Judgement Free Zone?

I’ve been hearing a lot of advertisements lately with the new year having started that focus on either losing weight or working out. One such ad that I have heard more than the rest is for Planet Fitness. They are having a sale for $1 down and only $10 per month, in a gym they classify as a Judgement-Free Zone. While I have never stepped inside of a Planet Fitness, I have seen commercials and news pieces concerning the practices inside the company. I have heard both good, bad and non-committal opinions on the gym and equipment itself. My opinion is on the marketing campaign and overall practice of the company. The whole basis of their Judgement-Free Zone is that you aren’t judged, unless you’re doing something the company doesn’t agree with, then they judge hardcore with a giant spinning light and fog-horn type buzzer with a final verdict of eviction.

The website for the Planet Fitness location nearest to me reminds me of a day spa. There are tanning booths, massage chairs, and HydroMassage beds. An article from 2014, linked here, labels Planet Fitness as the fastest growing gym due in large part to their free pizza nights and bagel breakfasts every month, and attracting the majority of people who may only work out a few times a month. I personally work out much more than a few times a month and think labeling that type of behavior as “OK” is poor for the overall well-being of the population. Additionally, a gym corporation should be ashamed for promoting unhealthy behavior. By inflating clients’ egos,and providing unhealthy food, Planet Fitness is ensuring a growing list of lifetime clients who will never likely lose the weight they initially attempted to, but continue to go to the gym for the social aspect, tanning and massages, and parties each month.

There have been other gyms I have known in the past that have had a more relaxed approach, including Curves and Baily’s. If Planet Fitness marketed themselves as a relaxed gym, with great amenities, I may not take as much offense for their platform. All the ads I have seen or heard though, point at those who lift more weight, run faster and look better in a negative light, labeling them as “Lunks”. The person listening who doesn’t like those people, likely because if fatter the people surround them they will feel better about themselves, wants to be in a gym those “Lunks” won’t visit. I feel like they are creating a group of gym-goers based on the hatred or dislike of that group of people, and not on how great their company is. It’s unlikely I will ever be paying Planet Fitness a visit, but I still think they should re-evaluate how they market their company and the health services they actually provide to their customers.

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