Disclosure: I am a paid blogger for AnytimeHealth.com. But the opinions here are entirely my own
Disclosure: I considered Leah from Mamavation a friend, have done an episode of Mamavation TV, and was in the top three of the Mamavation Most Inspirational Tweeters
Disclosure: I ate a honeycrisp apple
I hate the word fat. I always have. It makes absolutely no sense to me. Anyone can be fat. You can be five pounds or three hundred pounds overweight and be fat. It is a generalization. I always think that lazy is coming after the word fat.
Anytime Fitness is promoting a book and sending out emails to a variety of bloggers. Here is a copy of the email….
Anytime Fitness CEO says money is allergic to fat people
Words you never expect to hear from the owner of the world’s largest coed fitness franchise are — working out sucks. But this is no ordinary CEO and his book “Working Out Sucks” is no ordinary book. Anytime Fitness CEO Chuck Runyon’s first book, due out in December, is edgy and provocative and provides a blunt, modern-day take on health and fitness. It tackles societal influences (including Oprah and Apple), asks if parents of obese children should go to jail and raises eyebrows about smoking, seatbelts and much more.
Attached is a sneak preview of “Working Out Sucks”. I hope you will consider a piece on Chuck, his candid book, and how he’s evolved his entrepreneurial roots by building a 20 million dollar international business with a network of more than 1,700 franchises with such a strong following that members, franchise owners and employees are getting permanent tattoos of the company’s logo.
Thanks for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you
The email is a little too abrupt. It is very sharp in my opinion, and blanket emails are already offensive. I think the tone was a little off. Let’s face it, not the best email in the world.
Today, I got a few emails asking about my opinion on a post that Leah did about the email. Leah got the email and wrote a reply. She talked about the word fat, how she was offended, and how people should be a little outraged. I agree with her as someone who was over 400 pounds. I agree with someone who has been overweight since the age of 4.
Here is the disconnect. Leah talked about the CEO of Anytime Fitness Chuck Runyon. She said that he was part of the obesity problem. She said that he was an elitist. She told the thousands of followers she has she was not going to read his book, bringing the mob mentality.
I disagree with that.
So I am now going to tell you my Chuck Runyon story…….
My wife was right…pleated pants make me look bigger than I am. So I would be lying if I did not say I was incredibly uncomfortable walking into the Anytime Fitness Conference in Washington DC. Imagine 1000 beautiful gym owners and personal trainers….and then me. A guy with enough loose skin to make a nice sandwich.
Why was I invited? To make me feel fat around this uber thin people? Anytime Fitness paid all of my expenses. I was not asked to speak. In fact, they had a fun agenda for me. I had no idea why I was there. Do not get me wrong, I do blog for their Anytimehealth.com site. I have done maybe 10 posts in a year. I have probably gotten what I make in a day for all of those posts, which is not a ton.
So while feeling incredibly uncomfortable I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned around and saw Chuck Runyon. I have seen his picture before, so I knew it was him.
“TONY….or The Anti-Jared as we know you. Thank you so much for coming to our event. Actually, I want to thank you for everything you have done for our site. You posts have a good amount of edge to them. We have gotten a lot of feedback about your posts and you have helped many. More than you know. Please, is there anything I can do for you?”
I thought about it and asked…
“Um, why am I here?”
He looked at me and said….
And then he walked away. I was impressed that he knew who I was. I did not have a nametag on. I am a lot shorter in person. I was wearing pleated pants for Pete’s sake!
I finally found out why I was invited. I was given a special “Inspiration” award for my blogs. For my raw honesty. For motivating people to lose weight. Ten posts. That is all I penned for Anytime Health. Yet, those posts helped others.
I was given a standing ovation by over 1000 people. People who owned gyms. People who were trainers. People who were happy to hear my story.
Chuck invited me to this event. Chuck gave me the award.
Later that day, when I was in my hotel room alone, I cried. I cried because three years earlier, I thought I was a failure. I was over 400 pounds, I had no motivation, I hated breathing, and life stopped for me.
Now, I was considered an inspiration. It is one thing to get an email saying how much your work means. It is something else to see a large room stand up for you. For everything you have done for your health. For all the times you woke up at 5am to work out, and all the times you said no to food.
So I agree, the blanket email was not meant for any weight loss blogger, but Chuck is not the issue in obesity. Ask Susan Bock who was humiliated by Jay Leno only to lose 200 pounds. Ask Stephen, who finally joined a gym while losing over 250 plus pounds. Or Meredith, who lost over 100 pounds.
I am not delusional. McDonalds, my wife, my parents, or my job did not make me overweight. I did. I did by living a selfish life. A life where I would convince myself that food was more important than anything else. Where I was too busy to work out. I have been called fat my whole life. I hate the word fat. Yet, I hate the fact that I was “fat” longer than I should have been. That I waited until I was 35 to find my talents.
I think as popular bloggers, we have a responsibility to find out the whole story. We know that words hurt, and so do hurtful posts on Google searches. If you have read my blog, you know how much Anytime Fitness has done for me. I talk about Anytime Fitness all the time. They have been very good to me, and so many other people.
You know how important a 3am workout is to me sometimes, and being a member of a 24 hour gym makes it for me. In my opinion, getting frustrated over a title is not fair. Six words?
That is why I have a blog. Because I can tell my side. I do not have to leave a comment, I can just write whatever here. I know that Chuck has been working on a book, I know that Tony Horton enjoyed the book, and I know that 100% of the proceeds are going to charity for the book.
I will buy the book.
But I will tell you. When I lost 60 pounds I was still 360 pounds. Someone called me fat, and my wife was outraged. She always is, she will defend me to the death.
“How dare you! My husband lost 60 pounds. Calling him fat…do not judge a book by its cover!”
I stopped my wife there…..
“You can judge a book by its cover. But make sure you read it, and then make a final judgement.”
After losing 220 pounds, I have a pretty good book.
My comments are off on this post because this was totally my opinion. I do not think it is fair to have a “rah rah” session with a couple of negative comments on a blog.
But I wrote another post, and would love to hear your feedback. For every comment, Anytime Fitness will donate $10 donation for Limbs For Life.