If you’ve been looking around for gyms, you’ll notice that serious bodybuilders tell you that planet fitness is bad and that you need to stay away at all costs.
But, people work out there all the time right- it can’t be that bad? Well, here is why Planet Fitness is bad (for some people).
Planet Fitness is bad because it often lacks free weights and heavy dumbbells. It lacks things that serious bodybuilders or lifters need to keep growing muscle. Their target audience is the person that wants to come to the gym a few times a week, stay toned, and keep some weight off- not anybody that wants to put on muscle. For more serious athletes, planet fitness just doesn’t have the right tools for the job.
So, if you are a serious bodybuilder or someone who wants to get big, planet fitness is bad.
But, if you’re just trying to stay in shape, stay toned, or keep off some weight- Planet Fitness is for you, especially at their much lower prices per month.
It’s kind of like comparing high school and college. Sure, the high school diploma is nice, and for a lot of people- that’s all they need. But, if you want to take your education further and grow your brain, you’ll need to go to a more serious institution. And again, some people don’t need college– and some people don’t need anything more than a planet fitness.
So, let’s cover this more in depth.
The Main Reason Planet Fitness is Bad
So, at first glance, Planet Fitness is a great place. It has exercise machines, weights- it looks like a normal gym.
But, there’s one main reason in particular that Planet Fitness is bad- the lack of free weights and heavy weights.
It is incredibly rare you find a Planet Fitness that has any of the following:
- Heavy Dumbbells (60+ lbs)
- Weight Lifting Barbell Rack and Platform
- Heavy Free Weights
That’s the main issue. When it comes to serious bodybuilding, as time moves on and you work hard on a program like the Arnold Blueprint to Mass, you just outgrow the baby weights.
Those 15 pound dumbbells you started with are just lightweight, and now you need 50 lbs just to warm up. But, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Planet Fitness with those.
(And Planet Fitness is an anti-heavy-lifting gym, but I’ll explain that in the next heading)
And most of them don’t even have a power rack or barbell. And even if they do, you won’t be allowed to deadlift or squat most of the time. This means that you can’t do the most important “Compound Lifts” that put on the most muscle to your body.
For instance, a Deadlift, Squat, and/or Barbell Row will put on more muscle than any other exercise in the world (literally, these are the most fundamental bodybuilding exercises). But, you won’t have access to these exercises at Planet Fitness.
Now, to grow muscle, you NEED to make the weights heavier as time goes on. It is called, “Progressive Overload”- and since you cannot increase the weight to heavier amounts, you’ll eventually hit a plateau you cannot escape.
Not ALL Planet Fitnesses Are The Same
I should mention that not ALL Planet Fitnesses are the same. Some of them will have weight lifting racks and barbells, and some won’t. It really depends on your local gym.
My buddy actually owns one of the gyms in North Carolina and he put in a heavy lifting rack and everything, so it’s a GREAT gym for $10/month. But then some other gym owners just do not care about it like that. I’d recommend visiting your local Planet Fitness and seeing what they have to offer (but they’re usually very similar).
Planet Fitness is Anti Bodybuilding/Heavy Lifting
You might’ve seen their weird ads about ‘Gymtimidation’.
Now, I like the idea of it. I would also like all gyms to have rules where members are banned if they try to intimidate others or scare others off with their weights. In fact, I think those people should go to jail. (As Rich Piana said, just because you have muscle does not mean you are better than anybody else!)
Many people are very scared of going to the gym because many big guys at the gym like to intimidate new people. Nowadays, that phenomenon is much rarer and you don’t usually see it happen- but it still isn’t unheard of.
The problem is, planet fitness is bad at this and takes the idea too far.
Planet Fitness has this incredibly crazy thing called the ‘lunk alarm’. Basically, it goes off when someone makes any noise when they are lifting, drops weights too loudly, or makes any noise. It’s basically like a literal tornado siren, and if you trigger it you’ll probably be banned from ever going to a Planet Fitness again,
The problem is, this is a step too far. Again, I love the idea of trying to stop those scary gym guys, but Planet Fitness is taking this too far on the scale.
