22 Jun 2012

Gyms Ban Skinny People Now?!?

Imagine the following scene. You're a chubby or overweight person trying really hard to lose that extra weight. It's hard, what with all the cheap Mickey D's or that viscerally awesome smell you can detect every time you waltz by a pizza place. It's hard to say no to your hunger and just man up and buy a salad. It's hard to see the pounds go away much slower than they accumulate. But hey, you're trying: you're on a diet (sort of), you drink tons of water, eat veg, go jogging for the 5 minutes you can keep it up. You decide to take the next step and go to a local gym, which is an obstacle course in itself: you need the time, you might miss out on going out with friends, you might miss that really awesome NatGeo documentary about Orang Pendek, not to mention you'll sweat your ass on the way there, as well as during and after the workout. And pretty much once you're done, you're sweaty and stinky anyway, and the realization that you'll have to repeat this a few days a week for months slowly begins to creep into your mind. It makes that pizza or steak much more instantly gratifying than the months of constant muscle pain and slowly sweating the fat off.

Fuck that. McDonald's wants my money.
But hey, once those obstacles are overcome, here you are: the gym. And that's when the buzzkill rears its ugly head: your flabby flesh drooping out of your sweatshirt, you enter the work out area only to lay your eyes on that ever-present skinny guy or chick working their butts off. Or maybe there's more of them: people of perfect body weight, mocking every inch of your corpulent self with their utter lack of need for weight loss. They're walking, breathing demotivational posters here to make you feel fat and quietly suggest that no matter how much you'll work out, you'll never end up looking like them. You know it: you'll just get depressed and abandon the work out by the second session, then find solace and consolation in a cheese-crust extra mozzarella Capriciossa with a gallon of Coke to go with it. Ugh. Why are they here? Are they there to spite you? Or to motivate you? Why are they working out? It's ridiculing everything you're there for.

Of course, every coin has two sides. Let's say you're a normal weight or slightly underweight person that decides to go to a gym. Maybe you want to lose some imaginary extra flab (it's a chick thing), or maybe you want to put some muscle on your wiry frame. Let's, for convenience and because this is my blog, assume you're also from Vancouver, Canada. You walk your skinny ass into a gym and proceed to get immediately kicked out by some sort of gym bouncer for being too skinny.

If you really are from Vancouver, Canada this might really happen to you. Body Exchange, a Vancouver gym has made a bold decision to ban skinny people from their establishment, in order to support their overweight clientele and remove any morale-crushing sources of frustration for said clients. They say many of their customers have had unsuccessful fitness pasts and the decision has been made to curb that trend. The gym proudly considers itself a "safe heaven" for overweight customers, and their policy strictly prohibits the entry of normal weight women. That's right - you have to be chubby or more to enter this exclusive, fatty-only, workout establishment.  

Look at those cold, judging eyes. Even her buttocks are mocking  me.
Sure, you can go ahead and blame Canada , but this sort of client catering has spread to other countries and states: gyms in New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, Dallas and Nebraska have adopted similar policies. ”Clients want a place where they can get fit without feeling like they’re being stared at or criticized,” said Marty Wolff, owner of the Square One gym in Omaha. “My whole life, I have always wished there was a place for other big people. So I created one.”

Oh man. What a story, amirite? How do I even go about this? On one hand, you could reasonably argue that this is an albeit ridiculous bias, a weight discrimination if you will. If you're a skinny guy or chick trying to work out, you're basically told you're not fat enough for them. Their premise is that you're too skinny to work out at their gym anyway and they don't want your skinny ass money because your skinny ass will get kill the bouncy money from their bouncy customers. That's because their bouncy customers are now too unmotivated to keep working out - because of you. Somehow, their money is better than yours. Maybe fat customers=phatt profit, but money is money. I don't see any guarantee that fatter people will attend your gym longer than regular people, or that, for that matter, skinny people keep fat people away. Or that skinny people discourage your fat customers simply by being skinny. I understand overweight customers have experienced disappointments and have even given up on their work out routine, but are you sure that's what's keeping them fat? Better yet, are you sure the best way to keep some customers is to alienate others? Besides, would you really go to a gym completely devoid of sexy women working out, that is instead full to the brim with fat, sweaty dudes and women panting for air on the treadmill?

Oh, don't mind me. I'm just here to make you miserable.
Look, I've been there. I still am there, but skinny people don't depress me - in fact, most times they motivate me. Personally, I'm just as likely to ditch the burger when I see a skinny person as when I see a really obese man or woman. It's either I wish I was that fit, this diet is not going to help or God damn - I don't want to end up like that! Take this burger away. The problem with claiming to be unmotivated by skinny people is the same as any other reason to stop dieting or exercising: it's just an excuse. It's easier to keep making up excuses than changing your lifestyle. You can blame it on your work, your schedule, your genes, but the truth is the only one to blame is yourself. And that truth is much easier to palate once you've sucked down on another muffin or steak. Losing weight isn't easy. But if you really have a mindset for it you wouldn't give in to such superficial and convenient excuses as "look at that skinny bastard. Well, might as well stop going to the gym, I'd better just accept my fate as Mr. Chubbychubbs."

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