In 2015, Insider called Planet Fitness the fastest-growing gym in America. As of 2021, Planet Fitness has over 2,000 locations and 14 million members.
Well, with those numbers, Planet Fitness has to be a good gym, right? Some would argue otherwise.
If you want to find out how Planet Fitness is a bad gym, and why it’s not actually that bad, then read on.
Why Planet Fitness is a Bad Gym
Where to begin? Despite the large numbers of members, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute around 63% of gym memberships go completely unused.
So of Planet Fitness’ 14 million members, around 8.8 million do not actually use the gym at all. Are they justified? Well, let’s see.
1. Pizza Nights, Bagel Tuesdays, and Free Tootsie Rolls
Now I appreciate a good pizza night as much as anybody, but when you’re trying to stay healthy and slim, are greasy pizzas and free tootsie rolls sending the right signals?
You’ve been having weight problems for most of your life and you’re finally committing to slimming down. You’ve enforced a strict diet for yourself and that includes no pizzas, no candies, etc.
You enter Planet Fitness, ready to work out and lose a certain amount of calories–but wait! A Planet Fitness employee comes backhauling pizzas and you’re hungry from working out and the smell fills the room…
You can see where things can go wrong.
Fortunately, the pizza nights only happen on the first Monday of the month while free bagels are on the second Tuesday so you can treat it as a reward for a month’s hard work, but coupled with Planet Fitness’ other flaws, it’s the cherry on top of the bad-gym cake.
2. Limited Equipment
A big point against Planet Fitness is its lack of equipment. Planet Fitness is a very experienced-adverse gym and if you’re used to lifting large barbells or working with complex workout machines, then the gym membership might not be worth it.
Here are just a few of the examples of equipment Planet Fitness doesn’t have:
- Free weights past 60 to 80 pounds (depending on the location)
- No free barbells
- No bench press
- No squat rack
- No roman chairs or hyperextension benches
You can find ways around the lack of equipment, but it’s a big disadvantage to the gym chain at large.
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3. Lunk Alarm
What is the lunk alarm? Well, there are two major rules in Planet Fitness:
- No loud grunting
- No dropping weights loudly
What happens if you don’t follow those rules, you might ask? Well, the employees ring the lunk alarm, which is a loud siren that warns you to stop.
Yes, you’ve read that right. In the self-proclaimed Judgement Free Zone, they ring an alarm–potentially distracting others from their own workout–if they judge you’re too loud while working out in a gym.
You can’t make these things up, folks.
4. No Outside Personal Training
If you have a personal fitness trainer and you want to look at cheap gym options to work out from, then don’t bother with Planet Fitness. In Planet Fitness, you can sign up for group classes or ask for a one-on-one personal fitness trainer, but you cannot bring a friend, a guest, or an actual outside fitness trainer to train you.
With the in-house provided trainers, most people don’t view this as a big deal, but to some, it’s a red flag flying in the breeze.
5. Banned Exercises
There are a few exercises that Planet Fitness doesn’t want you to do. These exercises are:
- Overhead presses
- Clean and Jerks
A gym that bans certain exercises is not a good look. It’s especially not a good look for Planet Fitness through the lifting communities’ eyes.
Actually, Not As Bad As It Seems
So I’ve told you how bad Planet Fitness is, but is it as bad as it seems? Below is a list of reasons Planet Fitness is a good gym to spend your money on.
1. It’s Cheap
According to a 2021 gym price analysis, at $10 a month and $159 a year, Planet Fitness is the cheapest chain gym around. Even its Black Card membership is cheaper than its competitors’ premium membership by $23+ a year.
2. It’s a Judgement Free Zone
You know, aside from the lunk alarm.
Have no idea what you’re doing? It’s fine. No one is going to judge you for it.
Sweating profusely? No comment.
Wearing a weird outfit? Don’t we all every now and again?
Planet Fitness prides itself on a non-hostile environment, which is why the lunk alarm exists in the first place, to discourage noises and actions that can become intimidating for those who wouldn’t visit a gym otherwise.
Is the Judgement Free Zone perfectly judgment-free? Absolutely not.
Is it maybe better than the more hardcore gyms? Well, it depends on your preferences, but there’s a reason Insider called Planet Fitness the fastest-growing gym chain in America.
Someone has to like their vibe.
What is PE@PF? PE@PF is Planet Fitness’ group class.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Wasn’t this listed as a reason why Planet Fitness was bad?”
Well, no. I listed not allowing your own personal fitness trainer as a reason Planet Fitness is a bad gym. Allowing you to, at no extra fee, join a group class is pretty good in my books.
Planet Fitness holds around y 11 to 14 small group training sessions every day, led by personal training and CPR/AED certified trainer. Members can attend unlimited classes and the classes are:
- 30-Minute Express Circuit
- Back and Triceps
- Chest and Biceps
- Legs and Shoulders
4. Fewer Chance of Injury
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that powerlifting exercises like deadlifts and Olympic weightlifting exercises like cleans and snatch can cause serious injury.
Lifting half your body weight over your head? Yeah, there’s no way that can go wrong.
With Planet Fitness being so popular with beginners, the banned equipment and exercises make sense. Planet Fitness does not want its members to injure themselves and so they do everything possible to reduce that risk, even if it means being viewed as less of a gym for it.
That’s why Planet Fitness has more machines like back extensions and leg presses.
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Is Planet Fitness a Bad Gym?
Planet Fitness, like any other business or product, has its pros and cons, and it’s up to you, the individual, to decide whether it’s the right gym for your wants and needs.
Just remember though, free pizza.
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