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Should I join Planet Fitness?

Maybe. The price is certainly right, but Planet Fitness is not for everyone. The company says its target market is people who don’t like the gym. If that’s you, read on!

Yes, Planet Fitness is a good choice if:

  • There is a Planet Fitness near your home or work.
  • You want a gym with basic equipment — weight machines and cardio machines like treadmills.
  • You just want to walk in, do some exercise, and walk out.
  • You don’t need (or want) a lot of services or frills (or pressure to buy into add-ons like personal training).
  • You don’t have a problem with seeing pizza or Tootsie Rolls at the gym.

The pizza and Tootsie Rolls are a polarizing subject. Most of us are going to eat that stuff anyway, so it may be better to see it someplace you can also get some exercise — instead of just going home and eating it on the couch. But be honest with yourself about how you approach the snack table.

No, Planet Fitness is NOT a good choice if:

  • You have to go out of your way to get to one — a gym has to have a big specialty draw to make that worthwhile.
  • You need specialized equipment for barbell training, as for powerlifting or Olympic lifting. Planet Fitness offers no support for these disciplines and has even been removing bench-press equipment.
  • You are working with a coach or personal trainer that may prescribe exercises that you cannot do at Planet Fitness. (Most gyms won’t let you bring outside trainers with you, either.)
  • You really go to the gym for fitness classes, such as spinning, Zumba, or yoga. PF has staff trainers who will help you make a plan or orient you to their multistep circuit, but they don’t offer classes.

People who like the gym (that is, not the people Planet Fitness is reaching out to) really don’t like Planet Fitness, but if all you need is a clean, well-lighted place to get the CDC basic recommendations for exercise, it’s a good, inexpensive, and often convenient option.

Image: still from a Planet Fitness ad — that guy wouldn’t be happy at Planet Fitness, but who knows, even he might find it worth $10 a month to have a convenient place to grab a few treadmill miles and a little isolation work on weight machines when he can’t get to his powerlifting or bodybuilding specialty gym!

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