It’s Not Even My Universe

planetfitnessIs it just me?

Or can I get an “A-men!” when I say I am thoroughly irritated by the new Planet Fitness ad campaign?  I mean, I am nearly reaching an irritation level equivalent to the one I experience when people (typically women) complain about their size while using FourSquare to check in at Burger King six times a week.

The premise – that Planet Fitness is a “judgement free zone” – is fine by me.  I am all about judgement free (unless you’re wiping Big Mac special sauce off your chin and puffing on a Marlboro while bemoaning your inability to climb stairs).  But Planet Fitness, despite their claims ad nauseum, aren’t really all that judgement free.

They might judge me, for instance.  I lift heavy.  I grunt.  I sweat – A LOT.  I breathe heavily while running pace runs, doing pushups and pullups, and completing dead lifts.  Oh, but wait – dead lifts, as well as clean-and-jerks and many other exercises, aren’t allowed at planet fitness.  That’s right…they actually ban proven exercises for fear said movements might intimidate exercisers.  I’m sorry…what?

But feel free to grab a handful of candy from the front desk or chow on free pizza every week.  And by all means, feast on the free bagels they also provide.

From a business perspective, it makes sense.  Remove anyone who exhibits a true dedication to or thorough understanding of fitness while also feeding members the very foods they ought to avoid – and voila!  Your clientele not only retains what they’re trying to lose, but they feel pretty good about doing so.  And they get the added benefit of being able to say, “I went to the gym today.”

Plus, you can add tanning to your membership!  Now if UV rays, skin cancer, and premature wrinkling don’t scream “FITNESS!”, I don’t know what does.

Sadly, Planet Fitness is not alone in its desire to discriminate.  Magazines are airbrushing cover models – so their MUSCLES don’t show.  I actually purchase magazines because of muscular female models on the cover and in the pages.  Or how about the new chain of gyms that only allow obese clientele?  Let’s reverse that for a moment and ponder what sort of reaction a fit-people-only gym would get?

Here’s my issue, aside from the blatant discrimination against people of certain body types (because that IS what’s going on here): this feeds into the Wall-E sort of lifestyle, the competition-is-too-hard-for-kids, the I-really-didn’t-make-an-effort-or-do-anything-today-but-give-me-a-medal mentality that results in adults who can’t do for themselves, an obesity epidemic for Americans of all ages, and another generation of pill-poppers looking for quick fixes outside of themselves.

It brings to mind the great words of Charles J. Sykes:

11 rules

So sure, it’d be nice if everyone felt comfortable at every gym.  But it’d be even better if every new gym member found the results they were searching for through hard work and sweat – and were congratulated for garnering and maintaining those results instead of getting booted or publicly shamed the moment they began working “too hard.”



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