As you may have guessed from the witty title, this article is about Planet Fitness and the injustices they perpetrate across the great land of 'Merica. Everything Planet Fitness does could go in the "Sick of Your Gym" section of our Q&A. In case you are unaware, their entire philosophy is based on creating a "judgment free zone:" a friendly gym and a comfortable place where people will enjoy working out. They are an insult to anyone who trains seriously, or even semi-seriously. And let's not forget that their equipment is purple!

Planet Fitness has been around for a while, so why is this article being written now? This is simply a response to attacks by Planet Fitness on anyone who doesn't fit their mold.

Why so much hate on bodybuilders and strong people who are dedicated to their sport? Because Planet Fitness is a "judgment free zone," that's why. According to the opinion and philosophy of Planet Fitness, big, strong people judge other people for being fat, skinny, and weak. They've built their brand around the idea that they're a shelter, a safe place from "intimidating" people who actually care about improving themselves. The gym even has something called a "Lunk Alarm," which is a tornado siren that goes off when someone "Grunts, drops weights, does unapproved lifts such as deadlifting, or lifts too much weight." That's right, at Planet Fitness you can't make any noise when you move a weight and if you do they will kick you out. They've got a proven track record of doing so. In fact, a corrections officer from Poughkeepsie, NY was removed from the gym by police for breathing hard when he was lifting and for the subsequent disagreement that took place. He was removed not for grunting, but FOR BREATHING HEAVILY! All of the gym's policies are enforced with vigor, as if there's an iron-fisted dictator running the place. No chalk, no grunting, no excessive noise, no unapproved lifts, no boots, no do-rags, no bandanas, no muscle shirts (whatever that means). If you violate one of the rules, even out of ignorance or by mistake, you're sure to face a stiff reprimand. The Lunk Alarm and the pitbull-ish employees only serve to embarrass any members who don't follow the Planet Fitness philosophy of being "regular."

I'll even give Planet Fitness the benefit of the doubt when it comes to dropping weights. Try not to drop them, it's a simple rule that you'll find in a lot of commercial gyms. But the whole "unapproved lifts" rule really gets to me. If deadlifts are unapproved, think of all the other lifts that patrons are unable to do. I'm assuming that olympic lifts are out of the question, as are good mornings, pin presses, t-bar rows, and free squats. In fact, most Planet Fitness gyms don't even have squat racks. They do have massive signs above their cardio machines that read, "NO CRITICS." Yes sir, at Planet Fitness there are no judgmental people and no critics. Unless, of course, you're a bodybuilder, powerlifter, strongman, or just a serious trainee who wants to work harder than the morbidly obese middle aged woman on the stairclimber over there.  If that's the case, you'll be judged right out the door.

On top of wiener-izing their clientele and outfitting their gyms with equipment fit for a nursing home, Planet Fitness has yet another trick up their sleeve. The first Monday of every month is "Pizza Day." Unlimited pizza for members, all day. They also have a "Bagel Morning," and on their own website they mention that they hand out over one million Tootsie Rolls per month to their members. That's it, I'm calling conspiracy on this one! They set up this "judgment free" gym for "regular" people -no pressure, no contracts, no goals- and they give their clients free pizza and tootsie rolls? It's a scheme, and they're either the most wicked businesspeople on earth or the smartest. Or maybe both.

Imagine that I'm a drug dealer and you're addicted to crack. You want to get clean but I keep dangling crack rocks in your face, telling you that "No one will judge you." It's going to be pretty hard for you to break that addiction when I keep fueling it, isn't it? Even if I didn't give you any crack, I'm certainly not helping you overcome your problem. Planet Fitness does the same thing, but instead of crack they throw pizza and candy in front of their clients' faces. Even if the gym-goers choose not to eat the pizza, they're still paying to go to a gym that doesn't encourage and/or help them to change their lifestyle. What better way to keep clients coming back to your gym than to give them free fatty foods and create an environment geared towards not helping them lose weight? Maybe I should get in on this racket...

In closing, to those of you who spit in the face of places like Planet Fitness: Keep doing what you do. Lift heavy, drop weights, use chalk, grunt, scream, vomit, swear, and bleed. It's a sad day when people choose a gym because they want it to be comfortable. If you want comfort, go to a spa. The whole idea of going to the gym, regardless of your training goal, is to make yourself uncomfortable! If Planet Fitness is for regular people, then I guess EliteFTS is for the freaks. If you're serious about your training and your results, we salute you. Stay the course!