Pros and Cons of Planet Fitness


Planet Fitness: Reviews, Complaints, and Perks

A gym membership is a big investment. If you're going to be paying hundreds of dollars for a membership, you want to make sure that the gym meets all your needs and that you like going there.

If you're thinking of joining a gym, you're likely considering Planet Fitness, which is one of the biggest national chains in the country. Well, I've been going to Planet Fitness for two years, and it works well for my lifestyle and I enjoy going there, it also has some serious haters (with valid reasons for hating it). Here are some pros and cons to help you decide if Planet Fitness is the right gym for you.

Planet Fitness Pros

1. Open 24 Hours

This may not matter for everyone, but it is really important for me since I'm an early morning exerciser. I take advantage of this by getting to the gym at 5:00 am every day, along with the ten or so people who are already there when I arrive. What I like about 24 hour fitness centers is that you don't have to plan your day around their hours, which makes it easy to avoid busy times. It also allows you to be a bit more spontaneous with your gym going. Maybe you just suddenly feel like going to work out at 9:30 at night.

2. Inexpensive Fees and Low Rates

I pay $20 a month for my PF membership – and that is for the highest level they offer, which includes unlimited tanning, one free guest per day, access to any Planet Fitness in the US, unlimited massage chair, and discounts on with a number of fitness apparel brands. I think the cheapest membership is only $10 a month. To compare, other gyms in my area charge between $30 and $50 a month.

3. Cleanliness

I can only speak for the handful of PF's that I've been to, but all of them have seemed to be pretty clean. The locker room at my location is always really clean and well-stocked, and the shower curtains are changed often so there' s none of that mildew smell. Unlike a lot of gyms, I don't worry too much about touching the surfaces or machines. I do wish they would get the pre-moistened gym wipes instead of the paper towels and spray bottles though.

4. No Wait for Machines

The cardio deck in the Kalamazoo, Michigan Planet Fitness.
The cardio deck in the Kalamazoo, Michigan Planet Fitness. | Source

Before graduating college I used my school's gym and if you went at a busy time you more than likely would have to wait for a cardio machine. By contrast, Planet Fitness has plenty of treadmills, ellipticals, and bikes for everyone. Personally I have never seen the cardio deck completely full; there is always at least a few of each type of machine available.

I also like that they do not have a time limit for the machines. I have been to some gyms where they limit you to a 30 minute block and don't allow you to sign up for back to back times which is a huge impediment to anyone who likes to run more than 3 or 4 miles.

Planet Fitness Cons

They encourage bad eating habits.

On the first Monday of each month PF has a "pizza night" where they give out unlimited free slices of pizza. The first Tuesday morning of each month there is free bagels and coffee. That's not all, they also keep a huge jar of tootsie rolls on the front desk and encourage people to take some as they leave. Some people have a theory that PF does this to impede their client's diets and force them to continue using the gym. I don't think that is quite their goal, but either way it is a bad thing for a gym to be doing.

2. Staff Isn't Knowledgeable

When I first went in to sign up for a membership, I was given a tour by one of the men at the front desk. As he took me around the gym he admitted that he didn't know how to use several of the machines. Personally I found this funny and wasn't concerned since I am experienced enough to know what I'm doing, but for a first time gym goer this could be a real problem that could cause an injury. Despite that I have always found the employees at my location to be friendly and in a good mood.

3. The "Lunk Alarm"

The lunk alarm.
The lunk alarm. | Source

I have mixed feelings about the Lunk Alarm. Planet Fitness defines "Lunk" as "one who grunts, drops weights, or judges." The alarm will be set off when someone does any of those things. While I agree that some people take grunting way too far, you have to give them a little leeway. And dropping weights? Yes, it should be avoided, but it does happen. Would you rather have people drop a weight on the ground or struggle with it and possibly hurt themselves? (Note: I've never actually seen the alarm go off in my gym.)

4. Dress Code

Apparently Planet Fitness has a dress code that says "no jeans, no do-rags/skull-caps/bandannas, no boots/sandals." While most of that seems like common sense to me, I've also heard rumors that they don't let women wear crop tops, though I've certainly seen people wearing them.

Apparently, the dress code is also enforced at the discretion of local branch managers, who may have different preferences. There have also been a number of reports of the dress code being used to discriminate against certain clients, such as this pregnant woman who claims she was asked to leave because her clothes didn't cover her "bump" enough!

5. No Group Classes

My biggest complaint about PF is that they don't offer any sort of fitness classes. No pilates, no yoga, no spinning, etc. So, if that is they type of thing you look for in a gym, sorry, you will have to look elsewhere.

