I’ve considered and reconsidered posting this for a long time. It was written in September and when I wrote it I was still livid. Reading back over it I realise that I still stand by what I said so I want to share it with you. Please do comment honestly with your thoughts. I know that many people disagree with me on some of the issues, but come on now, fat suits at Pride as a marketing tool, surely everyone can see how problematic that is. Anyway enough of the ranty pre-intro, here goes…
Maybe you’ve seen via Twitter that I’ve become very unhappy with a particular gym company. I have been a member of PureGym for a short time, maybe about 6 months, and I’ve never particularly liked it but this weekend took a turn. I was returning to the gym for the first time since I had a very bad fall related to my hypermobility at the start of summer. On arrival to the gym I was bombarded with what can only be described as weight loss propaganda advertising a weight loss class my gym is running. We’re not just talking a poster here or there. This was a poster in every possible place you could put one, including not being able to enter the changing rooms without passing a “before and after” picture with some kind of “inspirational” blurb, or being unable to use the toilet without seeing an advert for the class staring at you. When I finally reached the gym area there were two large whiteboards set up. One advertising the class and the other advertising “National Weight Loss Week” which is apparently a thing. To top it all off the public address system they use, which is always far too loud to listen to your own music over at a sensible volume, was blaring out an advert every few songs with the cracking tag line “why not fast track your fitness and join Pure Loser?” because we all know weight loss and fitness are the same thing right?!
After all this I took to Twitter calling PureGym out on this and questioning whether everybody really is welcome like they claim in their marketing. I am yet to receive a response.
Through my tweet and others picking it up and sharing it I discovered that PureGym recently used people dressed in fat suits in an attempt to recruit new members at Manchester Pride of all places. As a friend of mine said when we were discussing this, the Pride movement is one of acceptance and love and one of the least appropriate places for body shaming. Not to mention the fact that LGBT* people are often at increased risk of self esteem and body image issues. Yet again, on this occasion, as far as anyone can tell PureGym have not publicly responded to any of these complaints.
Clearly this is not a company I want to be giving my money to. The only problem with that is that in Aberdeen City centre it is the only reasonably priced gym. That’s the only reason I joined there. Since I moved to the other side of town, my old gym, which I loved is just too far away. So I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. I want to work on my fitness and work out for enjoyment, stress relief and to get me motivated for the day ahead but is doing so in a toxic environment really worth it? Due to my joint issues I really need gym equipment to have a proper workout and as you will have seen in an earlier post I’m really keen, now that I’m able to, to work out more.
I’ve paid for this month anyway so at the moment I’m making the most of my membership, going regularly, taking luxurious long showers, blow drying my hair etc and making sure that the company doesn’t make a profit off me while I decide what I’m going to do.
Have you had any uncomfortable experiences with a gym company like this? I’d like to believe gyms could play a part in recovery, and have had conversations via Twitter with Health At Every Size trainers and those who use them, who see huge psychological and physical benefits to their workouts and training. Unfortunately as far as I can tell from scouring the internet, while these trainers do exist in the UK, they haven’t reached Aberdeen yet. Maybe in the future when I move to a bigger city I will be able to find what I’m looking for. If you have had any experience with the Health At Any Size movement I’d love it if you got in touch.