Gym chain bans posing body building video

David Unwin/Stuff

Bodybuilders Charmaine Johnson and Nathalie VanWeers were banned from posing by Palmerston North gym City Fitness.

A buff pair of Palmerston North bodybuilders feel like they've been muscled out of a popular gym that has banned posing.

The hard-line stance of CItyFitness has left Charmaine Johnson and her friend Nathalie Van Weers perplexed, but the gym is defending the ban, saying the practice made other users uncomfortable.

The nationwide ban comes after one bodybuilder was seen posing in his undies. CityFitness' banned list has also, over the past two years, extended to selfies and grunting.

Charmaine Johnson, left, and Nathalie VanWeers ,were asked to stop posing at a City Fitness gym.
David Unwin/Fairfax NZ.

Charmaine Johnson, left, and Nathalie VanWeers ,were asked to stop posing at a City Fitness gym.

Johnson and Van Weers are just weeks away from their next competition and were training, alone, in a studio at Palmertson North's CityFitness when the manager asked them to stop.

Johnson has been a member at the gym for over a year and regularly ran through her poses at the full-length mirrors in the closed-off studios.

She wasn't aware of any policy change, she said, and has since cancelled her membership.

"He said it's not the image they want to see there. That they're about anyone feeling comfortable at the gym, and not making new members feel insecure."

Johnson said she tried to explain how important posing practice was before competition, and how there was no real difference between bodybuilders and the muscle-bound guys flexing in front of a mirror the gym seemed perfectly OK with.

"[The manager] said it didn't matter, they're not there for the bodybuilders or powerlifters. He told us if it was that important to us we could pose in the toilets."

The pair were surprised to cause offence, given they were wearing full tights and sports bras, common gym gear.

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CityFitness operations manager Lisa Brown said bodybuilders were not being discouraged from attending CityFitness, but they needed to find somewhere else to go for posing practice.

"There was an incident in which someone was practicing their bodybuilding routine in their underwear, which created an uncomfortable environment for other members, requiring us to put out a policy to prevent future issues.

Brown said CityFitness wanted to create a welcoming environment for users and the gyms were 

not the appropriate place for members to practice the routines of any individual sport.

Palmerston North's Flex Fitness sales manager Laura Walsh said it didn't have a policy for bodybuilders attending its gym, but there were certain expectations.

"We do ask people wear appropriate attire when they're in the gym.

"We don't turn people away, but we expect people to be wearing clothes while they're training and we wouldn't expect them to be posing while people are trying to use the free weights area with the mirrors."

Palmerston North's Snap Fitness manager Stewart Richdale said several bodybuilders, including a Mr Manawatu winner, regularly used the gym without a problem.

He said members understood how important it was for the gym maintained a family vibe, so bodybuilding members chose to keep posing practice to off-peak times.

 - Stuff

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