HEALTHY LIVING
01/06/2012 02:37 pm ET Updated Jan 06, 2012

Downsize Fitness: Gym Only Accepts Overweight Members With 50 lbs Or More To Lose

The fitness industry has long featured toned and perfect figures effortlessly gliding on an elliptical machine or treadmill. But at Downsize Fitness, skinny people aren't welcome.

Instead, eligible clients must be at least 50 lbs overweight, according to the company's website. When members reach their goal, they "graduate" from the gym.

With locations in Chicago and Las Vegas, the gym first opened its doors last fall with the goal of creating a non-intimidating environment where members can focus on working out, Headline News reported.

Though some 42 million Americans joined health clubs in 2011, according to a report by IBISWorld, the Chicago Tribune notes gyms are guilty of alienating obese members who most need the fitness industry's help.

So far, the gym's members are happy with the atmosphere the club provides.

Club member Tara Lawton told the Tribune she's lost 20 pounds since joining in October.

"I want to cry sometimes at how it changed my life," Tara Lawton, 42, said in an interview with the paper. "My body is responding positively to being pushed."

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