40:43 AM
  • 222
    This #!@# society is becoming ENTIRELY TOO "ban-crazy"! Enough already! Before you know it there'll be NOTHING to do or NOPLACE to go because EVERYONE will effectively be *BANNED* for some stupid reason or other! Common sense, people.......pleeeeeeease! :( - 2/28/2014   4:55:29 AM
  • 221
    If you own a business, you should have the right to ban a group of people as customers; however, I think that it is crazy to turn away customers. I have no problem showing people my fat, it makes me work out harder; however, if I feel that business is hurting someone physically or emotionally, I WOULD go somewhere else.

    If you feel uncomfortable working out because you are fat, wouldn't it feel just as bad going to a "fat people gym" as going to a "regular gym"? Also, I would rather go to a regular gym where I get lots of advice from fit people without having to deal with a trainer. - 2/12/2014   10:11:46 AM
    Hmm - according to their own website the gym caters "exclusively to plus size women". I've got mixed feelings about that. On one hand I think it's great to have a safe environment for women who need more support to get into fitness, on the other hand I don't believe just because somebody is skinny, means they don't have any problems or insecurities. I'm working out at a women's gym with women of all sizes and have yet to witness any rudeness or staring towards anybody. I hope the people who had bad experiences at their gym have let the owners know about this. I can't imagine any business would appreciate customers being driven away. - 2/8/2014   11:23:13 PM
  • 219
    This is only one Gym in one country, cant the skinny people just go to another one? I understand gyms can be intimidating for people of all shapes and sizes (myself included) but what is wrong with one gym choosing to create a comfortable environment for plus size exercisers? There are a lot of gyms that only have skinny people in them, maybe they don't have a sign saying no plus sizes but seeing all skinny people inside is enough to put of a lot of larger ladies off joining. So yea I think its a good idea, provided its only the occasional specialist gym. - 2/8/2014   5:47:55 AM
  • 218
    I think the article is missing a few important points. I read about this gym long before the articles about it came out, the the founders specifically discuss the fact that they DON'T ban ANYONE from joining. The problem is that they market their facility and services to and for plus-size women. I have not seen anything directly from them that specifically says "skinny" people aren't allowed. One of the founders mentioned on her blog that she was thrilled when it seemed like the local community and news were interested in her facility - until she discovered how they framed the articles they were writing. I think the main problem here is the media. They blow things out of proportion and frame them in such a way that people feel the need to take sides when it's not even necessary. This isn't about skinny people against overweight people. The founders were simply trying to create an environment where they could cater to plus-size women to help them feel more comfortable about their weight loss journeys. One of the founders even took the time to describe what made her become a personal trainer and all of the hardships she's gone through from other the professionals in the fitness community who seem to think that she is too fat to motivate others to lose weight.

    The fact of the matter is, while some gyms are welcoming to all types of people there are many that aren't. Some members and even trainers who are exceptionally fit constantly stare or make comments about other members that are overweight. I have experienced this myself, I even had a trainer at a Gold's Gym here tell me that I must not care about my health and that the only way I'd be able to successfully lose weight was with the help of a trainer. Um, yeah...I left that gym and didn't look back. My journey is my own. I don't interfere with others and really didn't appreciate when I was stared at, mocked or ridiculed because I weighed more than others there and couldn't display exact form for certain exercises or weight-lifting because I needed modified moves. I have since confined my exercise mostly to my home and walks around the neighborhood. I just feel that I can't even enjoy being at a gym until I'm within a normal weight range so I won't attract too much attention.

