Gymtimidation is slang for being intimidated to go to the gym.  Planet Fitness has exploited this common insecurity to great success.  Here is an example of one of their commercials:

Their strategy depicting fit women as stupid, shallow and mean is clearly working. Planet Fitness recently grew to 5 million members. According to their CEO, they cater to the 85% of the population who is new to the gym and considers exercise a chore.  They have a “Judgement Free Zone” where they serve pizza and bagels; they do not allow certain exercises like deadlifts; and if someone lifts weights and grunts staff members can pull a “Lunk Alarm.”  (Source:  Bloomberg TV: Planet Fitness)

I’m all about being inclusive, but seriously WTF?  Pizza at the gym?  Why not serve beer too, right?  If you truly want your clients to get healthy, why would you actively sabotage their efforts?

And then there’s the irony of saying you have rules against “judging” people yet have created an ALARM to shame fit people.  That’s bringing player hating to an all new level.  “We don’t want people who EXERCISE at our “gym!”

Hey, I know!  Let’s make schools have “Learning Free Zones” or “Ima Skip SkooL  Kewl Zonez” and then give kids a trophy just for showing up!  “Little Jimmy, are you a straight A student?  Get out of here!  We don’t want any NERDS WHO STUDY in this school!”

Lunk Alarm

Gyms can be intimidating, especially when you’re new,  but it was everyone’s first day at the gym once.  Most people who workout are listening to their iPod and focusing on their own exercises, not other people.

“Judging” goes both ways.  I like the gym where I work out (24 Hour Fitness) because there is a mix of all levels there.  I started out there overweight, hanging with the newbies on the elliptical machines, and slowly worked my way up into strength training and maintaining a healthy weight.  The environment made me feel comfortable when I was just beginning, but gave me room to grow in my fitness journey.

At 24 Hour Fitness, clients who get in shape have their success stories posted on the wall.  A “success story” who works out at Planet Fitness is now living in fear that someone who shows up once a month on Pizza Day to walk on the treadmill in jeans and flip flops will have the power to push a stupid Lunk Alarm to publicly shame her…for working out…at a gym…

That said, now I kind of want to go to their gym just to see if I could set off their Lunk Alarm.  How fun would that be!?!

What are your thoughts about Planet Fitness?

Lisa ;) (c) 2014 Lisa Traugott.  All rights reserved.  No portion of this blog, including any text, photographs, and artwork, may be reproduced or copied without written permission.

17 thoughts on “Gymtimidation

  1. Can’t say I like the idea. It seems like an oxymoron. Pizza at a gym?? I’m all for living a happy balance, but I don’t agree with junk food being offered in a place where you’re supposed to be getting in shape. Also, no grunting? I would sound off the alarm many times.

  2. I totally agree, I’ve never been a fan of their commercials… I didn’t even know about all those other things but it makes me like them even less

  3. Words can’t even describe how much I hate PF. I don’t like the pizza / bagels thing, but that’s nothing compared to the way the say judgement free zone but the judge the crap out of bodybuilders and even take away squat racks, etc. There was a sign by one PF gym that banned deadlifts, jump roping and one other exercise that I forget… Wow.

  4. It’s a judgement free zone against overweight people, but the super fit muscular people can get judged and that’s cool. It’s like reverse judgery. We’ll show those fit people we can judge them, too! JUDGE THEM!!!

    We just got a brand new PF almost close enough for me to walk to. The only reason I am tempted (other than the fact that it uses a lot of purple which is a super important factor when choosing a gym) is that their rates are STUPID cheap and I would only go to use the cardio equipment. I’m talking $10-$20 per month AND my company would reimburse me for half of that. I don’t know of another gym that would cost me no more than $10 per month.

    1. The price is right and, you have a point about the purple thing. I did not consider that… Just avoid it on Mondays, LOL

  5. I too feel it’s wrong of Planet Fitness to have a zone with pizza. Put temptation in front of someone trying to loose weight, they will take it. Having a zone like that don’t promote health at all. Shame on Planet Fitness.

  6. I go to a Planet Fitness in Indiana, our gym is great. We have lots of dumb bells weight machines-you can do squats and deadlifts. Im sorry to hear that everyone has a bad view of PF. Ive been to a regular gym as well was 3x the cost and wasnt near as clean or nice. If you dont like pizza dont eat it! Ive lost 23 lbs in 2 mos, I eat right and work out 4-5 days week at PF.

Leave a Reply