Planet Fitness is a place you go when you feel bad about yourself, but aren’t willing to make the effort to change.
Its founders even admit it:
Most health clubs, Rondeau explains, cater to the roughly 15% of Americans who consider themselves fitness nuts and love to work out. Planet Fitness’s goal, on the other hand, is to attract the much larger percentage of people who want to be healthier but may only use the gym a few times a month.
Feel particularly bad about your gut? No worries! You pay $10 a month to Planet Fitness so you can go in and feel better about yourself. Don’t forget to pick up a couple slices of pizza – which, unfortunately, rendered your entire workout moot.
Remember: working hard is bad. We should all just feel good about ourselves, no matter how little effort we put into fitness. Why should Betty, who lifts hard three days a week and does cardio in between, feel better than Bill, who uses the elliptical machine once a week and scarfs down pizza afterward?
People pay Planet Fitness for a temporary self-esteem boost. There is no further nuance. Instead of putting in actual effort, you just pay that $10 per month (plus set-up fee, plus annual fee) so you can feel good when you need it.
What if, instead of going to a gym that discourages effort, that you actually focused on your physical fitness? What if, for 30 days, you lifted weights that made you grunt on the last rep? What if you skipped the pizza night and opted for a salad instead?
Well then, you’d have something of a fitness regimen. You might lose your gut. You might not need a self-esteem boost a couple times a month, because you’d be perpetually fit.
Clearly that’s not worth the work required. So people will continue to pay Planet Fitness for their self esteem. And Planet Fitness will continue masquerading as a gym, because it would be really impolite to reveal their real business model.