Gym tells woman she's intimidating guests with 'toned body'


A California woman was asked to cover up while working out at a Bay Area gym, after staff members say she was intimidating people with her toned body.

Tiffany Austin said she was excited to get back in shape after recovering from a recent car accident. After her doctor told her it was time to start walking more, she took a tour of the Planet Fitness Gym in Richmond.  On Monday she officially joined the gym and was looking forward to her first workout – but that workout lasted a quick 15 minutes.

Austin said things started out well.  She hopped on a treadmill, set the speed to slow, put her earbuds in and started walking. She started to notice others staring at her, and quickly grew self-conscious but she kept on walking.  That is until a staff-member stopped her.

According to Austin that staff member said, "excuse me we've had some complaints you're intimidating people with your toned body. So can you put on a shirt?”

Austin was wearing a tank that showed her stomach and capri-pants and says she didn't see anything wrong with the outfit. She says she was only told not to wear a string tank because of the dress code policy at the gym.

She agreed to wear the shirt, but while the first staff member went to get it she says she was approached by another staff member who also took issue with her body. Austin says at that point she had enough; she asked for a manager - asked for her money back and left.

Planet Fitness boasts 5 million members and a policy that bans what they call “gymtimidation.”  Its website says members can get in shape without being, "subjected to the hardcore look-at-me-attitude that exists in too many gyms."

The franchise goes even further and has a “lunk alarm” in every gym which sends off a siren if someone drops a weight or breathes too hard or shows any behavior that staff members consider "lunk-like".

>> Read more trending stories

YouTube videos show members across the country getting in trouble for that kind of "lunk-head" behavior.

 

Derek Van Reheenen is the director of the Athletic Studies Center at UC Berkeley.  

He says, “In a lot of ways I think what Planet Fitness is doing is a positive thing. They obviously need to iron out some of these issues but sport in the U.S. is by nature is discriminatory too, it is selective and it is elite."

Geovanna Borges joined the Richmond gym two months ago and says she likes the policies.

Borges says, "it's unfair to show off your body" because it can make other people feel bad.

Management at the Richmond Planet Fitness referred a KTVU reporter to the corporate office.  A spokesperson says the company, "strives to make everyone feel comfortable" and says the dress code is at the discretion of the staff and manager.

However, Planet Fitness spokesperson Mcall Gosselin also said if Austin was criticized for being toned or fit then that "is not in line with the Planet Fitness policy whatsoever.”

Austin says she's no lunk-head and she's not a gym rat - and now she's not even a gym member.   She says her 15 minutes at Planet Fitness left her feeling intimidated and harassed, saying the place that promised no judgments did just that.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation World

Confederate statues removed from University of Texas at Austin campus
Confederate statues removed from University of Texas at Austin campus

University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves abruptly announced late Sunday that four statues of people with Confederate ties would be removed immediately from the school’s South Mall. The bronze likenesses of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston and Confederate Postmaster John H. Reagan will be relocated to the...
National gas prices increase ahead of eclipse arrival

DAYTON — Average retail gasoline prices in Dayton have fallen 11.3 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.17 per gallon on Sunday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 391 gas outlets in Dayton.  This compares with the national average that has fallen 2.4 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.32 per gallon, according...
Great American Eclipse: Will clouds or rain hamper eclipse viewing?
Great American Eclipse: Will clouds or rain hamper eclipse viewing?

Today is the Great American Eclipse, and all eyes are on the forecast.  The biggest question is: Will we be able to see the solar eclipse? The setup for today is painting a hot and muggy picture. Temperatures during the eclipse time, from 1 until 1 p.m., will climb from the mid-80s to the upper 80s. The humidity will take our heat index index...
Early morning isolated showers, scattered clouds this afternoon
Early morning isolated showers, scattered clouds this afternoon

Some weakening showers and storms move through early Monday morning mainly north of Interstate 70.  Isolated rain shower early Scattered clouds, but still worth seeing eclipse Few storms redevelop towards end of afternoon TODAY: Hot and humid for everyone Monday with highs around 90 and heat index values in the low to mid 90s. A mix of high...
Solar eclipse 2017: You can be a 'citizen scientist' during the Great American Eclipse
Solar eclipse 2017: You can be a 'citizen scientist' during the Great American Eclipse

For the first time in 99 years, a total solar eclipse will cross North America on Monday. The eclipse is expected to cross from Oregon, entering the U.S. at 10:15 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, and leaving U.S. shores from South Carolina at 2:50 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, over the course of an hour and a half. Becoming a citizen scientist through...
More Stories