There has to be some grunting and noise when you’re lifting, no matter what size you are. People don’t run marathons completely silent, they breathe pretty loud. People don’t play sports in absolute silence either, so why would weightlifting be a sport you have to be silent in?
Yes, yes- I get it. Someone screaming at the top of their lungs is a much different case than ol’ me sitting there making grunts you can barely hear as I’m trying to push myself to grow.
And again, in the article I wrote about the lunk alarm, I discuss how a firefighter was banned from the gym for breathing too heavy. Now, keep in mind this guy is literally trying to boost his athleticism to SAVE LIVES.
His whole job is to keep his body in a good physical state to pull people out of burning houses- and they banned him for not even being disruptive, in my opinion. (I think I’ve heard people breathe louder in class than the noise he was making)
So, if you’re a pretty serious bodybuilder or lifter- Planet Fitness just isn’t going to cut it for you.
So, Who is Planet Fitness Good For?
As I mentioned above, Planet Fitness has a target audience. That target audience is people who come to stay toned, keep off some weight, and basically nothing more.
In fact, Planet Fitness makes most of its money from people who NEVER show up to the gym. Their business model revolves around that cheeky “$10/month” slogan, so people sign up and never use it. Then, they don’t even bother canceling it because $10 a month isn’t that much and they say ‘eh, I’ll go to the gym this month’- but never do.
Most of Planet Fitness’s money comes from people who don’t even use the membership. This is different from a bodybuilder focused gym (like Westside Barbell) where the rates are much higher, but in turn, you get much better equipment for muscle growth.
Now, of course, Planet Fitness does have quite a few members who actually use the membership regularly. But, Planet Fitness’s generally only have running machines and lighter weights, which brings me to the final point.
If You Just Want to Stay in Shape and Stay Toned, It’s Hard to Beat Planet Fitness at Their Prices
And that’s the jaw-dropper right there. Planet Fitness operates on an interesting $10-20/month model.
If you’re just someone looking to keep off some weight, go running a few times a week or month, or just stay toned- it’s basically impossible to beat Planet Fitness.
You go to any serious bodybuilding gym and they will tell you it’s around $40-60/month (and that’s the cheap rate). Then you won’t want to buy it because it’s not worth it for your goals.
But, $10/month to get a great place to run, relax, and stay toned? It’s basically impossible to beat.
So, you need to figure out what your goals are. If you’re trying to become the next Arnold Schwarzenegger, you’re going to have to find a more serious gym.
But, the vast majority of people out there just want to keep a little fat off after partying on the weekend, or just have a little muscle tone. And surprisingly enough, just working out 1-2 times a week can have a huge impact on your life (especially with how sedentary we are these days!).
And I mean, Planet Fitness usually has a ton of great cardio machines and basic resistance machines that actually can keep you in pretty good shape.
Plus, They Have Good Amenities (Hydromassage, etcetera)
Now, Planet Fitness has good amenities that most gyms don’t offer.
Now, the basic $10/month membership doesn’t offer these, you’ll have to get their ~$20/month package (but you’ll probably get it anyway, it’s worth it if you like Plant Fitness) but they have great amenities.
My personal favorite is the Planet Fitness Hydromassage bed. It’s literally this water bed that massages you, oh my gosh it feels so fricken good.
Getting that hydromassage after a workout or just even after a long day at work kind of makes the whole thing worth it in my eyes.
Plus, they have a cool total body enhancement machine, if you’re interested in Red Light Therapy.
Honestly, $10/month for unlimited waterbed massages isn’t bad.
The Bottom Line of Why Planet Fitness is Bad (for some people)
Overall, it is very anti-weightlifter. If you want to be big or have a serious amount of muscle, you’ll need to find another gym.
But, if you’re just there to get toned or keep off some fat, it’s hard to beat Planet Fitness for their prices.
You just have to sit down, think of your personal body goals (do you want to be muscular, toned, shredded, big, etc) and then choose from there.