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Fitness, Not Hateness April 11, 2012 1:36 PM   Subscribe

It's not cool to hate on fit people.

Hey y'all. The idea that people into fitness are a judgmental sort is toss around like a given fact in this thread.

I know better than to wade into that thread and derail it with counter claims, but I would like to open up the floor to a discussion about this and future questions. I'm not asking for any sort of protected class designation, but I don't think that Metafilter would allow a similar question to remain about a specific race/gender/whatever with similar assertions.

"I think that kind of judgmental attitude is endemic to gym culture in general but I've found that community centers tend to attract people who don't buy into the whole "fitness as a lifestyle" thing but rather want to exercise with emphasize on health, not vanity."

"I am also a plus-sized lady living in NYC and want to start exercising again but have not gone to gyms for exactly the reasons you cite."

I am the fattest person at my gym, and I deal with the stares and disgust by sort of reveling in ruining the beautiful people's gym experience. There they are, all lean and stylish, and they have to look at my slovenly form while I get to look at them. Hohoho, pretty people! I'm in ur gym, screwing up ur matchless vista.

Replace those sentences with a race/class/gender and it would be flagged to death in an instant.
posted by unixrat to Etiquette/Policy at 1:36 PM (224 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Uh, no one said that all fit people are like that, merely that it is an attitude they encountered in NYC gyms.

Replace those sentences with a race/class/gender and it would be flagged to death in an instant.

That's because racism/classism/sexism are actual problems whereas an institutional bias against thin good-looking people is all in your head.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:39 PM on April 11, 2012 [90 favorites]


Erm, I took the last example as kind of a self-projecting thing (i.e., "that thought exists only in the poster's head").
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:39 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh geez.
posted by koeselitz at 1:39 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


unixrat: " Hey y'all. The idea that people into fitness are a judgmental sort is toss around like a given fact in this thread."

It's not being tossed around as a "given fact." It's being explained as one person's experiences in a specific environment.

unixrat: " Replace those sentences with a race/class/gender and it would be flagged to death in an instant. "

Are fit people a minority who have been subjected to institutionalized oppression?
posted by zarq at 1:41 PM on April 11, 2012 [16 favorites]


What counterclaims do you need to add to a thread where an overweight woman wants to work out somewhere where she's not the least in shape person there? This is one person's subjective feeling and she is looking for advice on places she can go to feel less like this. It's possible that the answer is "you can't really do this" which a few people have mentioned in the comments. Not all questions need to be for all people. Wanting to be around more Jews at Passover or more Catholics at Easter [if you were somewhere where those people were in the numerical minority] would be likewise fine.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:41 PM on April 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


There are sometimes reflexive anti-jock/anti-sports/anti-good looking people attitudes (cf Ashley Judd, any sports thread) by some members here, but those examples you gave there seem pretty innocuous.
posted by kmz at 1:43 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh please.

I deal with the stares and disgust by sort of reveling in ruining the beautiful people's gym experience.

This sort of talk does nothing but perpetuate the idea that gyms are elitist areas that treat fat people badly.
posted by unixrat at 1:44 PM on April 11, 2012


well, I dunno, unixrat...I want to support your point, here, but my last gym experience ended after a series of anti-"fatty" encounters with some very fit people. and the people who have mocked my outdoor attempts were all superlatively fit. I think this means a question about fitness experiences in geographic locations I've been in would have had similar output from me.

that said, I recognise that "some" does not equal "all", and would support raising awareness of this fact, if that's what you're asking.

also, I think some of what you quoted was meant as reference to the poster's own headspace, rather than objective reality.

if you're standing up as a very fit person supportive of less fit people in fitness settings, I want you to know that I appreciate you for this outlook and hope you understand you may seem somewhat rare to those who have had negative experiences.
posted by batmonkey at 1:44 PM on April 11, 2012 [15 favorites]


Since one of those is my comment, I feel obliged to respond.

I don't see where I was bigoted against skinny people, merely that I refuse to feel bad if they find me a less than pleasing object in their eyeline. If you think that counts in the same category as actual bigotry, you're an idiot.
posted by winna at 1:44 PM on April 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


It's not cool to hate on fit people. -- Maybe try to have a little empathy and realize that those observations probably come from insecurity and low self-esteem more than anything else.
posted by crunchland at 1:45 PM on April 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


Maybe try to have a little empathy and realize that those observations probably come from insecurity and low self-esteem more than anything else.

I get that.

What if the question was:

"I'd like to go into an area with black people, but I'm white and they hate me, help me find an area where white people are safe to go."

There's no way that people would let that fly. But these exact assertions are allowed to remain in this and other fitness-related questions.
posted by unixrat at 1:48 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


WTF dude, do you really not see the difference between racism and someone being self-conscious as a new person in a gym?

Go check out the metafilter post on juvenile incarceration and then get back to me about how hard it is to fit the societal ideal. For fuck's sake.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:49 PM on April 11, 2012 [49 favorites]


Replace those sentences with a race/class/gender and it would be flagged to death in an instant.

"I am the fattest whitest person at my gym, and I deal with the stares and disgust by sort of reveling in ruining the beautiful people's black people's gym experience. There they are, all lean ebony and stylish dark, and they have to look at my slovenly form pasty skin while I get to look at them. Hohoho, pretty people! I'm in ur gym, screwing up ur matchless vista."

"I am the fattest blackest person at my gym, and I deal with the stares and disgust by sort of reveling in ruining the beautiful people's white people's gym experience. There they are, all lean fair and stylish flaxen, and they have to look at my slovenly form blackness while I get to look at them. Hohoho, pretty people! I'm in ur gym, screwing up ur matchless vista."

No that does not, in fact, make a damn lick of sense.
posted by griphus at 1:50 PM on April 11, 2012 [12 favorites]


The offensive part of your statement is the part about safety, and that really doesn't apply to the question about the gyms.
posted by crunchland at 1:50 PM on April 11, 2012


What if the question was:

"I'd like to go into an area with black people, but I'm white and they hate me, help me find an area where white people are safe to go."


Because you can't just play madlibs with different nouns. Context matters, always. Also - I don't see anyone really accusing all fit people of being prejudiced, they're just expressing their personal experiences.
posted by Think_Long at 1:51 PM on April 11, 2012 [10 favorites]


"I'd like to go into an area with black people, but I'm white and they hate me, help me find an area where white people are safe to go."

There have actually been questions about how to attend churches/concerts/events that were "for" other cultures/"races" phrased very like this. And they were (to my recollection) answered in good faith.
posted by batmonkey at 1:52 PM on April 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


I wouldn't say that the OP's assertions about "fear" were entirely disregarded. For example, here, theraflu constructively called out the OP for the perhaps-irrational fear and intimidation that the OP was feeling and tried to motivate the OP to cast those fears aside.
posted by cranberrymonger at 1:52 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Interesting, griphus; when you put it out there like that, the self-loathing/self-esteem issue is what gets exposed more readily, not the hate that unixrat is suggesting exists. So yeah, unixrat, you're kind of defeating your own point there.
posted by davejay at 1:53 PM on April 11, 2012


Also, missing the deliberate self deprecating absurdist humor in my comment takes considerable effort. Kudos for that heavy lifting, sir or madam!
posted by winna at 1:53 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


unixrat: " This sort of talk does nothing but perpetuate the idea that gyms are elitist areas that treat fat people badly."

Try being one. Especially in NYC. I go to a gym in midtown near my office and while the experience is usually positive, it hasn't always been so.

unixrat: " What if the question was:

"I'd like to go into an area with black people, but I'm white and they hate me, help me find an area where white people are safe to go."
"

Once again, the two situations are not in any way equivalent because thin people are not automatically a member of an oppressed minority. And for what it's worth, when comparing fat people and fit people on a scale of who is more likely to be discriminated against, joked about, poked fun at, disrespected or accused of moral failures, or even bullied for their weight, the fit people aren't exactly at risk.
posted by zarq at 1:53 PM on April 11, 2012 [27 favorites]


It is a pretty common attitude, but not so pervasive that I've ever felt uncomfortable on any of the sites here. It's not really hurtful or an issue, because it's not accompanied by a power relationship; fit people aren't exactly oppressed.

With that said though, it's an assumption that should be combated, not for the fit people, but for the people that believe it. If it keeps them away from public beaches, gymnasiums, sports, and whatever the hell else it is that they're wanting to do then I'd say it's a problem.

That kind of divide doesn't serve anyone, and it's in everyone's interest to foster understanding. Reminds me of the race to the bottom anti-intellectualism we get going where I live. Silly stuff, and we'd be better off without it.

Everyone starts somewhere, and most people aren't born athletic. I think most people understand that, and I wouldn't want anyone to be scared away from a public facility because of ideas to the contrary.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:55 PM on April 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


Similarly, I once went to the local roller rink (yes, I'm a big dork) on a night where the customers were almost exclusively African-American, and I stood out like a sore thumb. There was some staring, and some obvious chatting about me. It so happens I don't care about that -- and most folks there didn't care and a few were downright embracing (in one case literally), but if the attention bothered me, I might ask if there was a roller rink in the area where I would stand out less. I don't think that would be unreasonable; I totally think that would stand.
posted by davejay at 1:56 PM on April 11, 2012


This sort of talk does nothing but perpetuate the idea that gyms are elitist areas that treat fat people badly.

Oh, man. I have been fat and I have been thin. There's a HUGE difference in the way you are treated. And there's a HUGE difference in the internal dialogue you have with yourself, particularly in body conscious settings such as gyms and boutiques. Not everyone is judgemental, but it happens enough that it's hard to assume you're not being judged.
posted by mochapickle at 1:56 PM on April 11, 2012 [41 favorites]


This sort of talk does nothing but perpetuate the idea that gyms are elitist areas that treat fat people badly. (unixratPoster)

The thing is, in New York, while there are plenty of gyms that aren't this way (and many are recommended in the thread) there are lots of gyms that are purportedly for anyone who wants to come in, but where if you are a fat person (like me) you do find an atmosphere of hostility. For a certain subset of New York culture, gyms are a status symbol. People don't go to Equinox and David Barton for the unparalleled fitness experience alone; they go there to see and be seen. So if you're just a shmo who wants to lose a few pounds, you're in the wrong place.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:56 PM on April 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


So this is unexpected... It's as if the OP is totally unaware that substantially overweight people might be legitimately sensitive about their appearance, especially in an environment (a New York City gym) dominated by thinner, fitter people.

If that sensitivity manifests itself as projection (imagining the fit people looking at them in disgust), so be it. What do you want? Explicit acceptance of the legitimacy of being fit and attractive from people who are overweight?! Good grief, find something real to complain about!
posted by BobbyVan at 1:56 PM on April 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


I was actually this close to posting to ask how to avoid the well meaning but creepy dudes who talk to me when I'm working out at the gym even though I have headphones in and am reading a book.... It's not anti-dude-ist, I love dudes, just not ones who are jerks. Similar thing here, I think.

At some level we have to work with what people's subjective experiences are. If we think their reporting is outside of the realm of likelihood it's fine to gently question their assumptions. If you're so pissed off at the question that you can't do that, or if all you want to do is question their assumptions and not answer the question, it's possible that he question just isn't for you and it's okay to keep moving.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:57 PM on April 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


of course, there's a key difference there, as I wouldn't become more African-American over time as I skated more, but now I'm just being silly.
posted by davejay at 1:58 PM on April 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


Everyone starts somewhere, and most people aren't born athletic. I think most people understand that, and I wouldn't want anyone to be scared away from a public facility because of ideas to the contrary.

I totally agree. This is why I'm bringing it up here.

If you're so pissed off at the question that you can't do that, or if all you want to do is question their assumptions and not answer the question, it's possible that he question just isn't for you and it's okay to keep moving.

Which is why I brought it here and didn't open it there.
posted by unixrat at 1:59 PM on April 11, 2012


I have long wanted to post a very similar thread, as someone that works in an industry full of tiny skinny blonde girls, and happens to be tall, larger and on fattening crazy meds. Really, any larger woman - and I'll bet men too - has thought and felt the same.

