Diet & Weight Magazine

Creating a Size Friendly Gym

By Danceswithfat @danceswithfat

IMG_1846[1]Nobody is ever obligated to go to the gym or work out.  But for fat people who want to go to the gym, it’s important to remember that it’s our gym too and we deserve for them to act like it.  Here are 5 things that they should already be doing

Asking about your goals and then training to them

If you work with a personal trainer at your gym, it is their job to either use their expertise to help you reach your stated goals, be honest that those goals are not realistic, and opt not to train you if necessary. That means that they should ask you for your goals, not make assumptions or impose their ideas on you.   If you ask to increase strength, stamina, and/or flexibility, and they talk about weight loss, they are out of line.  If they say that you have to lose weight before you can work on strength, stamina or flexibility, (this has happened to me) then they are either grossly incompetent or a liar. If they say that they can help you achieve long term weight loss, they are promising you something with no evidence to back it up.

Abolishing Fitness Myths

There is a ton of misinformation that floats around out there about fitness, your gym owes it to you to separate myth from fact.  There is no such things as lower abs.  You cannot spot reduce. You can’t “melt away” fat. Fitness and health are not the same as body size. You do not have to workout for hours and hours a day, or do things that you hate, to get health benefits. If your gym buys into any of these myths or perpetuates them through signage, workshops, classes, or any other messaging then they have some explaining to do.

Use Assessments and Measurements that are Helpul

Instead of putting people on a scale, calculating their BMI and selling them a cardio room and a bag of magic weight loss beans, your gym should be e offering to measure things other than weight.  Offering tests like VO2 Max scores, blood panel, strength, stamina, flexibility etc.  People should be able to choose the baseline tests they want at the beginning and then take them again three, six months in etc. to see if there are any changes.  They should also support those who aren’t into assessments and evaluations and just want to show up and work out. Regardless, people shouldn’t be misinformed to believe that the only “good” or “correct” outcome of going to the gym is manipulation of body size.

Hire People of All Sizes

When we only see one body type represented as “fit” at the gym, it perpetuates the myth that “fitness” looks a certain way or is the same thing as body size, and the gym owes it to their clients to show the true diversity of people who are involved in fitness.  People of all sizes deserve to see themselves represented in the staff at the gym. People at the gym should have the opportunity to take classes form instructors of all sizes.

Create an Environment Free From Stigma and Shame

It is inappropriate to try motivate some gym members by suggesting that they should workout to try to avoid looking like other gym members. That creates a situation wherein the gym is encouraging shaming and stigma.  There should be no messaging that one body size or body type is better than another. The gym’s focus should be on encouraging personal goals, not on trying to look or not look like other members, or trying to stigmatize or shame a group of paying customers for the way that they look.

It’s your gym too – you pay the same membership fee as everyone else.  You deserve an environment that makes you comfortable and honors you body and your goals.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Like my work?  Want to help me keep doing it? Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

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Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

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