Poll: Should Skinny People Be Banned from the Gym?

1SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
6/28/2012 6:00 AM   :  248 comments   :  22,391 Views

See More: fitness, in the news, gym,
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?



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Comments

  • 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
  • JENNITHEFIRST
    196
    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
    193
    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
  • DEBBIERILEY61
    191
    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
  • ZATISHE
    190
    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
  • JJPLENGE_MEXICO
    186
    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
    183
    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
  • 180
    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
  • BROWNIE350Z
    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
  • 176
    It makes me wonder, will this gym kick out a member that succeeds in losing weight and is now "skinny?" I think a better plan perhaps would be a somewhat "segregated" gym, with the "at risk" people on one side and the "normal-sized" people on the other. After all, skinny people still need exercise for their health (not to mention weight maintenance)! - 7/3/2012   9:40:16 AM
  • 175
    I personally wouldn't go to a gym that banned "skinny" people, but I can totally understand women who are overweight and don't feel comfortable working out on a treadmill next to a woman with 4% body fat, or next to a man with an 8-pack. It's intimidating and those women may not work out at all if they didn't feel comfortable in that environment. This may be the opportunity for those women to get out there and get healthy. And THAT is what I vote yes to.

    Besides, it's not as if that is the only gym available. There are other gyms in the same neighborhood or town, I can almost guarantee, that allow people of all shapes and sizes. It's no different than a shop that only sells plus-size clothing. - 7/3/2012   9:10:17 AM
  • UMMM613
    174
    who is to judge what "skinny" is anyway? people tell me all the time that i'm skinny and i totally disagree. i wish people would say- hey, you are normal sized, because that's what i feel i am. no, "skinny" people should not be banned. - 7/3/2012   8:03:38 AM
  • 173
    I once taught group exercise at a University in the Midwest and although people loved my classes, I was given a negative on my review because I chose to wear just a sports bra (normal type) and athletic shorts when I taught. I normally wore this because of how hot I got when working out. They said because I was so in shape my body might be perceived at intimidating to class members.

    I felt offended and discriminated against and said so. Nowhere did they have a dress code that I was in violation of. Others wore similar, yet because of my body type (thin, fit) I was given a negative on my review. I would think it would be motivating to see the instructor of your class in good shape.

    Reading this takes me back to that time and irritates me. I agree with the other commenter as well, if someone did the opposite and opened a gym that obese people were no allowed we'd just see how quickly a lawsuit would be filed.

    I CAN understand the other point of view, however I think a workout area for those that do not feel comfortable would be appropriate rather than banning certain people based on the way they look from the entire gym. - 7/3/2012   8:02:48 AM
  • 172
    I know quite a few skinny people who were once fat. So not only no but hell no!!!! thoughs people were are insperation to me. I can ignore the gym rats. but If all I saw was people my size I would think what's the point?. besides having the "skinny" folks complement you on your dedacation is a real ego boost! - 7/3/2012   7:41:55 AM
  • 171
    At first glance this seems completely ludicrous but on reflection I can see a lot of media spin going on. Banning skinny people from a gym sounds a lot more offensive than opening a specialised gym tailored to obese clients. The former I have a problem with, the latter, not so much. I can see why larger people with less gym savvy might be attracted to a private space where they can workout amongst similarly challenged people without the fear, real or perceived, of being judged by the "gym junkies". In a private business the owner should have the right to choose to offer a service to a niche market if that is what he wants to do. If ALL gyms were allowed to have the same policy that would be segregation and completely unacceptable. I don't see that happening any time soon because regular gym goers are the bread and butter of these places. - 7/3/2012   6:16:46 AM
  • 170
    banning (whatever) people out of a place = segregation - discrimination - stripping people off their human rights - fascism

    To the people who voted "yes" and the owner of that gym, I say, welcome back to the PAST! - 7/3/2012   5:47:31 AM
  • VBRANNAN
    169
    That just seems nuts to me. The comments that it's the same as woman only gyms is off too-- if you are a woman, working out will not change that!

