Unconventional gym signs stir up a debate

UNCONVENTIONAL signs at a Bundaberg gym are causing conversation around Bundaberg, with some loving them and others saying they shame obese people.

Bundaberg man and personal trainer Peter Macklin said he felt the signs outside The Foundry Forging the Elite were harmful to those who were looking to lose the kilos.

One sign reads "in a zombie apocalypse, the fat and weak will be eaten first, your choice" while the other reads "tired of being fat and ugly? Just be ugly!" with the image of an emoji face with its middle finger up.

"As a personal trainer I can attest that these shaming methods do a lot of harm to the people it is aimed at and it definitely encourages bullying in fitness centres," Mr Macklin said.

"It has certainly turned me off going there and I would never recommend a fitness centre that encourages shaming tactics to anyone."

Mr Macklin said he thought a positive approach to weight loss was better.

"(It) depends entirely on what my clients want and many aspects of their life and personality," he said.

"However, focusing on how they feel and how they want to feel is is key.

"Making someone feel insulted, belittled, worthless in their current state is very damaging.

"Making them comfortable and developing a sense of trust is vital."

The Foundry Forging the Elite owner Jareb Cowan said the gym's signs were a bit of harmless fun, and if anything, had encouraged people to come into the gym.

"It's just humour - something different," he said.

"Our clientele have really enjoyed it and ultimately we've had quite a few people coming in and complimenting us on the signs."

Mr Cowan said locals and backpackers from a nearby hostel had been making the most of the gym since it opened just under two years ago.

He said the gym was a place where anyone was welcome to come and have some fun.

"We run a grey matter class for over 60s," he said.

"A lot of elderly women come and at the same Eminem's playing in the background and everyone's having a laugh."

Mr Cowan said ultimately, the signs had encouraged more people to think about their fitness.

"Our clients have liked it, we've had people come in so we're happy," he said.

"We welcome everyone, the hardest thing about anything is getting started.

"We are passionate about what we do and our doors are open to everyone."

Mr Cowan said he would make a decision on whether or not to continue the conversational signs based on people's overall thoughts on them.

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