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The Obese Turn to Private Gyms after Mainstream Alienation

“As an overweight person, it’s in my head that I’m being judged, whether it’s true or not.” These are the words spoken by Francis Wisniewski, a 38-year-old hedge fund manager and father of three. His emotions about being judged while working out at a gym lead him to open Downsize Fitness, a place just for the overweight to workout. It appears there‚Äôs a growing need for places just like this.

Downsize Fitness is new to the Chicago gym scene and is discreetly designed just for people looking to lose at least 50 pounds. Trim men and women are not allowed as members. In fact, when a member hits their weight goal and changes their lifestyle their time at Downsize ends.

Wisniewski created Downsize Fitness after he was finally able to lose 60 pounds by working one-on-one with an in-home trainer verses a gym or club. Wisniewski shared the same feelings as most overweight people prior to his private sessions. According to a 2009 report in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, most overweight people feel embarrassed and intimidated about exercising around younger and fitter people. Furthermore, other deterrents stand in the way. Many overweight people were put off by exercising with the opposite sex, using complicated equipment, and simply by the boredom of the gym. These issues can be true for normal weight gym members too, but heavier members tend to need more support and privacy.
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