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***Note: The reviews of Planet Fitness found in this article are genuine customer reviews chosen at random from a selection of Planet Fitness branches found on Google.
Planet Fitness is a very popular gym chain that has faced its fair share of criticism and has garnered a polarising reputation within the fitness community over the past few years.
On one hand, it offers budget-friendly membership options appealing to a wide range of consumers.
But the thing is, many individuals express strong dissatisfaction with the gym’s unconventional rules, limited equipment, and variable staff professionalism.
Table of Contents
The Unconventional Gym Rules
Many people who train at Planet Fitness have mentioned that the gym rules are unconventional and are among the reasons people tend to dislike the gym.
Let’s look at a few specific rules that stand out.
The ‘Lunk’ Alarm
The Lunk Alarm is an integral part of Planet Fitness’s culture, meant to create a welcoming and atmosphere and to discourage some of the actions that can come across as aggressive in other gyms.
The Planet Fitness ‘Lunk Alarm’ is AN ACTUAL ALARM that rings throughout the whole gym when you drop a dumbbell or make noise that could be considered disturbing to others.
Yes, a very loud siren rings for at least 5 seconds to notify you that you’re making a loud noise.
Whoever came up with it, I don’t know. But it seems a bit counterintuitive to me.
But some members (understandably) consider this is a massive point of irritation.
The alarm is triggered when someone drops weights, grunts, or makes loud noises.
While the idea behind this is to discourage intimidating behaviour on the gym floor, it can be a source of frustration for people who inadvertently set it off during their workouts.
Pizza Night and Bagel Tuesday
As odd as it may sound, Planet Fitness offers free pizza on the first Monday of every month and free bagels on the second Tuesday of every month.
Although it may seem like a nice gesture, critics argue that it goes against the idea of why many people sign up for the gym in the first place!
Some view this as a deliberate attempt to keep members from achieving their fitness goals, and therefore prolonging their gym memberships and making Planet Fitness more money.
Another unconventional rule at Planet Fitness is their dress code.
Most commercial gyms do have some sort of dress code for things like don’t workout in flip-flops or bare feet, but Planet Fitness’s policy is quite strict.
You are forbidden from wearing tank tops, jeans, boots, sandals, or bandanas.
This dress code can be perceived as restrictive, especially for those who prefer to wear tank tops or other clothing items that allow for flexibility, ventilation and freedom of movement during workouts.
This can also limit your ability to express yourself through your workout attire, which some may find off-putting.
Planet Fitness’s rules don’t make sense to every gym-goer. But in general, it’s very important to consider any gym’s rules before signing up for a membership just so that you don’t get caught off guard.
Why Does Planet Fitness Get So Much Hate?
Limited Equipment and Facilities
Many members at Planet Fitness, find that their selection of weight machines and free weights is limited compared to other gyms.
Even though the gyms do tend to offer plenty of cardio machines (pictured above), issues such as broken weight equipment or occupied weight machines can be a source of frustration.
“There’s Just Not Enough Machines and Weights”
The weight machines at Planet Fitness are known to be of variable quality, which might not meet the expectations of some gym-goers.
Another primary concern is the lack of free-weight selection. Many members feel restricted in their workouts due to the absence of essential equipment like barbells, power racks, and heavy dumbbells.
As a result, if you are looking for a gym that provides a larger range of weightlifting equipment, you may find Planet Fitness disappointing.
Keep in mind that Planet Fitness is designed for the casual gym-goer, so their limited equipment selection is part of their business model. They focus on providing affordable memberships while catering to those who want a “judgment-free” workout environment.
Staff and Trainers
“Unprofessional and Unhelpful Behaviour”
At Planet Fitness, you may encounter unprofessional staff who exhibit unhelpful and rude behaviour. This might range from the trainers to the front desk staff, which can negatively affect your gym experience.
For example, you could face a poor attitude, unresponsiveness to inquiries, or even find them disrespectful.
A reason for the unprofessionalism could be the gym’s focus on affordability and quick expansion, leading to hiring staff lacking in professionalism and training skills.
Membership and Fees
Membership Tiers and Benefits
At Planet Fitness, there are two main membership tiers available for you to choose from:
- Classic Membership: Priced at just $10 per month, the Classic membership is perfect for those looking for a low-cost, budget gym option. With this membership, you will have access to one single location (your “Home Club”), fitness training, and free WiFi.
- PF Black Card Membership: Costing $24.99 a month, the PF Black Card membership is designed for those who want more from their gym experience. In addition to the benefits included in the Classic membership, the Black Card features access to all Planet Fitness locations, unlimited guest passes, use of tanning and massage chairs, and discounts on drinks and merchandise.
Both membership tiers have their advantages, allowing you to choose the most suitable option based on your needs and budget.
While the advertised membership fees might seem like great deals, it’s crucial to be aware of a few unexpected costs that might arise:
- Enrolment Fee: When signing up for a membership, especially during non-promotional periods, you might encounter an enrolment fee. This one-time cost can vary depending on the location and time of year.
- Annual Fee: Some Planet Fitness locations might charge an annual fee in addition to the monthly membership fee. Be sure to inquire about this at your local gym to be prepared for any additional costs.
- Cancellation Fee: If you’re signed up for a contract membership and need to cancel before the contract period ends, there could be a cancellation fee involved. To avoid this, consider opting for a no-commitment membership, as it provides greater flexibility.
Remember, each Planet Fitness location is a franchise, so the membership fees will vary slightly between locations.
Make sure you’re aware of all the associated costs before signing up for a membership.
