Planet “Fitness” Sucks

By J. DeVoy

Planet Fitness is a joke and a toilet.  Ostensibly a gym, its policies ban deadlifts and other “unapproved lifts” (i.e., the exercises that accomplish anything), its locations do not have squat racks, it traffics solely in equipment fit for an old folks’ home, and doesn’t have dumbbells going much above 50 lbs, if at all.  And why would it? It’s a “judgment free zone” – whatever that means.  Yet, its advertisements seem quite judgmental themselves.

Isn’t that hilarious?!  Someone with the wherewithal to build his body into something massive through diet, exercise and use of supplements is an amusing comic foil against the skinnyfat-to-waifish mongrels who are the denizens of this “gym.”

The judgment goes father still, though: Planet Fatness has a device called a “lunk alarm,” which screams and flashes when someone drops a heavy weight, grunts, or actually exerts effort.  Once the alarm sounds, then comes the onslaught of scorn for fit people from the Reddit commenters and, um,”Rubenesque” figures using the gym.  From Wikipedia:

Planet Fitness has a device called the “Lunk Alarm” at all of its facilities. […] The “Lunk Alarm” sign has a spinning light, and sounds like a tornado siren. The sign also defines a “Lunk”, and it reads as this: “Lunk , n, [slang], One who Grunts, Drops Weights, or JUDGES”.

Had enough?  It gets better.  Not content to do a disservice to its members by lying to their face about the efficacy of their workouts and lack of “judgment,” Planet Fitness ensures the chains of bondage will never be broken by force-feeding its members, like the ducks that make delicious foie gras.  Planet “Fitness” gives away truckloads of Tootsie Rolls to its members, also tempting them with bagels and, get this, free all-you-can-eat pizza on the first Monday of every month.  That’s right, why limit yourself to peddling shitty, ineffective workouts when you can compound the damage with junk food!  EliteFTS puts it this way:

Imagine that I’m a drug dealer and you’re addicted to crack. You want to get clean but I keep dangling crack rocks in your face, telling you that “No one will judge you.” It’s going to be pretty hard for you to break that addiction when I keep fueling it, isn’t it? Even if I didn’t give you any crack, I’m certainly not helping you overcome your problem. Planet Fitness does the same thing, but instead of crack they throw pizza and candy in front of their clients’ faces.

There are a bunch of different workouts out there that suit the needs of different people.  A marathon runner doesn’t need to do Rippetoe or the Texas Method of weight training.  Similarly, a football player doesn’t want to speed bike 20-30 miles a day.  The common theme, though, is that an effective workout requires effort.  Sacrifice.  Pain.  Planet Fitness, however, perpetuates the bullshit of helicopter parents and mendaciously tells its customers that they’re beautiful just the way they are and they can change if they think about it, no pain or sacrifice needed – and there won’t be any judgment!

Everything Planet Fitness stands for is a lie – but it’s a comfortable one that its customers desperately want to believe in, using it to wrap themselves and their mediocrity with its comforting falsity.  Sweating and puking and wanting to die sometimes is part of looking good.  In fact, that level of sacrifice is requisite to do anything well.  Telling people that won’t be needed to look good is false, but could be excused as puffery to support a business.  But lying and telling people they won’t be judged – and taking steps to remove that pesky specter of another person’s superiority, or even worse, realistic criticism – is just damaging.

This blog is a veritable catalogue of America’s pussification.  Whiners sue for baseless defamation claims, and scurry like rats when they realize the courts, as well as the public, might punish them for spewing utterly unsupportable bullshit.  Wimps surrender their freedoms because some bureaucrat told them they should do so in the name of “safety,” and, hey, everyone else is doing it too so what the hell.  And, apparently, congenital losers are created in the gym by hack companies such as Planet Fitness, which exacerbate America’s many health problems while claiming to alleviate them.

18 Responses to Planet “Fitness” Sucks

  1. blueollie says:

    Oh please: this is the all-knowing hand of the Free Market bringing the best to The People who always know best.

    You are obviously a “hater” and an “elitist”. Why do you hate America? :)

  2. tim says:

    Planet Fitness is a business that caters to a certain demographic. It’s not for me or you but as long as sells something that people (idiotically) find useful – why do you fucking care?

    • m says:

      I have to agree with Tim. It’s not like Planet Fitness is the only gym business available or that anyone is breaking people’s arms to get them to go there. If I wanted to harp about idiotic, deceptive businesses, there are a lot of them out there, always have been, always will be, and PT Barnum was right. WGAF?

      • blueollie says:

        I think that this is a “decrying the decline of America” type post. I admit to doing the same thing when Sarah Palin or the Kardashians attract a following.

        If we were all strapping macho men like DeVoy we’d be doing sets of 6 with 405 on the bench and then running 5K’s in 15 minutes. ;-)

      • J DeVoy says:

        Because the mistruths they spread are so harmful that it warrants being called out. The FTC has regulations on endorsements and other representations companies can make in advertisements. There are also state laws addressing the same. And yet, here, not merely a company’s advertising, but the company itself, is premised on an untruth so harmful and dangerous that it actually damages the health of people who buy what Planet Fitness is selling.

