Back in 2013 I was in a position where I felt that it was time to join a gym. My wife was working part time during the day and going to school full time in the evening. Time was at a premium because one of us needed to take care of our young daughter. Money was also tight, I couldn’t just up and join any gym, I needed something to fit in our modest family budget.
I kicked around a few options and ultimately decided to sign up at Planet Fitness. Nation-wide reviews of the chain were horrible but they were very hard to pass up. Planet Fitness was the cheapest game in town at $10 per month. To sweeten the deal, the facility was recently renovated, the equipment was new, and the location was ideal.
The first month as a member was great. Half of my visits were long before dawn and the place was empty. When visiting after work, I had to wait for machines on occasion but there was typically plenty of cardio equipment to go around.
The more time I spent at Planet Fitness, the more drawbacks I found. I wanted to give Stronglifts 5×5 a try but the lack of free-weights made that impossible. Smith Machines were convenient but posed their own set of problems.
Despite the drawbacks, I continued to work out at my local Planet Fitness. I wouldn’t say that I was a proud member but I wasn’t about to complain considering the monthly cost. I felt as though I was getting more than my monies worth, even if the facility had a few odd tendencies.
The oddest of which was a purple light and siren mounted to the wall. The dreaded ‘Lunk Alarm’. I had only ever seen it used once and that was on a poor older guy that lost his grip on a dumbbell and allowed to crash to the floor.
There was also ‘Pizza Monday’ but then again who was I to judge. If I were busting my ass in the gym and decided to grab a slice of pizza on my way out, I wouldn’t want anyone giving me a hard time about it.
The one thing I learned about Planet Fitness while I was a member there was that people seemed to love to hate the place. Just Google Planet Fitness and I’ll bet that at least half of what turns up on the first page is someone poking fun at the chain.
When my family moved to our new home, Planet Fitness was too far away to be practical and I had to cancel my membership. In early May I decided to find a new gym closer to home. Another Planet Fitness was an option but I opted for an Anytime Fitness just a few minutes down the road. You really can’t compare the two franchises as I find the experiences remarkably different.
Even though I’m not a member anymore, I haven’t had an issue with Planet Fitness. Well, not until I came across some advertisements for exercise plans entitled Plan It Fitness. If I were a member and found those plans hanging on the wall, I would be insulted.
I’m well aware that everyone has to start somewhere. Taking it easy in the beginning and increasing difficulty makes for a solid foundation but these plans are laughable. Perhaps I’m missing something here?
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