top of page

"Fitness Industry Under Scrutiny: Could it be Perpetuating Obesity?"

Updated: Jan 3

Chris JW Reeves

PART 1 "Expert Points to Toxic Environment, Overemphasis on Intensity, and Exclusive Focus on the Already Fit"


[Clovis CA], [1/2/24] - In a surprising twist, the fitness industry, long considered a bastion of health and wellness, is now facing allegations that it may inadvertently be contributing to the obesity epidemic. Industry expert Lynn Phillips points out that the industry's toxic environment, push for extreme workouts, and exclusive focus on the already fit may be discouraging rather than encouraging individuals to adopt a healthier lifestyle.


One of the key criticisms centers around the fitness industry's promotion of a toxic environment that can be intimidating for newcomers. Many gyms and fitness centers cultivate an atmosphere that prioritizes aesthetics over overall well-being. The prevalence of unrealistic body standards showcased on social media and within the industry itself can create an unwelcoming atmosphere for those who are just starting their fitness journey.


Furthermore, the industry's emphasis on high-intensity workouts has come under fire. While challenging workouts can be effective for some, Phillips argues that the industry's push for extreme fitness routines may be counterproductive. For individuals who are not adequately prepared or conditioned, these intense workouts can lead to injuries, burnout, and a negative association with exercise, ultimately discouraging sustained engagement.


A significant concern is the industry's apparent catering to those who are already fit. Many fitness programs and marketing campaigns target individuals who are already in good shape, showcasing their success stories and perpetuating the notion that going to the gym is primarily for the already fit. This exclusivity may discourage individuals who are overweight or obese from seeking professional guidance and support, perpetuating the cycle of sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy habits.


While the debate over the fitness industry's role in perpetuating obesity continues, it is evident that a shift towards a more inclusive and holistic approach to health and wellness may be the key to encouraging individuals, regardless of their current fitness level, to embark on a sustainable journey towards a healthier lifestyle.


PART 2: "Janice and Steve's Unsuccessful Gym Journeys Highlight Concerns of Toxic Environments and Excessive Demands in the Fitness World"


[Clovis CA], [1/2/24] - The fitness industry, often hailed as a beacon of health, is now under scrutiny as personal stories emerge, shedding light on how certain practices may be inadvertently contributing to obesity. Janice and Steve, two individuals who tried their hand at gym life and quickly retreated, share their experiences, citing a toxic environment, excessive demands, and a catering to the already fit as reasons for their short-lived fitness journeys.


Janice, a 38-year-old office worker, entered her local gym with enthusiasm but left with disappointment. She recounts feeling overwhelmed by the gym's atmosphere, where an emphasis on sculpted bodies and high-intensity workouts created an intimidating environment. "I wanted to make a positive change, but the gym felt like it was designed for people who were already fit. I didn't see anyone who looked like me or struggling like I was," Janice laments.


Steve, a 45-year-old father of two, shares a similar sentiment. Eager to shed some extra pounds and improve his overall well-being, Steve joined a fitness class recommended by friends. However, he found himself struggling to keep up with the intense routines. "I thought I was going to get support and guidance, but instead, I felt like I was being pushed beyond my limits and judged when I couldn’t keep up. It was demoralizing," Steve recounts.


These personal stories reflect broader concerns with the fitness industry. Fitness expert Lynn Phillips believes that toxic environments and excessive demands may deter individuals from pursuing a healthier lifestyle. The push for high-intensity workouts, often showcased on social media and in marketing campaigns, may be setting unrealistic expectations and contributing to a one-size-fits-all mentality that ignores varying fitness levels.


Phillips is tackling the problem head-on by providing a more inclusive, instructional approach with a welcoming environment for individuals of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels in a space she refers to as an "UNGYM" with a hippie-vibe. According to Phillips "There's a real need for personalized programs that consider the individual needs, abilities, and goals of participants in order to help them avoid injury, increase enjoyment, encourage adherence, and deliver results."




PART 3: "The 'Ungym': A Kinder, Gentler Approach to Fitness Emerges Amidst Industry Criticism"


[Clovis CA], [1/2/24] - In the wake of mounting criticism against traditional gyms, personal stories from individuals like Janice and Steve are highlighting a shift towards a more compassionate and inclusive fitness landscape. Industry expert Lynn Phillips is taking on the fitness industry's toxic environment, intense demands, and exclusive focus on the already fit with a refreshing alternative – what she refers to as an 'ungym.' This space prioritizes friendliness, comfort, and sustainable lifestyle changes, aiming to counteract the factors that may inadvertently perpetuate obesity.


Janice, who once felt alienated in a traditional gym setting, found solace in an "ungym" environment in a local studio in Clovis CA. "It's like a breath of fresh air," she says. "I feel supported here, and there's no judgment. The focus is on doing what's comfortable for me, not what the person next to me is doing."