    I'm sure many of these ladies - and even the founders with all they've gone through - feel the same way. Not to mention someone else brought up a good point. It's not the only gym in town. Most gyms tend to cater to those who are more fit anyway, so why not simply choose a different gym if you feel some type of way about not being allowed at this one because you're skinny? There are plenty for you to choose from and most of them cater to skinnier or more fit people anyway. And say what you want, but I've been a member of multiple gyms and most aren't as welcoming or supportive of those who are overweight. So suck it up. Those of you who feel you fall into the skinny category...nearly everything out here caters to those in "normal" weight ranges. Gyms, clothing stores, most companies' marketing etc. all do it. I don't hear anyone complain about stores that sell only plus-size clothes, and to be honest there aren't many of them (I really only know of Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart and maybe the Zulily website). If you don't get upset about clothing stores that cater to plus sizes, why get so upset about a gym that does the same? - 2/5/2014   1:36:49 PM
  • TNELLY37
    Is it similar to Curves? Curves is an American gym franchise catering to women only, but it doesn't specify whether it is banned for skinny people or not. I want to join Curves, but I am unemployed. I have to wait until I have a steady job. I do want to lose over 100 lbs, closer to 200 lbs actually. I'm plus sized, yet my fiance is skinny. I have to deal with some insecurities. Sometimes, I wonder if people see my fiance with me and they think, "What is he doing with this heifer?" He doesn't pressure me to lose weight. He doesn't threaten to leave me if I don't lose weight, or for a thin woman that looks like a model. I don't think thin people should get banned from the gym; as long as they are there with the sole purpose of working out. If they are using the gym as an elite social club, flirting with the hot guys and making fun of fat people, then yes, then the gym isn't appropriate for that kind of behavior. - 4/19/2013   8:44:34 PM
    First of all, it's in a big city. Vancouver, BC Canada. There are plenty of other gyms there that the "skinnies" can use. I've never been big but I avoid gyms because I compare myself to others, so I can understand the logic behind it. "maybe fatties want to exercize with their own" is probably what was going through the head of the owner. Now, from a business perspective, I wonder how they have done financially...were they on the right track?
    From what I've seen, everyBODY at the gym freaks a lot of people out. Hospitals keep patients with simular illnesses on the same wards, so if the jackass financing this idea (is it much different than fat camp?), as a fellow Canuk I say why not! Give it a shot, but expect a backlash. - 12/23/2012   4:54:39 PM
    I'm skinny. Now, why should I be banned from a gym? Am I not allowed to be fit, just because I happen to have inherited my Dad's skinny gene? That seems hardly fair. I probably also inherited my Mom's heart-attack gene, and both my Mom and Dad's Diabetes-II gene. So tell me again: Why should I not be allowed to be fit? - 11/21/2012   11:32:27 AM
  • 214
    No bc it's discrimination/it's a free country! However,I have seen obviously unhealthy too skinny people in there(anorexic),&ive seen overly bodybuilders who are injuring themselves, and I think ppl go too much or stay too long, so just like food, everything in moderation! - 7/12/2012   1:46:48 AM
  • 213
    Personally, if I felt up to going to a gym (and I'm not, I'm just too self-conscious), I would look first at gyms that cater to obese people or gyms that very clearly assert that they support a diverse population in terms of age, weight, and fitness level. Most don't. I've had some really bad gym experiences and some OK ones; it depends so much not only on the management and the gym's philosophy but also on the membership of the particular gym. The people who run gyms catering to obese people are not saying that "skinny" people do not need to work out. They are trying to extend access to fitness activities to a population that often times is overtly or implicitly excluded. I would not mind going elsewhere once my weight loss goals were met; it would feel like a graduation. I'd also be pleased to transfer to a different gym run by the same management, if one were available. I've read a number of articles reacting to this phenomenon and most of them use the word "ban" in a sensational way. This is not about a ban, it's about increasing choices. - 7/11/2012   2:09:50 PM
  • 212
    This is ridiculous...so when you finally reach your weight loss goal, it's so long, see you later, come back when you are overweight? This gym is counter-productive, as it is giving people the idea that once you reach a certain weight, maintaining your level of fitness is no longer necessary. - 7/11/2012   11:23:05 AM
    Too skinny people need to work out and have muscle tone and endurance.
    skinny does not equal health or attractiveness.
    I have noticed in the past though, that the thin cute women get all the trainer's attention. Human nature I guess. - 7/9/2012   1:17:56 PM
  • 210
    While I would not join such a gym due to my own personal preferences, I do not see a difference between gyms that cater to obese people and gyms that cater to women. They both seek to create an atmosphere of comfort for a specific group. There are ladies who prefer not to work out with guys for whatever reason. Apparently, there are larger people who prefer to not work out with people half their size. The machines/equipment at this gym may even be larger to accommodate the gym's clientele. I'm thinking larger seats on bicycles and wider treadmills, etc.There are all types of gyms with specialties. I hope this one encourages more people to workout. - 7/9/2012   11:05:32 AM
  • 209
    Stupid question. Not all "skinny" people are healthy and not all over weight people are unhealthy. Healthy people are healthy. :)
    So lets strive to be "healthy" people. - 7/8/2012   11:03:15 PM
  • 208
    No, I understand their reason but it is not right. I have been in the obese category and have joined gyms that I felt out of place until I found Planet Fitness. They don't ban anyone but ban rude comments, clunking, etc. I have never felt out of place there from when I was over 300 lbs to my now 153.