I was someone who was picked on at school for being dyspraxic and awkward and when I go out for a run, it;s hard to tell the voices in my head that are telling me everyone is pointing and laughing to shut the hell up.
posted by mippy at 2:00 PM on April 11, 2012


...as I wouldn't become more African-American over time as I skated more...

Depends, we have honorary memberships. Send in your application today!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:01 PM on April 11, 2012 [27 favorites]


For what it's worth, the idea that simple fitness discussion are equivalent to fat-shaming and ignorance is allowed here also: http://ask.metafilter.com/211389/One-word-earphones

I work with two 5ft UK size 6 coworkers. I, on the other hand, am 6ft and UK 16.

I feel your pain.

After a time, I grew the attitude of 'thank god I'm not like them' purely because they just can't see how ignorant it is to lament eating a scone. A scone. Or something like a sandwich AND coleslaw for lunch.


I am kinda already a "failure as a woman" though, so it worries me a shitload less not to be around such horrible people. In your case I might even say "you realise your entire conversation revolves around "how not to look like me" right?".
posted by unixrat at 2:02 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE THIN, ATHLETIC AND GOOD LOOKING PEOPLE?
posted by crunchland at 2:03 PM on April 11, 2012 [43 favorites]


unixrat, it's very weird that you saw a parallel between this and racism or sexism, because that parallel makes absolutely no sense. You can't just claim discrimination any time you don't like the way one group is being treated.

I mean, ignoring all the other obvious differences between anti-fit-people-ism (?) and racism, there isn't a commonly-accepted belief in the United States that black people could be white if they just tried hard enough, or that the fact that they're still black indicates that they're lazy or slovenly or have terrible eating habits.
posted by koeselitz at 2:04 PM on April 11, 2012 [14 favorites]


And there's a HUGE difference in the internal dialogue you have with yourself, particularly in body conscious settings such as gyms and boutiques. Not everyone is judgemental, but it happens enough that it's hard to assume you're not being judged.

But that's an internal dialogue; how many people are actually judging you, you have no idea. So it's not really fair to condemn anyone who's not explicitly doing anything to you for doing something to you.

As a fit gym member, I hardly even notice anyone at the gym, unless they're using the equipment I want, at which point I'm hating them with the fire of a thousand suns. It isn't one big "look how much better I look than these people" fest.

WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE THIN, ATHLETIC AND GOOD LOOKING PEOPLE?

Wow, a Simpsons meme. Weren't you in here the other day talking about a tired meme?
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 2:05 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Shorter MeTa: Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful
posted by BobbyVan at 2:07 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Rodrigo Lamaitre: "As a fit gym member, I hardly even notice anyone at the gym, unless they're using the equipment I want, at which point I'm hating them with the fire of a thousand suns."

Hey, I need it more than you do. ;)
posted by zarq at 2:08 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


forgot the link!
posted by BobbyVan at 2:08 PM on April 11, 2012


To dilute the subject even more, it's a good idea to be very careful about statements that imply it's better to be fit.*

I'm an active person, and it works for me. Personal choice. It's totally fine not to live like that though. It can be a fine line between encouraging/empowering other people to do something they want to do, and pressuring them to do something that they don't want to do. You fall on the wrong side of that line, and hackles will go up. No doubt that's where some of the suspicion and hurt feelings come from.

*All the more so because "fit" isn't a very absolute or measurable thing.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:09 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think that Metafilter would allow a similar question to remain about a specific race/gender/whatever with similar assertions.

I think you're right!

Replace those sentences with a race/class/gender and it would be flagged to death in an instant.

Probably, yeah! That would be a pretty different question, all right!

Anyway, cool metatalk everybody!
posted by Greg Nog at 2:10 PM on April 11, 2012 [51 favorites]


This is why I only hang out with people who are fatter than I am
posted by KokuRyu at 2:11 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I work with two 5ft UK size 6 coworkers. I, on the other hand, am 6ft and UK 16.

This is pretty much my situation, and, well, you know the sociological concept of the Other? That's how I feel a lot of the time. One of my co-workers made fun of the fact that I am one of the first to have any of the treats going around the office (I had a tiny piece of something) within my earshot, basically along the lines of 'well, at least if those two greedy bitches get up first, it puts ME off going, smug smug'. I'd done my first Couch 2 5K run at lunch, and I felt pretty good about that, but I've just spent the past ten minutes on the phone to my boyfriend on the verge of tears because a) it feels like there's no point b) I want it to be a positive thing and not some kind of personal fat-shaming, but, at the risk of being melodramatic, sometimes the world doesn't want to let you create your own narrative when it comes to dealing with weight, exercise and health. (Another colleague said to me during a discussion that they shouldn't make clothes in large sizes because 'it encourages it' - I'm not quite plus size but WTF - but then dissed size zero as 'unhealthy'.)
posted by mippy at 2:14 PM on April 11, 2012 [21 favorites]


As a fit gym member, I hardly even notice anyone at the gym, unless they're using the equipment I want, at which point I'm hating them with the fire of a thousand suns.

Yep. You're in the zone and the other person is just slowing you down and you want them DEAD DEAD DEAD, so you can get the damn routine over with and have that bowl of ice cream

Juries would not convict on such a hate crime.

"Oh, he was taking forever on the elliptical?! Hell yeah, strangling him with the jump rope was understandable. Probably got a cardio workout from it too, way to go!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:14 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sorry to rant but I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself as all my running kudos feels like it's evaporated. Rubbish.
posted by mippy at 2:14 PM on April 11, 2012


crunchland: "WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE THIN, ATHLETIC AND GOOD LOOKING PEOPLE?"

obligatory
posted by schmod at 2:15 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Shorter MeTa: Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful

See, this is what really bugs me about this topic. I spend ~ 10-15 hours a week at the gym, none of which are because I want to be beautiful. My body is a consequence of the kinds of things that are going to keep me healthy and alive.

In my family run thyroid imbalances, heart disease, attacks and strokes, all kinds of hip and knee replacements and yes, obesity. All of my elder family members have some combination of these issues. My family history is riddled with early death. It terrifies me. I also put on 10 pounds if I sit around for a couple of weeks, so I know the window between where I am now and where I end up unhealthy is not that long.

So while you're judging the guy with pecs and quads and all of that, keep in mind that some of us are running from the same things that you are. When you're going skin deep in your analysis of the kinds of people who might defend a topic like this, that perhaps there's more to it than just vapid, beauty hungry monsters.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 2:16 PM on April 11, 2012 [15 favorites]




Sorry to rant but I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself as all my running kudos feels like it's evaporated. Rubbish.
posted by mippy at 2:14 PM on April 11 [+] [!]


They're assholes.
Any more detailed response is in danger of becoming a rant.

Their bad behavior shouldn't diminish your achievements any. We have to measure success against our own goals. Hang in there.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:18 PM on April 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


mippy, I will give you running kudos. I am afraid to run because of my inherent dorkiness and I am really impressed with you for trying it. Your coworker should be ashamed and sad for her thoughtless comment, not you.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:18 PM on April 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


The spread of stereotypes is a bad thing. It doesn't matter if the stereotype is about a persecuted group of people or a privileged group of people. "Fit people are jerks" isn't a great thing to say just because you start the sentence with "Fit people" (even the implied "some" in front of that doesn't make it any better).
posted by 23skidoo at 2:19 PM on April 11, 2012


I was actually this close to posting to ask how to avoid the well meaning but creepy dudes who talk to me when I'm working out at the gym even though I have headphones in and am reading a book.

BIGGER headphones, if they are not too annoying while working out. Huge ones, not earbuds.

I asked a question a long time ago about how to not be bothered by desperadoes while on planes and trains. The most effective suggestion by far that I have found from that, was sunglasses. Sunglasses + huge headphones = nobody says a thing to me. But I don't know if you could get away with sunglasses inside a gym. Maybe fake glasses with really large and thick frames would work, I think it is really all about not being able to see the other person's eyes.
posted by cairdeas at 2:20 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't have minded, but said person was once very overweight and lost a lot of it through changes in habits. That's without taking what amounts to a sleeping pill crossed with Weight Gain 4000, which is what makes changing my diet dramatically very difficult.
posted by mippy at 2:20 PM on April 11, 2012


So while you're judging the guy with pecs and quads and all of that, keep in mind that some of us are running from the same things that you are. When you're going skin deep in your analysis of the kinds of people who might defend a topic like this, that perhaps there's more to it than just vapid, beauty hungry monsters.

I'm in the same fighting-genetics-and-devoting-time-and-energy boat as Rodrigo but for the record I am also a beauty monster1

1. Gaga, Lady. "Born This Way." Interscope Records. 2011.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:21 PM on April 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think that kind of judgmental attitude is endemic to gym culture in general

maybe this one is bad. The rest are statements of fact regarding things that people have encountered. There is no way you have information to deny the personal experiences others have faced, however.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:21 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


MeTas and FPPs concerning 'fitness,' 'exercise,' and especially 'weight training' make for excellent reading on slow days. By reading them, I have basically come to the opinion that I won't participate except at the most stripped-down level.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:22 PM on April 11, 2012


I work with two 5ft UK size 6 coworkers. I, on the other hand, am 6ft and UK 16.

I feel your pain.

After a time, I grew the attitude of 'thank god I'm not like them' purely because they just can't see how ignorant it is to lament eating a scone. A scone. Or something like a sandwich AND coleslaw for lunch.

I am kinda already a "failure as a woman" though, so it worries me a shitload less not to be around such horrible people. In your case I might even say "you realise your entire conversation revolves around "how not to look like me" right?".


Huh. Unixrat, again, I feel like you're hurting your case rather than making it. The quote you chose is of a person lamenting because specific people talk about fitness around them, and they interpret that at least as thoughtless and inconsiderate...which, to be frank, it is. Imagine eating lunch every day with three other people, one of whom has no legs, and speaking at length each day about how difficult it is to buy the perfect shoes.
posted by davejay at 2:22 PM on April 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


So while you're judging the guy with pecs and quads and all of that, keep in mind that some of us are running from the same things that you are. When you're going skin deep in your analysis of the kinds of people who might defend a topic like this, that perhaps there's more to it than just vapid, beauty hungry monsters

You don't want to be judged by the person asking for a non-judgmental fitness experience?

This is the wackest MeTa I have ever seen.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 2:24 PM on April 11, 2012 [19 favorites]


By reading them, I have basically come to the opinion that I won't participate except at the most stripped-down level.

EXCUSE ME SIR, SIR YOU'RE REQUIRED TO WEAR A TOWEL IN THE SAUNA SIR
posted by griphus at 2:24 PM on April 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


You know what confuses me about the world of gym? Supplements. What is that stuff? Do I have to be taking it to be NEW TOP FITTAR? Can I not just eat something with whey in it instead of going about like Little Miss Muffet with a milkshake addiction?
posted by mippy at 2:24 PM on April 11, 2012


Also, just generally, "if you replaced some words in that sentence with some different words, then it would be totally unacceptable" always strikes me as a really odd kind of argument.
posted by oliverburkeman at 2:25 PM on April 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


So while you're judging the guy with pecs and quads and all of that, keep in mind that some of us are running from the same things that you are. When you're going skin deep in your analysis of the kinds of people who might defend a topic like this, that perhaps there's more to it than just vapid, beauty hungry monsters.

I might be crazy, but I thought people were judging the guy with pecs and quads who gives the gym newbie nasty looks and says rude things that they can hear (or can't, but while staring at them.)
posted by davejay at 2:25 PM on April 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


First they came for the fit persons,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a fit person.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:26 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]




You know what confuses me about the world of gym? Supplements. What is that stuff? Do I have to be taking it to be NEW TOP FITTAR? Can I not just eat something with whey in it instead of going about like Little Miss Muffet with a milkshake addiction?


I leave the low-grade animal-proteins for my dog. Maybe that stuff works for some people, but I love eating, I'm not going to drink chalk paste.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:26 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think it is interesting that there are people who are using their perceived experiences (which, thank you for not giving fat people the stink eye, laughing or commenting directly, and being generally discouraging to people who don't look fit we appreciate it) to try and contradict the perceived experiences of others. I mean, as I said, I'm grateful when people just leave me alone to do my business, but that list of experiences up in those parentheses have all actually happened to me. So has being snarled at on the street while I was just walking. This is not a perception that is generated in a vacuum.

