Overweight-only gym fosters supportive atmosphere
by Associated Press Wire
January 07, 2013 11:35 AM | 1128 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A trainer runs a morning exercise class at Downsize Fitness Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, in Addison, Texas. Downsize Fitness is a selective gym where the rule is that new members must tip the scales. New members are weighed and have their body mass index measured. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
A trainer runs a morning exercise class at Downsize Fitness Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, in Addison, Texas. Downsize Fitness is a selective gym where the rule is that new members must tip the scales. New members are weighed and have their body mass index measured. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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DALLAS (AP) — Downsize Fitness is an exclusive health club, evocative of the nation's trendiest gyms. But there's a strict requirement to join: You must be 50 pounds or more overweight.

The chain wants its members to feel comfortable while exercising, so there are no mirrors inside and the windows are fogged. Even the equipment is designed for heavier people.

Chicago entrepreneur Francis Wisnewski says he started the gym because "I've been overweight my whole life, and I was embarrassed to go to the gym myself."

The first locations opened in Chicago and Las Vegas in 2011, and expanded to Dallas in 2012.

Gym member Janie Busch said she likes the supportive atmosphere.

Krisanne Hale, a personal trainer in Dallas, is still trying to lose weight. She says that helps members relate.

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