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The Logic of Planet Fitness?

As a member of Planet Fitness, that especially entitles me to comment on a very strange practice of their health club franchise.

My goal when joining, as is most others, is to workout, stay fit, lose weight, yada, yada.  With budget-conscious pricing and modern, clean facilities accompanied by friendly staff, it’s a no-brainer to choose Planet Fitness over much local competition.  Truly, I enjoy my workouts there.  There’s a varied selection of equipment, ample enough for everyone, the decor is energizing and it’s a fun place to do physical activity.  Kudos!

What I can’t quite wraparound are the “perks”.  Do me a favor?  Don’t do me any favors.

  • Perk? No. 1:  Tootsie Rolls?  Handfuls of purple tootsie rolls are displayed temptingly in jars all across the Planet Fitness front desk areas.  Tootsie Rolls are not harmless.  Don’t be fooled by their miniature demeanor.  Red ants, bedbugs, MRSA bacteria, lots of evil things are small.  Planet Fitness even advertises them as “little treats – you deserve it!”  My friend gobbles a tootsie roll at various workout intervals throughout his routine.  My guess is he’s consuming about an easy 100 extra calories on those days.  I hope he’s doing extra sets while he chews.
  • Perk? No. 2:  Free Pizza on the First Monday of each month.  We’re not talking Plain Jane pizza either.  It could be anything from Buffalo Chicken to Pepperoni and Sausage.  Talk about ruining that diet you’ve been struggling with.   Want extra cheese and love handles to go with that workout you’re having?
  • Perk?  No. 3:  Free Bagels on the First Tuesday of every month.  Okay, this is almost as bad as the pizza.  Do they include complimentary butter and cream cheese?  They advertise it as the Breakfast of Champions.   When did Wheaties give up that title?
  • Perk?  No. 4:  Tanning.  With all the skin cancer concerns and warnings about tanning beds, to think a health club would incorporate such an amenity seems preposterous.  At least I’ll look good when I eat my pizza.
  • Perk? No. 5:  Pat on the Back Cupcakes.  Apparently you log onto a specified website to elicit a “POTB” as they call it.  Once they achieve a designated number of POTBs, you get free cupcakes.  I wonder if I can get extra buttercream frosting on mine.  I can spread it on my bagel.

So here’s the recipe for disaster: kill your members slowly from the inside by stuffing them with nutrient deficient carbohydrates, then destroy them on the outside with UV rays and melanoma.

If a health club serves pizza, bagels and candy, does that makes it sane and rational?  Does it make it okay to consume them?  It’s a conflict of the “reward” theory.  Exercise hard so you can treat yourself later.  You’re burning calories so what harm can an extra little tootsie roll do?   There’s a reason dentists used to give out lollipops to children.  You do the math.  I had a friend who admitted that the only reason she worked out was to be able to indulge in donuts afterwards.  (As long as the only one you’re fooling is yourself.)

Perhaps the logic is that they need you to keep needing them?  If you keep gaining weight, you need to keep working out.  “Free” stuff is addictive.   So are large amounts of sugar and simple carbs.  It’s a vicious cycle.  Eve was tempted with an apple, not a bran flake (and it worked!)

Hey, Planet Fitness – I hope those T-shirts you sell come in Extra Large sizes.

Planet Fitness – please revisit your perks.  Stop sabotaging our progress!  I’m all for perks, but they should be true to your mission statement.  Here are my nutritional suggestions: how about baskets of fresh fruits and nuts once a month instead of bagels?  Forget the tootsie rolls, we don’t need them before, during or after our workouts.  Replace the pizza with health-conscious noshes such as fresh veggies, hummus and pita chips or fresh sandwich selections.  Leave tanning beds to tanning salons that specialize in skin disease.

Until then, I figure I’m safer by the weights and cardio equipment.  Unless of course, I set off the LunkHead alarm!

© 2012 by Lisa Carbone, The Seasoned Secretary and