Downsize Fitness – The Gym That Only Accepts People Who Are At Least 50 Pounds Overweight

Have you been wanting to join a gym, but hesitated because it feels weird to work out among all those super-fit people? Well, what you need is a place exactly like Downsize Fitness, the gym chain that only accepts clients who are at least 50lbs overweight. With branches in Chicago, Las Vegas and Dallas, the gym chain was inspired by the hit TV show The Biggest Loser, and aims to reduce the insecurities that larger people go through at regular gyms. So the only skinny people allowed at Downsize Fitness are the trainers.

And it doesn’t stop just there. The gym has gone a great length to ensure that its clients do not feel bad about themselves and stay motivated to come back every day. The facility has no mirrors lining the walls, and the windows are frosted so that passers-by cannot look inside. The machines are also specifically designed to suit those who are chronically overweight and obese. 39-year-old Francis Wisniewski, the owner of Downsize Fitness, was once overweight himself, so he knows exactly what it feels like to enter a gym filled with trip and super-fit people. When he finally shed his extra pounds, he identified the gap in the market. He is now the perfect ambassador to promote the business, having lost 60 lbs in the past year with the help of his team at Downsize Fitness. “Large clubs make you feel on display,” he said in an interview. “I’ve been big my whole life, and small incidents probably make it seem worse than it really is. But at the gym, it’s all out there for everyone to see. I was embarrassed to go the gym myself, it’s intimidating to go in when you can’t do all the exercises, when you feel like people are going to be staring at you and people are going to be judging you. And I know if I’m feeling it, overweight women feel worse. ”

Photo: Downsize Fitness/Facebook

Wisniewski’s philosophy is simple. As he puts it on his website, “It’s not just about following a diet or working out; it’s about teaching members new habits they will embrace in and outside of the gym.” So each member is helped out by a trainer who develops individual workout and diet plans that are both effective and achievable. Limitations that are specific to the overweight, like respiratory problems or joint pain, are taken into consideration while developing these plans. The membership rates are pretty affordable; at just $50 a month, almost anyone can work out at  Downsize Fitness gyms. A member who reaches their goal weight becomes a hero of sorts, a kind of inspirational figure and mentor to the newer members. Tara Lawton, from Chicago, is one of them; she lost 20lbs in just 4 months. “My body is responding positively to being pushed,” she said. “I want to cry sometimes at how it changed my life.” Those who reach their goals continue to work out here, as they have made friends for life.

Photo: Downsize Fitness/Facebook

Downsize Fitness sounds less like a gym and more like an amazing community where everyone has the same goal – to lose weight. As Wisniewski puts it, “You know when you walk in that you’re just like everybody else and that makes it easier to join, to come in and get healthy.”


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