2/26/2015 | debbiew
March 2015 Blog by Susan Whirty, General Manager, Health, Wellness and Membership at the JCC Health and Wellness Center
Is ‘FAT’ a Negative Word?
As I sit to write this blog, I wrestle with the subject. Where I come from - personal trainer, group exercise instructor, female and mother to a daughter….the list goes on, calling someone ‘fat’ was (and still is) looked upon as something derogatory. But, is it? I ask this question for myself as well as others. We are having a debate here at the J regarding just that. The Group Exercise Department is proudly announcing the inception of a class geared specifically to overweight men. We are the first in the area to do so and I am thrilled to be on the cutting edge of this type of workout, this type of program as well as being able to serve this population, which by all accounts has been underserved for too long.
My dilemma involves naming the class/program. It has been suggested to me that we name it ‘Fitness for Fat Guys’. This suggestion came from a co-worker who happens to be, by his own account, a fat guy. When the proposed name was presented to me, I cringed….then cringed again. However, after much discussion with said co-worker as well as others, I came around to seeing his point of view but still couldn’t bring myself to name the program/classes ‘Fitness for Fat Guys’. My co-worker indicated to me that ‘fat’ men, unlike overweight women, easily admit they are fat, know they are fat and own their ‘fat’ness. So, internally, my co-worker proved to me the name is not offensive…but I continue to feel uneasy with marketing the program externally with that name.
Who is right? Conversely who is wrong? I am not the ‘fat’ guy that I am trying to appeal to with a class like this. I am the trainer/group exercise instructor that needs to make everyone, regardless of shape, size, weight or gender feel welcome and empowered to embark on their journey to health and wellness. It is definitely an operation in a very grey area.
Bottom line is this….my co-worker and I agree that this is a group of individuals that has been overlooked and needs a class like this. Developing and offering a class like this is what being part of a ‘Community Center’ is all about. We offer something for everyone, we want all who enter to feel welcome. Does it truly matter what we name the class as long as the not-so-thin guy shows up, does the work, gets results and feels better? You decide….feel free to ‘weigh in’ (pun intended) and tell us what you think.
Susan Whirty, General Manager - Health, Wellness and Membership
Springfield Jewish Community Center
Springfield, MA 01108
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