Making Plus-Sized Women Welcome
The customer is always right: that adage holds true for any business. It doesn’t mean that the customer is literally always correct, but that the business should treat the customer with respect and understanding.
According to a recent article in the LA Times, however, when it comes to health clubs, many gym owners just don’t get it. In fact, most gyms alienate the very people that could benefit from them the most: those who are overweight. The Times reported that while large commercial gyms are oblivious to the needs of larger people, some independent gyms are now taking steps to make plus-sized clients feel more welcome.
The Times article hit home for those of us who work at Shirlee’s because we know that our attitude is just as important as our equipment. Shirlee’s is a judgement-free zone. It is a place where women work out without being intimidated, where they enjoy valuable “me time” in a supportive, friendly atmosphere. This is true for all women, no matter what their size or ability.
Here’s some of the our features that make us more welcoming to everyone:
- Equipment—Shirlee’s offers user-friendly exercise equipment designed to accommodate women large and small. To make sure you feel adept at using different machines, we have free orientations. The furniture in the locker room, by the pool, and throughout the gym was chosen because it supports the weight of larger bodies and will be comfortable for everyone.
- The Locker Room—Privacy makes plus-sized (and other) people feel more comfortable, and we provide spacious private dressing areas. We have private individual showers as well.
- The Classes—Because we have such a diverse clientele, Shirlee’s offers more than 60 classes a week, many more than most gyms. In each class, instructors provide alternative options when appropriate. In a yoga class, for example, the instructor will suggest different poses for women who have osteoporosis or other special needs. In an aerobics class, options are given for both high and low impact. Managers, trainers and instructors can help you find the class that’s right for you.
- The Trainers—Personal training is available at Shirlee’s for those who want more personalized instruction. We hire trainers who are certified, have positive, compassionate attitudes, and are dedicated to motivating clients at all levels. Trainers can help you develop a routine that is safe and effective for your particular needs. All our employees and independent contractors abide by a Code of Conduct that emphasizes an environment that makes all women feel welcome and supported.
- The Pool—Many larger women find exercising in water easier. At Shirlee’s, our pool is kept warm, so it’s not a struggle to get in. We offer aqua classes that give you a fun, effective workout without putting too much stress on your joints. You can also relax and soothe your muscles in the jacuzzi.
- Our Attitude—We want women of all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities to feel comfortable at Shirlee’s Fitness Club for Women. We listen to members and welcome your feedback. Unlike gyms that ignore certain segments of their clientele-whether it be larger women, frail women, mothers-to-be, or others-we want to anticipate and accommodate special needs whenever possible. I invite you to let a manager know if you ever have an idea on how we can make Shirlee’s even better.