And if we're going to equate this with race, the real comparison would be a white man complaining about how people don't like him because of all the things other white men have done to marginalize them. Yes, generalizing to all white men isn't useful, but you can't really blame people for having certain expectations of them due to generalized behavior born out of privilege.
posted by Kimberly at 2:28 PM on April 11, 2012 [14 favorites]


griphus, I'm not that old . . . yet NSFW!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:29 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


shit, i can't remember who we're mad at
posted by facetious at 2:29 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am a fit person. I am also a fat person. These two things are not mutually exclusive. Over the past year, I have become dramatically more fit (having found a gym that I really like and feel comfortable at) without becoming dramatically less fat. But, hey, let's keep assuming that we can tell by looking at someone whether they exercise regularly or not, and that thin=fit.
posted by not that girl at 2:30 PM on April 11, 2012 [45 favorites]


I am a fit person. I am also a fat person. These two things are not mutually exclusive.

Can I favorite this every fifteen minutes for seven days? It will be my new exercise regimen.
posted by davejay at 2:31 PM on April 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


I know that creatine basically does two thirds of fuck all as far as nutritionists are concerned. I wonder if it's like Dumbo's white feather?

A few days ago I was waiting in an airport and reading this book, mainly because all the non-Swedish magazines cost £££££££. It was surprisingly good and non-judgemental, and talks about how the first step in going from sedentary to taking on fitness is actually believing you can do it. Everything I've read in women's mags about diet/fitness is of the 'eat carbs and you may as well become a whale' type of tone, so I had low expectations but found it a very positive read. It's easy enough saying 'go to the gym' but less so if you find it a foreign country populated by folk who are half your size* in every conceivable dimension.

* my running shoes are a US size 12
posted by mippy at 2:33 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just realized that nobody's made a "you're not fit to judge me" kind of joke, and for that I'm grateful.
posted by davejay at 2:34 PM on April 11, 2012


...for what it's worth, when comparing fat people and fit people on a scale...

zarq, I see what you did there.
posted by gauche at 2:35 PM on April 11, 2012


And if we're going to equate this with race, the real comparison would be a white man complaining about how people don't like him because of all the things other white men have done to marginalize them. Yes, generalizing to all white men isn't useful, but you can't really blame people for having certain expectations of them due to generalized behavior born out of privilege.

I don't like the race comparison either. However, also don't agree that "you can't really blame people for having certain expectations of ____ due to generalized behavior born out of privilege."

I have had the experience many times in my life of male strangers being absolutely nasty to me out of the blue because of their expectations about the behavior of attractive young women. Feel totally justified in being nasty to me because of what a brat I must be, what an easy life I must have. Make comments to me about how much I must be judging them and how snotty I was. Totally out of the blue, remember. Men who were strangers to me. Me just standing there minding my own business thinking about something completely unrelated. Extremely frightening.

So... I can't really get behind that, the idea of having negative expectations of a group of people based on nothing more than your perception of their privilege in life.
posted by cairdeas at 2:35 PM on April 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


You do not take a man who for years has been hobbled by barbells and 45 pound Olympic weight plates, liberate him, bring him to the starting line of a race, saying, "you are free to compete with all the others," and still justly believe you have been completely fair.
posted by BobbyVan at 2:37 PM on April 11, 2012


I might be crazy, but I thought people were judging the guy with pecs and quads who gives the gym newbie nasty looks and says rude things that they can hear (or can't, but while staring at them.)

Right, because "don't hate me because I'm beautiful" is clearly showing that level of nuance.

I appreciate calling out judgemental dicks, but tying an internal dialogue that some people have of feeling judged by all the people at the gym to those people is what tends to happen. The OP of the original AskMe is clear, but then people who are talking about ruining beautiful people's experiences at the gym or "won't someone think of the thin, athletic, good looking people" chime in and make it people who look a certain way.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 2:38 PM on April 11, 2012


What if the question was:

"I'd like to go into an area with black people, but I'm white and they hate me, help me find an area where white people are safe to go."

There's no way that people would let that fly. But these exact assertions are allowed to remain in this and other fitness-related questions.


Let's change it the other way round:

"I'd like to go into an area with white people, but I'm black and they hate me. Help me find an area where black people are safe to go."

Not only would that fly, but it would be topical and relevant to current events.

We can even give other examples:

"I'd like to go to bars regularly, but I'm gay and all I can find are redneck bars where people are hostile to me. Help me find a bar where gay people are safe."

"I'd like to go into a career dominated by men, but I'm a woman and they sexually harass women and don't give them equal pay. Help me find a field where women are not victims of discrimination."

Yeah, I'm not seeing your point.
posted by The World Famous at 2:39 PM on April 11, 2012 [13 favorites]


a man who for years has been hobbled by barbells

You should read Starting Strength, there's a lot of good stuff in there about proper form
posted by Greg Nog at 2:39 PM on April 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


"I'd like to ask questions about fitness on an internet forum, but I'm fat and every time I ask questions about fitness and reveal that I'm fat, somebody complains in MeTa that the fat person is complaining about the gym. Help me find an internet forum where I can ask how to avoid fitness jerks without being even further criticized by fitness jerks."

Hey! Changing the question around to find equivalent examples really does work!
posted by The World Famous at 2:45 PM on April 11, 2012 [16 favorites]


When I first read this there were no comments. I was going to make an 'Oh crap are you serious?' comment. But then I thought, 'wait for it dude, people more eloquent than you will handle this'.

I was so right.
posted by Splunge at 2:54 PM on April 11, 2012 [10 favorites]


cairdeas: "I asked a question a long time ago about how to not be bothered by desperadoes while on planes and trains. "
A number of years ago I knew a guy who flies A LOT, and he was/is a writer, and a very busy guy, and he actually loved the time on the plane, a block of time he could devote totally to writing.

Except of course the nice person next to him wanting to ask where he's going, why, what's his mothers name, what size shoe does he wear, etc and etc.

He started putting a string in his nose, just left it dangling out of his nostril as he worked. No one ever said a word to him.
posted by dancestoblue at 2:55 PM on April 11, 2012 [47 favorites]


mippy: My running shoes are a US men's 11. I am a woman. It took me longer than I'd like to admit to be completely un-selfconscious asking for that size at the running store.
posted by matcha action at 2:55 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


While we're chattering about fitness, the Nike plus app with gps on the app store is really magical, though. You can see where you've went on a map and get average speed and elevation and all that stuff. You can set it up so random sporty strangers cheer at you whenyou break your personal records, but I don't.
posted by winna at 2:56 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


gauche: " zarq, I see what you did there."

Not intentionally. I'm not that witty. ;)
posted by zarq at 2:57 PM on April 11, 2012


I've seen a lot of stupid metatalk threads, but this one is pretty much the stupidest.
posted by dfriedman at 2:58 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Running kudos from me too, mippy. Congratulations! Also, your smug colleagues do not deserve to occupy any more of your mental real estate. I'm sure you know this but emphasizing this point might be helpful. Karma will get them for being shitty and thoughtless about and to the people around them. You? You're supercool.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 2:58 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


"I'd like to ask questions about fitness on an internet forum, but I'm fat and every time I ask questions about fitness and reveal that I'm fat, somebody complains in MeTa that the fat person is complaining about the gym. Help me find an internet forum where I can ask how to avoid fitness jerks without being even further criticized by fitness jerks."

I'm just saying that people into fitness are not all jerks and allowing this classifying them as such is an idea harmful to both non-fit and fit people.

I've seen a lot of stupid metatalk threads, but this one is pretty much the stupidest.

Sweet, thanks.
posted by unixrat at 3:00 PM on April 11, 2012


dancestoblue, I'm trying to visualize the string dangling from nostril thing, but how did he get it to stay there? Wouldn't breathing out blow the string out? Did he breathe through his mouth the whole time? Did he stuff the nostril end of the string back in occasionally?
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 3:00 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I spend ~ 10-15 hours a week at the gym, none of which are because I want to be beautiful. My body is a consequence of the kinds of things that are going to keep me healthy and alive.

You protest (and share) too much. The "don't hate me because I'm beautiful" jibe was directed at the OP, not you.

There's plenty of hypersensitive talk on Metafilter about "fat shaming" any time someone makes a normative statement about fitness, adult-onset diabetes or cardiovascular health. I don't think we need to create a new category of "fit shaming." It's just more noise.
posted by BobbyVan at 3:03 PM on April 11, 2012


unixrat: " I'm just saying that people into fitness are not all jerks

Neither did the comment you quoted. It said that people who were into fitness for vanity's sake and not health, were more likely to be jerks.
posted by zarq at 3:03 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm just saying that people into fitness are not all jerks and allowing this classifying them as such is an idea harmful to both non-fit and fit people.

Nobody is saying that people into fitness are all jerks. They're agreeing that the asker's experience is not unique, that it's not in her head, and that many of us have experienced it. It's a real thing. Not all white people murder black kids in hoodies, but it's not unreasonable for a black kid to ask how to avoid places where they might get murdered because they're a black kid in a hoodie. Sorry to use the race example, as it's extreme, but that angle was your idea, so I figure maybe it will help drive the point home.
posted by The World Famous at 3:03 PM on April 11, 2012 [14 favorites]


I was imagining someone maybe with a pierced nose who could thread the string through their piercing?

Either way I am very intrigued and will attempt to try this at some point. I am worried though that it would actually leave me even more open to unwanted conversation and questions. After all the people who would not be put off by this, and are still feeling amorous are often the ones I am really trying to avoid because normal people will leave you alone based on the normal signals of wanting to be left alone. In fact more the more desperate ones will relate to you even more strongly for doing things like this. It is a quandary.
posted by cairdeas at 3:05 PM on April 11, 2012


I know that creatine basically does two thirds of fuck all as far as nutritionists are concerned.
Creatine (monohydrate) supplementation, according to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, is the most effective ergogenic (performance enhancing) nutritional supplement currently available to athletes in terms of increasing high-intensity exercise capacity and lean body mass during training.
examine.com is generally a good, well-referenced site for information about supplements and nutrition in general.
posted by ludwig_van at 3:05 PM on April 11, 2012


I'm just saying that people into fitness are not all jerks and allowing this classifying them as such is an idea harmful to both non-fit and fit people.

I'm totally serious and in earnest here: who is saying that? Can you link to a comment where this is happening?
posted by Specklet at 3:08 PM on April 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Either way I am very intrigued and will attempt to try this at some point

Hypothetically speaking, string might be a little rough on the inside of your nose. Also hypothetically speaking, a piece of cooked spaghetti or noodle is much softer and easier to handle when stuffing things up your nose for various purposes. Also hypothetically speaking, if you get it up there high enough you can make it go in and out by sniffing.

If you do attempt this at one point and happen to have a few drinks, remove the spaghetti before falling asleep. This is key.
posted by zennish at 3:18 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm totally serious and in earnest here: who is saying that? Can you link to a comment where this is happening?

I think the OP is referring to this comment in particular.
I am the fattest person at my gym, and I deal with the stares and disgust by sort of reveling in ruining the beautiful people's gym experience. There they are, all lean and stylish, and they have to look at my slovenly form while I get to look at them. Hohoho, pretty people! I'm in ur gym, screwing up ur matchless vista.
It's quite a stretch to take that comment as a smear against Fit-Americans. I think the commenter is outlining a comically absurd and potentially useful strategy that helps her to deal with her own body issues.
posted by BobbyVan at 3:27 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


cairdeas I hear what you're saying. I was talking about expectations (which is what the AskMe thread was about mostly) not about being shitty to people because of them. You're right, that sucks. My point was that it's not all that unreasonable for fat people to expect to be treated like crap at a gym, and that it's kind of jarring to hear someone with demonstrable privlege get huffy when someone at a marked disadvantage is wary of his privileged group.
posted by Kimberly at 3:28 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


cairdeas: In fact more the more desperate ones will relate to you even more strongly for doing things like this. It is a quandary.