Does All This Have An Impact On You Reaching Your Goals?
Restrictions and Limitations
When it comes to reaching your fitness goals, the environment and resources available at your gym can be crucial.
At Planet Fitness, you might encounter certain restrictions and limitations that could seriously hinder your progress. For instance, the gym’s “no grunting” or lunk alarm policy, which some members find excessively strict and off-putting.
Also, some exercises like deadlifting are not allowed in the gym, and the lack of a proper squat rack in my opinion rack will limit your options for building muscle in a shorter amount of time.
Also, the equipment restrictions, lack of group classes and personal training, which can be essential for individuals looking to follow a structured workout plan.
If you are someone who thrives in a group setting or requires the guidance of a professional, an alternative gym might better suit your needs.
Crowds and Wait Times
At many Planet Fitness locations, you may experience crowded gyms and long wait times for equipment.
This can be frustrating, especially during peak hours. Limited access to cardio machines and other popular equipment may make it difficult to complete your workout efficiently.
The issue is further exacerbated if there are multiple locations in your area, as this can lead to an increased number of members sharing the same facilities, resulting in unhappy patrons and a less-than-ideal workout environment.
It’s essential to take these factors into account when choosing a gym membership, as your workouts’ effectiveness can be impacted by wait times and crowded spaces.
While some local gyms might offer a more comfortable experience, it’s vital to balance this consideration against other factors, such as Wi-Fi accessibility, the number of gym locations, and the overall quality of the facilities.
Another aspect of customer experience that may influence your perception of Planet Fitness is the gym’s cleanliness. Some users have reported dirty locker rooms, dusty or poorly maintained equipment, and general untidiness in certain locations across the United States.
Gym hygiene is of course very important in a place like a gym and these customer experiences have further added to the bad reputation of Planet Fitness.
In addition to the physical cleanliness of the gyms, some locations may have issues with internet connectivity and Wi-Fi performance.
For those who use online workout programs or stream music during exercise, unreliable internet or slow Wi-Fi speeds can be a source of frustration, impacting the overall customer experience.
To ensure that you have the best possible experience, it is crucial to research individual Planet Fitness locations before committing to a membership, taking into account user reviews relating to cleanliness, equipment maintenance, and internet quality. While it can be challenging to find the perfect gym environment, being informed and proactive in your search will ensure that you make the best choice for your exercise needs.
Conclusion – Is Planet Fitness A Good Gym?
When it comes to determining whether Planet Fitness is a good gym, it really depends on your specific needs and goals.
If you’re looking for a low-cost, convenient gym with a low-pressure atmosphere, then Planet Fitness would be a great choice for you.
They offer an abundance of cardio machines and a range of basic resistance machines which cater more to those who are just starting their fitness journey or prefer a more casual workout routine.
But if you’re an experienced gym-goer who enjoys lifting heavy weights or using the more serious equipment, then Planet Fitness is probably not going to be the best option for you.
Their lack of equipment, such as barbells and certain machines, will limit your workout possibilities and hinder your fitness progression.
Ultimately, whether or not Planet Fitness is the right gym for you will depend on what you’re looking for in a fitness facility and how its offerings align with your personal goals.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the downsides of Planet Fitness?
At Planet Fitness, some downsides you may encounter include the lack of heavyweights (the maximum weight for dumbbells is typically around 75 pounds) and squat racks, along with restrictions on certain exercises like deadlifting.
Additionally, the gym primarily caters to beginners, which means you may find it less motivating if you’re an experienced and serious gym-goer.
Doe Planet Fitness discourage serious bodybuilders?
Planet Fitness caters to a more casual gym audience, focusing on providing a judgement-free zone.
As a result, serious bodybuilders may find the environment less useful to their specific needs, due to the limited equipment and weightlifting options available.
However, the gym can still be suitable for general fitness and weight loss programs.
Is the Planet Fitness lunk alarm real?
Yes, the Planet Fitness “lunk alarm” is very real. It is an alarm that goes off when someone drops heavy weights, grunts loudly, or exhibits other behaviours that may violate the gym’s philosophy of maintaining a judgement-free atmosphere.
This alarm aims to discourage potentially intimidating or disruptive behaviour and keep the gym environment welcoming for all members.
What brings criticism to Planet Fitness rules?
Criticism for Planet Fitness rules generally stems from the gym’s emphasis on providing a non-intimidating environment, which may sometimes come at the expense of more serious fitness enthusiasts.
The lunk alarm, for example, is often seen as controversial, as it may discourage individuals from pushing themselves and going for more strenuous workouts.
Why is the membership price so low at Planet Fitness?
Planet Fitness is able to offer low membership prices by keeping their operational costs low.
They focus on providing basic gym equipment and facilities, which allows them to cut down on expenses associated with heavyweights and more advanced gym equipment.
This cost-saving strategy enables them to maintain affordable rates that attract a wider range of customers.
Are there common stereotypes in Planet Fitness gyms?
Yes, there are common stereotypes associated with Planet Fitness. People often see it as a “beginner-friendly” gym that doesn’t cater to serious athletes or bodybuilders.
This is due to the gym’s philosophy of maintaining a judgement-free environment and their restrictions on certain exercises and weight limitations.
As a result, it may further perpetuate the stereotype that Planet Fitness is not a ‘real gym’ in the eyes of more experienced fitness enthusiasts.
- Danny Loeb is a qualified Personal Trainer, Fitness Model and Writer. He enjoys blogging about health and fitness, messing around with Photoshop, and sharing his experiences with everyone.
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