Full disclaimer: I do not work for and am not otherwise affiliated with Planet Fitness. I have been a member previously and will likely be a member again because I happen to like Planet Fitness. I used to drive quite a distance to reach the closest location. After a while it got to be too difficult to drag myself that far and I let my membership lapse. The other day when I saw they were opening a location just down the street I was ecstatic. A quick internet search to see if they were running any membership specials yield many results about Planet Fitness and tons of them were negative. So why do people hate Planet Fitness?
People Hate the Color Scheme at Planet Fitness
The color scheme seems to enrage lots of people. I know, this reason is super weird. In purple and yellow Planet Fitness does rock a bright color scheme. A lot of their equipment is finished in these colors, but the gym walls are mostly gray or black at the location I frequented and so are most of the other fixtures and the floors. Personally, I think the bright pops of purple and yellow are fun and happy. I’ve heard and even read comments about the decor being silly or not serious enough. If the color of your gym/gym equipment really invokes deeply negative feelings I think you may be taking things too seriously.
People Hate the Lunk Alarm at Planet Fitness
The idea of the Lunk Alarm can seem kind of appealing. From the Planet Fitness website:
“The Lunk Alarm is something we have in all of our locations nationwide, as part of who we are and what makes us different. A Lunk™ is someone who grunts, drops weights or judges. This alarm goes off when someone is grunting at the gym, drops weights or is judging others/making others feel uncomfortable. At Planet Fitness, we do not cater to bodybuilders, dropping weights, or grunting. We want our members to feel comfortable in a non-intimidating atmosphere. We are about general fitness, and most of our members are in fact first time users of a gym.”
For people wanting to work out without the intimidation of overly serious gym-goers I see the Lunk Alarm as kind of a silly symbol not to take things super seriously. The issue that seems to really piss people off is that the Lunk Alarm actually gets used at some locations. You can find stories online about people getting kicked out of Plant Fitness for violating their Lunk Alarm policies. It seems that use of the Lunk Alarm is discretionary and there have been times where this has ended in members feeling discriminated against for just trying to workout at Planet Fitness.
So what’s wrong with body builders, dropping weights and grunting anyway? If a totally muscle-bound dude is using the bench press and you want on next you may feel intimidated, like you can’t compete, you don’t know as much or may never reach their level. I’ve witnessed this particular type of person be less than courteous to fellow gym-goers (not at Planet Fitness) and that just makes a bad environment no matter where you are. That being said, not all body builders are like this at all. Seeing successful people can often serve as inspiration and they may even offer a bit of help or guidance to newbies. As for dropping weights and grunting – well, that’s just discourteous in my opinion. You shouldn’t bother other patrons with your workout no matter where you’re doing it.
People Hate the Free Food at Planet Fitness
Lots of people seem to be very angry about the free food offered by Planet Fitness. Once a month Plant Fitness offers a free pizza night. Free bagels are offered one morning per month. Free candy is typically available in a bowl on the front desk (at least from my experience). So what’s the deal here? You can’t be healthy and eat this crap, right? I think you can be healthy and still have a treat now and then and a slice of pizza, a bagel or the occasional Tootsie Roll isn’t going to kill you. The questionable part is that Planet Fitness isn’t really promoting the most healthy lifestyle with these giveaways. Instead of pizza, why not salads? Instead of bagels, why not yogurt? Maybe sugar-free gum on the front desk or another slightly better option. When you have the platform to promote something, as Planet Fitness does, I am not sure that promoting the consumption of these types of things is a great message. But here’s the good part… you don’t have to eat it if you don’t want to, so if you find it objectionable then stroll right on by and don’t worry about it.
People Hate the Membership Terms at Planet Fitness
You can look up any big-name gym for complaints on their membership terms and you’ll hear tons of stories about how awful their membership terms are, how difficult it was to cancel, how terrible their customer service is, etc., etc. Planet Fitness is not immune to such complaints. Many seem to be agitated by the yearly fee that gets charged to members (once per year, price dependent on your level of membership). The yearly fee is pretty clearly spelled out on their website, but I am not sure how their contract reads so I don’t know if people are just failing to read or there is some confusion when they are signing up. Again, pretty much every gym suffers the same complaints regarding membership. Since Planet Fitness locations are franchised I can see where you might get different answers or levels of customer service, but reading and understanding your contract terms is important.
I found that one way to avoid any headaches associated with the membership fees/contract is to buy a full year of membership outright. Apparently this is not something that is always offered, but when it is it can be a great way to pre-pay a whole year of membership, avoid the yearly membership fee and not worry about renewal terms, monthly drafts and the like.
People Hate the Lack of Services at Planet Fitness
At the time of writing this a basic monthly membership costs $10. For $10 a month I am surprised they have more than 3 treadmills. Instead they have a massive gym with just about any piece of equipment you could think of, not to mention a track and decent locker room. For another $10 a month you get some additional perks. I think tanning and massage chair use is included and possibly some other benefits. All members have access to group personal training. I have no idea what the quality of this is and probably wouldn’t put a lot of faith in it – but hey, it’s something. For a newbie exerciser this might not be an ideal situation, but for someone with gym experience, the lack of training might be fine. At this price point I just don’t think it’s fair to expect services beyond the use of good equipment. If you’re looking for a lot of services you would probably be happier at a bigger gym, but the monthly membership fee is going to reflect those extras.
So it seems like people hate Planet Fitness for pretty much all the reasons they might hate anything else. All kinds of little silly things add up to a bunch of grumpiness. I, for one, think Planet Fitness can be an excellent, budget friendly, choice for people at various levels of fitness. It may definitely not be for everyone, but for a small price per month it may be just the thing to get you off the couch. If you’re interested in learning more about my favorite part of Planet Fitness, the 30 Minute Express Circuit, please check out my articles: Review: Planet Fitness 30 Minute Express Circuit and Take the Planet Fitness 30 Minute Express Circuit to the Next Level.
About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.
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