Harrogate mother felt "belittled and laughed at" during gym induction

A Harrogate mother said she was made to feel "two inches tall" after being body shamed at a town centre gym.

Tuesday, 17th January 2017, 3:43 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th January 2017, 3:46 pm
Sarah Stanley with personal trainer and assistant manager at Pure Gym in Harrogate, James Bower.(1701164AM2)

Sarah Stanley had signed up for an induction at Harrogate's Pure Gym after making a resolution to lose weight in the New Year.

However, during a tour of the gym, the 39-year-old said she was "shocked to pieces" when she caught two men standing and laughing at her.

Despite considering quitting the gym after the taunts, Sarah plucked up the courage to return the next day but complained to a personal trainer.

After hearing her story, James Bower took to Facebook to share his reaction to the incident in a post which has now gone viral.

James' disgust at the actions of the two men has been liked more than 2,000 times and been shared by hundreds of people.

In the post, James promised to offer Sarah free personal training to help build her confidence back up and slammed the men's behaviour as unacceptable.

He said: "I've probably walked past you lads in the gym and seen your poor form, puny arms and 'chicken wing' shoulders, taking narcissistic selfies of yourself but I wouldn't have ridiculed you.

"You're trying to better yourself and I admire that determination in everyone! If anything I would bend over backwards to help you achieve your goal.

"What you did is the equivalent of laughing at a homeless person who is waiting in the queue at the job centre. Someone trying to change their lives.

"As a result of your ignorance, I'm going to give this lady some free Personal Training to help her get her confidence back. She'll be looking amazing and you'll be looking for another gym!"

Sarah, who suffers with depression, said she felt honoured by James' post and is now enjoying going to the gym five times a week.

However, she added that she realised other people would be struggling with the same issues of confidence and feeling scared of going to the gym.

But, she's hoping her story inspires them to conquer their fears and would always be on hand to offer messages of support and advice.

She said: "I already felt sick enough going to the gym because I was so nervous. I'm covered in tattoos and I'm quite a noticeable girl but being laughed at really put me off.

"It made me feel about two inches tall, really belittled. I know it wasn't much but it really tore me down and shook me to pieces and my confidence just went.

"It's been an unreal response to the Facebook post. I just want other people to feel like they can go to the gym because we all go for the same reason.

"Now I'm really loving going as much as I can and dancing on the treadmills.If someone is laughing behind me I don't care.

"At first, I wanted to lose weight to find someone. Now I'm going for myself and my son and my health, I want to be around when he grows up.

"If anyone has a similar problem then they should really go and see James. He is dedicated to getting people into gym, getting them fit or just onto a different lifestyle."