Planet Fitness: Why is it hated?


Uriel Pimentel, Staff Reporter

Planet Fitness: Why Is It So Hated?


Planet Fitness is one of many branded gym incorporations that you can find in your town or throughout surrounding cities. Like many other gyms such as: Gold’s Gym, Anytime Fitness, World Gym, and, of course, your local gym(s). The purpose of every gym is to help a member work out in a proper and healthy way through equipment, help of personal trainers, and other powerful methods. But why is it that Planet Fitness stands out above all the other gym corporations and businesses? While somewhat of an obscure topic, Planet Fitness has been demolishing its reputation over the years due to several controversies and situations involving Planet Fitness’ rules, staff, and the promotion of false and unhealthy products to become “healthy”. To understand the reason why Planet Fitness is so hated and controversial today, we need to look at the problems and the company itself to understand what went wrong to cause such infamy for Planet Fitness all across the U.S. over the years because of these infamous situations.


Planet Fitness was a gym company created in the year 1992 that has now franchised and opened up all over the United States today.  Compared to many other gyms, such as Gold’s Gym, a brand that’s belief and motto focuses on working out and becoming muscular and much bulkier. Planet Fitness takes the opposite direction by becoming a gym business that focuses solely on helping those that suffer from low health and below average build to work on themselves in a much more amateur approach. Planet Fitness is aimed towards less experienced beginners who want to get an easy start while also giving more experienced members good progress. With all of that in mind, it’s easy to assume that Planet Fitness aims to be a safe and positive place to attend to, especially since Planet Fitness’ motto is “A Judgement-Free Zone” which further strengthens this belief. However when you look behind the scenes and look at what’s going down inside the Planet Fitness gyms to make this place have a “positive” image and appeal to the less fortunate in terms of health, it soon becomes easier to understand the hate and backlash towards the brand.


Planet Fitness, despite calling itself “A Judgement-Free Zone”, has had countless problems throughout many of its gyms where many members have been kicked out and banned from entering the properties due to them having above-average, muscular, and/or bulky bodies. Planet Fitness’ reason for why it kicks out such members is because they claim that their above average health and physical appearance is problematic due to creating an “intimidating, hostile, and negative” environment as it causes a negative and demotivating mindset towards below average members. One ex-member describes how he was kicked out on his first day of entering Planet Fitness for deadlifting 360 lbs. due to him being “noticeably stronger than everyone else, thus creating an intimidating environment”. Many videos online document many other incidents where members and visitors are kicked out for being too strong and intimidating.


Planet Fitness has been documented to restrict its members from “working out too hard and extreme as it can cause damage and fatigue.” Many of the Planet Fitness gyms have signs around the gym restricting their members from using heavy weight plates, adding weight onto their lifting equipment, and other certain forms of lifting and exercising such as deadlifts, clean and jerks, overhead presses, and t-rows. The gyms restrict you to 75 lbs. or less of weight on the dumbbells and lifting equipment, while other Planet Fitness gyms only allow 60 lbs. instead. Planet Fitness goes even as far from banning personal exercise and workout methods for seemingly no reason. Because of these restrictions, many members resort to using other equipment intended for a certain job in order to be a substitute for the exercise and equipment not present. Planet Fitness gyms are mostly filled with cardio machines which brings the suspicion that Planet Fitness is against weight training and more on cardio workouts. Planet Fitness is more focused on becoming “healthy” rather than focusing on becoming stronger and bulkier. Credit: (image left: u/whiskeyflavourcigar via Reddit, image right: @T_Nation via Twitter)

Certain clothing such as tank tops, jeans, durags, etc. are banned from the gyms as Planet Fitness claims these are “stereotypical” things to wear at a gym. With the signs inside the gyms saying: “Dress Code: to maintain our no gymtimidation environment, please no jeans, boots, sandals, or string tank tops“. Many people on YouTube and Twitter have filmed themselves working out at Planet Fitness only to suddenly be kicked out by force by the employees due to them wearing something “offensive” and bringing “negative attention” to the other members around them. Not just clothing but certain equipment is banned to take inside Planet Fitness such as personal water bottles and jugs, wristbands, and towels. One man recorded how he was forcefully kicked out of Planet Fitness for having a half-gallon water bottle while exercising. According to the Planet Fitness employee during the video, the water bottle “violated the general management rule as the half-gallon water bottle did not fit in the cup holder inside the gym(s)”. 


Planet Fitness has also been under fire for promoting unhealthy habits where they serve pizza on “Pizza Monday”, and bagels on “Bagel Tuesday.” However Planet Fitness only serves these foods once a month, however still controversial. Planet Fitness’ response to this backlash is pretty reasonable by stating, “It’s OK to indulge in a treat every once in a while. The truth is, one slice of pizza isn’t going to destroy a month’s work in the gym, which is why Planet Fitness Pizza Monday and Bagel Tuesday only roll around once a month”. However, regardless of this statement, many have slammed Planet Fitness for serving such food instead of healthier alternatives such as fruits, vegetables, and salads. Many compare it to “going to AA meetings but they encourage you to drink every once in a while”. Credit: (top image: “Planet Money Workout” via, bottom image: “How Planet Fitness Became Hated By The World” via SunnyV2, YouTube)

The conspiracy theory to all of these problems makes a lot more sense when you put the puzzle pieces together. “It’s actually a genius tactic. You go there to ‘lose’ weight and ‘get in shape’, but give you unhealthy foods to gain and burn again. They kick out any members who actually give effort and fuel poor and toxic mindsets to the unfortunate ones” (LT via SunnyV2 YouTube). With all of this said, Planet Fitness has definitely tarnished its reputation through all of these accusations held against them, now known by a great number of people as a hypocritical gym business that takes advantage of the unhealthy through manipulation and a company that offers scams and poor memberships towards its members in hopes of draining as much as they can from their pockets. 


How did this affect me, you, or anyone else? When you sit to think about how this affects us it helps us understand that a lot of companies, brands, and other industries that run through business aren’t what they seem. Planet Fitness without a doubt isn’t the only company and won’t be the only company that undergoes controversies. It helps us understand that we should be more careful with what we consume and should trust. This isn’t necessarily a rant to make a company look bad, it’s to make us understand that we should take more action and precaution for incidents like these, we shouldn’t be pawns to companies that can easily control and manipulate the people through advertisements and empty promises. We must be smarter and more careful about what we get into and consume rather than blindly following something just by the claims and mask they use.