Recently, Leah Segedie of Mamavation.com asked the blogging community to post about how the fitness community can “create a better fit” for the average American.
As an overweight momma, I can tell you that I don’t feel very comfortable walking into a gym. Any gym…
You see, a lifetime ago, I was that condescending thin girl that would look you over and dismiss you as unmotivated, lazy and even I hate to say it but..not very smart.
All of my self-worth was tied up in how thin I could be. I was devastated the day my scale hit 114 pounds! Yes 114 was way too heavy in my opinion back then. I recall shopping for clothes at the mall and being amazed at how large a size 14 was. I remember thinking that I would never let myself get “that huge”
Now? I would love to get down to a size 14.
I don’t really feel I’ve changed that much fundamentally on the inside. I am not shallow and judgmental anymore. at least I hope I’m not… But the outside? I’ve gained almost 100 pounds in the 20 years since that mall trip. Has that made me any less intelligent? I don’t think so (although I don’t “know it all” anymore) Am I lazy? Maybe…but with 7 kids its hard to be..Unmotivated? perhaps at times…but I wouldn’t be posting this if I was completely unmotivated..
There is such a huge difference in the way that a gym staff member will treat you when you are a bigger woman. You are treated as if you aren’t worth their time. Gone are the days of the extra helping hand that I used to receive. Now I get those disdainful looks that I used to be giving. ” Why are YOU bothering to come in here?” “Are you gonna leave soon?”
A simple “Hi, how are you?” or “Do you need any help?” can mean the world of difference to someone just starting out at the gym.
I have tried many different gyms over the course of years. Almost all of them too busy to be bothered with the overweight women that come through their doors. I am currently thinking of joining a gym yet again. Hopefully this time I won’t feel so intimidated and I will actually continue going. I like the concept of the 24 hour gyms so that I can go at off-peak times but they don’t offer as much as something like the YMCA. It’s a decision that I’ll have to think on for a while.
I would love to see a gym franchise offer a few different concepts for overweight people just trying to get started.
- a staff trained in the unique needs of overweight people
- equipment designed for larger people such as larger seats on some of the stationary bikes
- a buddy system pairing people with similar fitness goals
- classes for new members only
People are not “one size fits all” our gyms should be either…