Maybe a regular ol' booger sticking halfway out would more reliably put EVERYBODY off?

But then, you'd likely run into a boss or a client or an old flame. Still a quandary.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 3:28 PM on April 11, 2012


Well, The World Famous said it, but I'll say it again. If a person of X race/class/gender living in an area that's predominately Y race/class/gender stated that people often turn to stare and whisper about them, and asked if anyone knew of a place in that area where X people could go and not be treated like a weirdo by the Y people, that would be entirely unremarkable. I have to assume that anyone who would think this was offensive, let alone start a Meta thread about it, has never experienced being in the minority anywhere, ever. It's actually rather bizarre.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 3:31 PM on April 11, 2012


BobbyVan is correct - it's a humorous strategy intended to make a mental framework for resisting, in the space of the gym, societal messages that make me, as a fat woman, feel unwelcome as a physical entity.

It is not a program for rounding up people with visible abs and making them eat cupcakes with me while we watch Dark Shadows. Unless they wanted to, of course.
posted by winna at 3:32 PM on April 11, 2012 [12 favorites]


mippy: "sometimes the world doesn't want to let you create your own narrative when it comes to dealing with weight, exercise and health. (Another colleague said to me during a discussion that they shouldn't make clothes in large sizes because 'it encourages it' - I'm not quite plus size but WTF - but then dissed size zero as 'unhealthy'.)"

Sorry you've been treated like this. Not all 'fit' people are like this and not all fit people look like fit people. That person talking about not making plus sizes? May be far less fit than you, regardless of appearance. Good luck with the couch to 5k - it's a big thing to finally be able to run that distance and it can be hard to get there, but don't give up - it will be worth it.
posted by dg at 3:36 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I may be poking at this from the wrong end, but in some ways this is looking an awful lot like the threads we've had about street harassment of women. Just like the street harassment of women, the bad experiences of fat women at the gym -- snide looks, snarky comments, or condescending "good job sweetie!" remarks -- tend to be invisible to those who aren't on the receiving end. But when fat people react in line with their own subjective experiences, that gets taken as a judgment on all thin people, even the ones who totally mind their own business at the gym.

If I, as a woman, have experienced enough street harassment that I no longer talk to strangers on the street at all, it's not because all men are terrible, it's just because I've been burned enough times. If a fat gym-going person deliberately tries to seek out a more size-diverse environment, it's not because all thin people are terrible, it's just because they've been burned enough times.
posted by Jeanne at 3:44 PM on April 11, 2012 [68 favorites]


It is not a program for rounding up people with visible abs and making them eat cupcakes with me while we watch Dark Shadows.

Did you get that giant $500 box set?
posted by griphus at 3:53 PM on April 11, 2012


This reads like a parody of a Metafilter call-out intended to stir the pot by hitting hot-button issues that perhaps hit a bit too close to home given the demographics here: fat (vs.) thin / athletic (vs.) sedentary -- and to throw a dollop of racial/gender conflation on top just reeks of a perfect storm.

*reads thread*

Yup, perfect storm.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:57 PM on April 11, 2012


Man, if this were the Fox Nation site, that AskMe would have been called reverse racism so many times by now.
posted by ignignokt at 4:01 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is why I only hang out with people who are fatter than I am

HA! A likely story. I bet some of your best friends are black, too. Unpack your invisible Extra Value Meal, dude.
posted by Hoopo at 4:04 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Whoever smelt it, dealt it" is not really an accurate approach to assessing which perspective on body-policing is closer to the facts.

In a lot of gyms, particularly for-profit gyms, and particularly in classes aimed at women, there is a high level of body-policing against larger women. This doesn't mean that "fit people" (a group that includes both thins and fats) are jerks, it means that some people are body-policing jerks. "Where can I find gyms where the folks aren't likely to be body-policing jerks because I am chubby, given that I've experienced what felt to me like some body-policing at some of the gyms I've tried?" is hardly a question that reflects prejudice against anyone but body-policing jerks.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:07 PM on April 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


Unless they wanted to, of course.

YES PLEASE where do I apply
posted by elizardbits at 4:26 PM on April 11, 2012


Man, fuck this thread. Now I have to go to the enormous goddamn trouble of putting pants on and leaving the house to go get a cupcake.

You are all bastards.
posted by elizardbits at 4:27 PM on April 11, 2012 [12 favorites]


Now I have to go to the enormous goddamn trouble of putting pants on and leaving the house to go get a cupcake.

Could you get me one while you're out? Memail the cupcake to me, I guess?
posted by fuq at 4:35 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


fine but you have to put on pants too

EVERYONE MUST BE INCONVENIENCED
posted by elizardbits at 4:35 PM on April 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


We've had numerous threads from women that basically say, "I've found that in my city, when I walk down the street, I tend to get catcalled in ways that make me uncomfortable. Are there ways to make this less likely to happen, or places where I can feel safer walking around outside?" With very few exceptions, everyone in those threads understands that the poster is not accusing all men of harassing her or wishing that men would just go away because she hates them. She's saying that when she does X, some people react with Y, and she'd like to find ways to do X without having to deal with Y.

Same thing here. Poster wants to go to group exercise classes, but when she does, some people treat her in ways she doesn't like, so she asks us for ways to attend such classes where she can either avoid people having those reactions or avoid having those reactions bother her so much. Neither she nor anyone else in the thread is saying that all thin people abuse fat people or that they hate thin people. They're saying that some people are jerks and then giving tips on living a more jerk-free existence while still enjoying activities that bring out a certain type of jerkitude in the jerks that happen to be there.
posted by decathecting at 4:36 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is the last day of class ever and one of my classmates brought in cupcakes! It is awesome.

Also I do not have the big box set I watch it on Netflix and laugh quite frequently. It is a mess of a show.
posted by winna at 4:37 PM on April 11, 2012


When I first saw griphus's question, I had a brief but glorious vision of a giant $500 box set of cupcakes.

And then I figured it out and went back to fat-shaming myself.
posted by darksasami at 4:39 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


fine but you have to put on pants too

ಠ_ಠ

[slowly puts on pants]
posted by fuq at 4:42 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mippy: You rock. Hard core. I will only run if my life is in danger, and I salute you, because running to me is basically the equivalent of getting a perfect score on the math section of the SAT: sure, other people do it, and some even seem to enjoy it for its own sake, but I'm blown away by the very idea.

I only dare to enter gyms which are pretty much screaming "No shame, no judgmental attitudes, we will hunt you down and kick you out if you make other people feel bad" in their ads. I feel sort of weird that I've managed to get the fat-shaming looks/comments/etc. AND the catcalls/hey babies/etc. without being appreciably different in appearance between the two. People can be evil and uncaring in extremely unhelpful ways. Freaking human nature. Ugh.

I too am sort of amused by the concept of needing to protect fit people from feeling bad about themselves. But then I think about my sister-in-law, who has lost a lot of weight and does amazing "run a marathon" kind of stuff and I know how hard I try to avoid making her feel bad when I talk about fitness and nutrition and stuff about having a healthy body image, so I can't really say I find the concept all that amusing, once I analyze it closely.

I still don't think there was anything to worry about in that thread, though.

And darn it, I want cupcakes too, now.
posted by SMPA at 4:48 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can't start a thread like this without having a profile pic.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:53 PM on April 11, 2012


I only dare to enter gyms which are pretty much screaming "No shame, no judgmental attitudes, we will hunt you down and kick you out if you make other people feel bad" in their ads.

Like this?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:56 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I only go to gyms with bars.
posted by jonmc at 5:00 PM on April 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


I am the fattest person at my gym, and I deal with the stares and disgust by sort of reveling in ruining the beautiful people's gym experience. There they are, all lean and stylish, and they have to look at my slovenly form while I get to look at them. Hohoho, pretty people! I'm in ur gym, screwing up ur matchless vista.

I'm pretty confused how this answer is still standing. Nevermind the crappy attitude it displays against lean people,... how does it answer the very narrowly defined question? ("I am looking for alternatives, not coping mechanisms.")
posted by Dano St at 5:03 PM on April 11, 2012


What about the lazy skinny people? Should I feel oppressed as well? I'm confused.
posted by desjardins at 5:05 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Planet Fitness is definitely capitalizing on that fear. Crunch is too, to a lesser extent. But really, I'd say most people are more likely to find what they want at a quiet neighborhood gym. Not the big one with the gym rats; the one that lawyers go to on the way to work.
posted by roll truck roll at 5:05 PM on April 11, 2012


Should I feel oppressed as well? I'm confused.

It's wrong to oppress the confused. or confuse the oppressed. or something.

Fuck it, come over to my 'gym' and we'll all do 12-oz curls.
posted by jonmc at 5:08 PM on April 11, 2012


I feel sort of weird that I've managed to get the fat-shaming looks/comments/etc. AND the catcalls/hey babies/etc. without being appreciably different in appearance between the two.

I've gotten them both, in the same interaction, from guys who were actively trying do pickup artist stuff on me at the time. I actually think that might be a deliberate tactic they have. Oh and of course the instances where the catcalls come first, are ignored, and then the body insults come after.
posted by cairdeas at 5:09 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Depends, we have honorary memberships. Send in your application today!

Now you tell me, Brandon. Where were you when I wanted to be an Ikette?
posted by madamjujujive at 5:17 PM on April 11, 2012


dear metafilter

here is a cupcake for everyone to share

you are welcome
posted by elizardbits at 5:20 PM on April 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


the man of twists and turns:
I wasn't trying to limit myself to them, but yes. I actually have had a few conversations with the head of our local YMCA about this very issue (he's a huge believer, and recently did a training where he tried to teach his instructors what it feels like to be the person in the class who is completely uncomfortable and worried about being in a gym and being judged,) so.

cairdeas:
And people wonder why I never go places. Sigh. (My best ever catcall experience? Getting it from boys on the 10th floor of an off-campus apartment building, when I was on the street below. What on earth they could possibly get out of that is simply beyond my capacity for understanding.)
posted by SMPA at 5:20 PM on April 11, 2012


oops i hungrily devoured it

my bad
posted by elizardbits at 5:21 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


winna: "This is the last day of class ever and one of my classmates brought in cupcakes! It is awesome.

Also I do not have the big box set I watch it on Netflix and laugh quite frequently. It is a mess of a show.
"

My favorite part was the time Barnabas had his vampire teeth come unclipped. It was live to tape after all. Every scene was one shot and done. He was supposed to bite someone. So there he is trying to get his teeth in place with his tongue.
posted by Splunge at 5:28 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, okay OP has a point. Some of the answers said false things about types of people, or engaged in counterproductive, negative self-talk; using the most charitable interpretation I can only conclude they are an ambiguous expression of dark humor arising out of personal insecurities. So yes, the quality of responses could have been higher. And more generally, I fully agree that the problem exists where jocks and athletes are sometimes portrayed in a stereotypical way. So, to those extents, I agree. To the OP:

Replace those sentences with a race/class/gender and it would be flagged to death in an instant.

That's because they're not "similar" examples; you are latching onto a superficial likeness. If you want to employ the models of prejudice or bias, you have to account for the relative significance of the specific prejudice. In this case, an internalized hatred projected at me because I'm healthier or more conventionally attractive than them—it is not that big of a deal. To claim equivalence between the effects of misconceptions about athletic people and the real harm and suffering endured by minorities, without offering a clear line of reasoning, is anti-intellectual as well as disrespects actual cultural groups.

I run, swim, lift weights, eat my vegetables and avoid junk food. I read the thread earlier today, and their comments didn't bother me; instead I felt very sympathetic. I do wonder why your response was so different from mine. As members of the dominant group in this situation, we can afford to be more sensitive towards the vulnerable or the different, and less defensive in the face of noise or criticism. It will help break the cyclic, alternating *-isms so that we can all finally get along. Besides, it's just good sportsmanship. Hmm?
posted by polymodus at 5:34 PM on April 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


Depends, we have honorary memberships. Send in your application today!

I dunno, dude. Would I have to give up mayonaisse, Budweiser and the Beach Boys?
posted by jonmc at 6:15 PM on April 11, 2012


Would I have to give up mayonaisse, Budweiser and the Beach Boys?