6. Hard to Cancel Membership

I have no firsthand experience with this, but I have heard from others that cancelling a membership at PF can be a challenge. If you cancel past a certain day then you will be charged for the entire month anyway. There have also been cases of people still being charged after their membership has been cancelled.

7. No Wi-Fi

Now I'm not sure if this is just in the gyms I've been in, but in the 10 or so I've visited across the country not a single one has WiFi. This may seem like a finicky request, however as someone who listens to a lot of Pandora and watches Netflix on the treadmill, those data charges add up! I know some of the higher-end gyms around me do have WiFi, and of course at the campus gym I can use theirs, but Planet Fitness would really get a boost in my eyes if they installed it, especially considering their large client base.

Is Planet Fitness right for you?

If you are an avid bodybuilder, probably not. If you are someone looking to get in shape or stay in shape, PF probably offers enough to satisfy you. If you have any experiences with PF that you would like to share, please feel free to comment.

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Comments 56 comments

kjrzeek1 profile image

kjrzeek1 4 years ago from New Jersey, USA

Funny story....I went into a planet fitness to try to get a quick workout when I was in an area I did not live in, and the guy behind the counter asked me am I sure I want to work out here and told me to go look around before paying....Ha....I guess to him I looked like one of the guys from the commercial....I pick things up and put them down.....It was clean! nice hub!

steven 3 years ago

Well if they give out free food it is the person who takes it fault .

I think that they have a choice of how much they eat. And the gym wants good health but don't pig out in food have selfcontrol

tmouse1 3 years ago

Thanks for the review. PF is in my area, but not close enough for me to join. I like my current gym (LA fitness) well enough, but I find the need to change gyms every few years. I've been waiting for a PF to open close enough to me to join.

fireflyfoxxo 3 years ago

How are the showers there?

Victoria Anne profile image

Victoria Anne 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Hi fireflyfoxxo, they vary based on the location, but all the PF I've been to have between 3 and 7 individual shower stalls with one being handicap accessible. Most of them also either have changing stalls attached to the shower or nearby. I've always found them to be pretty clean, although the water pressure usually sucks.

Dania Razzak profile image

Dania Razzak 3 years ago from Dhaka

Try using rock music while you work out. When you are lacking in motivation you may want to turn on your favorite music and play it loudly. You will find your body wanting to move, just by listening to the beat. Moving your body feels great, and it is so easy to do, so get moving. Teach yourself to have fun with a work out by adding dance and music to an otherwise boring routine. You won't notice that you've worked out for an hour if you're enjoying listening to music while you do it.

Victoria Anne profile image

Victoria Anne 3 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Dania I don't see the relevancy of your comment.

Dandre@ workout towels 3 years ago

Great! This gym is so awesome. I like it's equipment & environment.

Dee 2 years ago

I have to say most of the cons listed are not true at least not at the PF's that i have gone to

Victoria Anne profile image

Victoria Anne 2 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Dee, I'm sure the trainers vary from gym to gym, but I know that no PF offers group classes and that the tootsie rolls, bagels, and pizza are mandated by the franchise. I think the enforcement of the lunk alarm and dress code varies by location as well.

Nique71 2 years ago

I have been a member of PF for over a year now and I agree with pretty much everything the author said. I wish there were group classes, but what can we expect for a $10 membership? It us the cleanest gym I've ever been in and I appreciate that. Does anyone know anything about age ranges? I was thinking about getting my kids signed up so we can work out together. They are 17 and 15.

Jessica Gibson 2 years ago

i think they give you food because one slice isn't going to hurt you. one bagel isn't going to hurt you. coffee is actually good to drink before you work out, just make sure to drink plenty of water. i think they give you the tootsie roll for a reward.

Charlie 2 years ago

My planet fitness definitely does classes haha

Cathy Baker 2 years ago

I love going to planet fitness.I am A 74 year old lady.I Did have DIABETES. But now I am What you call prediabetic . THE TOOTSIE ROLL CANDY ,is really for people with diabetes. working out makes your sugar drop. and that is not good. I have my daughter to thank for singing me up!!!

lilmissmontana profile image

lilmissmontana 2 years ago from Montana

I just read a story today about a 17 year old girl in Michigan who was asked to change or leave because she was wearing a tanktop. I don't have a Planet Fitness where I live, but I'm not sure I would want to go with some of the cons. Yes, the price is right, but I want knowledgeable staff that is going to help me, encourage me, and certainly know if I'm doing something improperly that could result in injury. Sometimes the saying "you get what you pay for" is more true than others. In this case, I think I will stick to a less franchised gym. Great hub and information!!! Voted up!

