A California woman got more than she bargained for when she began her first workout at a new gym: a whole lot of hate.
According to Tiffany Austin, an employee at a Richmond, Calif. Planet Fitness asked her to put on a shirt because her body was “intimidating” other patrons.
Austin says she signed up at the gym to help her recover from a car accident, but after just a few minutes on the treadmill she was approached by a gym employee asking her to cover up.
“Excuse me we’ve had some complaints you’re intimidating people with your toned body,” Austin says the worker told her. “So can you put on a shirt?”
Planet Fitness advertises itself as a judgment-free zone, and even has a dress code that discourages others from showing too much skin. Despite this, Austin felt that her outfit—a cropped tank top and capri-pants—didn’t cross the line.
After the first employee asked her to cover up, Austin happily agreed. But while the worker went to get her a shirt, another Planet Fitness employee stopped by her treadmill and again asked her to cover her body.
At that point, she’d had enough. Austin spoke to the manager, got a refund, and left the gym—after just 15 minutes.
Planet Fitness prides itself on sidestepping “gymtimidation” and providing a space where “normal” people can workout without being “subjected to the hardcore look-at-me-attitude that exists in too many gyms.”
Bay Area news affiliate KTVU spoke with one Planet Fitness member who agreed with the gym’s decision to ask Austin to cover up.
“It’s unfair to show off your body,” Geovanna Borges told reporters, because it can make others in the gym feel bad about themselves.
Although the Planet Fitness claims to be a space “where everyone feels accepted and respected,” Austin said her brief time at the gym left her feeling intimidated and harassed.