Canada has a new gym, Body Exchange, that caters exclusively to plus-sized women. They even go so far as to ban skinny people because they “bring down morale” of the overweight clients. Some say it’s a great way for overweight people to feel comfortable enough to exercise, but it’s really reverse discrimination at its finest.
Touting themselves as the “only fitness and adventure company exclusive to a plus-size clientele” Body Exchange offers fit camps and personal training that combine strength training with cardio workouts in a “welcoming and supportive environment.” As founder and CEO Louise Green told TheProvince.com, it’s a ”safe haven.”
Safe haven from skinny people, it appears.
Green said that they strive for plus-sized groups where people feel they are with peers:
Many of our clients have not had successful fitness pasts so I can see the anxiety before we get started and I can see the relief and happiness after we finish. People are often too fearful to become active. There wasn’t a model that offered camaraderie. I used to walk into fitness classes where nobody would even say ‘Hi.’ This has got to be fun or it’s not going to work.
So skinny people are rude and unfriendly?
As one client, Lisa Schaffer, put it, in other gyms there were “tiny little Lululemon people running around.” At a size 22, she didn’t feel she was represented.
Body Exchange clients are screened over the phone, and those who don’t fit the plus-size criteria are not accepted and told to go elsewhere, according to Green:
The presence of that person in our program will bring down morale.
The presence of that person? Isn’t that just outright discrimination? Like any other gym would be able to screen and ban obese people because they didn’t fit in or they might be too distracting? Come on.
I certainly understand that people like to work out with like-bodied peers sometimes. And no one wants to feel judged or discriminated against because of their size-especially at the gym where we are often at our most vulnerable and unclothed state. But to go so far as to ban skinny people is just wrong.