If you’re already ripped and toned don’t bother joining this gym! The new Downsize Fitness chain only accepts overweight and obese members. In fact, you have to be at least 50 pounds overweight to join – and yes, they will weigh you.

That’s because the owner believes heavy people need a gym all their own – where they can feel comfortable, less self-conscious and intimidated, and not judged by the super-fit person on the elliptical machine next to them.

And what are the other unique features at this “overweight only” gym? It as exercise equipment designed specifically for bigger bodies, like treadmills that can support 400 pounds, which is about 100 pounds more than the typical treadmill. The windows to the outside world are fogged glass, so passersby can’t gawk. And there are no floor-to-ceiling mirrors, which are standard at other gyms! It’s all in an effort to make the members more comfortable. That’s because studies show that exercise class participants tend to watch themselves in the mirror – and compare their body and abilities to their classmates. And if they don’t measure up, they’re more likely to give up.

So, what happens when the weight comes off, and you’re a lean, mean workout machine? You don’t get kicked out. In fact, your membership is good for life. And you’re considered a living, breathing, treadmill-running success story for other heavy gym goers.

Right now, Downsize Fitness has three locations. But there are other overweight-only gyms popping up, like Buddha Body in New York City, Square One in Omaha, and Body Exchange in Vancouver. Experts predict overweight-only gyms are going to be the wave of the future – since about 1-in-3 people are overweight.

So what do you think: Are these gyms a safe haven for overweight people to work out? Or do they ostracize the overweight community from everyone else?

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