In Defense of Planet Fitness…

I’m not a body builder but I’ve been a gym rat for over forty years and I still enjoy a good hard workout. I’ve trained in gyms all over the place and seen plenty of guys that make the average ‘big guy’ at the local gym look like a wimp. Over the years I’ve had to modify my training to accommodate injuries and just plain old getting old but I’ve done (and still do) my fair share of grunting and dropping weights when need be (I’d rather drop the weight than injure myself trying to put it down gently, but it not my preferred mode of training, just what you need to do sometimes).

So right now I belong to TWO gyms. One is right around the corner from my home, has barbells and squat racks and a good range of heavy weights if you need them. It’s a gym for serious trainers but they also run classes for people as well and those people come in all shapes, sizes and ages.

I also belong to Planet Fitness. It’s a little further away, 12 minutes if the roads are clear, 15-20 minutes during rush hour. Originally I joined for the sun beds as I have psoriasis and UV light helps and the cost of their ‘black card’ membership which lets me use Planet Fitness gyms anywhere is less than half what the local suntan salons want to charge and they have a good range of beds and stand up booths. What’s not to like if you need a sunbed.

So, when I started my current diet I started training twice a day two or three times a week and since I was already going to Planet Fitness for the sunbed it seemed daft not to just train there as well since I was already there.

At first I was somewhat disappointed with the gym as a gym. No barbells, no squat rack, hardly anywhere to do pulls ups or leg raises for abs (I’m six foot five so I need equipment with the handle high up). There’s a gazillion running machines and bikes, plenty of leg extension machines (but not massively heavy but it’s enough, even for me) etc, abs machines etc.

Then there’s the ‘serious’ end of the gym. Four Smith’s machines, cables, benches, dumbbells (but only up to 75 lb) and EZ curls bars (up to 60 lb I think). This is where most of the ‘big’ guys hang out.

There’s also the famous ‘lunk’ alarm up on the wall which goes off occasionally (activated by the front desk) when someone grunts too loudly or drops a weight too loudly (those being the main offenses anyway).

So I got to reading online about the ‘lunk’ alarm which lead my to lots of body builder type sites and bulletin boards that criticized the lunk alarm and PF in general so I thought I’d throw my two cents worth up here as well. You may agree, you may not, I don’t really care.

 

So, the main criticisms seem to be (in no particular order):

  • People in the ‘gym’ who are not really ‘making the effort’ shall we say.
  • The Free Pizza.
  • That ‘lunk’ alarm
  • Lack of Squat Rack/No dead lifting (Even in the Smith machines)

 

So this is my take on these topics:

 

People that are ‘not really trying’

First off, why do you care? Look, at least they are in the gym doing something. They may never be up to your standard but that does not matter, every bit helps. You can look down your nose at them if you like but there are plenty of REALLY serious body builds that could probably do the same to you. In the gym there’s always people that are worse than you and people that are better than you. I often see older people in the gym (older than me and I’m getting on in years now) and I just hope that I’m still doing this game when I’m their age.

My hero of recent years is a guy at my last gym that had Cerebral Palsy (I think), anyway, he was pretty badly disabled and in a wheel chair but he still came in with a therapist and tried to do something. I hope I have that much guts and courage if I’m ever in that situation or anything like it.

Free Pizza

Once a month they have free pizza. If you don’t want to eat it, don’t. Is it the best food, probably not but it’s a much a social thing as anything else and if it keeps people coming in, even on the non pizza days, because they feel part of the gym then where’s the real harm. Let’s face it, a couple of slices of pizza once a month is not going to kill the diet of even a serious gym goer.

The ‘Lunk’ Alarm

This is probably the most hated item among serious gym goers. However, you have to realize that PF is a low impact gym. Some (including PF themselves I think) say it’s not a gym but if you do exercise in the place, it’s a gym in my mind so I’m going with that. I can understand that a lot of people that have not spent their lives in the gym like some of us might be intimidated by big machines, big guys and lots of grunting. The lunk alarm is just PFs way of trying to get the more serious people in the gym to tone it down a bit. What that means is that if you are a serious gym goer you are going to have to modify your workout to fit into the PF culture and rules. It’s not that you cannot do a hard workout at PF, it’s just that it’ll be different from the workout you might do at a more hardcore gym.

No Squats/Deadlifting

This really falls into the same category as the reason for the lunk alarm. It’s to keep things more low impact so as not to intimidate the less hard core people using the facility.

 

Final Thoughts

If you are a hardcore gym rat/bodybuilder/whatever, find yourself a good hardcore gym and enjoy what you do. If you find yourself at a Planet Fitness for whatever reason, accept that it is NOT a hardcore gym and that the clientele is going to be different. That does not mean that a lot of the people there are not working hard, it’s just that what is hard to them may be easy for you, it’s all relative so stop looking down your nose at others and get over it.

The rules are there to make it a better experience for them, not you so adjust to it. Personally, I do different workouts between the two gyms. It works for me, your mileage may vary.

 

 

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2 Responses to “In Defense of Planet Fitness…”

  1. Squashy Moss Says:

    I enjoyed this post very much. It sounds like PF is meant for people who want to improve their fitness without killing themselves in the process. 😂 It might not be the place for the hard core trainer but it sounds like fun and if it helps people who go there stay fit then what’s the problem.

  2. John Siebelink Says:

    Reblogged this on CrapPile and commented:
    To add my own two-cents to this great post, not everyone has, needs, or wants guns like the Rock. Just sayin…

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