Abbie 2 years ago

My PF offers group workouts/classes/activities. Just figured I'd put that out there.

Tony 2 years ago

No group classes for me, but perfect for someone who wants a cheap place to workout and knows what they're doing. Mine has wifi too. Age limit is 14 btw.

Ana Koulouris profile image

Ana Koulouris 2 years ago from Chicago, IL

Thanks for writing this, Victoria Anne. I feel the same way about my PF membership. While all I need is a simple place to exercise after work, it would be nice if the staff was a bit more knowledgeable about the machines or even the gym's policies (I've spoken to a few employees who couldn't answer relatively simple questions about membership). As for the "Lunk Alarm," it's just unnecessary.

Very well-written and informed article!

Journey * profile image

Journey * 21 months ago from USA

Thanks for sharing information about your experience with Planet Fitness. I have one near to where I live and I once had a short lived $10 a month membership. I really did not use it as often as I should have and I sometimes entertain the idea of rejoining. I do remember liking it whenever I went. The bright yellow and purple décor is quite energizing/motivating when you walk in, it's clean and there is plenty of media so you can enjoy a show on the large tv screens while you exercise. Thanks again for your hub. Voted up.

rpg 21 months ago

The one i go to opend up a cash bar and a vegetable buffet.

David main 21 months ago

I have a friend who lives from his van and loves the free food, clean showers and unlimited tans and massages. thanks planet fitness helping him survive.

Andrea Price 21 months ago

It is amazing that PF would offer free food and unlimited tans and massages. It sounds like they are offering great things to the community.

Steve 21 months ago

I am a black card member and I was wondering why my wife has to bring her drivers license every time we come to the gym which is an average of 4 times a week and I also wanted to know why there is no scale in the locker rooms for the customers to weigh themselves before and after their workouts.

Victoria Anne profile image

Victoria Anne 21 months ago from Las Vegas Author

Hi Steve, that is odd, I have a black card and I've never had to show my license. Does she go as your guest? I remember when I had a friend going as my guest they made her fill out her address, phone number, etc. every time we went, which was at least 5 times a week. A scale is a good suggestion!

William 21 months ago

I'm most concerned about the direct debiting from my checking account every month they require. I have yet to have a good experience with any entity that I have allowed to do that, particularly when stopping, or trying to get it stopped. One business charged me for three months after requesting a cancellation of their services. Then they and my financial institution were back and forth blaming and claiming the other owed me the refund. Both made me the messenger to the other also. I no longer have either of them. The PF page for the club I've been looking at locally states that Certified Mail is their preferred method of informing of desire to cancel. That's not a cheap postal option, especially for just a $10 membership, which is all I would need. Somewhere the numbers exist that show how many have had cancellation/continued billing issues, but they'll never see the light of day. I can't help but wonder what those numbers are though. I do believe I am going to search some more before committing. The comfort level with the billing style leaves me uncomfortable. Why do they not have other options?

LRD23 21 months ago

I like PF, the only thing I wish they had is zumba other than that it's a awesome gym.

Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 21 months ago from Northeast Ohio

This is interesting to know. I'm glad I've joined my local gym last fall, which is only a 10-15 minute walk, depending on the sidewalks and the weather.

Brian 20 months ago

The employees at Planet Fitness are not expected to know everything about using the machines and what not-there are pictures on them so you can figure them out for yourself. The employees are expected to perform a variety of tasks some of which are not covered in the training process.

Victoria Anne profile image

Victoria Anne 20 months ago from Las Vegas Author

Brian that may be true for the typical employee, however the PERSONAL TRAINERS should know how to use everything, and I have found that not all of them do.

engineer81 20 months ago

Just got out of the US Navy and needed to find a gym. Was very skeptical about Planet Fitness after reading so many negative reviews. When I went to the Steeplechase location in Houston, TX, I was surprised to see that most of the reviews I had read were exaggerated. In the military I was in awesome shape just using my bodyweight in workouts, so that really discounted the complaints about their dumbells only going up to 70 lbs. The free weights and machine weights should be more than enough to get you to a healthy, toned, muscled condition. If you are going for a steroided look or trying to look super pumped, then the gym probably isn't for you. I don't understand why so many people hate on this gym. This company has much more than what I had to work with when I was on deployments. All the negative comments are probably coming from the fact that Planet Fitness will put gyms out of business. The staff was very nice and the facilities were exceptional. Then again, I am prior military so perhaps any civilian gym would look nice to me. I am just glad this gym exists because I am currently unemployed looking for a job, and the low membership fees are truly a good fit for me. Based on the equipment that I saw, this is a great place for beginners and people that want to just be in general great shape. If you want to get into competition status or something extreme, maybe its not for you, but I did see several guys and girls there that were in very good shape.

