HTFU Fitness Adelaide has been accused of 'fat shaming' thanks to recent Facebook post.
HTFU Fitness Adelaide has been accused of 'fat shaming' thanks to recent Facebook post.

‘Unattractive and worthless’: Gym slammed

A SOUTH Australian gym has been slammed by Facebook users after posting a divisive ad for a new fitness program.

HTFU Fitness Adelaide - which stands for "Harden the Fat Up" - published the post on social media earlier this week, which featured a dramatic "before and after" shot of a woman in her underwear.

It was accompanied by a caption encouraging women to sign up for the company's new "21-day transformation starter pack".

"Let me guess ladies??? You feel unfit, unattractive, self conscious and worthless … especially when standing in front of the mirror naked," the post began.

"You feel embarrassed and ashamed getting naked in front of your partner … You're sick and tired of picking outfits that hide your fat.

"And you want to feel comfortable in your own skin, wear your favourite outfits, feel fit, confident, attractive and sexy."

The post continued: "But there's a problem. You're too afraid to join a gym because you're too embarrassed, ashamed, self conscious, worried about being judged and most of all, you're just too nervous to commit.

"But that stops now. We understand you."

But almost immediately, the comments began rolling in, with many woman accusing the business of "fat shaming" women.

"I do feel embarrassed, ashamed and self-conscious all the time. And having posts like this pop up in my feed definitely don't make me feel better about myself," one women commented, while another posted: "Have you googled internalised misogyny yet? Because that's why women talk about worthlessness and shame about their body."

HTFU Fitness Adelaide has defended its original post. Picture: Facebook
HTFU Fitness Adelaide has defended its original post. Picture: Facebook

Others took aim at the use of language in the ad.

"This is a horrible, horrible way of marketing to women. Worthless? FFS!!" one woman wrote, while another shared: "Worthless? Ashamed? Unattractive? What a disgusting way to advertise to women. You should be ashamed."

One Facebook user described the "deplorable" and "gross" ad as "the most negative, off-putting marketing in Australia", adding: "talk about reinforcing the WORST way of looking at a woman's body".

And another said: "Now I know where not to go! This gym is definitely not for anyone who wants to get fit while not being judged, fat shamed, boxed into the "unfit = unhappy" category and probably ridiculed for not being fit."

However, there were also Facebook users who defended the ad, with one woman saying it was simply a reflection of how "many women feel".

"I feel like women/anyone just quickly jump on the bandwagon to tell someone they're fat shaming or being sexist these days. This post is just writing the truth about what many women feel", while another posted: "People are so quick to jump and attack these days and try to publicly shame someone or a business … HTFU isn't about changing the person you are HTFU helps you be a better version of yourself".

The gym also responded to the negative backlash on social media, insisting it stands by the original post.

"If you read it properly with an open mind you will see we're stating the truth on how 'SOME' women feel about themselves at the moment, how they want to feel and what they know they need to do to feel better," the company posted, before revealing four women had signed up as a direct result of the post.

Owner Aaron Cartwright told he only wanted to help people.

"The only thing I would change is in the first paragraph, it should have said 'some ladies'," he said.

"But it's the truth; it's how a lot of females think about themselves, and it's how they would like to feel about themselves.

"It's confronting probably, but it's the reality. For people who are offended, I'd say go back and re-read it and try to understand it from my point of view."

Mr Cartwright urged people to keep an "open mind".

"I can understand where people who look at that post without an open mind are coming from, but if you're offended, just relax and see my side because I'm actually trying to help people not feel bad about themselves," he said.

"I can see how people can get offended if they look at it the wrong way and think I'm fat shaming and that kind of stuff but I'm far from a fat shamer - I'm a truth-seeker and I try and help people transform their lives whatever their size or race or if they're male or female."