    What happens when these currently overweight gym members lose weight? Do they have to give up their membership? - 7/8/2012   8:54:07 AM
  • 207
    I voted "NO"

    My oldest son is 17 years old, 6'3", and just now weighs 145 pounds. He is skinny and wears a size 30" x 32" jean. Even wearing skinny/super skinny jeans he needs a belt. lol He wants to join the Marines and I signed the papers for him back in May. Their minimum weight for his height is 140 pounds. When he went to MEPS and to take the ASVAB his weight was 140.6 lbs... he barely made it. Since then he has been working out and using protein shakes and that is how he is finally up to 145. Oh and in case anyone wants to know, he made a 91 on his ASVAB. - 7/7/2012   10:19:23 PM
  • 206
    This is one of the stupidest questions I have ever seen in my life, and I cant believe sp is even entertaining it. Although, I have to wonder if there would be such a clamour if a gym banned fat people. - 7/7/2012   8:58:39 PM
    I love going to my gym even 'tho I'm in the obese category. Everyone there is really supportive....even the muscle guys. Sometimes they wink at me which is pretty cute considering how much older I am than they are. I was really wrong to think that only a bunch of egotistical idiots went to gyms. Some of the thin people are trying to gain weight because they are very ill. Some of the obese folks are fighting diabetes and must have other health concerns of their own. Some are missing arms, legs, you name it; but they are making the most of what they do have. We are all there to support one another, and locking out a particular size, shape of person would take away from the whole experience. The gym is just like life; we're ALL in it together. (I luv SparkPeople, by the way. What a great tool. Thank you EVERYONE!!!!! Susan - 7/7/2012   6:29:12 PM
  • 204
    Going to the gym is how they stay skinny. - 7/7/2012   3:57:18 PM
    First of all -- skinny would have to be defined!! And, what if you were not "skinny" when you started at the gym, but have now taken care of yourself, exercised, and have learned how to eat healthy--you get penalized and get your gym membership revoked??? OMG -- this is as ridicules as banning soft drinks. What in the world are they thinking????? - 7/7/2012   2:05:30 PM
    Isn't the whole point in going to the gym to become more fit, which would equal skinnier? I mean if you ban skinny people you are basically saying once you are healthy get out! I think it's dumb. - 7/7/2012   9:09:22 AM
  • 201
    There a so many gyms that cater to women, skinny people, men, so why the big deal about catering to the plus size population.This is just one way to meet the needs of a very specific group and helps them to be successful in their weight loss journey and if it works for them then that's great.If you are on the skinny side ofcourse you are not going to understand the intimidation of a plus size person when they are at a regular gym. Given the fact that these gyms are opening up in a variety of places, there is clearly a demand. The thinner people still have tons of options as far as finding a gym, it's not like every gym banned skinny people. I wish them much success. I think we should stop focusing on the negative side of that article "Skinny people banned from gym" and focus on the positive side "Gym opens up and focuses on the needs of plus size people for long term success".
    - 7/7/2012   9:05:00 AM
  • 200
    There's a gym in California that did the same thing. I think it's ridiculous, to be honest. After all, we're there for the same purpose: to exercise and continue on our journey of health and fitness. Most of the time, I'm so focused on my workout that I don't really think about what others around me are thinking, because I'm there to take care of ME, not to impress anyone else. - 7/5/2012   2:04:59 PM
  • 199
    I can see a benefit - there a lot of gyms that cater to women only, and nobody freaks out about that. Like the article said, there are a lot of bigger people who are very intimidated by the thought of going to a regular gym. This is just one way to meet the needs of a very specific group and if it helps them to be successful in their weight loss journey, who are we to judge? Given the fact that these gyms are opening up in a variety of places, there is clearly a demand. The thinner people still have TONS of options as far as finding a gym, it's not like EVERY gym banned them. - 7/5/2012   1:54:38 PM
  • 198
    OK, so.....once I meet my goal, I have to quit?! REALLY?!! OMG, that is sooo very stupid, any way you look at it!! - 7/5/2012   1:45:46 PM
  • 197
    The thought process behind this is part of what makes us all struggle with healthy habits--the idea that 'skinny' people don't need to work out is ridiculous. To the contrary, everyone should be exercising regularly, regardless if they are over-, under- or healthy-weight. When I see someone who is in better shape, it is motivation to keep working, and I understand that they may not have always been in great shape. - 7/5/2012   11:40:34 AM
    Personally, I find the thin women at my gym inspiring. Each one is a reminder of the goal I'm working toward- a healthy, attractive & slender body. - 7/5/2012   4:36:42 AM
  • 195
    I am going to use this opportunity to talk about my gym experience.

