Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Too Bad, You're Fat!

I was at the gym yesterday and saw a guy there who was probably close to 400 lbs. Obviously, this doesn't happen often, or it wouldn't be cause for comment. He was diligently using the lat pulldown and a series of other pull-strength exercises. He used a balance ball to sit on because, well, the machine seats are too narrow and hard for *my* ass, and this guy's twice as big as me.

I thought how cool it was that he was there doing some weightlifting, and wondered why he wasn't doing some cardio, too. And then I took a good look around at the cardio machines. I looked at the narrow handrails on the treadmill and the elliptical and the uncomfortable seats on most of the bikes, and I realized he was likely going to steer clear of those and... oh, and most of the weight machines, too, with their assumptions of "average male" (which works for me, cause I'm about the size of the average guy, but if you're really small or really big, not so much).

We live in a world that gets pissed at fat people for being fat but won't put together exercise equipment for them and welcome them into their facilities. There are very few exercise programs for really overweight people, but rich, usually thin, people like to bitch and bitch about all that "gross, unhealthy fat," while not recognizing we're living in a culture that so stigmatizes the fat that some women haven't had the nerve to get in a swimsuit and swim in 20 years. How screwed up is that?

Anyhow, it was cool to see him there, making the routines work for him. It would be great to see more big people at the gym. Gym culture tends to breed a lot of people who look really alike, and it's nice to see some variety. In the real world, people are a lot more diverse.

3 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I'm not 400 lbs, but I felt sort of the same way about *myself* yesterday.

I never thought about the machines themselves being inhibitors to excercise because of size.

He might also prefer to do his cardio in other ways, outside of the gym. I prefer to do my cardio/cooldown right after the gym, on my bike on the way home, for instance; or perhaps he's following the advice that was given on a site you recommended, that if one is just starting out and very heavy, one might do short bursts of cardio at first, spaced out during one's day.


Posted by jpjeffrey

Anonymous said...

In other fatty news CBS nightly news on Weds. found one of those normal looking 'Dove' girls in the infamous ad campaign. They did a story on her just being an average barrista in Chicago I think. (A Tea bar?). In any case, she was I think one of the smallest one's in the ad at a size 6. Imagine that, defining 'normal' as a size 6. She's tres cute but when she went to a modeling agency they told her 'They don't do plus sized models!' She was rightly stunned. The guys they interviewed on the streets were too. 'She looks a little like my wife' was the kind of comments they showed. I think she looks like your wife perhaps 20 years ago. But I'm betting guys beat a path to her door now. I don't know anyone who likes the Twiggy's. (OK so that dates me here. Even she's looking a bit normal now.)

But it's a good point on the machinery. I imagine it's hard to design suff that will hold up under those conditions. Too many things can go wrong, and you don't want anyone falling off. And no one wants to be sued. So it's track walking & swimming for him. Me, I usually try and talk with them. If they're old enough, they've got interesting stories to tell. We've got 1-2 of these guys in our gym. The ladies of that size just never last long somehow. The guys are a hoot however.

Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'


Posted by VJ

Anonymous said...

Wow, its nice to see some "regular" sized people are aware of a big person's dilemna. I tip the scales at about 400 pounds. I'm not sure what I weigh because not even the Doctor's office scale goes that high.

I don't care to go to the gym for my workout, becuase my workout time is the same as 90% of the other folks and I don't like the idea of waiting 15 minutes between machines, and I don't care to be gawked at. I've tried finding less expensive machines to buy for home use, but they are next to impossible to find. Most are rated at 250 pounds.

Oh well. I'm stuck to walking for now. However, I've made my own medicine ball, have plastic bats filled with sand, and also use the long rubber tubes for working out. Where there's a will, there's a way!

My wife is a larger lady and has just started doing water aerobics. This is just about the most perfect workout for a larger woman. She goes with a friend and after three weeks her muscle tone has improved vastly and she has lost some fat. I'm very proud of her. It helped me get off my ass, too. Now if I could get her to quit smoking. ;) 

Posted by Cody