Back in November, I wrote a post about the Anti-Gym -- a story that had broken on other feminist blogs.
It's still getting comments on the blog entry, even though its no where near the front page here anymore. I decided it was time to check back on anti-gym.
Owner and creator, Michael Karolchyk, still sends the message that women need to "be sexy... or be gone."
If that's not a threat, I don't know what is. Also, I'd like to post the comment I received recently on the older post from a 'disgruntled' (to say the least) gym member:
I'm a client at the Anti-Gym. Anyone out there who's thinking of trying it..DON'T!
I used to figure skate but after two back injuries in two separate car accidents I couldn't skate anymore. My health went downhill and my weight went up. I joined the Anti-Gym with the goal to loose weight and get back on the ice.
I was well on way until Mr. Karolchyk fired 5 of his trainers within a month and took over training clients himself. I now have training sessions with Karolchyk himself. I have to email him exactly what I ate during the day every night. I'm supposed to get a reply with suggestions on how to eat better. What I get is a paragraph of meaningless insults and name calling.
In sessions Mr. Karolchyk throws his cupcakes but that's not the worst. Anything he knows about your personal life he advertises, twists, and uses it to publicly humiliate you. Another punishment is being forced to squat over a toilet in the center of the gym and wave the Anti-Gym flag.
Don't pause to get a drink during a grueling workout, he'll yell in your face and throw your water bottle across the room. Don't disagree with him on anything. Unfortunately, I made that mistake. He took me into a small office where we were alone. He started yelling, "YOU WILL AGREE WITH ME!" repeatedly and throwing his arms around. I thought he was gonna hit me so I ran out.
Another mistake not to make is standing up for yourself. He insulted me in an email and I replied standing up for myself. I received 14 emails from him on a Sunday insulting not only my weight and fitness level but also my hair, make-up, personality, choice of friends, character, dress, maturity, and lack of a tan.
His gym is nothing more than a cult. After you pay he owns you. If you disagree and don't "bow" down he either insults and bullys you into submission or makes your life miserable till you just stop coming...no refund.
When I say agree with him that's on EVERYTHING, not just diet and fitness, but also sex, drugs, religion, personality, etc. He attempts to make you believe you're there at his mercy and you have to live up to his expectations of becoming a sex object. It's funny you actually forget you paid him and HE should be living up to YOUR expectations.
Obviously, I have no way of verifying if any of this is true. However, the description of treatment is echoed on the company's own website and in various news stories posted on the website. It's true, Mr. Karolchyk and his employees throw cupcakes and stuffed pigs at people working out. He does have people squat over toilets and wave flags and he is unabashedly disgusted and horrified by fat people -- specifically women.
So I find it very believable that someone like Mr. Karolchyk has violent, controlling and abusive tendencies. What is even more (more!) worrisome is that this man is likely dating. Seriously just go through and read the green, bold statements and tell me if you want someone like that dating your friend or sister or daughter?
- Looks like an abusive asshole,
- Talks like an abusive asshole and
- Acts like an abusive asshole-- it is---
** DING DING DING! **
An abusive asshole!
Disclaimer: I really hope not, but it seems whenever we get near talking about obesity discrimination or bad attitudes about women and size, some concern troll has to say: "Well, you know, getting fit is important!" Well, fine and dandy but just remember -- any "gym" that encourages you to take shots of alcohol after your work-out, and only offers co-ed showers has absolutely no interest in your health.