    I am a fat woman - a very fat woman. Like many fat women, I was uncomfortable with the notion of walking into a gym and being stared at by all the "beautiful people". But, I had to do something because whatever I was doing on my own wasn't working!

    I emailed the manager of my local gym (three blocks from my home) and just came out and asked, "I am an older fat lady with a bad knee and COPD. Is there anything you can do with me?"

    She hooked me up with one of her trainers who had experience with working with people who had "challenges". (this initial appointment is included in the membership fee)

    I met with the trainer and continued to come into the gym 6 days a week, in the mornings. Instead of people gawking at me, I have found people to be extremely supportive and encouraging. After about a month, one man came up to me and said, "I remember when you first came in! You are doing great! Keep up the good work!"

    Since I come in at the same time every day, I associate with basically the same people every day and we have a kind of camaraderie.

    As far as not letting thin folks in the gym, well....that's nonsense! Environment is everything! If I decide that I want to be an artist, then I should surround myself with artistic people; if I want to build muscular strength and endurance, then I should associate with people who exercise! Simple! - 7/5/2012   12:36:43 AM
  • 194
    Some are there to maintain their weight and if not then it's their money and their decision. It's a free country. The benefits of exercise is great and recommended for good optimal health. I always hear physicians stress exercising. I guess the intensity could be a factor also... - 7/4/2012   11:08:24 PM
  • CLEO27
    That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Not all skinny people are healthy. Not only that, if you start at the gym as a plus size person and then reach your goal weight and become skinny, do they kick you out then? It's really dumb. I'd like to know the name of the club so it can be boycotted by skinny people. - 7/4/2012   9:07:46 PM
  • 192
    I can't imagine banning anyone from the gym. I think there is another way to encourage larger folks to participate. Pictures of regular people of all shapes, sizes, and ages would be great. Mirrors at the treadmill that only go up ankle high or so might be an idea too. I understand their goal, but I think they could have gone about it a better way. - 7/4/2012   2:10:28 PM
    How do we think that some of the "skinny" people got thin? I hope that I am considered one of those slender people one day and continue to use the gym! - 7/4/2012   9:55:30 AM
    This is extremly unfair! Skinny people have the right to go to the gym for their health, for making friends, for learing new things and so on. I work out because my muscles need to work, and because it makes me feel better about everything else. It has nothing to do with shape and size, but with health and good mood. - 7/4/2012   9:14:08 AM
  • 189
    That's far from the only gym that has done it. I personally don't care what the people around me look like as long as everyone is working towards the same common goal. I don't actually like any gyms that cater to only a specific demographic - 7/4/2012   8:18:28 AM
  • 188
    Equal rights...it is not about size it is about health! - 7/4/2012   7:46:41 AM
  • 187
    I don't understand why anyone thinks skinny people should be banned from the gym. It's just silly. Everyone deserves to work out wherever it pleases them to work out. - 7/4/2012   2:13:43 AM
    I would like to think that if I work hard enough to get to be skinny, I shouldn't be punished for reaching my goal. - 7/3/2012   7:40:28 PM
  • 185
    Skinny people can be unhealthy too. It shouldn't matter what a person weighs as long as they respect each other. This is a ridiculous question.

