Back in my junior year of high school, I decided it was time to take up a new hobby after I had lost some interest in an old one. I was a skinny kid (5’7,135). For this reason and out of the embarrassment of wearing size small t-shirts, I decided to give weight lifting a try. Of course, all I knew of any type of fitness is what I had learned from high school gym class in the limited amount of time we were allowed to use the weight room. For this reason and others (being broke, not wanting to drive farther), I ended up getting a gym membership at Planet Fitness.
The judgment free zone…
Yea thats for sure. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Joe Schmo or Ronnie Coleman, they’re going to make you walk around with one of their workers so that they can show you how every machine works (maybe its a liability thing). And just like at GNC, its some person who probably doesnt even lift. The people that buy memberships there are just as entertaining (more on that later).
I think the biggest draw for getting a membership at planet fitness is the price. Generally, its $9.99 to $19.99/month. I’ve even seen it as low $99.99 for a full year. They usually advertise their memberships for this low around the new year, so that they can take advantage of the new years resolution bunch that show up for the first week of January never to return. I guess its a good marketing ploy if you think about it.
The next draw that they use to get people in the door is the free food…what a concept. Who would of ever thought that a place where people go to enhance their health and physique would be giving out free bagels and pizza a couple times a month. On top of that, you can go to a PF anywhere they’re franchised and there is sure to be a heaping bowl of tootsie rolls. I just don’t get it.
They don’t use A/C…
These gyms are known for being excruciatingly hot. The first the year I attended the local PF in the town where I grew up, they didn’t even have ceiling fans. You can drive by and see the condensation on the windows from people sweating. The thermostats normally read 90 degrees or more…and that was just on the first floor! I like to get a good seat going when I work out, but doing cardio in that kind of heat and humidity daily is kind of intense (most of the cardio equipment was on the second floot). Also for this reason, it is completely necessary to wipe down every piece of equipment before you use it.
Speaking of cleaning things…PF also has unlimited tanning included in their $19.99 package. They will let you tan up to 20 minutes because they never replace their bulbs, so they’re extremely weak. The tanning beds are not first come, first serve. They make you sign up into 15 minute windows(by the time of day). This doesn’t make sense because people used to tan for the maximum of 20 minutes plus the amount of time it would take to undress, put on tanning lotion, and redressing. The gross part is that the workers there never clean the beds (even in peak hours). Laying in one of their beds means that you get to cuddle up with someone elses body funk.
The quality of people…
is pretty low. Its kind of like how you see different people if you grocery shop at Walmart in comparison to a place like Whole Foods. Any issue anyone has ever complained about at a gym is possible to be experienced in one session at a PF. These issues include: not re-racking weights, curling in the squat rack, using your cellphone, excessive rest inbetween sets, trying to talk to people with headphones on, interrupting people in the middle of a set, not wiping down equipment, shadow boxing, etc.
24 hour access..
Anything experienced during the daytime at a planet fitness is usually amplified at night time. In addition to that, you can also expect that people will be hooking up in the tanning rooms (something else you’ll get to lay in if you tan there) and other shenanigans because they don’t bother staffing well at night or the gym attendants they’re staffing are outside smoking or out in the gym working out on the clock.
Pay the extra $10/month and workout at a real gym. Thats what I did back in the day (I paid an extra $10/month and got a membership at Golds). If 24 hour access is really a necessity, its certainly possible to find a better gym that is open 24/7. If you prefer to workout at night because you don’t like crowded gyms then go at non-peak hours.
Happy lifting 🙂