My new roommates are both very fit dudes who work out regularly. When I moved in with them, the older roommate offered to work out with me and show me his routine. A new Planet Fitness opened up down the street from our place so we both purchased memberships so he could show me the ropes. For only $10 a month, it seemed like a great deal. Then everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked.

Everything is Purple

I have no problem with the color purple. It’s the color of royalty and the unofficial hue of black people. However everything inside Planet Fitness is purple and it’s more than an eyesore.

The inside of a Planet Fitness.

The Lunk Alarm

Planet Fitness brands itself as a “No judgment zone” and doesn’t want people to be intimidated by super intense lifters or Instagram models which they refer to as “lunks”. For this reason, every location is outfitted with a siren that goes off if a member drops their weights or grunts super loudly. So you are literally punished by way of a public shaming for working out too hard. I wish I was making this up.

No Personal Training of Any Kind Allowed

Considering my roommate and I bought memberships for the sole purpose of him training me how to lift weights safely and effectively, we were really thrown off by this alert painted on the mirrors.

Pizza Night and Bagel Breakfast

The first Monday of every month is an all you can eat pizza night and the second Tuesday of each month features a complimentary bagel bar. You don’t need to be a health nut to know that pizza and bagels are the antithesis to a nutritious diet.

60lbs Weight Limit

Now I’m no meathead but I’ve seen home gyms with dumbbells that exceed 60lbs. At Planet Fitness, if you need to lift anything bigger then you’re probably a “lunk” and you already know how they feel about that.

Banned Exercises

In keeping with their Anti-Fitness regime, Planet Fitness also bans its members from doing certain exercises. One of these banned exercises is the weightlifting staple, the deadlift. A gym where you’re not allowed to do deadlifts is like a gym without treadmills. But don’t worry about that because…

There are wall-to-wall treadmills

I just eyeballed it, but I’d have to guess that the Planet Fitness I went to was comprised of 85% cardio equipment. Don’t they know that a marathon isn’t won off of running endurance alone? A good fitness regimen requires a balance of cardiovascular and strength training. But hey, if walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes makes you feel better about the pizza they’re feeding you then more power to ya.

Planet Fitness isn’t a gym

Have you ever wondered how a gym can stay charge so little every month and still stay in business? The average Planet Fitness has 20-30 times more members per location than they are equipped to handle at once. Their business model is dependent on the majority of their members not actually using their memberships. They provide a comfortable and convenient service to get you to sign up, but discourage any real working out. And at ten bucks a month, most people aren’t that guilty if they skip a month, or two, or twenty-two. In fact, many people use it as a pizza dinner every month.

All their commercials proudly declare that Planet Fitness isn’t a gym. So then what is it? Maybe a good word for it would be a scam. Let me explain.

The Problem with Planet Fitness

A gym is a gym is a gym. Planet Fitness has the essential tools necessary to get in shape if you’re starting out. The idea of a no judgment place where you can workout at your own pace without being intimidated is a great one. Everyone should feel comfortable working out because the lunks of the world weren’t always super ripped or had ab lines stretching from their pubic arch up to their ribcage. If you’re working out, no matter what you look like or how experienced you are, the fact that you’re trying is an amazing thing. Planet Fitness does a great job of encouraging thousands of people to get in shape who otherwise wouldn’t step foot in the gym.

The issue is that while the staff and field management might genuinely want you to succeed on your weight loss journey, the corporate powers to be want you to fail while continuing to put their kids through college. So if you want to get in shape and don’t know where to start, Planet Fitness can be a great option as long as you have a way to stay encouraged to push yourself passed what you thought was possible for true growth. Everything at Planet Fitness is designed to tell its members to only reach for low-hanging fruit, or this case, a slice of pizza.