What are the best and worst things about Planet Fitness?
Several years ago, I swore I wouldn’t ever join a gym like Planet Fitness. I made this declaration because I read some stories about people being asked to change clothes based on the dress code. Naively, I just assumed that this was simply a gym that catered to the older crowd, and available equipment at the gym would reflect that.
I included that preface for some background and to set the stage for this answer, as I’ve now been a Planet Fitness black card member for over a year and absolutely love it! But of course, there are still some negatives. It’s just that the negatives don’t outweigh the positives. So let’s start with the pros:
- Cost: It’s just a little over $20 for a monthly black card membership which gives you access to your home gym and every other Planet Fitness. So for someone who travels a lot such as myself, this is a big benefit. Other gyms aren’t going to be anywhere near as cheap.
- Cleanliness: I have never been to a facility that wasn’t very clean.
- Equipment: I’ve yet to go for a workout and have been unable to find the equipment that I need. They have all of the traditional equipment and more than one of each.
- Crowd: You’ll have an extremely diverse crowd. There are the traditional stereotypical gym-goers, but also people of every age group, level of experience, and fitness levels.
- Hours: It’s open 24/7!
Of course, there are some cons. Here are the things that tend to bug me the most (but still don’t think it’s that bad):
- Busy: Because of how inexpensive it is to join, the gym can be rather busy. Most of the time it’s just confined to the cardio equipment, but there are times when other equipment becomes rather crowded.
- Inexperienced people: Nothing against people who really don’t know what they’re doing…it’s actually a great thing that they want to become healthier! But it can be rather irritating when someone is using a piece of equipment that you want to use and they clearly have no clue how to use it.
- Casual atmosphere: At times, it can be a little TOO casual. It sucks when people are sitting on equipment, socializing, taking selfies, talking on the phone, etc. But because it’s a “judgment-free zone”, you really can’t say anything to them.
- Cardio, cardio, and more cardio: By far, the gym space is taken up by huge amounts of treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, stair climbers, etc. They could drop the number of cardio machines by even a 1/3 and create enough space for additional free weights. But there are a lot of people who join the gym just for the cardio equipment, so I do understand.
I do really enjoy Planet Fitness and definitely feel the positives outweigh the negatives. I love the convenience (there’s one less than 2 miles from my home) and the inviting atmosphere. But as with any other gym, is it for everyone? Definitely not! The good news is that you can get a free trial and check it out for yourself and they won’t be breathing down your neck about membership plans!
Why is working out at Planet Fitness bad?
People mostly laugh about it or see it as bad due to some of their business tactics like “Pizza Fridays” and “Hot Wing Wednesdays”.
While these sorts of things are seen as barbaric by some fitness snobs, it’s totally fine to enjoy a slice of pizza once a week and still lose (or gain) weight and this message is quite clear. But, like most people, they tend to disbelieve things that don’t parallel their beliefs so they see this as a poor message. Anyone with common sense will obviously know that one slice or one hot wing isn’t going to set them back dramatically. Eating like that every day will definitely set you back. If that’s not the message they were trying to convey, then they would be serving pizza and hot wings every day of the week!
I actually think Planet Fitness is taking a smart and unique approach that most people don’t see. Like people have stated, Planet Fitness is a good gym for newbies and people looking to start getting in shape after years of inactivity or never having done much, AND all at affordable. They have all the basics for a newbie and it’s quite apparent when you go into the gym – their weights don’t go above a certain weight and they have more cardio machines than your average gym.
Obviously, no one wants to look like they don’t know what they’re doing and wants to “fit in”. So, Planet Fitness is often seen as a joke of a gym without them even really thinking about it. Maybe, when the individual is able to venture out or more knowledgeable at the gym, they can try other gyms with higher weights or “sophisticated” gyms. But for starters, I think Planet Fitness is best.
How does it feel to get kicked out of Planet Fitness?
It probably feels good, because Planet Fitness kicks people out for weight training too hard. If you get kicked out, it literally means you’re better than that gym/facility can handle.
(Obviously, this doesn’t address people who deserve to be kicked out for inappropriate conduct that wouldn’t be welcome anywhere).
If this happens to you, make sure to snag one last tan in their tanning beds on the way out, grab a slice of pizza at the front desk, and get out of there. Gyms shouldn’t be trying to kill you (tanning beds) or sabotage you (providing pizza). Screw Planet Fitness.
What’s so bad about Planet Fitness?
I’ve worked out consistently for 35 years. Two years ago I signed up at Planet Fitness because it’s really close to my house and the price is great. It’s perfectly fine for getting a good everyday workout. I do a lot of cardio and I use free weights. Yes, it might not have quite the selection of bodybuilding equipment as some other more “professional” gyms, but there is more than enough for a good workout. Actually a couple of the bigger ones a few miles away from me have quite a bit of strength-building equipment- as much as Golds, etc.
I wouldn’t go nutty about them having tootsie rolls – seriously, I like to munch on a little tootsie roll sometimes while running for an hour on the treadmill. It’s a nice little boost and not really many calories or all that much sugar in a quarter ounce of candy. There are a lot of regulars who are serious about staying in shape at Planet Fitness where I work out as well.
