No Effort Allowed!
How can you build a strong, well-defined body? By making continuous physical adaptations. As your body adapts to the stimuli presented to it, you are supposed to keep increasing the challenge in order to keep getting positive results, be it about fat loss or building lean muscle mass. If you simply get stuck with the same programming for too long, your progress will stall. So in other words, if you want to get any significant visible results from your gym effort, you must try harder and push yourself a bit further at every session.
At Planet Fitness, that’s practically impossible. First of all, there’s the ridiculous no-grunting rule. Grunting, rude as it may sound, has been commonplace in gyms for as long as weights have been lifted, as it’s a natural expression of great physical exertion and it’s common for almost all types of athletes. It can be a part of the Valsalva maneuver which involves taking a deep breath and holding it, thus closing the glottis, i.e. the space between the vocal chords and causing an increase in pressure within the chest cavity.
This stabilizes the abdominal and chest cavities and provides greater core stability during heavy lifting. When the lifter exerts pressure, air bursts through the glottis and there’s a grunt. In addition, exercise physiologists claim that grunting prior to an explosive physical act can help the athlete mentally prepare for the exertion of force.
But the no-grunting policy is only one of the several eyebrow-raising rules at Planet Fitness. Nationwide, the Planet Fitness chain expels 3-5 members a month for grunting, dropping weights, wearing bandannas, jeans or any clothes that make you look too fit. Dropping weights isn’t a recommendable practice, but it’s also very natural (when it’s involuntarily) for dedicated weightlifters, who in order to cause physical adaptations and build muscle mass are trying to push their limits by either using very heavy weights or high reps until they reach muscle failure.
Furthermore, there have been several instances where members were asked to change clothes because they were “intimidating other members by being too fit”.
But wasn’t the “judgement-free” spirit one of Planet Fitness’s main qualities? Well, as it turns out, acceptance is reserved only for the slackers and novices, the target population of the company. If you dare to actually work out, expect to be judged and shamelessly stereotyped. And shaming people for having “too perfect” bodies and taking their workouts too seriously is a very odd and disturbing phenomenon.
You can actually get an ideal sense of the entire “no effort” concept behind Planet Fitness by reading this post on their Facebook page: “If you’re going to be bored in front of the TV, you might as well also be on a treadmill.”
Truly inspirational, isn’t it.
Now, ask yourself this: how can anyone expect to improve his physique, or mental fortitude for that matter, in a gym that tries very hard to discourage its members from making any real effort?
A decent gym should strive to solve the diet, fitness and health problems of its members in the most efficient way possible. That being said, having a friendly staff and adopting a positive and supportive attitude towards beginners is also very important. But when people experience only the non-critical attitude without being motivated to improve and without being provided practical, sound guidelines about their training and diet, they remain stuck in the problems they came there to solve.
But Planet Fitness is not a gym and it’s not even pretending to be one – it’s a business dedicated to exploiting the need for instant gratification of the millions of overweight Americans who lack the discipline required for making real, long-term lifestyle changes, and by doing that it only succeeds at weakening them even further and making it almost impossible to get healthier and fitter.
In the long run, those rare members of Planet Fitness who actually want to see real results will eventually realize that they’ve made zero real progress even though they regularly “exercised” for many months, and will either step up their game and join a decent gym or lose all motivation and convince themselves that they are simply unable to build the body they want.
Do Yourself a Favor – Join a Real Gym
Normal gyms are meant to be more or less intimidating. If they make you feel too comfortable, you know that something is off. The basic purpose of a gym is to be a place where people go to improve physically, and it’s a fact of life that nobody can improve themselves without getting out of their comfort zone and putting in the required effort.
When you first step into a gym without having any prior training experience, it’s like the first day of school. You have no clue where to start and you know that you are weak and look like shit, so it’s understandable that you might feel threatened or at least a bit overwhelmed by the mere presence of all those ripped people who have a lot more experience than you. But that’s alright!
In a typical gym, those same people are the ones who can teach you the most about the proper way to train and eat and motivate you to become the best version of yourself possible. Think about it: would you like to be a member of a gym full of people who are at the same level as yours and where you never get encouragement to try harder, or would you rather be surrounded by people who already have what you want and from which you can continuously learn?
If you answered that one as we hope you did, do yourself a favor and stay away from Planet Fitness. Join a real gym where you will be inspired to recognize and realize your full potential. There are plenty of those out there waiting for you to discover them. The choice is yours!