A distraught mother-of-one has slammed her local gym for ‘fat-shaming’ her after she was thrown out of the venue for ‘showing her belly’ in a sports bra and high-waisted leggings.
Shelby Rodriguez, 26, from Alberta, Canada, filmed herself breaking down in tears while recounting the ’embarrassing’ incident in a viral TikTok video, explaining that she was told to leave the workout facility mid-way through a workout – despite being given permission by a staff member to wear her stomach-baring outfit.
The mother-of-one, who began documenting her weight-loss journey in March, was told upon her arrival at the gym that her outfit violated the dress code, which prohibits crop tops, but she said that the receptionist gave her permission to workout in the ensemble on this one occasion.
However, 15 minutes after she started her workout, Shelby was ordered to leave the gym by its program coordinator.
Heartbreaking: A mother-of-one shared a video of herself sobbing after she was thrown out of her local gym and ‘fat-shamed’ for ‘showing her belly’ in a sports bra
Upset: Shelby Rodriguez, 26, from Canada, broke down as she recounted the incident, revealing that the gym’s program coordinator ‘asked her to leave’ 15 minutes into her workout
‘So, I just went to the gym and the lady at the front desk said that they have a policy that you’re not allowed to wear sports bras to the gym, that you “can’t be showing your belly,”‘ a sobbing Shelby explained in her video.
‘She said, “It’s fine for this time but just so you know for next time.”‘
Shelby then shared footage of her outfit, revealing that she was wearing a pair of black high-waisted leggings with a matching sports bra, which left less than an inch of stomach on display.
‘So I was like, OK that’s fine, and I went to do my workout,’ the mom-of-one continued. ‘I’m 15 minutes in on the treadmill and the program coordinator came up to me and asked me to leave.
‘I’m so embarrassed.’
Shelby’s emotional post – which she shared with the hashtags #fatshaming and #bodyimage – struck a chord with TikTok users, many of whom offered words of sympathy and encouragement.
‘Time for a new gym [honey] I’m so sorry that happened to you,’ one person commented on the clip, while another chimed in: ‘I hear you. You’re valid. And I’m so sorry soul sister, this was wrong.’
‘This is not okay,’ a third person added.
Distraught: The mom admitted that she was ‘so embarrassed’ by the ordeal as she broke down in tears while speaking to the camera
‘Fat-shamed’: Shelby says she was told by a staff member that she could wear a sports bra on this one occasion, revealing that her outfit showed less than an inch of her stomach
Others urged Shelby to ‘name and shame’ the gym, with one telling her: ‘Oh honey do not be embarrassed. I would name and shame them. Don’t cry, just remember [you’re] beautiful and strong.’
However, some people insisted that Shelby was ‘overreacting’, pointing out that many gyms have dress codes and that the program coordinator was simply following the facility’s policy in asking her to leave.
‘Sounds like they have a strong dress code and that it has nothing to do with you personally,’ one person commented. ‘I don’t understand why you are so upset.’
Another encouraged Shelby not to ‘take it personally’, while one wrote: ‘I get why you’re upset but most gyms have a dress code. Now if other girls were wearing sports bra[s] and they don’t kick them out that’s a huge problem.’
In a follow-up video, the mother-of-one addressed the debate over her original post, while insisting that her reaction to the incident had nothing to do with the dress code policy, but rather the ‘belittling’ way in which she was treated.
‘So there’s two things that were problematic in how this interaction went down and neither of them have to do with their policy regarding the dress code,’ she said. ‘The dress code is what it is, I can’t change that.
‘One is how the lady at the front desk spoke to me. First of all I said, “Oh, we’re not allowed to wear a sports bra?” and she said, “Well we can’t just have our bellies hanging out” in a belittling tone. So that already is not OK.’
Opening up: Shelby has been documenting her weight loss journey on TikTok since March
Out and about: She explained in her video that it took ‘so much courage’ to start working out in a gym, and she noted that it was only her third visit to the facility
The second issue, Shelby said, was the fact that she was given permission to enter the gym despite the fact that her outfit violated the dress code, explaining that it would have been a very different matter had she simply been turned away in the first place.
‘Problem two is that she told me that it was OK to go into the gym, that it was OK for this time but next time [I would need] to wear something else,’ she said.
‘So I went into the gym with my wristband on that she gave me, saying that it was OK for me to go in this time, and then to have somebody come up to me after I’ve already been there for 15 minutes walking on the treadmill…
‘I’ve got sweat pouring down my face, like…’
Shelby later thanks her supporters for their positive comments, while hitting back at ‘fatphobic’ people who criticized her video.
‘To the people who were commenting that I was being overdramatic, you just have to remember that for some people it takes so much courage and confidence to actually get up the gall to go to the gym and that was only my third visit there,’ she shared.
‘And to have that interaction go down when you have barely even been there a week is very demeaning and all over not an experience that I think anybody would want to go through.
‘Lastly, the only reason why I tagged fat-shaming is because I genuinely believe that if that was a smaller woman standing there at the counter that they wouldn’t have said that “we can’t have our bellies hanging out” to her. I genuinely believe that wouldn’t have been said.’