Mayo is ok, as is Bud, but you can't sit at my table with the crap.

As to Beach Boys, what you do in the privacy of your own home with headphones on is your business.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:47 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ok, but what about my insistence on wearing my baseball caps brim forward, with the plastic label removed and the brim bent?
posted by jonmc at 6:52 PM on April 11, 2012


Ok, but what about my insistence on wearing my baseball caps brim forward, with the plastic label removed and the brim bent?

What about it? It makes me question your devotion to Minnie Pearl and, frankly, the entire Grand Ole Opry. That's what.
posted by The World Famous at 6:55 PM on April 11, 2012


*put on some Grinderswitch records and boogies*
posted by jonmc at 6:57 PM on April 11, 2012


When I first read this there were no comments. I was going to make an 'Oh crap are you serious?' comment. But then I thought, 'wait for it dude, people more eloquent than you will handle this'.

I was so right.


Haha, ditto.
posted by OsoMeaty at 7:06 PM on April 11, 2012


For an alternative? I would advocate aqua fitness class.

Low-impact (ya runners gonna be joining it one day anyway... why not today), also, low-judgement, you can have your body "free" and flowin', but also not-"on-display", like on a treadmill thing, or one of those glass-mirrored-fishtank rooms... up to your neck in water is not really a place where people are judged on their bodies. Music, loud, none of that "HEADPHONES" everyone in a private cocoon bubble stuff, customizable levels of activity (some people GIVER, others just go for the movement/resistance of the water), it is a refuge of older folks, but also, towards my last experience with it, there were quite a few younger women who participated. Not a traditional lurking spot of pickup artists, or "lunkheads" or whatever, win-win-win.
Actually, was this a question? I will try an answer in the right place.

That is a weird dynamic thing I have noticed... the "Hyper-athletic" swimmers (lanes, stroke-correction, triathlons, and fitness GOGOGO) seem to interact, and co-habitate the "swimming environment" with non-swimmers, and the "casual aquafitness folks"; mostly far, far better than the "casual workout people", and the "Hard-core-Lifters"/Weights/Reps/Sets/DOIT Folks. I wonder why this is.

Body policing is totally a problem that exists in the world. As is fat (and skinny) shaming (we all know that *both* exist [see Ashley Judd thread, sort of], and both sides of that spectrum can lead to terrible body image distortion problems, with dire health consequences [but that thread is not equivalent or comparable to racism and sexism, and the "judgements" are not discriminatory, merely, at most prejudiced, and more like stereotyping, stereotypes and prejudice are often based on painful, repeated experiences, limited as they may be, but when those folks meet more kind gym-heads, they will change their attitude, unless they just keep meeting the jerks]).

Someone should help to describe the divergences of prejudice, and discrimination.
posted by infinite intimation at 7:11 PM on April 11, 2012


Yeah, for what it's worth, there was a AskMe a few weeks ago where a (presumably overweight) poster complained that people were talking about their diets and exercise plans in front of her. Not that they were suggesting she diet or exercise, and not that they were pointedly discussing these things in front of her to make passive-aggressive hints, but simply that people were having conversations about a topic they were mutually interested in, in her presence.

Folks' reactions to that were pretty damn horrible, projecting all sorts of absurd stuff onto people interested in fitness (i.e. "just think about how sad their lives are"). And FWIW, I got the same kind of vibe (although not nearly as bad) from the post in the OP.

So yeah, chubby/overweight/obese people have it pretty bad, but that's not an excuse to shame people who are not chubby/overweight/obese and into fitness.
posted by downing street memo at 7:19 PM on April 11, 2012


i accidentally ate the second cupcake and now i think i might die

THE WAGES OF SIN
posted by elizardbits at 7:20 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


i accidentally ate the second cupcake

Accidentally? Did it smooth talk its way into your mouth?

and now i think i might die

So, you don't need the rest of those cupcakes, right?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:23 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


i was running and i tripped and i fell on it with my face

ACCIDENTALLY
posted by elizardbits at 7:29 PM on April 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


23skidoo writes "The spread of stereotypes is a bad thing. It doesn't matter if the stereotype is about a persecuted group of people or a privileged group of people. 'Fit people are jerks' isn't a great thing to say just because you start the sentence with 'Fit people' (even the implied 'some' in front of that doesn't make it any better)."

Can we still believe that neo nazis are bad people?
posted by Mitheral at 7:29 PM on April 11, 2012


i was running and i tripped and i fell on it with my face

ACCIDENTALLY


This is why whenever I want a snack that does not come in single servings I eat ONE and then compel everyone around me to eat all the rest.

YOU WILL EAT THE REST OF THIS BOX OF THIN MINTS TO SAVE ME FROM MYSELF is what I tell people. And, frightened by my capslocky earnestness, they comply.
posted by winna at 7:32 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


the cupcake problem is that the little takeaway boxes have spaces for TWO cupcakes so you can't just get one or the BALANCE OF THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE IS DESTROYED AND IT IS ALL YOUR FAULT. it is safer to just get two rather than risk ragnarok.
posted by elizardbits at 7:35 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


elizardbits: "i accidentally ate the second cupcake and now i think i might die

THE WAGES OF SIN
"

$20 same as in town.
posted by Splunge at 7:36 PM on April 11, 2012


i am super hyper right now FUCKING SUGAR so i apologize in advance for what will likely be a whole lot of stupidity

sigh
posted by elizardbits at 7:36 PM on April 11, 2012


Also this is the first time in my six years of metafiltarian existence that I have been called out on metatalk.

I would like to thank the academy, the people who know all the different ways to use the lat machine, my extremely lazy metabolism, cupcakes, and each and every one of you. You're all dear people even the people who psychoanalyzed me as having low self esteem and bigoted with a bad attitude toward people with ripped bodies!
posted by winna at 7:38 PM on April 11, 2012 [7 favorites]




That is indeed a knotty problem vis-a-vis cupcakes that bring about the end of the world, which may be a big snake throttling the earth or wolves eating the sun I don't remember which. I know giants come into it somehow being a big drag.
posted by winna at 7:40 PM on April 11, 2012


winna, a winner
the OP is a whiner
this haiku? I'm drunk
posted by Splunge at 7:43 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


First comes Fimbulvinter iirc. Which, tbh, sounds pretty awesome, considering how repulsive NYC summers are.
posted by elizardbits at 7:44 PM on April 11, 2012


Ah it turns out that both are correct! First there are three winters with no summer, then everyone is all grumpy for a bit, then wolves eat the sun AND the moon, then the snake does his thing. Then the gods fight, it goes bad, and the earth burns to a crisp and presumably we all die.

Definitely something to avoid, then. Good call on eating the second cupcake!
posted by winna at 7:46 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I run, swim, lift weights, eat my vegetables and avoid junk food.

So do I, and I was the same size as the poster until recently, and I can tell you that I got fucktons of body-policing from gyms and exercise class teachers.

Now I am nowhere near as fit (chronic illness) but because I am thinner (chronic illness), I am assumed to no longer be One Of Those Fat People Who Shouldn't Be In My Class.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:47 PM on April 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


I mean, fuck, this lady was like "I am chubby and I am into fitness, where can I go where I will not be shamed by body-policing jerks" and somehow that turns into some kind of Spanish Inquisition targeting "fit people" (who, newsflash, are not all thin)?
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:49 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


We're all okay now, though. When the wolves eat the sun it won't matter which of us quite liked the elliptical machine and which of us liked that weird robot kind of machine that is like an auto making robot had a baby with a stairstepper!

I like the elliptical more because it doesn't confuse me quite so much which direction I'm going. But the robot machine is much more of a quad workout.
posted by winna at 7:52 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I run, swim, lift weights, eat my vegetables and avoid junk food.

Heh, me too, and yet I am at the upper end of a weight fluctuation I've had since high school and someone trying to make a snap judgment about me would probably decide I'm not fit. I run, hike, and lift, almost never eat processed food and eat a mostly plant-based diet, but since I'm in grad school, holding down a household, and doing a fulltime job which is made of deadlines and add-on weekend shifts, that's the best I can do right now. I maintain my basic cardio and strength fitness, and therefore I'm fit. I'm not at my fittest or achieving extreme race goals, but that's not my priority right now. The things is, because of this, I've been fat and I've been thin, and I've been unfit and I've been fit, but the variables didn't always go together. Right now, I'm fat and fit - and much healthier than I was in my late 20s, when I was thin and distinctly unfit.

Nobody's holding anything against fit people here, obviously. What they're objecting to is unasked-for judgment. Negative judgment is totally different characteristic from fitness - and it's not only immediately visible (unlike fitness), it's a choice. If you don't want to embody it, you are most welcome not to, and everyone will be the happier for it.
posted by Miko at 7:59 PM on April 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yeah, for what it's worth, there was a AskMe a few weeks ago where a (presumably overweight) poster complained that people were talking about their diets and exercise plans in front of her. Not that they were suggesting she diet or exercise, and not that they were pointedly discussing these things in front of her to make passive-aggressive hints, but simply that people were having conversations about a topic they were mutually interested in, in her presence.

I don't think you're being deliberately disingenuous, but this is a mischaracterization of that post, and of this kind of issue generally. There is a way in which groups of women, particularly, discuss diet and exercise which is loaded with a whole ton of shaming, self-hatred and misogyny. Even very nice women who would never intentionally say something hurtful. My own mother, who I love dearly, probably has no idea how awful it was for heavyset pear-shaped high school me to listen to her go on and on about how fat she was, when I could see very clearly that she was a slim, petit and fit. Likewise, it can be torturous and upsetting to be trapped in the lunch room with a group of women who're talking about how they're terrible pigs who need to punish themselves with exercise because they ate a cookie with lunch. In many cases, these aren't groups of fitness enthusiasts talking about how they're really excited about the hike they're going on this weekend; it's a sort of public shame ritual about food and thinness that is really difficult for many of us to interact with.

So it's kind of....frustrating...to come into this thread and watch as yet ANOTHER kind of shame is heaped on top of people in general and women in particular. Not only should we feel bad that we're not exercising enough or are eating too much, we should also feel bad for talking about our hurt feelings amongst ourselves, because we might make a fitness enthusiast feel a little sad for a moment because we pointed out that certain kinds of fitness conversations are negative and harmful.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:59 PM on April 11, 2012 [49 favorites]


I am trying to find a picture of the robot machine, since my description is inadequate, but since I don't actually know what it is called, it is a futile endeavor.
posted by winna at 8:00 PM on April 11, 2012


winna: "then wolves eat the sun AND the moon ... the earth burns to a crisp"
Wait, if the sun has been eaten, what does the earth get burned to a crisp by again? I thought I had this, but now I'm confused again.
posted by dg at 8:02 PM on April 11, 2012


Nobody's holding anything against fit people here, obviously

depends who they are. i'd like to hold some things against rdj for example.
posted by elizardbits at 8:03 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's not grammatical to hate on, mefit people.
 
posted by Herodios at 8:03 PM on April 11, 2012


The snake squishes the earth and lava gushes out, if I'm reading this right. It all sounds very unpleasant and best avoided.

Also I looked up the robot machine and it is a variable stride elliptical machine, which means that instead of whooshing along without having to make decisions about how big your steps are going to be you have to think about it, which will make your thighs scream out in agony. Also unpleasant, but probably should not be avoided.
posted by winna at 8:08 PM on April 11, 2012


Speaking of Nordic poetry, msalt did a post on it a bit ago that was quite interesting, for those who missed it the first time. Kenning is one of the neatest poetic devices.
posted by winna at 8:18 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


(I need to note I wasn't suggesting that the fat shaming and thin shaming exist at equal levels [fat shaming is pervasive, and men (might?) face it in nearly equal measure to women; thin shaming falls more firmly under the umbrella of Body Policing, and remains what I think of as a distinctly misogynistic endeavor and is 99.999% of the time directed at women]).

I'd need to read more good, but no one in that thread is thin shaming (the most "aggressive" comment was basically, "I have experienced that judgment, and here is how I cope", which, no, doesn't "really" answer the question, but it definitely isn't out in left Sinister field...
posted by infinite intimation at 8:46 PM on April 11, 2012


Wait, if the sun has been eaten, what does the earth get burned to a crisp by again?