        When the financial equivalent of this “don’t let anyone judge you” crap was being slung around in the form of subprime loans, everyone was in an uproar about how unfair it was. Yet, when the fitness equivalent is present – leaving customers worse off than they were when they started – it’s harmless.

        I’m not necessarily equivocating mortgages with gym memberships. I am, however, noting that the two have similar traits. But, then again, bailing on a $10/mo. gym contract isn’t the end of the world, while a $200k+ mortgage note is mightily more significant. I don’t believe that Planet Fitness should be shut down. But it should be roundly mocked.

  3. picklefactory says:

    Nothing really worth doing was ever easy. I was with you right up until the last paragraph.

    But I think all the shit you sling about alpha males and pussification is just that — a load of sexist garbage. And yet, after a year of Rip’s back squats and deadlifts and then a year of CrossFit, I seem to be quite strong at this point.

    But to you, still just a pussy because I don’t think I know best for everyone else — right?

    By the way, if you actually look in /r/fitness, they saw that video a couple weeks ago and already took it to pieces.

    • J DeVoy says:

      But to you, still just a pussy because I don’t think I know best for everyone else — right?

      Not at all. I’m just a loudmouth. That’s not the dispositive alpha/beta trait. Are you leading other men and getting the women you want? Yes? Then mission accomplished. I pontificate because I like it, rather than thinking its some status elevation device.

  4. I tend to agree with the comparison made between the junkie and the one who is trying to lose weight and get fit. Sounds like a plan to keep ‘em coming back even though they are getting no results due to their temptations.


    • blueollie says:

      Sometimes well intentioned people don’t get it. Sometimes I help out with our local program to get new runners to be able to finish a popular 4 mile race. I worked with the slowest group; the walkers (and I am NOT talking about race walkers here).

      So during our 3 mile training session, the training group set up a water stop. Ok…but they had CANDY at that water stop!!!! CANDY!!! Good lord; my group was mostly middle aged and overweight…you don’t need to eat during a friggin 3 mile walk!!!!

      I just shook my head…

  5. svi says:

    This PL gym in PA made a pretty funny response commercial:

  6. Bolt says:

    Free pizza, sign me up! Carbs and curls.

    The only sad thing is hating on people who care about their waist size J. Gyms are gyms. Hell, if NordicTrack C900 works, why cant Planet Fitness

  7. MikeZ says:

    I dunno to me it sounds like the greatest buisness strategy ever for a Gym. Lets gear our marketing to people who want to get in shape but are known for signing up for gym memberships and never showing up to the gym. The last thing a profitable gym owner wants is a large population of die hard regulars who use the equipment every day. They can probably have 10x the membership with the same # of machines as a more traditional Gym.

    I don’t think it says anything about society just that there are suckers to be had and Planet Fitness is gunning for them.

  8. OldFatGuy says:

    “Judgement free zone.” Ha! When I was in my late teens back in the 80s, I was thin as a rail, not good-looking skinny, concentration-camp skinny. Anyway, a friend of a friend was a body-builder and decided to take me under his wing and bulk me up. Since he went to hard-core gyms (he referred to them as “meathead gyms”) thats where he took me: Large cinderblock buildings with a metric fuckton of iron spread around, an occasional mirror and loud heavy metal.

    After a couple of weeks, he was going somewhere for two weeks and made me promise that I would continue to workout without him. I was a bit intimidated because I was the smallest guy there by a factor of 2. It was one thing to go with someone who fit in there, quite another to go by myself.

    They judged me alright. They judged how hard I was working. After the first half hour of sweating my ass off on pyramid sets, someone came by to ask if I needed a spot and correct my form. After two and a half hours, I was as much a meathead as the rest of them. They didnt care how much weight you were moving, as long as it was all the weight you could move. Ill take that judgement over a “lunk alarm” anyday.

  9. smurfy says:

    Curves for ‘men’.

  10. Dr. Zoidberg says:

    Haha, I got reprimanded at a PF for setting the weights down too hard. Not dropping them, setting them down. It was 6 in the morning too! There was maybe 10 people in the place. I only use it for cross-training and it is the cheapest in town or else I would switch up. If they call me out on deadlifting (they haven’t for 8 months so far), I’m gone.

  11. […] J. DeVoy – “Planet “Fitness” Sucks” […]

  12. marcus burke says:

    I got the alarm for “dropping a weight” which I never ever do but the floors were so hollow that it sounded worse than it was… the judgemental looks I got prevented me from ever wanting to go back. It became clear to me that this is actually the most judgemental gym I have EVER been to – and they seem proud of it, and have made it a policy to judge everyone… I actually couldn’t believe what was going on… I asked them why they didn’t have any scales at one point and was told “why would you need a scale?” I’m not a body builder, i’m not a grunter, I don’t drop weights but I do put a certain amount of effort in when I go to the gym. I will never go to this gym again and will let everyone know that I come into contact with that this is a very judgemental gym that will make you feel very awkward.


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