For the month of August I decided to purchase a membership at Planet Fitness.
There were a few reasons for this. Firstly because it offered the cheapest deal for the area I was staying in.
This was due to a special offer on at the time. There were other gyms around more suited to my liking but they didn’t have a monthly membership option unfortunately.
Another reason is because I was not sure if I would get the opportunity again. There are no Planet Fitness gyms were I usually live and I wasn’t sure if I would be back again.
After hearing so much about it through social media I wanted so see what all the fuss was about. Seeing countless memes and videos had me interested.
Rules and Limitations
There are rules at planet fitness which a lot of you will find unusual.
- No gallon jugs
- No grunting
- No stringers/crop tops
- No dropping/slamming the weights
- No bags on gym floor
All of these rules are in place to stop people becoming intimidated. The gym-goers who do drink from gallon jugs, grunt, drop weights and wear stringers tend to avoid Planet Fitness.
There is a “lunk alarm” in the weights section which goes off if anyone drops weights or is making too much noise. I did set it off once which is not a bad stat.
To me this seemed a bit excessive. It makes the one who sets the alarm off feel themselves judged. Everyone stares when the alarm is set off. It makes for an awkward affair.
It is important to remember Planet Fitness are not trying to attract the “usual” gym crowd. By that I mean they are not trying to attract those who are already strong, muscular and lean.
To some these people can be intimidating. Those who are shy or body-conscious may feel embarrassed being in their presence.
This is the target market of Planet Fitness.
Again, it is hard for a ot of us to imagine but these people are out there. They could be our mothers, cousins or anyone else.
Personally when I see someone who is in better shape than myself I respect them and use it as motivation. This could be because I have been going to the gym for 4 years. For someone who has struggled to ever start it could be a different story.
There is also an exclusion of specific equipment. This is:
- Bench presses
- Dumbbells over 75lbs
- Squat Rack
In place of barbells there are smith machines to use. As well as annoying a lot of people they are actually dangerous machines.
They only help to injure and delude people into thinking they are stronger than they are.
The straight bar path is unnatural. We are designed to lift things in a curve.
Smith machines put excess stress on the joints. As long as you learn the technique and don’t lift with your ego barbell training is fine.
Unless you must use one because of a certain injury I would advise against it.
The exclusion of these pieces of equipment serves the same purpose as the rules mentioned before.
Think of your serious powerlifter/bodybuilder. They will not want to go to a gym without a squat or bench press.
Some even go as far as to say their policies are discrimination. If it is the only gym in your area then you could see where the problem could be.
As I was at Planet Fitness for a month I was fine with the limitations. I switched up my training to use more volume and less weight while I was there.
There is nothing wrong with this and I enjoyed the change.
During my time I made use of the opportunity to improve my body weight training such as dips, pull ups and chin ups. When limited with your choices it is important to not be one-dimensional.
Thinking “I must deadlift or else I am wasting time” is useless. Utilize what you have effectively and gains can still be made.
The first Monday of every month is pizza night. I wasn’t sure whether the population of the gym spiked because it was the first Monday of the month or there was free pizza.
Either way was it was definitely noticeable, you can decide for yourself.
When businesses advertise offers like “free pizza” it usually means you get half a slice if you’re lucky. To my surprise this time was different.
There was plenty of pizza from a respected local place to around. The concept of pizza at a gym was amusing to me but I remembered there are plenty of overweight and unhealthy members who go here.
Their motto is “The judgment free-zone” and creating events like this helps them come across as welcoming and non-threatening.
To those who are afraid of gyms the hope is this may encourage them to come and enjoy themselves.
How much damage is being done? Let’s say you eat 2 slices after your workout.
That is around 500 calories consumed. If you were doing cardio, all of the work put in over the last hour could have been blown.
Is this helpful? Not at all.
Going at the beginning of the month will hopefully allow someone to gain momentum and keep returning.
This may sound silly if you have been going to the gym 4 days a week for the last 5 year. Believe me some people struggle with even going once.
For their target market it does what it says on the tin. When you consider most Americans are overweight/obese the simple routine of going to the gym could be what they need.
If you are not familiar with Planet Fitness here is a funny video to enlighten you:
My Opinion On Planet Fitness
Overall my time at Planet Fitness was enjoyable. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.
For a month I had no problem adjusting to their rules and limitations. If you are expecting your usual gym then you will be disappointed however.
For $10 a month it is cheap compared to some higher priced gyms. Finally I’m glad I got to experience the infamous Planet Fitness.
Thanks for reading,
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