Local woman asked to cover up, says gym is sending a 'mixed message'

She says the dress code they enforced today isn't consistent with an image on their wall.

"A mixed message." That's what one Jacksonville woman says her gym is sending when it comes to its dress code.

Maria Palenik reached out to First Coast News on Wednesday and said she was working out at Retro Fitness on the Southside where she has been a member for about two months. 

While working out, she said she took off her sweatshirt and worked out in her sports bra and jogging pants.

"I thought, well nobody is going to look at me and nobody is going to judge me because I'm a mom of four kids and I really don't have a great stomach," she said.

Shortly after taking off her sweatshirt, she was asked by staff to cover up.

She obliged and put on a shirt. As she was walking to the locker room, she came across a photo on the wall, which confused her.

"You have to cover up, but then on the wall, there's a picture of a fitness model wearing a sports bra and short shorts and you can't wear that," she said.

First Coast News took her concerns to the owner, David Garrard.

"They can wear a tank top, t-shirt, whatever," he said. "They just are not allowed to just be in a sports bra."

Garrard said men are also required to wear a shirt and can't be shirtless.

On the gym's website under its terms and conditions, it says: "Members who are not wearing appropriate attire will be asked to leave." However, it doesn't specifically mention sports bras.

Palenik said she wasn't aware of the rule and doesn't have a problem following it, but thinks the picture of the model should come down if working out wearing a sports bra isn't allowed.

"It's just a mixed message," she said. "It's kind of hypocritical."

Garrard said corporate installed the pictures.

"I guess they're just going for a look of fitness and clearly it was something that they overlooked and I'm sure it's something that we need to address if it's going to cause confusion."

Palenik said, despite the incident, she still plans to go back to the gym.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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