However, the best thing is that PF is far cleaner than any 24-Hour, Golds, or LA Fitness I’ve been part of in the past. The people working there are also extremely polite. I guess haters just want to hate. I look at it like picking a school… regardless of the reputation, it is what you make it. If you put in time and effort it will serve you well.
What are some things you don’t like about Planet Fitness?
When I was going to Planet Fitness regularly, I found the place to be wildly hypocritical.
The place is covered with messages about not judging others (ironically spelled incorrectly), and they’re always talking about actions taken to not alienate people who are not really gym-goers.
But they’ll simultaneously mock those who are serious athletes, and alienate those people. They constantly toss around the derogatory term “lunk-head” and water down the gym with lighter weights so as to not intimidate the newcomers and the less motivated.
So ultimately it’s a gym for the weak. Yes, you can get in great shape at Planet Fitness. But it’s not for your kind once you do. You only matter to Planet Fitness if you are scrawny and non-athletic. Once you cross the fitness threshold, you are no longer welcome. And frankly, you probably will want someplace more serious in any case.
Does Planet Fitness have showers?
Yes, Planet Fitness has showers that members are free to use.
The showers you’d find at Planet Fitness are just like any other showers you’d usually find in other gyms. Some members say that they are quite spacious than what other gyms have.
Planet Fitness has multiple shower rooms and of course separate facilities for each gender.
To keep the shower stalls private, shower curtains are provided. Showers are also cleaned by the staff. However, you should still know the proper etiquette when using the shower. Also, make sure you don’t leave anything behind and be courteous enough to throw away your empty toiletries.
Be reminded that Planet Fitness doesn’t provide towels for their showers. You should bring your own towel. However, there are some Planet Fitness branches that have towels for sale in case you forgot yours.
Why does Planet Fitness have a no-grunting policy?
They like to say it is because they don’t want an intimidating atmosphere for their members, but it is a marketing ploy playing on a negative stereotype of people who have accomplished an advanced level of physique development, perceived by non-athletes. Their goal is to drive sales and to get people to sign up for a monthly auto draft contract. It’s a pure bottom-line thing. From the outset, they chose to target the person who is most likely just starting a fitness program (as a New Year’s resolution, for example) and may be intimidated by gym environments of any type.
Planet Fitness is for people who just want to get more exercise in their life, not for advanced athletes in bodybuilding or sports that require a significant amount of muscle mass like football. This is a free market economy and they can do what they want. But my guess is if you YouTube the workouts of those who are at an advanced level of athleticism, you will see grunting, slamming of weights, and various sounds of significant exertion. Just go to the type of gym you want to go to, based on what you want to accomplish.
There are enough for everyone’s preferences. It’s kind of funny though, that the same people who prefer Planet Fitness for their lunk alarm policy, etc., are probably watching professional sports with athletes that most definitely would make that lunk alarm sound.
Has anyone ever been to Planet Fitness? Is the “lunk alarm” a real thing?
Yes, it is real! Some guests actually think there is a sensor in the flooring. There is a button the staff can press as needed. The policy at our location was to talk to the member regarding this issue.
Most gyms, except powerlifting or CrossFit style gyms, discourage ridiculous grunting and throwing weights. Some of the Planet Fitness locations get a big heavy handed. The one where worked was pretty chill.
Who owns Planet Fitness?
You do if you want to. Planet Fitness is a public company. That means shares of the company can be bought by anyone and anyone who owns a share is a partial owner. Of course, as with all public companies, some people or entities own many more shares than others. This link has a list of top holders.
That’s just the company itself though. Planet Fitness clubs, like McDonald’s are franchises. This means regular people with enough money can open a Planet Fitness, benefit from their marketing, business systems, and equipment sourcing in exchange for paying the company licensing fees and a portion of their profits.
Here’s a link with more information about opening a planet Fitness franchise.
How effective is Planet Fitness as a gym in getting its people, especially its members to work out and get fit, stay in shape, and be healthy?
Like any gym (anything in life really) you will get out of it what YOU put in.
The key to working out and getting fit is simple.
Thats it. Define your goals – keep them simple and attainable – and then stick to it. For example I want to loose X KG of weight, or so many inches/CM of the waistline. To do this, I will train twice a week at the gym doing…
And that is it. Really, not much else. You can do this at any gym – workout sessions…Planet Fitness included.
Now, some more expierience Gym Rats will scoff at chain/franchise gyms like Planet Fitness. Saying things like they are “Posers gyms” and they are more concerned with cleanliness/hygene than actual gym stuff. Thats a maybe as some people have a massive issue with sweating – and that turns them off working out. Planet Fitness and others negate this by having excellent bathroom and shower facilities available for their members.
They are also accused of being expensive – especially when it comes to picking a personal trainer or joining classes etc.
When will Planet Fitness open?
The location I work at is opening Thursday (6/18) after our governor said we could. We have to go in for 2 days of training before hand to learn how to rotate what machines members can use, how to clean everything to standard, how to count people coming in and leaving, how to limit the number of people in the gym at one time, and much more.
