I was at the gym yesterday and saw a guy there who was probably close to 400 lbs. Obviously, this doesn’t happen often, or it wouldn’t be cause for comment. He was diligently using the lat pulldown and a series of other pull-strength exercises. He used a balance ball to sit on because, well, the machine seats are too narrow and hard for *my* ass, and this guy’s twice as big as me.
I thought how cool it was that he was there doing some weightlifting, and wondered why he wasn’t doing some cardio, too. And then I took a good look around at the cardio machines. I looked at the narrow handrails on the treadmill and the elliptical and the uncomfortable seats on most of the bikes, and I realized he was likely going to steer clear of those and… oh, and most of the weight machines, too, with their assumptions of “average male” (which works for me, cause I’m about the size of the average guy, but if you’re really small or really big, not so much).
We live in a world that gets pissed at fat people for being fat but won’t put together exercise equipment for them and welcome them into their facilities. There are very few exercise programs for really overweight people, but rich, usually thin, people like to bitch and bitch about all that “gross, unhealthy fat,” while not recognizing we’re living in a culture that so stigmatizes the fat that some women haven’t had the nerve to get in a swimsuit and swim in 20 years. How screwed up is that?
Anyhow, it was cool to see him there, making the routines work for him. It would be great to see more big people at the gym. Gym culture tends to breed a lot of people who look really alike, and it’s nice to see some variety. In the real world, people are a lot more diverse.