    Also, comments from people who say that they are discouraged by seeing people who are "obviously anorexic" are disconcerting too; I am SEVERELY underweight-- I'm sure I look anorexic-- I have cancer. And a genetic condition that means I will probably get more cancers in the future. Working out 30+ minutes a day could make the difference between life and death for me. Should I be banned for being too thin? I'm certainly not "healthy" or even in good shape. I am weak and would probably struggle as much as most of those overweight people.
    I don't actually go to the gym though-- between the germs and people staring at me, I'm happier running, biking, or using my Wii. - 7/3/2012   3:29:40 AM
  • KFIORI
    168
    I can't believe that a gym that is encouraging fitness would discriminate against anyone who wants to be more fit. Since "Skinny," is subjective, how is anyone to be determined to be too thin. I hope that one day with hard work, I will be skinny and to not be allowed in the gym would be ridiculous! Without continued exercise, I would not continue to be skinny. - 7/2/2012   8:36:58 PM
  • 167
    This is so timely. I went to a gym on vacation and a young woman there was obviously anorexic - I could see all her ribs, collar bone and hip bones. I was stunned and didn't know what if anything to say. It was very sad. - 7/2/2012   6:14:54 PM
  • MATHOTAKU
    166
    I voted no. While I think there's definitely market space for gyms that primarily cater to overweight/obese people, just as there is market space for gyms that exclusively cater to women, there is no basis for banning skinny people from gyms overall. Personally, I would not patronize a gym that excluded people on the basis of weight, size, or fitness level. - 7/2/2012   2:50:40 PM
  • 165
    The help that they give may be for people who are "at-risk". Those kind of people require much more attention. If one is morbidly obese and needs special support then it is important that he/she gets it. The problem is that obesity is becoming so widespread in the U.S. About 1/4 people are obese. Now, that it is so common, these groups, gyms, etc. are becoming a little less formal. It is to comfort people without the grand, unpleasant shock that usually comes along with the reality of the issue facing so many. Being around people facing the same difficulty brings a sense of comfort to some. I'm not defending the gym because depending on the nature of the group, they can very well be non-purposely imposing discrimination to those who are slender and this cannot be justified. Please give it some thought. - 7/2/2012   10:24:17 AM
  • 164
    I voted No.-- but I also believe that business owners should have the right to exclude people, b/c of freedom. I think it's very selfish to exclude people. Skinny people are looked down up and have all kinds of hatred/comments thrown at them. Skinny people need to be healthy too. Skinny does NOT equate to being healthy and fit. It's genetics. I'm skinny b/c my dad is skinny. For my1st 30 years, I ate like a pig trying to gain weight, b/c I was teased as a kid, and the last one picked for teams in gym class. I have osteoporosis and need the gym. To others, I still look "skinny", but I am not fit or strong. I voted No, but Yes is OK too. I guess I would feel more comfortable in an all skinny gym. But that's just not OK. Accept everyone, everyone. The GYM is not just for "loosing weight", it's for getting fit and EVERYONE needs that. - 7/2/2012   8:42:51 AM
  • SANDUR123
    163
    I just want to say this. I won a two month gym membership, I went into the gym to sign up and I was stared at, I felt uncomfortable- I left and never returned. I can see why these business owners did this. Has it been distorted by the media- perhpas. Perhaps the whole intent was to create a place for overweight people to go to to get help to lose weight. Perhaps the whole idea was to allow people a place to not feel judged or stared at. Do I think its right? Maybe, if the marketing is done right- theres Curves afterall isn't there, no men are allowed. I may be mistaken but the whole idea behind Curves was to give wome who wouldn't go to a standard gym a place to go and work out. Theres lots of women only gyms for that same reason.

    So long and short of it, having an oveweight only gym, is no different than having a womens only gym. Both are excluding some people either on their gender(womens only gym or curves) or their BMI (overweight onlygyms). If there was a gym here that catered strickly to people who where overweight would I go? You bet, no judgement no staring, who wouldn't go there.