Why do you like Planet Fitness over other gyms?
Hi Jordan, Planet Fitness is one of the most inexpensive for a membership, for me it’s closest(and they are all over the place), and facilities at my location are very clean/well kept. Just know that Planet Fitness caters to the beginner weight lifter (though their cardio machines are as good, I presume, as other gyms). As a newby it will be more than adequate IMHO. But it’s weight lifting facilities require machines to get in all exercises/muscle work.
While there are free weights that will be adequate for most people(for newbys to the upper end of beginners) performing isolations(dumbells), the big compound free weight exercises aren’t offered. Big compounds must be done on machines. Yes, you can definitely get a workout off that but it definitely won’t be as good as other more expensive gyms that have far better free weight offerings.
If you’re a newby or only a few months in, I’d recommend it to get you to that intermediate level. If you have no other gym within reasonable distance, if you are looking for mainly cardio and toning, just want a general workout facility? It’s good. If you are intermediate to advanced looking to hit some free weight benching, barbell work and the free squat rack? Look for another gym. Good luck…
How is using a steam room different from using a sauna?
About 2 years ago I was lucky enough to stay in a 4 Star hotel. The Hotel also had a Spa, in the Spa was both a Sauna and a Steam room.
The steam room was significantly cooler than the sauna and very steamy, you couldn’t easily see more than 1.5 metres in front of yourself, it was so misty. It was also a very wet environment, at a guess I would say the temperature was around 50 – 60c. I didn’t ever feel the need to leave the steam room other than when I had had enough of it, there was also a salt rock that was involved in the steam making process, I think that also made it even better for your lungs and skin. All in all a very relaxing environment probably ok for supervised children too, although I am not a Dr.
The Sauna, is a very different experience to the Steam room, in my experience you have to build up a tolerance to the Sauna to get the best of them. This Sauna in the Hotel was no different in that respect to my home Sauna.
The temperature in the Sauna was 85c and the only time it gets steamy is when you put water on the rocks. Technically this lowers the temperature a bit, but in reality it feels much hotter as the added humidity clings water to your skin making it feel like the temperature has just shot up, also at this point your skin will start massively sweating all over! When the sand timer indicates your time is up in the Sauna, you are pleased to get out if you have even lasted that long. When you finish a Sauna, its like you feel totally chilled out and relaxed. I didn’t get that from the Steam room, although no doubt its also good for you.
Is Planet Fitness mostly for women?
A lot of the women I know work out hard. They would be deeply insulted by the insinuation that Planet Fitness is for them.
The reality — and this is emphasized within their commercials —- is that Planet Fitness is marketed toward people who are easily intimidated. That’s why PF likes to tell people (erroneously, mind you) that other gyms are filled with mean people and taskmaster trainers who are deadset on humiliating people who are less fit. In other words, PF tries to foster this intimidation so that the less motivated folks will sign up at Planet Fitness.
And they go beyond that. Their entire marking strategy is geared toward attracting the less motivated and deterring the more determined exercisers. After all, the undetermined will continue to pay $10/month while seldom showing up, thus putting little wear and tear on the equipment.
That’s why Planet Fitness has rules against “intimidating” exercises such as deadlifting, overhead presses, and even jumping rope. Heck, I once met a person who was scolded for running too fast on the treadmill!
They also prescribe “workouts” on their Facebook page such as ten jumping jacks — something that would last less than a minute. It’s not hard to see why. Their goal is to attract people who foolishly want to believe that a tiny bit of effort is enough to get fit.
And they offer free pizza, free bagels, free candy, and other fattening foods. (Some locations have free donuts.) Are you forced to eat them? Admittedly not, but the point remains that it’s counterproductive to offer such temptations. Again, their goal is to attract people who aren’t really motivated… and as a bonus, they know that such tactics will repel the ones who are.
Is Planet Fitness a scam?
If you’re expecting “No Commitment” to be that you don’t have to sign a contract, that you won’t be charged when you don’t use the gym, and that you won’t be penalized heavily by the company HQ when your debit/credit card expires, then yes, it is a scam. You can sign up for the gym online, but you cannot quit the gym membership in the same manner. You are forced to either write a letter (who does that in 2023?) and hope they acknowledge it OR you are forced to visit the gym you signed up for and repeatedly plead with the desk staff (they’ll make sure they get someone who is trained to ignore your pleas) to cancel your membership.
That is a scam. It’s like when you go to buy a car and they leave you alone in the office or cubicle where you’re sitting so they can stress you out just to make you get tired of waiting and you’ll finally say “Yes” to the extra frills that you don’t need or which are way overpriced. Avoid Planet Fitness as it is a very bad company (look up the word “tort”…it has a lot of them). You also have to pay $40 extra a year as a hidden fee (not explained in their commercials). Buy a home gym for a few thousand dollars or find another way to get exercise and you’ll save a lot of stress in the end.
Are Planet Fitness showers open?
No. Planet Fitness shower rooms have three to five shower stalls and usually a couple of private changing booths in addition to the open locker room. Most guys do not shower. Those that do are often older and grew up in the time when it was common to shower in open shower rooms.