No skinny people allowed! The gym that offers membership exclusively to plus-size women
16:49 GMT, 20 June 2012
A gym in Canada has banned skinny women and men, only allowing plus-size women through its doors.
Body Exchange in Vancouver provides gym facilities in what it calls a 'safe haven' for overweight clients.
Louise Green, the gym's founder and CEO, told The Province: 'People are often too fearful to become active. There wasn't a model that offered camaraderie.'
Exclusive: A gym that bans skinny people from becoming members is operating in Vancouver. It aims to offer a 'safe haven' for plus-size women
The gym, which claims it is Canada's only 'fit camp and adventure company exclusive to a plus-size clientele', is able to screen potential clients over the phone.
If a candidate is not a true plus-size, they are refused membership.
Members are typically aged between 35 to 55 but some 18-year-olds and even 67-year-olds have been allowed into the gym, which was founded in 2008.
It offers various services such as personal training, boot camps and monthly 'adventures' which involve hiking, cycling, running, boxing and other activities.
Location: The gym, above, typically attracts women aged between 35 and 55
Comrades: It also offers regular off-site boot camps which are popular
Ms Green, a certified personal trainer, said larger women feel intimidated by skinny women when they're working out in regular gyms.
She wanted to eliminate that problem through her own business.
'The presence of that person in our program will bring down morale,' she said. '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.'
She added that many of her clients had attempted to get fit in the past – but had failed.
'Some people in a gym are judgmental to people who are overweight or have a different body type'
'Many of our clients have not had successful fitness pasts so I can see the anxiety before we get started,' she said. 'And I can see the relief and happiness after we finish.'
Further Body Exchange locations are on their way to attracting even more clients including one in Maple Ridge, Metro Vancouver, which opened yesterday.
Wendy McNary, a Body Exchange client who is aged in her early Fifties, said it's hard going to regular gyms when you're overweight.
'It's intimidating going into a gym setting,' she said. 'I honestly think some people in a gym setting are judgmental to people who are overweight or have a different body type.'
Since joining Body Exchange, which she uses as well as an additional weight loss program, she has lost 50lbs and exercises six days per week.