A Pricey, Exclusive Gym That’s Keeping Out Those Who Can’t Weigh In

Walk past most gyms in Chicago, and you’re liable to get into a staring match. Wide windows frame hard bodies galloping on treadmills in a constant advertisement to passersby.

Walk past Downsize Fitness in the West Loop, however, and you won’t see much. The windows are frosted, and low-resistance treadmills face a wall with few mirrors. Downsize is not a place to see and be seen. Indeed, that sense of privacy is one of the gym’s selling points. Others include extra-large towels, private showers and seated elliptical machines.

Everything about Downsize caters to people who are overweight. That’s because the gym doesn’t accept members who aren’t trying to lose at least 50 pounds. Francis Wisniewski, who owns Hard 8 Trading and Forty 4 Asset Management, financed the gym himself in 2011. Wisniewski has since added a second location, in Dallas. Now, he’s interested in taking Downsize national.

Read more about this unusual fitness center by clicking here or picking up a copy of today’s Chicago Sun-Times!