Less of the exercise-shaming please

Exercise shaming Dani Mathers Snapchat

Oh hello, me again, back with another seriously pissed off post. Well, I wouldn’t want to break from tradition, would I?

Shall we talk about exercise-shaming? Yes, I know, it’s a thing. Shaming people for doing exercise. And by that I mean making comments, secret Snapchatting and the rest. Not surprisingly, this kind of behaviour makes my blood boil.

I’ve been exercised shamed before. Back in 2014, I trained to do a 10k and whilst I was running down a quiet country road, a group of young people drove past me, beeping the horn at me as they shouted abuse. In fact, this happened a few times whilst I was training for that race. It made me feel like shit. It didn’t stop my training but it made me self-conscious and insecure as hell as I exercised in public.

It sounds so stupid doesn’t it? That you’d make nasty comments to someone who is actively trying to improve their health and fitness before your very eyes. I mean, what more evidence do you need than watching someone exercise to see that they’re making a good lifestyle choice. Let’s face it, it’s not like I was waddling down the street with donuts in one hand and a bag of crisps in the other when they were calling me fat. I was partaking in cardiovascular activity for God’s sake.

My sister was exercise shamed a few weeks back too. When she was leaving the gym, a group of lads in a car shouted ‘get back in the gym you chubby slut’ at her. This is a girl who deadlifts 100kg, benches 40kg and runs marathons for fun. They told her to get back in the gym whilst they were sat in their car eating KFC (she politely declined their offer to share said KFC). They made a judgement about her based on her physique and were downright abusive towards her. As it happens, she laughed in their faces as she’s all sassy like that.

But this shit really isn’t OK. This is the kind of thing that makes people give up. It makes them undo all of their hard work because it makes them feel upset and insecure.

Take it a step further and you get the likes of Dani Mathers. She’s a (now former) Playboy bunny and as you’d expect she has a lot of Snapchat followers. When she shared an image of a woman in a gym changing room, fully naked and getting dressed, with the caption ‘If I have to see this, you do too’, to her story, a lot of people saw it. Not surprisingly, she’s been banned from the gym, sacked from her job and is being taken to court.

Her response? ‘Oh, I didn’t mean to put it on my story, I only meant to send it to friends’. No, Dani Mathers, that doesn’t make it OK. That’s not one little bit OK. How dare any woman violate the privacy of another woman by sharing an image which degrades her and puts her down? What is the thought process behind seeing a woman getting dressed and taking a sneaky photo of her? Aside from it being an absolute invasion of privacy, that shit is weird. The type of woman who feels the need to put others down to make herself feel better needs to sort her own shit out, not take it out on other people.

And it’s not just models who are at it either. My lovely friend Lorna saw an acquaintance’s Snapchat story where said user had taken photos and videos of people in the gym and uploaded them with negative, shaming comments. It makes me question the upbringing of people who behave this way – at what point in their lives were they taught that this is acceptable behaviour?

If I found out that someone had taken a Snapchat of me exercising and had uploaded for their followers to see on their story, I would be devastated. Even the thought of it happening to me fills me with a crazy amount of insecurity (like that time I was fat-shamed which you can read about here). It makes me wonder, as a plus size woman with a gym membership, whether it’s happened to me before. Whether all those people taking selfies in the mirror are secretly snapping me in the background for a laugh. It makes me sick to think that this behaviour exists.

So I’m asking every person who reads this post, if you see someone filming another person exercising without their permission with the intent of being nasty, call them out. If you see a Snapchat video which has footage or photos taken of someone clearly without their permission, name and shame them. We cannot stand for this type of behaviour and I personally will lose my shit if I see this happen at my gym.


  1. This is such an important post Lizi, thank you so much for writing it. People can be so incredible judgemental, and like you said, it's usually from people who are not doing anything productive with their own time! I'm so sorry you and your sister have both had to experience this - good on you both for ignoring it and being badass! x
    Sophie Cliff

    1. I find it so frustrating that people think it's an acceptable way to behave! I guess I'm lucky that I'm the type of person to brush it off as I know many people who would be so so affected by what a hater thinks is just an off hand comment! x

  2. I couldn't agree more. It takes courage to workout in public but what Sally says about Susie says more about Sally than it does about Susie. x

    1. I could not agree more with this! Also, something I found when running a different route yesterday, runners are so friendly - you don't get people saying hi to you in a gym but runners always nod hello :) x