Kevin 18 months ago

I have been a member of planet fitness for almost a year now. I think they are a very good gym for anybody looking to workout with weights or machines. The staff is really friendly and cost is much more friendly than other public gyms. All the bad talk about dress code I have yet to see. Men and women are always wearing tank tops! I personally have to be carefull with my selection of gyms because I wear sixties and seventies style shorts. Other gyms have kicked me out because my workout shorts or running shorts were to short. They are the length of running shorts which don't allow for any privat parts to show. Planet fitness has never complained and its members pay attention to the judgement free zone rule never looking at me weird because of my attire. I for one love planet fitness!

Zen 17 months ago

I have seen so many PF in short time in my area. I wanted more info before I tried one out. You experience is very helpful to me. Gives me something to think about. Thanks!

Sunni 17 months ago

My PF has wifi and they had towels to wipe down the equipment. They recently changed to the type of towels u use to wash dishes or wipe down tables at restaurants. Which are worse than paper towels. They claim they changed because people were using them after shower. Really? Come on they had to know that was going to happen. My big negative is the people who work there. They can't keep people and they seem to be in this never ending cycle of a$@holes. When u have to interact with them it would be nice if they were at least personable.

Fred 13 months ago

I look at the free candy and pizza as a nice test of will. Train the body and the mind!

jimdynamite 12 months ago

After working out your body needs to replenish the muscle glycogen that was burned during the workout. That is what the tootsie rolls are for, to restore your glycogen levels and to promote muscle growth. The work out is the easy part, the part that we need to educate ourselves with is the nutrition. Remember abs are made in the kitchen not in the Gym!

Kala 11 months ago

The tootsie rolls are for people with diabetes and blood sugar problems. I think it's great! I love my PF

Angela Washington profile image

Angela Washington 9 months ago from Marietta, Ga.

I had a planet fitness membership for a few months before I switched to crossfit. Its a very unorthodox gym, very different. Like you mentioned I've never heard the link alarm go off, nor have I seen them strictly enforce the dress code. Your hub is pretty accurate and pretty much what I experienced the time I was there.

Jim ?Tom 9 months ago

I believe a ptrotein shake or bar would be better than a tootsie rolls lol

Matt 9 months ago

Jim & Tom?

You are correct in regards to a non-diabetic member, but a protein shake or portein bar won't help a diabetic. They need sugar (short term spike) and complex carbohydrates (for longer term levels) to elevate their blood glucose levels. Your "helpful" opinion would put you in the rubber necking/bystander area of a diabetic emergency call, not as a helpful caregiver. If you aren't qualified to give medical advise, don't! Leave it to the emergency care workers.

BeatsMe profile image

BeatsMe 9 months ago

I guess the no wifi thing is a very small issue. If it's cheaper than other gyms and is clean like you've said, it should be good enough. However, classes and eligible trainers are important in gyms. Having them around would be much more helpful especially for beginners.

Jen Bur 9 months ago

Love planet fitness. I'm not going to a gym for heavy weights. My goal when going to a gym is health. I use pf weighted machines for upper body and buttocks tone and strength. I also use pf cardio machines. Pf is perfect for those wanting easy and ecconomical access to equipment for health. The encouragement of non judgemental additude is great for beginners who may not be as fit and would otherwise feel uncomfortable. Showers are clean. My pf has private changes rooms next to the showers so I just have a few steps in a towel. No public nudity is nessisary. My only complant is staff is few and often unable to give a real intro to the gym. But the machines are easy to figure out and there are videos on line.