This too will pass.
posted by radwolf76 at 8:54 PM on April 11, 2012


For the longest time I was a macrobiotic vegan. And I did it for the love of a chubby woman. She wanted to lose weight and I was there. Only fresh veggies. I didn't mind it. We were going to get married.

But I was doing it for her. Not me. I'd go home and my mom was like, "You're so skinny. Have a slice of pizza". And I did. And so I was cheating on her with food.

The funny thing is that I lost a shitload of weight, and she didn't. It turns out that she had a hormone thing. If we ate the same stuff, I'd lose weight and she would not. She went to several doctors and all sorts of folks. You know, dieticians. Weight Watchers. Even a 12 step group. But no joy for her. Meanwhile I dropped 100 pounds on the same diet.

Eventually we broke up. Not because of the food or the weight. Personal issues.

But some people, it seems to me, pure anecdata, have a thing. And when i hear that people are ragging on overweight people I get furious.

And if people fuck with gym rats? No problem, fuck away.
posted by Splunge at 8:57 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait, if the sun has been eaten, what does the earth get burned to a crisp by again?

Surtur, king of Muspelheim, I think. Who is also a total gym bunny.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:26 PM on April 11, 2012


cybercoitus interruptus: "dancestoblue, I'm trying to visualize the string dangling from nostril thing, but how did he get it to stay there? Wouldn't breathing out blow the string out? Did he breathe through his mouth the whole time? Did he stuff the nostril end of the string back in occasionally?"
I don't know how he did it; I suspect that if he had the jam to actually do it -- and I surely do believe that he did -- I suspect he just jammed it up far enough with his finger. I never flew with him, and I didn't ask him how he did it, and I never asked him if I could shove a string up his nose for him -- I like him a lot, just not "that way."

Okay, the above is what I wrote at the first, but then I began to wonder just how it could be done. And I got the idea, inspiration maybe even, that if you tied a knot in the string, or, better, a couple of knots, you could maybe poke the dang thing up there and it'd hold.

In the spirit of scientific inquiry, I decided to experiment.

Let's say you took you a little hair scootcher, one of those little round elasticized dealies that you tie around your ponytail. (And let's say it's a new one, so as to keep this experiment all healthy and wholesome.) It's thick, you see, plus it frays after you cut it, and if you (I) twist those frays around it will get even more frayed. And so then tie it into a knot, then another, and you'll have this.

For this experiment, I wet my hair and pulled it back tight, severely you might say, and I did my best to get all frowny and unhappy and gaseous looking -- if you did a look like that one I betcha it'd keep anyone away, don't you think?

And then, to add a splash of color (for those who think science is boring; I wanted to make it accessible) I grabbed some holiday wrap, to determine if you'd be able to have flexibility in your choices of string, and while I was not able to muster quite as severe a look, the pulled back hair and the string would probably do the trick, yes?

So anyways, I believe we can now state, scientifically and unequivocally, that you can just by god knot you some heavy string up and poke it up your nose and get ready for even the jerkiest jerks to give you some space.
I took those pics and did the experiment(s) hours ago but then two people came over and looked at and test drove and one of them bought my old pickup hurray hurray I'm real glad, but it did delay me getting you these science results hot -- sorry.
posted by dancestoblue at 9:33 PM on April 11, 2012 [56 favorites]


I'm going to go ahead and close my nose up now.
posted by mintcake! at 9:37 PM on April 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


idek

Haven't you been shamed into knowing that we don't do do that here anymore?

Oh right, that guy was being a dick. Carry on.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:40 PM on April 11, 2012


Snort the string up one nostril. You will feel it in the back of your throat. Then snort it back through the other one. I learned this from a guy at a Coney Island "freak show". It's not hard to do.
posted by Splunge at 9:46 PM on April 11, 2012


Sorry, source for "that guy" "being a dick" about "idek."
posted by joe lisboa at 9:55 PM on April 11, 2012


if racism is bad wouldn't reverse racism be good?
posted by klangklangston at 10:35 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well explained about public shame rituals, Narrative Priorities. And like most public shame rituals, it truly is EXCRUCIATINGLY boring to listen to. When I had some coworkers who played the "oh, I'm so BAD!" game, I used to say, "Oh, you know what I heard today that was bad?" as if I thought we were just talking about random bad stuff, and then launch into the most appalling story I had read in that morning's paper. They quit humblebragging about their diets at my desk. They probably thought I was boorish and socially clueless, but seriously, so excruciatingly dull to listen to EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I employed a similar strategy with people whose sole conversational topic was how much they drank last weekend.

I recently got body-policed publicly, in local media, because some people disagreed with my stance on local political issues. They disagreed with other local politicians too, but attacked me not for my stance but for being "ugly and fat" for daring to go to public meetings and be on TV while pregnant and after pregnancy. It was horrible. Pregnancy remakes your whole body, which is hard enough to deal with, but to have jerks call you out in public for being "fat"? Ugggggh. And it's straight up mysogyny, the goal of which is to shut up women who dare to have public lives.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:45 PM on April 11, 2012 [28 favorites]


you have to put on pants too

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:23 AM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


humblebragging

Excellent coinage.
posted by Miko at 7:12 AM on April 12, 2012


I guess you were too busy making insightful and interesting posts and comments on MetaFilter to keep up with the young people's jargon, Miko.

(That's a complesult. Jeff invented them, I coined the term. See what I did there? That's an explainabrag.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:21 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


you have to put on pants too

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻


Actually, it's a little more like this:

\( °□°)︵ ┻━┻

(no pants/no hands table flip)
posted by fuq at 7:36 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Quit being so dickdactic, rosf.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:39 AM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I just read that Independent article about humbebragging and now I'm all irritated again. They seem to have decided that anything remotely positive one says about oneself is a humblebrag. Whereas, personally, I would much rather someone be honest and positive than constantly and performatively ragging on themselves.

Like, jeez, from the article's list -- "Owning a house...not a condo...is ALOT of work. mom and dad...i have so much more respect for what u did raising us in a home now. Damn"

Talking about owning a house on Twitter is bragging, now?

Maybe if the OP had said, "Ugh, I'm the worst, people tell me I'm a great homeowner but I only mop the kitchen once a day!!!!" I would be moderately irritated?

...

Maybe I should stop reading self-congratulatory articles about how dumb and insufferable the author thinks people on Twitter are.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 8:04 AM on April 12, 2012


Like, jeez, from the article's list -- "Owning a house...not a condo...is ALOT of work. mom and dad...i have so much more respect for what u did raising us in a home now. Damn" Talking about owning a house on Twitter is bragging, now?

That's not a humblebrag!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:08 AM on April 12, 2012


Quit being so dickdactic, rosf.

(Sincerity moment - I really hope that didn't sound actually dickish, Miko - or rather, that the dickishness came across as a Community-inspired bit, rather than a genuine attempt to be a dick. "Dickdactic" is a great moderaslap, though!)
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:19 AM on April 12, 2012


(No, no, I was just jokriticizing you.)
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:22 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I recently got body-policed publicly, in local media, because some people disagreed with my stance on local political issues.

So, wait a second. You're saying you boorishly body-shamed people interested in diets and fitness - then you turn around and complain about being body-shamed yourself?
posted by downing street memo at 8:34 AM on April 12, 2012


So it's kind of....frustrating...to come into this thread and watch as yet ANOTHER kind of shame is heaped on top of people in general and women in particular. Not only should we feel bad that we're not exercising enough or are eating too much, we should also feel bad for talking about our hurt feelings amongst ourselves, because we might make a fitness enthusiast feel a little sad for a moment because we pointed out that certain kinds of fitness conversations are negative and harmful.

To clarify, I wasn't upset at the question (I understand the pressure that conversations like that can impart), but I was upset at the response.
posted by downing street memo at 8:36 AM on April 12, 2012


you boorishly body-shamed people interested in diets and fitness

I'm not sure where you're seeing that? Not wanting to be around people who are boorish isn't body-shaming. And Eyebrows McGee isn't the OP of the AskMe.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:42 AM on April 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


That's not a humblebrag!

That's Numberwang!
posted by SpiffyRob at 8:45 AM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


They seem to have decided that anything remotely positive one says about oneself is a humblebrag.

I just mentioned to a friend of mine the other day that a trainer at the gym used me as an example of good form when I was doing pushups, and he was like, "Humblebrag!" and I was like "lol if you think I'm being even the slightest bit humble about my sexy fucking pushups"

cause it's like Adonis making love to the floor basically
posted by Greg Nog at 8:55 AM on April 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


> perhaps there's more to it than just vapid, beauty hungry monsters.

I am not looking at your location and I will save everybody the trouble of looking up mine. Houston TX.

I love to exercise but I cannot stand going to any of the gyms I have been to in my zip code. They have floor to ceiling mirrors all over the place and there are very large posters advertising beauty salons and plastic surgery physicians. I also do not go to clubs where they have a guy at the door who won't let you in if you do not look classy enough. Part of this is me. I have been picked on and excluded and silenced my entire life and the experience has made me a touch misanthropic towards too many strangers.

Part of it is you. Well maybe not the guy who wrote what I pulled up above. But part of it is way too many of you people who hang out at the gyms in my zip code.
posted by bukvich at 9:05 AM on April 12, 2012


greg has to put pants on too
posted by elizardbits at 9:15 AM on April 12, 2012


I've always wondered, what is the point of floor-to-ceiling mirrors in gyms? I don't want to look at myself while I'm on the treadmill.
posted by desjardins at 9:19 AM on April 12, 2012


greg has to put pants on too

God, when I turn eighteen, I am SO FUCKING OUT OF HERE
posted by Greg Nog at 9:22 AM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am not looking at your location and I will save everybody the trouble of looking up mine. Houston TX.

There's endemic body-judging going on even in Houston? That's really shitty- I'd expect at least some majority-induced tolerance in Texas.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 9:22 AM on April 12, 2012


I've always wondered, what is the point of floor-to-ceiling mirrors in gyms?

Ostensibly, self-checking form. They are practically useless for this, since you need to see multiple angles, side and rear as well to get a good idea. Video or a spotter is much better.

Really? Surreptitiously observing others. And self-admiration.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:27 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


No easy answer here because people on all sides of this are right and wrong.

It's absolutely true that going into a gym, people will encounter judgement by others, often terribly negative. It sucks. My wife teaches spinning class and has many people attend that don't like the 'gym' environment because of the feelings/situation involved. Finding a place to work out that creates a positive environment and offers encouragement is a perfectly valid request. IMHO, nothing wrong with the original Ask question.

It's also true that in many places, athletics and sports are looked down upon and mocked. The recent video by The Guild is perfect example. It's not unusual for commenters on MeFi to say that they 'dislike sport' in a fairly harsh way.

I think unixrat is responding to seeing this kind of behavior on Mefi as being rewarded with favorites and not seen as a form of discrimination.

Trying to compare the post to racism is bit of a stretch in my opinion. Again, the original post comes from a place of honesty with a sincere wish for a solution.

Personally, I tend to let this kind of things go. To me, fervent hatred usually comes from a place of fear or bad memories. Whether it's being too fit or too fat, being super judgmental about it more points to an internal problem rather than a problem with the person you are judging.

My wife and I have a saying when people mock out of shape people in our presence. We say, "They're out their swinging their bat. You gotta respect that." For those not familiar with the idiom, it means that they are trying to improve themselves. This usually shuts people up quickly.

Not just in fitness, but in everything in life education, art, career, etc., when people are trying to improve themselves, you need to be supportive. Especially when it's not something you would want to try or like doing.
posted by Argyle at 9:27 AM on April 12, 2012


I've always wondered, what is the point of floor-to-ceiling mirrors in gyms?

The answer is that in many types of exercise, form is key to doing the exercise correctly. Like keeping elbows in or thighs parallel with the ground. That kind of thing. Without a coach or partner to watch your form, a mirror is next best to see that you are doing things correctly.

When I did rehab from shoulder surgery, mirrors helped me do the strengthening exercises correctly. When doing them at home, I missed having them around.

