Stop talking about Planet Fitness

Lately I’ve received a bunch of questions and emails about Planet Fitness.

Did you know they removed their squat racks?

You can’t drop your weights or grunt. There’s an alarm that sounds if you do.

To which I would ask, why do you care? Especially if you’re not a member at Planet Fitness. (If you are, and you’re mad, just leave!) What are you, the Fitness Police?

Apparently that’s a thing and Men’s Health managed to track down the Sheriff for a piece entitled, Planet Fitness is not a Gym. In the article they cited a fitness-industry consultant who said that the franchise does a “great disservice to the members and the industry as a whole.” They summed it up by saying that  Planet Fitness is…

a marketing success but a failure in every other way.

Interesting. Before I launch into a full fledged assault on this quote, let’s clear up a few things.

First and foremost Plant Fitness is not stupid, like the subheading to the Men’s Health article suggests. No friends, ALL gyms are stupid. You don’t need them. If you like going to the gym, props on you. Keep it up. You look sexy. If you don’t like going to the gym, create your own workout routine based on your goals, your ability level, and the equipment you have available to you. Ah yes, common sense.

Speaking of equipment, I’m not arguing with the assessment that, the use of most types of equipment found in Planet Fitness has declined in the past several years. That includes stationary bikes, treadmills, ellipticals, and even weight machines.

This is true. I am so, so happy that it is. Still, that doesn’t mean that Planet Fitness, or any other gym is wrong to offer these things. Similarly, people who use these machines are not wrong. Yes, they could be doing other, better, more effective things. But they are trying, which is more than the average person. How about giving credit where credit is due?

You have to start somewhere. I’d rather someone be at Planet Fitness than at home on the couch. Either way, if you don’t like the model that Planet Fitness operates under, don’t go there!

Now, about that quote.

Planet Fitness is, a marketing success but a failure in every other way.

Well, well, well. What do we have here? If it isn’t the pot calling the kettle black. Don’t you think.

Let me make sure I have this right. Men’s Health is saying that Planet Fitness is only concerned with making money. Even if it’s at the expense of their members. That, all told, Planet Fitness is providing an inferior product. One that provides no real value to the fitness industry or the consumer.

Okay. Maybe so. You already know how I feel about that. But, I’m more interested in the irony in that quote. Because, in my mind, that’s exactly how I would describe Men’s Health and almost every other fitness magazine; a marketing success but a failure in every other way.

It’s possible that one of these magazines informed or motivated you. It’s possible that they’ve helped you achieve a healthier lifestyle. Reading was the first step towards exercising and eating well. Which, as you know, I think is incredible. But, at Men’s Health, they think that’s stupid.

According to them, we’re all stupid. Making a New Year’s resolution is stupid since none of those new members “will never be seen after Valentine’s Day.” They don’t resent those members. Not because they realize that everyone starts somewhere. Nope, they’re grateful for those newbie exercisers who want to be fit, try, and fail since “their fees paid for the true cost of my membership.” All those failures keep the rates low for the REAL exercisers.

Stupid is as stupid does

I’ll be honest. I don’t think Planet Fitness is stupid. Neither is Men’s Health for that matter. I’d never be a member or subscriber at either. That’s just me. I think exercise machines and stationary bikes are a waste of time. I feel the same way about fitness magazines. If you’re looking for something to read email me, I’m a huge nerd. I’ll help you find a book.

There are a few stupid things I’d like to share though.

  • Criticizing people who don’t take exercise as seriously as you (Here’s looking at you CrossFitters and mean Bodbuilding.com Forum members). They are trying.
  • Taking exercise too seriously in the first place. That’s kind of stupid. (Here’s looking at you again CrossFitters and  mean Bodbuilding.com Forum members) Remember, working out is supposed to make your life better. It’s not supposed to takeover your life.
  • Thinking that people are born doing curls or burpees. Becoming a bodybuilder or elite athlete takes work. It takes a lot of work.

Do you know what else? I’m willing to bet that somewhere along the line, a bodybuilder or fitness model came up reading a magazine like Men’s Health, training at a place like Planet Fitness.

They’re all kinds of fit and sexy now. Not because of where they trained or what they read. Nope, that stuff doesn’t matter. What matters is that they started.

The only thing that should matter to you is that you start exercising. Start now. Start where you are. Then don’t ever stop. Get better. Make progress. Learn new, better ways to exercise. Work out at Planet Fitness. Or don’t. No one cares. And if they do, they’re stupid.

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