In my fantasies, there would be a gym I could join where membership is solely limited to obese people. The equipment would all be super-sturdy, and built to accommodate very high weights and very wide bottoms. There would be raised, sturdy platforms for people who can’t get down on the floor to do “floor” exercises. (You just have to sit down on the platform, and then lie back on it, and when you’re done it’s easy to get back up again.) There would be trainers specially trained to deal with people with limited abilities (and even some obese trainers who are in otherwise good shape). There would be a scale that goes up to 800 or 1000 lbs. so even the very morbidly obese can weigh themselves. And there would be a small partition around it for privacy, so nobody else has to see what you weigh. There would be a pool with steps and sturdy railings to get in and out of it (and a lift for the handicapped, or those who couldn’t manage steps). It would be a large pool, to accommodate lots of big people. Water exercise is the best for people with joint issues, and difficulty standing or walking. There would also be a couple large hot tubs with soothing water jets and wide seats built in to accommodate large people.

It would be a place where morbidly obese people could feel safe going. There would be no thin, uber-fit people to judge you. No matter what your level of ability, there would be exercises you could do, and equipment you could use. In the bathrooms, the toilet stalls would be wider than regular ones, toilets would be higher than most, and very sturdy, with grab bars on the walls to help you get up. The showers would be wide enough to be accommodating, and would all have hand-held sprayers to be able to reach all your parts. There would be mirrors in some places, but not all over the walls to have to constantly watch yourself and feel embarrassed about the way you look with all your fat jiggling as you work out. There wouldn’t be any big picture windows so that people walking by outside could look in and gawk. It would support privacy. And maybe they would sell super-size workout wear, or could point you in the direction of some places that sell those things. Everything in this gym would be geared to making it not only easy, but pleasant, for obese people to work out and feel comfortable about doing it. And the name of the gym would be some neutral name that doesn’t have anything to do with obesity. (Nobody wants to be seen walking into a building marked “Supersize fitness for the morbidly obese”.)

I think a lot more obese and morbidly obese people would be willing to go to the gym if they had a place like that to go to. As it is, those who do get up the motivation to want to get some exercise, either can’t find places with equipment to accommodate them, or they feel too self-conscious to go to a place where most of the other members are thin and fit and they have a fear of being judged or scorned.

For someone with the bucks to open up a place like this, it could become a big thing, with gyms all over the country that cater specifically to obese people. It’s an untapped market.

I’m a retired psychiatric technician, a single mom of an adult son, an avid journal-keeper, jewelry-maker, and work-in-progress writer.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store