BUT, most places use them for illusions of space, self-admiration, and people watching.
posted by Argyle at 9:32 AM on April 12, 2012


"You're saying you boorishly body-shamed people interested in diets and fitness"

No, no, there were a few women I worked with who engaged in what Narrative Priorities called "public shame rituals" where they'd spend appalling amounts of time (for people who were supposed to be working) talking about how "bad" they were for eating a cookie or whatever. They strictly controlled what they ate and competed to see who could have the most "virtuous" lunch, so another favorite topic was to say to me, "Oh my gosh, you're so brave, I would never be brave enough to eat pasta if I had thighs like yours!" (This is when I was a still-naturally-thin high-metabolism-ed college student.) They used to perform this activity at my desk daily and wait for me to say, "Oh, I'm sure it's fine" or something when they said they ate cookies, and then they'd start critiquing my body and food. So what I learned was, if I waited for them to say a word like, "bad" and then piped up, as if I'd only heard the word "bad" and not its context, about something really bad I'd read in the paper that day, they'd get grossed out by whatever crime-blotter story I picked, move on, and stop tormenting me.

I boorishly refused to engage with people who were trying to body-shame me and each other about their diets and fitness. I don't think they were actually interested in fitness, though; just bodies and food as expressions of virtue and desirability. I was the woman in the office who looked the least like what they considered ideal, so I was a favorite target for their bodies-and-food talk. There were a number of women who refused to eat in the building, though, because these horrors were always walking around commenting on other people's food and bodies in nasty ways, always cloaked in this language of "Oh you're so good!" "Oh you're so bad!" "Oh, you'll have to work out for an HOUR to burn off that slice of bread!" "Are you sure you should put mayo on that when you're, you know, trying to lose weight?"
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:44 AM on April 12, 2012 [15 favorites]


I am late to this party and sadly missed the cupcakes, but since my comment was part of this callout (woo! my first one, I think!), I feel obligated to respond.

Specifically, the reason I do not go to gyms in NYC is because at several different NYC gyms, I have been stared at and actually mocked to my face for being overweight, in one case by an actual gym employee while I was trying to sign up for a membership. Those experiences have made me wary of trying again. I did not say that all gym employees or all fitness enthusiasts or all thin people or all people of any category are jerks; I simply said that I, too, have had a similar experience at NYC gyms but would consider going to a place where I would be far less likely to repeat it.

Besides, some of my best friends are really fit! NOT FITNESS-IST.
posted by bedhead at 10:12 AM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Gyms don't make any sense to me. Seriously, zero sense. I don't understand them at all. Every gym I've ever been to reminded me of the locker room in high school. The ones that didn't reminded me of the weight room in high school. Those two places are sort of nexuses of evil in my private little experience of life. I like exercise – but aren't there about ten billion ways to exercise without going to a gym?

It's interesting to me to think about the reasons why people really like going to the gym, though. Henry Rollins has been sort of a window for me into some of the motivations, anyway – the sense of wholeness one can get from exerting some control over one's body, etc. I can see how that would be awesome. I guess I just have too much baggage as far as gyms are concerned.
posted by koeselitz at 10:31 AM on April 12, 2012


koeselitz: " I like exercise – but aren't there about ten billion ways to exercise without going to a gym?"

There is a convenience to being able to have a consistent, measurable exercise experience, which is not subject to shifting conditions like the weather or other distractions. This is especially true for people who live in urban areas where they may not have space for equipment where they live, or for whom running/walking on city streets may not be ideal.
posted by zarq at 10:51 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


but aren't there about ten billion ways to exercise without going to a gym?

Obvsly yes and no - people go to the gym for a vast number of different reasons. Some people think that they will be more dedicated to physical fitness if it involves a financial outlay; some people like the classes; some people want personal trainers; some people want to leer at sweaty people working out; who even knows.

Personally - I love running, but repeated knee injuries mean that I will never again be able to run regularly on unforgiving surfaces like asphalt or concrete. Until I retire to a beachside community and can run daily on the sand, or until there is a clay track within a few blocks walk from my house, I will continue to go to the gym and use the elliptical or the treadmill.
posted by elizardbits at 10:51 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Oh my gosh, you're so brave, I would never be brave enough to eat pasta if I had thighs like yours!"

I'm a thin guy, like crazy-thin, and I've still experienced this sort of thing from women I've worked with. It's annoying as hell, and not entirely unlike being around someone who's drinking too much, who lashes out to make you feel bad about not drinking at all. People seeking validation for their own choices, for whom those choices may have not been choices at all. I try not to pity them, but it can be hard.
posted by davejay at 11:14 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


but aren't there about ten billion ways to exercise without going to a gym?

When it's twenty below outside and the gym is heated plus has unlimited hot water, it's very civilizing.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:26 AM on April 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I guess I also have a strong bias in favor of swimming pools; but I also know that in most places – rural areas especially but even most urban areas I've been in – heated indoor swimming pools have not been easy to come by.
posted by koeselitz at 11:37 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oddly enough, the super macho manly gym with equipment made out of rusted muscle cars and the sweat of Bruce Springsteen was the most accepting of my rotund self in the ten years I've been going to the gym. I guess the dudes who could lift a cow with their pinkie were too focused on their own affairs to pay attention to me. Occasionally a man with an awe-inspiring physique would gruffly advise me on my form as he strode purposefully by, but they mostly ignored me in a kind way as not being relevant to their interests.

I wish I still went there, but it closed.
posted by winna at 11:39 AM on April 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Oh my gosh, you're so brave, I would never be brave enough to eat pasta if I had thighs like yours!"

The only proper response to this is "I would never be brave enough to be so unpleasant if I had a face like yours!"
posted by escabeche at 11:56 AM on April 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


My town has 4500 people and also an olympic-sized indoor heated pool, this is at the technical college which we also lovingly refer to as "the gym" because they also have gym equipment. I treat the gym, or exercising generally, like medicine, it keeps my brain on an even keel. And for whatever reason it's an easier routine to get into than taking myself hiking or running or biking. It's given me a whole new perspective on gym-going because a lot of the fittest-looking people in there, mostly attractive students in their late teens and early twenties, are so body conscious they often shower in their shorts/t-shirts and change clothes in a toilet stall instead of the locker room.

I may be a somewhat lumpy middle aged lady with questionable skin tone, but I've made peace with how I look for the most part, as much as I try to stay in shape even when the weather is punishing and all my cells scream "hibernate!" This serves me pretty well both in keeping my body image and gym going baggage to a minimum but also realizing that everyone's got their own problems and they rarely need mine on top of them. The people at my gym mostly ignore me and that's fine. I don't know any nice way to be all "Way to go everyone!" in the gym [especially that guy on the bike right next to me who won't stop talking at me] but that's the way I feel every time I manage to get there.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:07 PM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't know any nice way to be all "Way to go everyone!" in the gym

There's a personal trainer at my gym that will occasionally and to everyone/no one in particular, yell out, gleefully, "let's get serious everyone!"

Oddly, I find it kind of charming.
posted by Pax at 12:15 PM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


When it's twenty below outside and the gym is heated plus has unlimited hot water, it's very civilizing.

Oh God yes. Particularly in some of the harsher New Hampshire winters, I was really treasuring my gym. To struggle in after work on an evening when the sun set at 4:15, through a sideways 10-degree wind whipping dry sharp ice crystals into your eyes, over a parking lot crusted with a layer of hard-frozen slush and sand permanently molded into tire shapes, wrapped in a Michelin-man like outer swaddling covering every inch of skin, and enter a steamy, splashy, warm, happy and brightly lit place where you could go down to one little, light layer of clothing and feel warm, loose, free and comfortable as you get your workout done is a very wonderful feeling.

And especially for weight training, I've never been one to own my own as I like doing the different equipment and always had a smallish apartment in which barbells were not going to be a component of my decor. I love running, but let's face it, there are many winter nights where running outdoors is not safe and is not going to happen. And a pool is an essential component of a gym for me too, so there's that need which gets you out of the house in the first place, and then all the other equipment is there too.

The consistency thing is helpful. On machines you can actually run an interval program which is clearly quantified so you know exactly what you're doing, how fast and for how long, and when you get into some specific kinds of training this is valuable.

Also, gyms are social spaces and third places. If you're an introvert - or actually, if you're an extrovert too - they can give you that feeling of being out and about with other humans that is, again, especially valuable in the winter and for those that live alone.
posted by Miko at 12:16 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


...gyms are social spaces...

Heh. I go to the gym at my office. Between my body issues and my gender issues, I'll only go there after 9 PM, when I'm virtually guaranteed that the only people who will see me are security guards.

The fact that this means I can watch My Little Pony at full volume on the elliptical and actually experience happiness while working out is merely an added bonus.
posted by darksasami at 12:22 PM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Oh my gosh, you're so brave, I would never be brave enough to eat pasta if I had thighs like yours!"

I have two co-workers like this, and thankfully, they leave me out of the rounds of the compare-the-diet game that they play with each other. I think it was the look I gave one of them when she tried to shame me for taking a timbit from the box someone brought in.

I think they treat it like water cooler talk - it's as much a way of relating to others as talking about last night's game or something. Enough people in an office are dieting or wanting to lose weight at any given time that it is considered a 'safe' subject of conversation. In fact, I'm pretty sure they view comments like the one quoted above as friendly motivation to do the right thing or make the right choice. Dieting's easier when you have a diet buddy, right?

The mistake comes from assuming the person to whom the comment is directed wanted the 'buddy' in the first place.
posted by LN at 12:31 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


wow, the cultural divide is striking.

when I get into the main office here in the UK, (admittedly only 2-3 times a week) I can only count about 2 women in 20 who routinely make comments as described here to co-workers. More women will say "I'm on X diet so give me a break and don't tell me about the biscuits in Y office" and ask to skip out on a routine lunch or going for after work pints because they're dieting.
There's more or a sense of asking for help in keeping to their particular programme...


and I'm someone who would notice after years of being morbidly obese, yo-yo dieting and being both fat and normal sized.

wow, dieting is obviously a religion in some parts of the USA.
posted by Wilder at 12:39 PM on April 12, 2012


It's got little to do with actual dieting and more to do with how various people deal with their own insecurities.
posted by elizardbits at 12:47 PM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, the workplace with these horrible women was super, super dysfunctional. One of the women was a queen bee type (and I think she may have had an eating disorder) and she dragged the others along with her. And she controlled workflow for some of the office and if you crossed her she'd make sure your work didn't get done. The body-policing was another way she exerted social control and there were enough other women willing to engage in the game with her that it worked very well for her. There were several women who all were physically very similar because one of the partners in charge of hiring hired a "type" for the support positions -- and that type was "the type I want to bang." The male culture of the office was dominated by dangerous "social" drinking (way, way too much), being proud of driving home drunk after absurd levels of drinking, and bragging about having lots of sex with lots of women. Married guys were mocked.

Anyway, another one of the womens' targets was this absolutely adorable graphic designer, who was naturally tiny (like, short, slight, bird-boned, and slim as well) and very, very pretty and one of the nicest people I've ever met. She had a funky hippie sensibility and wore hippie-ish clothes and had a nose ring and was Wiccan and ate macrobiotic vegan meals and was just interesting and fun and nice, if a little shy. They made fun of her food, her clothes; they pretended like she smelled bad because she was a hippie (she didn't); they asked if she worshipped Satan. She started taking her lunch to the park because they would stand there and make so much fun of her while she ate. Near the end of the summer, she burst into tears and quit because they were so horrible.

I was in college and a summer employee; these were full-grown adults with full-time jobs at this place. I wish at that time in my life I'd been better at standing up for myself (and for other people) and I wish I'd know what "body-policing" was ... part of me knew they were a grown-up version of Mean Girls, but part of me didn't. I guess it was just as well I found a strategy to make them back off without directly confronting them, and just kept my head down until the summer was over.

Anyway, I've worked at plenty of other places, where diet and exercise was sometimes water-cooler conversation, and it was fine, I'm as interested in that as I am in anything else, and happy to chat about it. And I worked other places where it just wasn't something people talked about. It was just that one workplace (and one other time in my life, in a shared-housing situation, again with a mean-girl dynamic) that it was Out. Of. Control.

