Thursday, July 2, 2015

Planet Fitness and the Hypocrisy of the Judgment Free Zone

I am moving, so I recently ended my gym membership. That membership was to a Planet Fitness. Many people like Planet Fitness, because it is $10 a month. Outside of that, there isn't much that stands about it in the positive sense. For me, it was less than a mile away, but I don't think they can guarantee that for all members. Still, the rules of Planet Fitness are the biggest bunch of hypocrisy in the fitness industry, and that's saying something.

Planet Fitness claims to be a "Judgment Free Zone." The whole reason of going to the gym is to judge others. I mean, yeah, you want to improve your own health, but let's be real here; you're only going to the gym to look and feel better so you can feel superior to all the average frustrated chumps out there. There is not a single person that I don't judge in the gym. The guy that weighs 50 pounds more than me and lifts 50 pounds less? Yeah, he's getting judged. The gal who is talking with her friend between sets instead of getting to work? Judged. Old ladies? Judged. Children? Judged. They are all judged in comparison to me, and not a single one measures up.

I realize this makes me an asshole when I go to the gym, but when I leave the gym, I can turn back into a fully-functioning adult. Planet Fitness tries to be high and mighty with their "Judgment Free Zone," but they are just as judgmental as me; they just add hypocrisy on top of it. Just look at this shit.
This sign is as judgmental as any sign that has ever existed. They even added an alarm to draw attention to their judgments and whether you fit in with what they have decided people should behave like at the gym. And this is not a gym etiquette thing where a patron is hurting others with their behavior; this could just be a guy trying to maximize his time in the gym. Nothing wrong with that. But let's break down everything that is judgmental about this sign:

Well, that's a derogatory term for anyone. I don't think anyone wants to be a lunk, and name-calling sure seems judgmental. On the bright side, it is only one letter away from being a hunk, and that is a group that I have been a proud card-carrying member since birth. But is being a lunk enough to be called out, even by PF's own definition? I certainly think not. Here are their "crimes."

Seriously? Sometimes you push yourself and you need to expel a little air in an intense matter. I feel like they would also frown upon you expelling air from another end, but that is something that I do with no remorse at the gym as well. If you've gotta fart, you can either hold it in and not get a good pump, or you can let it fly while gaining size.

Drops Weights
Now dropping weights is definitely a bad thing to do in the gym, but I see this happen far more often with people who don't know what they are doing than with so-called lunks. I'm all for idiots not being allowed in gyms, but this still seems awfully judgmental to me.

Wait, what? I'm only halfway through this sign, and literally the only thing that it preaches is to judge people who work out differently than your prescribed version of "normal." You literally created an alarm to draw attention to your judgments and shame those who do not fit your preconceived notion of what an acceptable workout is.

Rick, it rhymes with Dick. Very clever, Planet Fitness. Still, this disparages Ravishing Rick Rude, and I just can't stand for that. 

Slamming His Weights
Slightly worse than dropping weights, which we have already discussed.

Wearing a bodybuilding tanktop
Do I find bodybuilding tanktops ridiculous? Of course I do, but that doesn't mean I don't support them, as I also find them hilarious. Nobody needs any more specialized gear beyond shoes, shorts, and shirt, and if you think you do, you're likely a moron. If you can manage to lift heavy weights, you can probably manage to lift the fabric of a t-shirt as well. Still, people wear all kinds of stupid shit to the gym, and I find it far less awkward to see somebody wearing a tanktop than I do when somebody comes cruising in with a big gulp and a pair of jeans.

Drinking out of a gallon water jug
Really? Is this worth taking a stand on? To judge someone for taking an extra step in staying hydrated? As long as they don't leave their water jug on equipment to prevent people from using them, I really can't find much fault with someone drinking a proper amount of water during their workout, and I feel like you'd have to be kind of a judgmental asshole to think otherwise.

And this is just one sign that hangs in a place that claims to be a "judgment free zone." It's not about being free of judgment. It's about being free of judgment as long as you conform to what they have determined to be "normal people" gym behavior. There are many dictators who have had similar beliefs. Planet Fitness has created a safe gym environment for its members, that is, as long as you're not a Lunk.


  1. searched this after seeing the commercial: "Judgement free gym" -- same company that had the lunk/grunt-o-alarm

    1. Yeah, Planet Fitness doesn't judge you, as long as you aren't different from how they want you to work out.

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