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Gym Dilemma #1

gym_2.jpgPicture this:

You are out with friends on a Friday night at a bar. There is a drunk woman stumbling and constantly bumping into others. As she orders another drink, the bartender expresses concern over her intoxicated state and thus refuses to give her another drink. He insists on calling her a cab. Meanwhile, the owner also expresses concern for the woman and also insists that she be driven home.

What do you think?

Most of us agree that the bartender and owner of the bar acted responsibly and intervened in an appropriate manner and the woman’s safety was at risk, right? We may even feel that the bartender and owner needed to take action and had they not, it would have been neglectful.

Now picture this:

You have just finished your workday and you are heading to the gym to work out before meeting a gym_1.jpg friend for dinner. While on the elliptical machine, you notice a woman running on the treadmill. She is looking rather emaciated with her exercise clothes hanging off her. Her skin looks pale and she appears faint, even though she is exercising relentlessly. You feel uncomfortable watching because you think she is going to pass out. Her emaciated physical status also concerns you. You notice people looking at her and then continuing with their workouts. One of the gym’s trainers notices the woman on the treadmill and continues with his task. You keep thinking about her as you shower and dress. You leave the gym and head to the restaurant to meet your friend. You have a leisurely dinner lasting close to two hours. When you finish and say good-bye to your friend, you head to your car, which you parked near the gym. As you get into your car, you notice the emaciated woman leaving the gym. You realize that she must have exercised for close to three hours.

Is this a problem? Have you had this experience while working out at your local gym? How did this make you feel? Do you think any action from the gym staff should have been taken?


13 thoughts on “Gym Dilemma #1

  1. Good point.

    Picture this: you’re walking by a McDonald’s on your way home from work, and you see a 300 pound woman stuffing a BigMac into her face – she is sweating and panting, possibly on her way to a hard attack. Do you suggest she eat a salad instead?

    Or is the world a more interesting place because as adult people we are allowed to do whatever we want as long as we’re not hurting anyone else?

  2. I have worked out for over 3 hrs, and i am thin. So, are you going to say i am excercise obsessed? I am not, i am a runner and that kind of workout is called hard work, honey. Few reading this blog would really understand that kind of dedication to an athletic ability. Every consider she is just built that way and training for a marathon? Three hours on a treadmill is a good slow 14 miles. And btw, usually extremely thin people make the best runners; less weight to drag around andmkore aerodynamic (no hips boobs or butt protruding to slow you down). Don’t blog about things you don’t understand.

  3. Just a note of support here. I’m not quite sure why this entry seems to have irritated ‘S’. I think you’ve raised a real dilemma – particularly because it is quite possible that the woman IS actually a runner. We all know that its also quite possible that the woman is seriously ‘ill’ (for want of a better term).

    ‘S’ if you don’t feel the pressures that this blog discusses, and you can’t imagine why someone would run themselves thin purely for body-image reasons, then I’m really really pleased for you. Unfortunately I think you’re pretty unusual in that. And of course you don’t get to escape the issues because you’ll have people around you that assume that your thinness IS because you are starving yourself.

  4. I do see a problem, that being; no one at least spoke to her to see if anything was wrong. Odds are nothing was wrong, but it’s still nice to ask.
    I can’t say I’ve ever been in that kind of situation, nevertheless if I had I don’t think I would have acted any different. Really, who am I to interfere with some hot skin woman exercising her heart out? It’s her life, maybe she’s trying to get in really good shape.
    This situation kind of makes me tied, all that running and all.
    I think someone at the gyms should of ask if she needed some water to at least distracted her long enough from her run to see if something was wrong.

  5. Yeah, ppl do assume that, which is why i hate fat people blogs like this. And I do understand people running themselves thin. I also know many skinny people (naturally!) are top-notch, speedy runners. I hate when fat people judge us just because we are thinner and more athletic than them!

  6. To #5: Sheila. Thanks for your comment — this is a really controversial topic. The interesting thing is that you classified About-Face as a “fat people blog.” First, About-Facers are a variety of shapes and sizes — in fact, many of us are average or even thin. Many of us are athletic, too. Second, why would this entry be less important if it were written by a fat person?

    Just something to think about…

    – Jennifer

  7. Talk to her to pick her brain about her perspective. Find out if she’s running a marathon, or if she’s just weight-obsessed. But, let her tell you about herself (you don’t want to lead her on with your questions.) Then, take it from there. I think the hardest question is what if you find out she’s got a body image problem and eating disorder. Then what do you do.

  8. S, I have worked out for over 3 hours before as well. In fact, I’m training for a half-Ironman triathlon at the moment (total race time will be about 5:45). Serious athletes do not run for three hours on treadmills – it’s BORING and less efficient training than running outside. Nor do they have protruding rib cages and hipbones. What in the hell kind of a point did you think you were trying to prove? Get real.

  9. bijou – I agree with your comment. There is most defintely a huge difference between athletes who are athletes for the joy of it, and those who are ill.

  10. WOW – this gym blog really triggered some people. If the blog upset you – and it definitely did upset many of you who responded to it – you may have a problem you do not want to face.

    The woman was exhausted, emaciated, and looked as if she were about to faint. Does this sound like an athlete? The woman also lives in a culture in which anorexia and bullima are epidemic.

    Maybe the emaciated woman is training for a marathon. And maybe the drunk woman at the bar usually just has wine with dinner. Or maybe they’re both very ill and need help. If we’re afraid to ask the question, everyone loses.

  11. Wow. That could have been me on that eliptical machine. Only, I did not have an eating or exersize disorder. I was recovering from a serious physical illness. I worked out with weights to rebuild muscle mass and also on the cardio machines to increase endurance. And, I looked like hell and was very self conscious about it. Just something to consider when you see a sickly person puffing away on the eliptical machine. By the way, I’m better now and look great.

  12. I have been searching for some discussion on this matter because my 34 year old daughter, who has run 2 marathons in the last year, has become this emaciated person you described, working out for hours and hours. Both my husband and I have talked to her about it, but she blows us off by saying that she’s fine and has never felt better in her life. Hard for us to believe that line. What’s more, she eats practically nothing & her skin is just hanging from her bones. We are scared to death of the outcome of this situation. Her husband also seems to be in denial. Can someone help us???

  13. Hi Sandi

    What you described about your daughter sounds like you may need to talk to a professional clinician. Here is a website to find a professional in your geographic area. There are many caring professionals in the field of eating disorders who work with families. I wish you and your husband the best.

    Marcella from About-Face

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