After seeing a recent spot on The Daily Show about discrimination against bodybuilders at Planet Fitness, I thought it would be interesting to comb through Planet Fitness’s policies (click here to download a PDF of the Planet Fitness policies/”About Us” page) to see what precisely is prohibited or enforced at Planet Fitness locations (of which there are over 500 throughout the United States).
Unfortunately I was unable to find an actual list of policies relating to keeping “lunks” out of their gyms, so I don’t know if there is a definition of a lunk (or meat head) under which Planet Fitness is operating, or if it’s a I-know-it-when-I-see-it policy. [UPDATE: "Lunk" is defined on Planet Fitness's Lunk Alarm as "one who grunts, drops weights, or judges." That's pretty clear. And they provide some more language regarding lunks on the Planet Fitness Facebook page.] Either way, it’s a pretty funny concept, and thought it would make a nice, lighter Fine Print Friday entry. As part of Planet Fitness’s Judgement Free Zone (this video is an advertisement for Planet Fitness), the following rules are enforced:
1. No Grunting. At Planet Fitness, grunting is expressly prohibited. Excessive grunting can lead to setting off the Lunk Alarm, and even having the grunter thrown out of the gym.
2. No Weight or Dumbbell Dropping. Another Lunk Alarm offense, any dropping of weights that causes excessive noise may set off the Lunk Alarm (which I assume is just triggered by short, loud noises) and/or find a person kicked out of Planet Fitness. In the case of the man whose plight was highlighted on The Daily Show, it seems that grunting and weight dropping can actually lead to permanent expulsion from Planet Fitness. And apparently being thrown out of a Planet Fitness can drive lunks crazy! (The video quality isn’t great, but the Hulk-like behavior is worth watching.)
3. No Deadlifting. Deadlifting strengthens a number of muscles in a person’s legs, arms (grip strength), and back, and is considered by some to be the purest form of weightlifting due to its lifting of weight from the ground and not lowering it again—i.e., dropping the barbell once it has been lifted. Presumably it is the dropping of the barbell and the consequent noise that is the problem, not the actual act of deadlifting.
4. No Jeans, and No Headwear other than Baseball Caps. I understand that Planet Fitness may want to encourage a uniform feel in their gyms to promote the elimination of judgment, but putting together dress codes seems like a bit much. If I want to be uncomfortable by working out by wearing jeans, shouldn’t I be allowed to?
5. Don’t Be Smelly. Taken right from a page of rules for Planet Fitness that I finally found, this rule specifies that body odor or cologne are not a part of the Planet Fitness experience, and if you do find yourself getting stinky while working out, you are supposed to change your clothes before continuing your workout.
Given the lack of actual published rules, it’s hard to do much more analysis that this, but it should give you a picture of how Planet Fitness is different from traditional gyms. Are you a member of Planet Fitness, or have you visited one? Please tell us about your experience with these rules.
If you need to contact Planet Fitness for any reason, you may email them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send mail to Planet Fitness, 26 Fox Run Rd., Newington, NH 03801.