    - 7/3/2012   7:02:54 PM
  • 184
    I don't really care if I am working out around skinny people or not, but I dont' see the big deal in one gym banning "skinny" people. If someone is skinny then there are so many different gym option around nowadays that they should be able to find a different one to go to. There are gyms that are just for women and gyms that are just for men. If it is the only gym in that city then I could see it being an issue, but in most areas there are mulitple choices. If someone is overweight and they don't want to work out around people that make them nervous then they should have a "safe" place to workout. - 7/3/2012   5:37:30 PM
  • P5741209
    Working out isn't about fat or skinny - it is about fit and healthy. That gym is sending the wrong message to its clients by preventing "skinny" people from joining. - 7/3/2012   4:58:52 PM
  • 182
    that is so ridiculous.... just because someone is skinny doesn't mean they are healthy, what really what is skinny?? and where would they draw the line?? so if someone is size 0 does that mean someone who is healthy in size 11 would also be too skinny?? Everyone is on the same page at the gym working out and being healthy. That would mean all the huge muscle guys would be banned too, and how do you think they get that way??? - 7/3/2012   12:54:38 PM
  • 181
    I would never belong or attend a gym that discriminated in any way shape or form.
    The reason those shinny people are at the gym is to stay in shape.
    For all anyone knows they might have been fat at some time.
    What if a gym said no fat or obese people welcome. There would be a law suit.
    Crazy decision on that gyms part.
    I like to see people in better shape than me. I get inspired. Many times I find that they have been at it a lot longer and they point that out and encourage me to keep going . - 7/3/2012   12:28:06 PM
    I imagine the reason they stay skinny is because they work out! When we all reach our goals, we will still be going to the gym as well! - 7/3/2012   12:00:26 PM
  • 179
    I am in the obese category (for now!), and joined a gym recently. I usually went in mid-morning, and most of the people that were there were body-builders and thin, fit college -age girls. I just put on my shorts and tank top (clothes I would NEVER wear anywhere else!) and went anyway. I never received any looks or comments that made me feel uncomfortable. In fact, everyone there was encouraging and friendly. And I saw them as inspiration. Sometimes I wanted to tell some of the girls, "You are so wise to be taking care of yourself now and not letting what's happened to me happen to you. Keep up the good work!" I know some people are uncomfortable exercising around others who are in better shape, and I do understand it. It is so sad to see the comments from people who were stared at and had negative comments made about their weight. It makes me happy that I joined a gym where people were not like that. I'm not really against the idea of a weight-segregated gym, but for me, it would be counter-productive. - 7/3/2012   11:22:33 AM
  • 178
    even skinny people can be unhealthy and fat on the inside... why take the opportunity away to be able to go to the gym? And what if you've become skinny by going to that gym, are you going to get kicked out? - 7/3/2012   10:22:10 AM
  • 177
    Wow, this is the most asinine idea I've heard in a long time. When I go to the gym, one of my goals is to become more "skinny"... so why would I want to stay away from people who could serve as fitness role models?! Besides, everything I've read on the subject shows that we tend to look like the people we spend time with... in that case, isn't it a good idea to spend your gym time with people who look the way you want to look? The gym's not a beauty contest, kids. If you think it is, you've got other major problems to deal with besides your weight.

    So I say, ban people who show up smelling like B.O. before they even get started. Ban people who leave a mess behind, sweating all over the machine and not wiping it down afterward. Ban people who drop heavy weights on the floor. Ban people who wear the equivalent of a string bikini to do their workout. Ban people who do all of 6 reps and then spend 3 minutes sitting at the machine other people want to use, all because they're "recovering". Leave the skinnies alone. - 7/3/2012   10:18:50 AM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›