On the flip side, I worked one summer at a day camp for overprivileged children, and it had its issues, but they brought in a mental health person who worked with youth during orientation and we actually had a seminar on how to create a healthy body-image environment for the children, who ranged in age from 5 to 14. It was different for different ages (like for the girls starting about age 12, male counselors were supposed to be careful of putting a hand on a girl's shoulder, in case she was self-conscious about wearing a bra). But the mental health person talked to us about that kind of body-policing, and counselors were banned by the camp owner from doing it on pain of firing, because a lot of the kids already had difficult relationships with food and we were absolutely forbidden from talking about being "bad" for eating a brownie. Counselors were encouraged to talk positively about feeling healthy and enjoying physicality in that way, and were not allowed to talk about weight. At first I thought this was really over the top, but it turned out to be a WONDERFUL work environment, and a lot of fellow counselors really got inspired to actually be more healthy, when the talk surrounding diet and exercise was actually about being healthy rather than about looks and weight.

Anyway, that's my two cents.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:04 PM on April 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'm a fat guy who worked for a big corporation, and yeah, there were people there whose entire attitude was that my (apparently lack of) physical fitness made me useless, despite that I was in IT and could figure out some of the network issues with some basic tools you learn pretty much straight off. Many of these people were of the subhuman species known as the 'stock trader'.

So I would go and get some lunch, and someone would make some snarky comment about my size, and I'd smile at them and look at their ID card and fantasize about an 'accidental' change to their account knocking them off the network for the rest of the day, by which time their 'do you know how much money the company is losing' stress would have given them either an aortal rupture or cerebral hemorrhage.

This knowing that every day I walked at least four miles (in one mile increments, home to train, train to building, building to train, train to home), going to the gym three times a week and doing three or four miles on the treadmill along with other work, and that despite all their issues about body size, my turkey on whole wheat sandwich with bagel chips and a diet Mountain Dew was probably better for me than their double-cheeseburger with fries.

I kept it all inside because they didn't need to hear it, and despite my own insecurities, I knew theirs were worse.

And Eyebrows: that office sounds like the place that ends up closing due to employee violence, so I'm glad you're out.
posted by mephron at 3:28 PM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


*wanders into thread from sidebar*

...

o_O

NEWSFLASH: people all over everywhere, even nice people on a bad day, can sometimes be ignorant, judgemental assholes. They frequently don't even understand why that's a problem. If you think this is not true, just ask any convenient pregnant lady; woo buddy, she'll tell you some shit that will make your hair curl.

this particular body-judgy fart in the elevator we call life can stem from insecurity, media indoctrination, culture divides, pure lack of savvy, limited life experience or just plain bad manners. Sometimes it even happens on MetaFilter, but realistically? to vastly smaller degree than elsewhere IME.

for you non-USA readers, the status/body judgy-thing has gotten really bad in the US of late in certain regions. Fitness has sorta become tied to social status and wealth in public consciousness here; I believe there are a host of tangled-up socioeconomical, health and media-related reasons behind that. I'm confident some sociology grad student is diligently grinding away at a thesis about it, so I'll spare you (most of) my layman's rambling, at least on that topic.

NYC, and in specific, midtown, can be a place utterly entrenched in and obsessed with status, which is partly why I live in Boulder, Colorado -- it's a place you can happily get away with walking into a nice sit-down place for upscale dinner in a tshirt, flip flops and cargo shorts and no one bats an eye and half the place is similarly dressed. I'd say 75% of the folks who live in the uber-expensive houses up on the bench drive ratty Outbacks or ancient Volvo station wagons full of dog hair. If I were more of a gym-going sort, I would totally subscribe to one of the old-school joints like our local rec center, where everyone's just there to get their workout and no one cares what you look like; not that new trendy place out in Superior where they banned cutoffs and everyone looks like they just stepped off a Lululemon catalog shoot.

I will grant you that Judgemental People Suck, but yanno, dicks are everywhere and one of life's defining moments is when you finally decide you just don't give a shit what they think, I mean, so long as one is adhering to minimum standards of public decency (pantsless drunken cupcake-eaters notwithstanding, y'all get a pass).

I fail to see the need to wage a pogrom on skinny (or fit) people at the gym, or whatever-the-fuck this thread is (was?) about. Keep in mind: confirmation bias. If you're working out with 10 people, and 9 of them ignore you and one gives you the stink eye or a snippy comment, guess what? You're only gonna remember the asshole, not the vast majority of neutral-to-kind folk you encountered. So if your feelings get hurt, you can probably chalk it up to Some People Be Judgy Assholes and either go "well bless your heart" or idk turn up the volume on your headphones and do some more dumbell curls whilst silently fantasizing elaborately gory premature deaths for the offenders or sth. Broken Bells is pretty good medicine for drowning out assholes, pro tip.
posted by lonefrontranger at 5:16 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


jesus tapdancing christ Eyebrows McGee, why in god's name would anyone want to work at such a place? yea ok I get that you were a kid and all but that's why I gave up on office jobs at that age and became a bike messenger in DC for two years. There are certain things air conditioning and a spinny chair cannot fix.
posted by lonefrontranger at 5:35 PM on April 12, 2012


That's not a humblebrag!

That's Numberwang!


You rang?
posted by That's Numberwang! at 6:21 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The other people? It paid really, really well. Me? Summer job, resume building. By the time the awfulness of it really dawned on me there were only six weeks left before I went back to a different state for college. And frankly they paid me pretty well too.

But, you know, you learn as you go, and I learned an awful lot about dysfunctional white collar workplaces and how to avoid them and survive them. Prior to that I'd had great desk-job experiences and my miserable jobs had all been in the service industry.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:24 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would go seriously stabbo with anyone who suggested that eating something was 'brave'. There are lots of acts which are brave - dealing with degenerative diseases, saving someone from a burning building, running a marathon, or just doing something way out of your comfort zone - but eating fucking pasta isn't one of them.
posted by mippy at 4:16 AM on April 13, 2012


There are lots of acts which are brave - dealing with degenerative diseases, saving someone from a burning building, running a marathon, or just doing something way out of your comfort zone - but eating fucking pasta isn't one of them.

Except in certain circumstances. (video)
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:05 AM on April 13, 2012


but I don't think that Metafilter would allow a similar question to remain about a specific race/gender/whatever with similar assertions.

Conflating personal lifestyle/belief/opinion choices with things you cannot help is never impressive and always likely to attract a well-deserved measure of ire. You ought to be aware of that.
posted by Decani at 7:14 AM on April 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Decani: "Conflating personal lifestyle/belief/opinion choices with things you cannot help is never impressive and always likely to attract a well-deserved measure of ire."

Would like to add that for some people, especially women, one of the things they may not "be able to help" is preventing their own obesity. PCOS is a notable example of a hormonal disorder that can appear with the onset of puberty, that many women aren't even aware they have. Among other things, it can make it extremely difficult for women to lose weight and keep it off.

In such cases, awareness is key, not simply behaviour and opinion.
posted by zarq at 7:39 AM on April 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


In other such cases, the degree of control or lack thereof which people have over their time, their circumstances, and their activities is just none of your fucking business and you probably know far less about the matter than you think you do.
posted by Miko at 7:13 PM on April 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Coming from the sidebar as well:

The string-up-the-nose story reminded me a lot of an anecdote from H. Allen Smith's The Compleat Practical Joker:

When Jim walked in he was wearing, in addition to his dinner clothes, a piece of string. It was an ordinary piece of grocer's twine. It was looped around his right ear and knotted, and ran down his cheek and into the corner of his mouth.

No one could help noticing it, but Jim made no mention of it as he went from group to group, shaking hands and making small talk. He discovered immediately that no person in the room would speak of it. Nor would anyone pretend to even notice it.


It's a fascinating story; eventually he ends up on a plane and someone asks him about it. The ensuing explanation ends up involving Johns Hopkins, tiny golden buckets, and a pocketful of kumquats.
posted by mikurski at 9:07 PM on April 15, 2012


I've always wondered, what is the point of floor-to-ceiling mirrors in gyms? I don't want to look at myself while I'm on the treadmill.

But yer average puff daddy (the guy with the barbells giving an audible puff of air every time he lifts them, then kisses his biceps) loves nothing more than to look at his fit, muscle toned body, while carefully checking out the dude behind him. Not that they are, you know, gay, they're all about the clam, but you have to check out the competition and know you're still number one.

It's also true that in many places, athletics and sports are looked down upon and mocked.

Which, to remain in the spirit of the absurd comparisons with which this thread started, is a bit like white people like me complaining about "reverse racism"; yes it happens, but the overwhelming majority of incidents goes the other way and society is still structurally biased towards you. Thin, fit, sporty people don't have to suffer hilarious Eddy Murphy bodysuit comedies.

Oddly enough, the super macho manly gym with equipment made out of rusted muscle cars and the sweat of Bruce Springsteen was the most accepting of my rotund self in the ten years I've been going to the gym.

I've found that hardcore power builders and weight lifters and other such gym geeks just love to help fat bastards like me reach my true potential. The year I spent at my local gym getting my weight down for the kidney transplant operation I've never felt judged by anybody there; sadly however it has closed down since.
posted by MartinWisse at 7:03 AM on April 16, 2012


Oddly enough, the super macho manly gym with equipment made out of rusted muscle cars and the sweat of Bruce Springsteen was the most accepting of my rotund self in the ten years I've been going to the gym.

This is truth, and old-skool boxing (and old-skool martial arts) gyms are also havens for a notable lack of BS. They generally show more interest in actual improvement / proper technique and training too - they maybe rougher around the edges but they're also the best places to teach your fiftysomething aunt how to take down a mugger, or for my flabby fortysomething self to learn correct deadlift form, with a refreshing lack of judgement. They also don't require instructors to cover their tattoos or raise a stink if you show up with a hole in your shirt.

MartinWisse has it - what you want to see when you walk into a gym is stuff that looks like it was welded out of scrap girders & angle iron by the local pipefitters' union, because it probably was. Another key is looking for stuff like tractor tires. If a gym has a tractor tire lying around somewhere, you can pretty much guarantee it's being run by a fairly no-BS contingent for whom teaching proper form at flipping tractor tires is far more rewarding than standing around in a freshly-starched polo leering at the coeds and windexing the ellipticals. Hence my lululemon snark. If you see a bunch of shiny brand-new cable-actuated weight machines, gleaming spin bikes, and a giant herd of the latest-greatest tech in ellipticals crammed by a surplus of soccer mom types working out in immaculate manicures and expensive workout gear, run, don't walk cos those ain't the droids you're looking for. Those are "fitness centers", not gyms. And yes, that may sound generalistic and stereotypical on my part, but it's kind of how society works. When gyms are more concerned with status and business models and annual margins than, y'know, actual strength training, what you wind up with is the fitness equivalent of the Pottery Barn - a bunch of expensive flash with no real substance.

Also, one of the open secrets of the "fitness center" business model is that they WANT everyone to just keep on failing at the whole cardio-is-key, don't-lift-heavy paradigm, because it means continual returns for them - you'll just continue paying that membership and killing yourself for six hours a week on the elliptical and doing endless dumbell presses with pink 2lb barbie-weights indefinitely, thinking that the issue is with you, and not a failing of your actual program.

IME dudes in real old-fashioned gyms are serious about proper technique and don't tolerate much bullshit, hence they don't tend to tolerate the showy, egotistical crap from the bicep-kisser types either. Those are poseurs, and the only reason they exist at "fitness centers" is because they're grudgingly tolerated. From past experience, the poseurs get the piss taken out of them pretty hard at any kind of legit gym.
posted by lonefrontranger at 9:17 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


IME dudes in real old-fashioned gyms are serious about proper technique and don't tolerate much bullshit, hence they don't tend to tolerate the showy, egotistical crap from the bicep-kisser types either.

Some people are, but I've seen really shitty technique in many old-fashioned gyms - people coaching each other with way outdated info, wasted effort, all sorts of stuff.
posted by Miko at 8:23 PM on April 16, 2012


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