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Brief Published: 18 Jan 2012

Gyms Must Not Just Target the Slim


The LA Times has published an article entitled ‘Gyms Often Alienate the Obese’, reporting that many fitness centres are off-putting to overweight clients. In addition to relaying the market research behind the statements, the piece also reveals a slew of new gyms that are addressing this issue by catering for larger members – such as Chicago-based Downsize Fitness.

Designed exclusively for people who have at least 50 pounds to lose, Downsize Fitness – cited as one of the gyms leading the pack – has discreet frosted windows and equipment designed especially for larger users. Opened by 38-year-old hedge fund manager Francis Wisniewski, it was conceived as a reaction to his own feelings of discomfort as an overweight person working out in mainstream gyms.

The feature follows a report by global market research firm IBISWorld, which states that although US gym membership is at an all-time high, fitness centres are not catering for the obese – despite this being the group that could benefit the most.

The research also highlights that while many workout deterrents – such as sharing exercise space with the opposite sex – are universal, overweight people need more “emotional support, positive reinforcement and privacy” than slimmer members.

See our report David Barton and the Gym Revolution for more on how fitness centres are evolving to match new consumer attitudes.

Gyms Often Alienate the Obese


Downsize Fitness