“You’re Too Fit for LA Fitness”

Planet-Fitness-tells-Bay-Area-woman-to-cover-up-because-her-toned-body-is-intimidatingThis is NOT about affairs or even relationships. Rarely do I delve into other issues here, but I saw this yesterday in the press, and I really and truly have to comment on it.

Apparently, a woman at an LA Fitness in Richmond, VA was told to “cover up” her body because her physique was “too intimidating” to other women in the gym and they have a “no judgment” policy there (to be fit is to “judge”??). It’s absurd on the face of it.

Here is the story:

California woman was told her “toned body” was intimidating other people who were working out a Bay Area Planet Fitness and staff members asked her to cover up.

Tiffany Austin of Richmond joined the gym so that she could work her way back into shape while recovering from a car accident. She tried to work out on Monday, but was stopped after only 15 minutes when other gym members became uncomfortable with what her stomach-revealing tank top and capri-pants were putting on display.

Austin told KTVU that she was approached by a staff member who said, “Excuse me, we’ve had some complaints you’re intimidating people with your toned body. So can you put on a shirt?”

She agreed to put on the shirt, but was bothered by another staff member before she could even put it on. Austin decided enough was enough, requested to speak with a manager and then asked for her money back.

Planet Fitness has 5 million members and a company policy that bans “gymtimidation.”

According to the company website:

“We at Planet Fitness are here to provide a unique environment in which anyone — and we mean anyone — can be comfortable. A diverse, Judgement Free Zone® where a lasting, active lifestyle can be built. Our product is a tool, a means to an end; not a brand name or a mold-maker, but a tool that can be used by anyone. In the end, it’s all about you.”

A spokesperson from the Planet Fitness corporate office said the company “strives to make everyone feel comfortable” but that the staff and manager can evaluate the dress code at their own discretion.


Couple things. I’m adding this woman’s picture in the “offending” outfit.

902b44b0-afab-11e3-8647-4b5a574e7fce_Tiffany-AustinShe’s fit. But she’s not THAT fit. She’s a little soft.  She’s normal.  Not “average” (which means what is, which is generally overweight in the population), but she is as a fit woman would be/should be, more or less.  But she’s not like RIPPED.  And it’s not like she’s dressed as a stripper is she?  So this is intimidating?

Second, can you imagine men complaining about this? I workout all the time, so I know what I speak of. I’m a gym rat. Sometimes twice a day (at lunch in my office gym, then after work at a cardio boxing class). I can’t imagine being “intimidated” by a younger, more fit man, and having to whine and complain to management about the guy. Men just don’t do this.

But some women do? Why? Is it rampant female insecurity in society? Or simply female competition and silly jealousy?  Have we gone from pushing “Fat Acceptance” on the population to now we’re actually promoting “Fit Shaming”? That fit people are now supposed to be ashamed of being in shape?

When I see fit people, ones more than me, it doesn’t intimidate me. It DRIVES me to be more fit!

This I don’t get. It’s a head-scratcher. I think it’s pathetic. The woman in the story apparently got a refund. I would sue the company. I think it’s simply absurd.

Add another irony to this:  LA Fitness has “Pizza Nights” and “Bagel Breakfasts”.  Exactly how does this promote “Fitness”??


8 thoughts on ““You’re Too Fit for LA Fitness”

  1. Omg I would love pizza nights!!! Totally goes against my “no carbs after 3 PM policy but I do love pizza.
    About her outfit, I wonder if they have a dress code/policy? My gym does not allow the showing of one’s midriff, whether you are male or female. I personally would not feel comfortable showing my abs at the gym, and I don’t know that any of the women at my gym would care to either. I just Googled my gyms dress policy and found this:
    “Dress  Code:  A  capped  sleeve  t-‐shirt  is  required  in  the  Co-‐ed  Cardio  and  Strength  Training  Area.    No  tank  tops  or  sleeveless  shirts,  please.    Shorts  must  be  modest  in  nature.    Tank  tops  may  be  worn  in  the  Studios  or  women’s  only  area”. Turns out I am breaking the rule (as is almost every other woman there) about the “no tank top” in the co-ed section. I love my lu-lu tanks. I’m such a rule breaker!!
    I wonder if this story was written from this woman’s perspective (ie: I’m too hot for this gym!!) and that perhaps she was not adhering to an already established dress policy and that was why she was asked to find a shirt with more material.

    • you’re missing the point. LA Fitness asked her to “cover up her intimidating body.” She was NOT violating their dress code. She just apparently made some apparently UNfit women feel uncomfortable and they made her change clothes because of it. It’s so absurd on the face it, I frankly am gob-smacked. But no dress codes were violated. This is PC run amok. This is “Fat Acceptance” being turned into “Fit Shaming.” It’s stupidity beyond words.

      I mean, what if I was working out and saying that seeing fat or ugly people was making me sick, and complained to management and asked whether management could have them put bags over their heads or work out during different hours? Would that make sense?

      Frankly, it’s absurd, but no more crazy than this PC-fueled “Your body intimidates me, cover it up” nonsense.

  2. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a woman who complained. Most women who have worn outfits like that (I have) know how they fit & feel on your body, and know that wearing that isn’t about comfort, it’s a fashion statement. Whether she’s proud of her tummy, or the name brand she’s wearing, she’s not wearing that because it’s the most comfortable thing she’s ever worn to work out in. Do I think everyone who complained did it because they find the sight of a toned bare tummy offensive? No. But I doubt they all did so because they were intimidated by her toned body either. That sounds like ego talking to me, and I wonder if the staff member actually said “Excuse me, we’ve had some complaints you’re intimidating people with your toned body.”, or that’s just what she would like to tell herself.

  3. I commented on this earlier, but I think I sent it off into the ozone somewhere because I’m not seeing it when I log in now. They apparently don’t explain their “gymtimidation” policy well to their employees, or stress polite, tactful interactions with their customers. If their spokesperson actually cited the dress code being at the discretion of gym management, then that leaves a lot open to their personal discrimination. I personally don’t want to look at bare tummies at the gym. For one thing, not everyone who is proud of their physique has a tummy the rest of us really want to see. There are mountains of comfortable & stylish work out clothes that don’t expose even the most generous cleavage or your entire mid-section – and that goes for men and women alike. If that’s what’s in line with LA Fitness policies, they should post signs to that effect, and keep reminders of that policy strictly polite & professional. But all that said, the quote: “Excuse me, we’ve had some complaints you’re intimidating people with your toned body.” sounds a little far-fetched to me, and I wouldn’t have hung around past that long enough to be approached a second time. However, if that IS exactly what was said to her – twice – I would still say that there’s no guarantee that this is what the complainers said. Or that they were women. I’ve known a few men in my life who were disturbed by exposed female body parts as well – toned or not.

  4. I think you pegged it. In this “I love my curves ” society women are very insecure when it comes to other women that look better than them. To be honest this woman doesn’t look “fit” to me. Go to LA or Miami beach- those girls are FLAWLESS. I think it’s part of the female mentality that everyone has to be friends, be nice, and not outshine each other. I’d be curious to see the bodies of the women that complained.

  5. That’s ridiculous. Her body is NOT intimidating in the slightest, unless that gym particularly caters to those 300lbs and over. She is an average everyday healthy looking person, I would also think she would be looked at as something to strive for. I can tell you. I certainly don’t have a problem seeing extremely overweight people in my gym, I’m happy for them for being courageous enough to take that incredibly hard step. And I’m more than happy to see those very toned men and women…as I’m doing those last few counts with my weights wanting to give up, I see them and I’m able to push those last few pumps, making me very proud of myself. Good interesting topic 🙂

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