Originally posted 2011-05-25 11:35:39.
Q: What do you think about this article? Do you have any suggestions on picking a quality gym?
A: Planet Fitness is… a strange place, I think. I mean, I get it. It’s profiting off of making a place where those who are insecure about hitting the gym can come and be in peace, I guess. I spoke about my insecurities regarding being in the gym when I first joined. I even went to the gym at 11 at night – it was a 24-hour location – so that I could avoid all the people who would see me sweating and all gross and nasty slaving away on a treadmill. (Obviously, I was one of those self-loathing fat girls. I really don’t recommend that life for anyone, because no one should be afraid to be seen anywhere.)
Quoting the article:
I’ve felt that discrimination myself firsthand. I’m not what you would call a bodybuilder, mind you, or a regular Planet Fitness member, either. But I have been to number of different Planet Fitness locations in the past few years, mostly as an “emergency gym” when I’m traveling. (The fact that I even have an emergency gym should tell you something about my approach to working out.) In some respects, it’s not a bad place to lift weights—very clean and quiet, and set up in an unusual yellow and purple design scheme with painted signs reading, “Judgment-Free Zone.” No one will judge you, presumably, if you partake of the bowl of candy on the reception desk, or of the weekly Pizza Mondays promotion. (Yes, they serve pizza in the gym.)
I’m not the only one who’s noticed this assault on people who are actually trying to get a workout. Men’s Health called Planet Fitness “The Worst Gym In America,” and over the past few months, my comrades-in-(big)-arms have been speaking out against the chain on blogs, in bodybuilding forums, and at the websites of weightlifting and health-club magazines. In March, a group of lunk activists successfully banded together to have the Planet Fitness You Tube channel shut down by organizing a mass flagging of their commercials as offensive material. The chain was forced to start a new one, under a different name. And other gyms have started making their own commercials in response to Planet Fitness.
Realistically speaking, I think there’s something to Planet Fitness’ end game, here. The truth of the matter is that the big huge weight lifting dudes can appear to be aggressive, scary and kinda obnoxious with all the grunting. That is… if you’ve never lifted 300lbs to your shoulders, before. The “no grunting” rule is silly – YOU try to lift 300lbs to your neck and see if you don’t grunt a little bit. Hell, once upon a time, the BAR ALONE was giving me grief, shoot.
However, as with most people that we unnecessarily stereotype or assign hateful qualities to. they’re usually nowhere near as evil or bully-ish as we think they are. It’s usually just in our minds.
That being said, having “the workout environment that doesn’t make you feel like you’re working out” feels a little troublesome for me, but I’m merely going off of what’s in the article. Someone will have to tell me if there’s more to Planet Fitness than there is in the article, but not having heavy weights? Assumedly, because they’re intimidating?
I can understand not wanting to feel intimidated in an environment where people are already tacitly admitting that they’re there to work on their flaws, but you have to try to develop a thicker skin and understand that we’re all in different points in our journeys. While there may be lots of people there who are farther away from their goal than you, there will always be that ONE (at LEAST) person there who is closer than you, and you can’t let that intimidate you.
And think about where that intimidation factor comes from? Is it about anything legitimate? Or is it about “Oh, in comparison to THESE people, I’m huge!” So what? You’re there to develop fitness, not to “compare” yourself to the people around you. Besides, no one pays that monthly fee to gawk at other people and beat themselves up for not looking like them. If it’s like that, you can do that outside of the gym for free. Stay focused.
At any rate, a gym that serves its clients pizza (which is, assumedly NOT clean probably the crap from a franchise pizza joint) and doesn’t have trainers to assist you in using the equipment – again, the article might’ve been sensationalizing one experience so I don’t know if it’s a company policy or not – doesn’t sound like a place that wants to encourage your fitness. It sounds like a place that is cheap enough for you to choose to maintain your membership all the while encouraging you to not lose much weight.
Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t about encouraging people to work out at a place where the environment makes them feel shame. It IS, however, about encouraging people to consider where the shame comes from and if it’s even legitimate. It usually isn’t. Save the shame – if you must indulge in it – for outside of th gym. That space that you pay to share with those “lunkheads” and “fit bitches” is just as much yours as it is theirs. Claim it.
That being said, let’s talk about how to pick a gym that does work for you. To me, there are six key things to keep in mind when it comes to picking a gym.
So…. needless to say, there’s a lot to consider with the gym industry, and you should always remember that you have the money in this situation. If you’re going to be signing a contract you need to ensure that you’re getting all of your needs met, and for the best price possible. If you’re as cheap– er, frugal as I am, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. I know I do.
Did I leave anything out? What other tips do you have for finding the right gym for you?
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