What I hate about gyms

Actually, I probably shouldn’t use that title, because frankly there’s more I dislike, than like, about gyms and fitness centers. 

But I was up another 800g in weight this week.  Although I’m also at a time of the month I’m prone to a gain, that’s not much of an excuse, seeing as I’ve gained every week since the last time this time of the month rolled around.  Actually I’ve gained every week for two months now… but who’s counting? 

Other than me.  Clearly I am.  Watching the numbers tick up with frustration.  

Also I’ve been watching The Biggest Loser.  Which, frankly, is a very dangerous combination for me.  I know the show is, in so many ways, fake and unrealistic.  I know that’s not the ideal way to train.  I know that the competitors have nothing else to do but eat right and exercise all day.  I know that the show propagates so many stereotypes and taboos about fat people, all in the name of being “motivational” and “inspiring”.  I also know it’s one of my favorite shows to binge eat to – maybe I’m just perverse like that. 

Apparently knowing that isn’t enough.  Nor is my long-standing dislike of gyms, because I found myself back there today. 

It’s not strictly fair to say that I hate gyms.  They have their place, and different places, and meanings, for different people.  I really hate the shaming atmosphere that you get at the start, in almost every gym or fitness centre I’ve signed up at. (Come to think of it, the only time I haven’t had to go through the procedure was paying a one-month, non-recurring, membership up front in cash.  In that case, I was free to use the gym how I liked…. though I did get a stern talking to about how that was a really dumb membership to use.) 

I’d guess anyone who’s ever joined a gym probably has done the procedure at least once.  “Great! You want to sign up! Now, let’s go through all the things we need to change about you…. ” 

Okay.  I accept that I’m obese.  I accept that I’m also not as fit as I could be (though I hate the assumption that big = terrible fitness, because it doesn’t always). I even accept, that for me, that’s usually one of the reasons I’ve come to the fitness centre in the first place – in the hopes of losing weight. 

The hour long weighing, measuring, testing, procedure is still not really necessary.  Even when you “just want to provide a baseline, so we can look back and see how far you’ve come!” Really, it’s in the way it’s handled, of course.  The assumption definitely seems to be, shame that fat person into coming in for his/her workouts.  (As an aside, that also seems to be the standard on The Biggest Loser.  Still don’t like or approve of it.)

Today I joined another gym.  This makes the fifth different gym – and sixth membership – that I’ve signed up for (barring the one month thing mentioned above).  Also the sixth “fitness profile” I’ve done. 

Today’s included a questionnaire – orally done by the trainer – with overall lifestyle satisfaction, including how you’d rank your life, how well you sleep, how high you’d rank your energy levels, etc. 

“On a scale of 1-10 (10 being high) how would you rank your self image and self esteem?”

I said 3. 

It was probably an overestimation. 

Only to be met with “awww… why would you think that?  What’s so awful?” 

Um, really, I just want to use the machines, thanks.  This isn’t The Biggest Loser – and you are not a counsellor – so I will not be having a sob-out-my-self-hate story here.  

Society constantly tells people that fat people are worthless simply on the basis of being fat people. 

Why the hell do I have to get a guilt trip from someone (muscled and fit at that) because after 31 one years, I’ve bought into the message? 


One thought on “What I hate about gyms

  1. Amen, girl! I ‘hate’ gyms too – unless I can do it my way – they can stay out of my life as they are not counselors – If I want that, I will see a dietician on the side, thank you much! Their job is to make sure I know how to use the equipment – period. End of statement, end of their ‘enlightenment’ into my own personal beeswax. If they want to know more, then they can go to school, get a ‘real degree in understanding the psyche, and leave me alone. Oh, my…guess I dislike them more than I thought…

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