Thursday, January 13, 2011

No Deadlifts, But Here's Another Slice of Pizza

Zach Nicolay posted an excellent article over at EliteFTS that eviscerates Planet Fitness, the chain of low-cost globo-gyms that cater mainly to budget-minded folks who are taking their first (extremely) tentative steps off the couch. Read it here.

I'm sure that every January, legions of couch potatoes who've resolved to finally join a gym end up choosing Planet Fitness. After all, the monthly fee is dirt-cheap (just $10!), you don't have to sign a long-term contract, the bright purple cardio and weight machines are easy to use, and you're encouraged to not exercise very hard. Half-assed occasional gym-goers, rejoice!

But despite the chain's promise of "no judgments," the staff will most certainly judge your ass if they decide you're working out with any level of real effort. Why? Because it makes the other members feel bad about themselves.

In fact, if you exercise with such intensity that your exhalations become audible, a "LUNK ALARM" goes off. According to Planet Fitness, a "lunk" is someone who "grunts, drops weights, or judges." Apparently, it's also someone who tries to perform "unapproved lifts" at the gym, including deadlifts. (I'm not kidding.)

So what happens when the Lunk Alarm sounds? The staff'll kick you out and/or call the cops.

And that's not all: Planet Fitness offers members free pizza, bagels and candy. You know, health food.
The first Monday of every month is Pizza Day. Unlimited pizza for members, all day. They also have a Bagel Day, and on their own website they mention that they hand out over one million Tootsie Rolls per month to their members. That’s it, I’m calling conspiracy on this one! They set up this “judgment free” gym for “regular” people -no pressure, no contracts, no goals- and they give their clients free pizza and tootsie rolls? It’s a scheme, and they’re either the most wicked businesspeople on earth or the smartest. Or maybe both.
It's like a Chuck E. Cheese's, but with elliptical machines.