    For those who have won their battle, think back to how you felt when you joined Spark People, to how you feel now that you are maintaining. Do you think your mind set would have been different then? Did you ever feel like an outsider when you went to a gym, and you turned around and left and never returned? - 7/2/2012   12:26:22 AM
  • AKATSHOUSE
    162
    I enjoy all body types. I think labeling people is political. We go to the gym to gain health whether you are one size or the other. I'm currently overweight, 62 and need to be there. I certainly want to gain my fitness back and enjoy my life on a daily basis. People don't need to feed on others. Go and enjoy. Its your life and you should be proud to be able to put one foot, arm, stretch ahead. - 7/1/2012   8:35:36 PM
  • CHERANN1955
    161
    To those of you who feel this is a silly or ridiculous issue....obviously you have never been obese, physically challenged in any way, including asthma or heart problems. Some people simply DO NOT have the self-esteem to be able to tolerate the looks or snide comments about "fat" people and why they got "fat" or maybe if they pushed themselves and worked harder, they wouldn't be so fat. I believe the issue here is not separate gyms for skinny or fat persons, but simply that those individual who were blessed to be thin or worked hard to get that way be more sympathetic to those of us who have more problems on our journey to being healthier. It's a darn shame we aren't all perfect (and thin)....it would make life so much easier with less of this sort of controversy.
    - 7/1/2012   6:56:54 PM
  • 160
    Ridiculous! Skinny does not equate to fit. Fitness is for all sizes. Maintenance is as difficult as losing. Maintenance requires a fitness program. - 7/1/2012   5:43:30 PM
  • 159
    Skinny/fat/tall/short-let em come! - 7/1/2012   8:44:31 AM
  • KHAWE92
    158
    that is completely not right. for the 5% that said yes to that question let me ask you this. how would you feel if you went to a gym and someone told you you were too fat to join. now that would bring a lawsuit immediatly. as should being told your too skinny. - 7/1/2012   12:03:33 AM
  • ONLYTEMPORARY
    157
    When you have a gym that is for the obese, then others should have enough respect for the ones that go to use another gym without complaints. I have seen obese people in tears at the gym. They are indeed descriminated against and it's not right but people do it anyway. I have even seen them discriminated against on the boards and their own blogs by others that have their own opinions. We want the obese to be able to do their exercises and work outs without being stared at, fingers pointed at, talked about behind hands receiving snide remarks and laughed at. They are just as human as the thinner skinney ones.

    The majority of those going to the gym I went to were skinny and or body builders, not overweight or obese. They deserve a place they can be comfortable in. - 6/30/2012   10:33:16 PM
  • 156
    It's pretty silly, really. I do understand the idea behind Curves--women-only gyms have a certain place, but to ban people based on their body type is out of order! (whose perception of 'skinny' would be used, anyway?) - 6/30/2012   10:16:16 PM
  • 155
    How daft. Surely the main point of a gym is not to lose weight, but to gain strength, and the need for strength is not restricted to fat people. (And I use the word 'fat' because I think it's double standards to refer to small-sized people by the derogatory word 'skinny' and large-sized people by the euphemistic term 'plus-size'. Either it's 'fat' and 'skinny', or 'large-size' and 'small-size'. Or 'overweight' and 'underweight'. 'Skinny' is just as much a derogatory word as 'fat' - not to mention vague and subjective - so the two words go together.)

    I wonder how they decide whether someone counts as 'skinny'. Do they have to be underweight - to have a BMI under 18 - or just to not be overweight? - 6/30/2012   9:23:51 PM
  • 154
    Certainly not. We all need to exercise, no matter what size we are. I have been shaping up, and looking much better, due to healthy eating and healthy exercise, at the gym, and at the pool. I'm busy working out. I don't notice the size of the people beside me. - 6/30/2012   7:07:48 PM
  • 153
    Definitely not. This subject is as silly to me as female or male only gyms. The gym is supposed to be for everyone to improve themselves physically. I don't particularly care for specialty gyms like Curves. Skinny people are generally trying to bulk up just as bulky people are trying to reduce weight. I enjoy the military gym where everyone comes in and works out. The overweight people are focused on their routines and the skinny people are focused on their routines and all are courteous and respectful of each other. - 6/30/2012   1:59:35 PM
  • 152
    I like the concept of a plus size gym - but what happens once you get down sized and where do the skinny people go to stay skinny? - 6/30/2012   12:21:52 PM
  • 151
    What happens to the membership when the fat person becomes skinny? - 6/30/2012   3:30:55 AM
  • 150
    Yes, when people with good teeth are banned from the dentist. - 6/29/2012   10:46:11 PM
  • 149
    That skinny person may have been overweight at one time!! - 6/29/2012   10:43:25 PM

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