Jason 8 months ago

if the pizza is once month. I think it's ok

YoungWolf profile image

YoungWolf 8 months ago from NYC

My gym has wifi now. Another con you missed was the use of smith machines. Smith Machines are awful, they create muscle imbalances if they are your primary training instrument. Free weights are more efficient, and any gym that dont have it or lack it, should not be taken seriously.

private 6 months ago

I must say most of what I am seeing on here is totally misunderstood by people who can't take the time to read agreements and understand that once upon a time planet fitness was youngest out of the fitness club business, its actually VERY easy to cancel! just never pass the 10th or you will be billed what $10? or $20? boohoo, its in the agreement read it. Also everyone that I have been to has had a trainer, seemed very knowledgeable to me, the staff was incredible. So the other health clubs I have no idea but most of these issues can use some education/simple reading. Its not a gym, its a health club there is a difference and being an author I suggest you look into that difference. Free pizza yes and bagel mornings yes true, it has helped me to portion control, there is method to there madness. I suggest you read more into planet fitness health club before telling everyone that it is a "GYM" also part of the reason why they get away with most of the things they do. If you have ran into staff who do not know what or how to use equipment I suggest you notify their managers as it is expected to know. I have been to a lot of gyms and the atmosphere is different, I would list all the reason but if people have been to both then they should know. Planet fitness was also built for a particular crowd, what do you know its main purpose was for women, most women are NOT body builders also the club was for new comers people who have ZERO knowledge of fitness and how it works. for experienced users and body builders well there is a GYM for them which is where they would feel more comfortable in, but as for the trainers there is locations with them, and lastly I have been going for a few years and it's sooooo much cleaner and just better, they have everything I need and I am a very fit person thanks to planet fitness. Do not let this artical stop you from joining.

lilly 6 months ago

i think you are missing the point...well-written review that gives both sides to help people decide. i have been a member for a while now. i like the $ and the 24 hour option (i have kids so i go very late at night after they are in bed). i dont like that there are no knowledgeable people (at MY PF...yours may be different), no classes and no wifi, but for now it suits my needs.

J W 5 months ago

I have been a member at pf for about 3 months now. Only thing I dont like is the dress code. Being a licensed security officer means I only wear tactical boots. When I was in the army we didn't put tennis shoes on to exercise we wore our boots. It should be a personal choice as to what a member wears within the laws.

Kent 5 months ago

I have been a member of PF black program and I agree with most of the pros/cons. It is a three year old article and most PF's have WiFi now at least the four I have been to. PF is the opposite of Gold's Gym.

The biggest improvement should be at PF is personalized trainers available

Laura 5 months ago

Idk when this was posted but your blog isn't completely accurate. They defiantly have classes... And wifi

Anna 4 months ago

They do have wifi, I've never seen pizza and I have no issue with the lunk alarm. There is no reason for males to turn the free weights into a prison yard weight room.

private 4 months ago

I dont know what the heck that person was talking about but on the PF website they call it a GYM.

Dennis 3 months ago

We have a woman who wears string top sports bras and Daisy Duke shorts. She flops around while on the tread mill and her muffin top surges over her shorts. The sign in the men's locker room says no string tank tops. I've complained to the management, but have had no response. Is this a form of discrimination? I wish the rest of us who dress modestly didn't have to look at this Wal Mart dressed woman. Chesterfield, MI location

William 3 months ago

The article was dated for this year so it's not that far off from not being outdated but very inaccurate. Each PF is owned individually. The only two PF I have ever visited had WiFi and some sort of trainer and trainee class. Far as PF encouraging bad eating habits most people can do far worse in their own time outside of PF. I have been to other gyms beside PF and I have seen the same people, the clueless and out of shape. What about making gains? Well not everyone makes gains at other gyms. In my experience I have reduced by body fat percentage from 23% to 8% and it's still dropping from adopting good eating habits, exercise at and outside the gym. If you came here to bash PF, you better have brought your A game because if your fat and chubby, someone like me will destroy you with knowledge and if In shape, I will still destroy with knowledge.

Amanda 2 months ago

Well, I've been with PF 18 months now- and every one in the MD/DC/VA area has wifi. Some of them have nicer/newer machines and a slightly larger variety than others, but for they're all exceptionally clean, and I've never seen them not work. I actually saw one break down- it was a cross-bar weight machine- and the staff went over and tinkered with it for about 20 minutes and poof- up and running again. They do offer classes- but they are low-key and personalized (no more than 5 per class) and they offer individual fitness plans that are completely free once you're a member. I used planet fitness to help me change my life from 324lbs in a 24w down to 148lbs in a size 6. I love that they are everywhere (I travel a lot for work) and I love that they are open 24 hours. They have friendly staff as well.

Mary 2 months ago

My planet fitness has wifi.

Dave B 2 months ago

isn't calling someone a " lunk" the epitome of judging??

Meagan 6 weeks ago

My PF has free wifi and offers classes... and I am pretty sure all the PF in my surrounding area does as well

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