Similarly, Steve, who experienced the pressures of intense workouts, discovered a welcoming space where his needs were prioritized. "The trainers here actually care about teaching me the right way to exercise, ensuring I don't get injured. It's not about pushing me to my limit; it's about helping me build a sustainable routine with a focus on good form and getting results that improve my health," Steve explains.


The emergence of this 'ungym' represents a departure from the traditional fitness model. In this space, the emphasis is on creating a community where participants are encouraged to work out at a level that is both doable and comfortable for them. The focus shifts from a one-size-fits-all mentality to recognizing and celebrating individual progress.


Trainers here take on a holistic role, not only guiding workouts but also placing a strong emphasis on teaching proper form and technique. The goal is to provide participants with tools to prevent diseases, improve mobility, and foster lasting friendships. The environment is designed to be friendly, approachable, and devoid of the competitive atmosphere often associated with conventional gyms.


Phillips believes that a more personalized and supportive approach can break down the barriers that may keep people away from pursuing a healthier lifestyle. By fostering a sense of community and emphasizing long-term sustainability, this 'ungym' approach aims to create an environment where everyone feels welcome, regardless of their fitness level or background.


This new concept in fitness training is a promising alternative for those who are looking for a more friendly, instructional, and sustainable approach to fitness. With decades of research and experience behind her Phillips is leading the charge to change the way, the why, and the where of fitness training by providing a positive and inclusive space for individuals seeking a healthier lifestyle… no burpees required.  


PART 4: "How a Unique Gym Concept is Redefining the Fitness Experience and Ushering in a New Era of Positive, Inclusive, and Social Wellness"


[Clovis CA], [1/2/24]- In the realm of fitness, where sculpted bodies often steal the spotlight, a new gym has emerged with a refreshing approach—Bad Donkey Fitness. Their mantra? "Unleash your Inner Bad-Donkey!” This quirky fitness haven, nestled in the heart of Clovis, is turning heads by placing health at the forefront and encouraging members to embrace the joy of movement and to love the body they're in.


A Different Breed of Gym:

Bad Donkey Fitness breaks away from the traditional gym culture that emphasizes aesthetics. Instead, it creates an environment where individuals of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels feel welcome and encouraged. The gym's philosophy centers around the idea that true wellness goes beyond appearance and is rooted in cultivating a healthy body, mind, and spirit.


Laughing Through Lunges:

Walking into Bad Donkey Fitness, you're greeted by vibrant colors, motivational quotes, and an infectious sense of camaraderie. The atmosphere is anything but intimidating; members and staff alike sport smiles as they embark on workouts designed to be effective yet enjoyable. Whether it's a challenging circuit or an uplifting cardio class, the goal is to foster a positive relationship with exercise.


Meet the Donkey:

The gym's mascot, aptly named "Bad Donkey," embodies the spirit of the establishment—determined, hardworking, but with a sense of humor. Members don't come to compete; they come to challenge themselves and celebrate their progress, with Bad Donkey leading the charge.


Focus on Health, Not Looks:

At Bad Donkey Fitness, the emphasis is on improving health rather than achieving a particular appearance. The trainers work closely with members to set realistic fitness goals that align with their individual well-being. This approach has created a supportive community where achievements are celebrated, and the journey is just as important as the destination.


Total Acceptance:

The gym actively promotes a "Total Acceptance" policy. Here, it's not about the number on the scale or the mirror; it's about feeling strong, energized, and empowered. Members are encouraged to embrace their uniqueness and find joy in the process of becoming the healthiest versions of themselves.


A Fitness Revolution:

Bad Donkey Fitness is sparking a fitness revolution by proving that exercise and enjoyment can coexist. Their commitment to creating an inclusive and uplifting space challenges the conventional notions of what a gym should be. As members embark on their wellness journeys, they're not just transforming their bodies—they're embracing a lifestyle that values longevity, vitality, and the sheer joy of moving.


In a world where health and fitness are more critical than ever, Bad Donkey Fitness stands as a beacon, demonstrating that a positive and inclusive gym experience can be the catalyst for a healthier and happier life. As the fitness landscape evolves, Bad Donkey Fitness is leading the charge towards a future where wellness is not just a goal but a way of life.


Sweat with a Side of Sass: BAD DONKEY – Because Fitness Should be a Joyful Adventure!

Bad Donkey Fitness

1030 Shaw Ave. #103

Clovis CA 93611


Fitness Expert Lynn Phillips, MS Exercise Science

CEO of X4health and Bad Donkey Fitness

Professor at Fresno State University

Founder of National Association for Physical Activity

Developer and CEO of Tandalay Curriculum for Physical Education

Fitness Trainer and Trainer of Trainers

Health, Wellness and Disease Prevention Research Enthusiast

To become a Certified Bad Donkey Fitness Trainer and start a fitness revolution in your area, contact Chris Reeves via email at

bottom of page