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Planet Fitness: A Contradictory Moral

posted Mar 26, 2014, 5:41 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Mar 26, 2014, 6:58 PM by Unknown user ]
Abby Shroll

Planet Fitness is by no means ordinary and has become an extremely popular gym in Findlay. Instead of boasting about new equipment, it prides itself on a judgment free zone. On their website, it states, “members can relax, get in shape, and have fun without being subjected to the hard-core, look-at-me attitude that exists in too many gyms.” Nonetheless, I find the rules that Planet Fitness enforce to be subjective and the gym promotes an unhealthy mentality towards exercise.

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In a country of obesity, the gym does a good job of making people feel comfortable, including beginners and those who are self conscious about working out. It also provides an inexpensive experience, which is hard to beat--the white card membership is $10 a month (unlimited access to the gym) and the black card membership is $20 a month (unlimited access to the gym, unlimited guest privileges, and use of tanning and hydromassage).

Junior and regular attendant Kristin Conner stated, “The fact that it accepts everyone and you won't be judged for anything is nice and once you’re comfortable enough to work out, you like doing it and it’s fun.”

However, Planet Fitness has many ideals that contradict their ‘’we accept everyone” attitude. You can’t have a big gallon jug of water, you can’t drop your dumbbells, you can’t grunt, you can’t wear muscle shirts and cut offs, and of course, you can’t judge others.

Senior and member Alisa Warren inferred, “It is kind of odd when [Planet Fitness] promotes a judge free zone, but then they say that you can’t wear clothes that quote on quote show off your fit bodies. That’s almost the opposite of fat shaming, it’s like fit shaming and I don’t think that’s what gyms should stand for. I think anybody should be allowed to workout, but I don't think you should criticize people for being in shape by installing rules like that.”

In a world that’s innovatively providing aspects to please different people, it makes sense a gym would advertise towards the non-gym rats. Upon doing so, I believe Planet Fitness loses sight of the true moral of a gym; to push people outside of their comfort zone in order to help reach their goals.

Another negative aspect of Planet Fitness is what I believe to be promoting unhealthy habits: distribution of free food. The first Monday of every month, Planet Fitness passes out pizza from Aj’s Heavenly Pizza around dinner time. Also, on the second Tuesday of every month, they pass out Panera bagels and coffee in the morning.

For many, food can be a trigger of old habits and harmful to those who actively seek a healthy lifestyle. Food can be the enemy.

Warren stated , “A gym in some way should be like a sanctuary for them to promote their new lifestyles.”

On the other hand, Conner points out, “It’s people’s decisions whether they take it or not.” While this statement is true, it can be hard to turn down easily accessible food. Instead, Planet Fitness could offer healthy alternatives which would encourage people to make the right choices instead of reaching for the unhealthy food.

Photo courtesy of: jasonstern.com (fair use)

A vital aspect to a gym is the type and quality of available equipment. Planet Fitness is known to provide a limited number of lifting equipment (only dumbbells) and there are no bars. There are many cardio machines, including the elliptical and treadmill. There is also a “lunk alarm” that the gym prides itself on, making noise when a gym goer is too passionate about their workout and is too loud (or grunting). I find these aspects to be reverse judgment.

Planet Fitness also offers tanning and a machine that supposedly eliminates cellulite. Warren states, “I understand that they want to promote fitness as a lifestyle and not a means of vanity. Which is fine, but the tanning and cellulite machine all goes towards the vanity aspect. That, in the end, contradicts their own goals.”

A gym should be promoting a healthy lifestyle and by offering tanning beds, a provenly unhealthy choice, it takes away its credibility.

All in all, Planet Fitness’s price is beneficial to those who need a gym to attend that doesn’t cost a lot. But, the gym’s ideals are contradictory and promote many unhealthy aspects.

As far as the effectiveness of the judgement free atmosphere, Warren stated, “I think the YMCA presents a family friendly, anyone friendly atmosphere too. Planet Fitness isn’t the only one and I'm sure the judgment free zone doesn’t eliminate judgment, people are going to judge. You’ll get the same thing anywhere else.”