Saturday, December 29, 2012

Planet Fitness Guest Pass Trick and Review

Nick and I spent Christmas at my family's home in Michigan.  While we were there, my dad invited us to go to the gym with him.  He is a member of Planet Fitness in Northville.  Planet Fitness charges only $10/month with no commitment requirement-- not a bad deal, especially compared to some of the gyms we considered joining in Philly that cost $50/month and were smaller.  

We were hoping to get a guest day pass for $5/day... apparently they don't do that any more.  Instead, they wanted to charge $20/day for each guest.  What?!  That seems pretty absurd, given that their monthly membership fee is only $10/month.  Well, Nick and I worked around that...

We asked to join as members.  The initiation cost was only $5, and billing is on the 17th of the month.  We joined on December 22.  For $5 each, we got a free t-shirt (and we even got a special black t-shirt instead of white because we were so patient while waiting!) and a full gym membership for the duration of our stay in Michigan.  We canceled our membership on December 28, meaning we missed the billing cycle and didn't even have to pay our $10/month dues.  Now that's how you work the system!

I'm sure Planet Fitness is not too thrilled with us, but hey, if they had a 7 day trial membership, none of this would have happened... or if they charged $5/day instead of $20.

For a review of this particular franchise (Planet Fitness in Northville, MI):
Overall, for $10/month it's a good deal, and I would recommend it!  
(+) The gym has all of the standard strength training machines, free weights, and cardio apparatuses.  
(+) They have a rowing machine.
(-) This particular franchise did not have any medicine balls or kettlebells.  They also did not have any standard barbells.  
(-) They could use a much larger area for mat work/stretching.  
(+) They have a unique "30 minute circuit" set-up: a group of weight machines in a designated area with a timed light on the wall so you know when to rotate to the next exercise.  
(-) The free weight area sometimes felt a bit cramped.
(+) I was amused by their "judgement free zone" and the "lunk alarm."  Basically, whenever someone is dropping their weights or doing a ridiculous amount of grunting (a "lunk"), an alarm goes off in the gym.  The purpose of this is to reduce the intimidation factor and create a space where all people (regardless of current physical fitness level) are welcome.
(+/-) They have TV's on the wall in their cardio room, but each machine does not have its own personal TV.
(+) The clientele seemed to be a range of ages and fitness levels.  People worked hard but did not seem pretentious about their fitness routines.
(+) They offer (included in the monthly membership) unlimited fitness training.  Each class is limited to 5 people and lasts 30 minutes.  They do not offer classes like kickboxing, yoga, etc.  Instead, their classes focus on a muscle group (e.g., arms, legs, abs) and the instructor (from my understanding) teaches different exercises to work these muscles.  I did not take advantage of these classes during my (short) time as a member, so I can't speak to them.
(+/-) I am against tanning beds, but for those who enjoy these cancer boxes, this gym has tanning rooms.  They also have a massage chair room.  
(+) They have a locker room (bring your own lock) to store your items.  In addition, they also have an open place to hang your keys and another to hang your coat.  While this works in Northville, I don't think I would trust hanging my coat in the open in Philly.  
(+) They have great hours.  They are open from 5am on Monday through 10pm on Friday (24 hours on these days).  On the weekends, they are open 7am-7pm.
(+) The staff members were friendly.
(+) I like their purple pens.

If we didn't have a gym in our apartment complex and the Planet Fitness in Philly were a bit closer, I would consider joining.  It's important to remember, though, that each gym is individually owned (franchise), so they may vary between locations.

Has anyone else experienced Planet Fitness?  

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