Planet Fitness gym is well known for their satire filled commercials of “No Intimidation” and anti “meathead” marketing campaign seem to have gone to the other extreme as this week threw out one of its members for, well being too fit.
Based on the company’s website, Planet Fitness commitment to “No Gymtimidation” and “No Lunks” is boldly displayed on the front page alongside their industry low fee of $10 a month. Since its inception in 1992 Planet Fitness has built the brand around its concept of “no judgment” making a more inviting atmosphere for first-time gym members. Although they have capitalized on their warm, friendly, no judgment they fail to see the irony in the fact they do judge their members. By having such rules as cancelling memberships who yell throw weights or flex as they regard them as “lunks” isn’t this doing the exact thing they claim they do not, which is judge? Planet Fitness seems to stand behind these judgments as they believe the above mentioned practices serve as intimidation towards other members and challenge their other concept of making everyone feel comfortable. However, how far is too far?
A fitness gym in and of its name is surely in the business to assist those in getting healthy, active and toned. By practice alone is it not a testament to the member’s hard work and dedication if they are indeed fit? Unfortunately not in the eyes of Planet Fitness, whose name ironically suggests just that.
California member Tiffany Austin apparently did not comply with PF’s rules and was subsequently thrown out for being too fit. Austin wore a hot pink crop tank which exposed her mid-section and matching hot pink capris. Austin was approached while in the midst of her work out routine by a Planet Fitness employee who advised her that her fit body was intimidating to other guests and asked her to cover up. It is one thing to market under the concept of no judgment and appeal to beginners but to punish someone for accomplishing the very thing a gym sets out to do, seem absurd. If Planet Fitness punishes fit members by asking them to cover up or leave, does it reward its less than fit members?
In the past Planet Fitness has been known to cancel memberships of those members who come in violation of their no “Gym Rat” practices such as; flexing, grunting, dropping weights and showmanship. However it seems punishing those who are fit or toned would be hypocritical of any gym. That would be the equivalent of a college expelling a student for being too smart, or an employer firing an employee for working too hard.
What exactly is Planet Fitness’s goal, is it entirely a marketing scheme to send a message to all the serious and sometimes over the top gym rats that they are not welcomed or are they really trying to make it a comfortable, welcoming community gym? Certainly since the first reported article in 2006 exposing the gym’s ploys have helped catapult Planet Fitness into media spotlight and thus no doubt helped the rapidly growing franchise reach its 5 million members. In addition the attractive low price of just $10 a month is enough for most to put up with potential embarrassment or ejection if thought to be too toned.
People work out for many reasons; to get healthy, to stay toned, and to lose weight, to look good, to increase stamina, or to increase life expectancy. Regardless of the reason most people will have a desired physical appearance when they reach their goal. However at Planet Fitness the message is, once you reach that desired look you are not welcome here, at Planet Fitness our members cannot be too fit.
Opinion By Debra Pittman