By Big Dan aka Coach Motivation
By now, you have heard people absolutely bash Planet Fitness. Whether they are ragging on “Pizza Mondays”, “The lunk alarm”, or the purple and yellow equipment, people really seem to hate this place. I’ve heard the commercials, talking about a “judgement free zone” where “lunks” are not allowed. I get how easy it is to make fun of this place because they chose to be different with their marketing and their slogan, when perhaps; they are really just making this a “douche free zone.” I’ve been lifting seriously since 2002; I’m 6’4, 255 lbs with 20 inch arms. I know from that description you probably immediately think “he’s a lunk.” I am also a personal trainer in Wichita, Kansas which is known as “the mecca” of YMCA facilities. The facilities are amazing, sprawling thousands of square feet with innumerous amounts of machines, free weights, squat racks, swimming pools, each one a first class facility. While literally thousands of people come through these facilities every day, hundreds to the weight room, I have to observe people using the worst form, I have to constantly tell people not to drop the weights, I hear the weirdest sounds of people grunting, squealing, and whining, instead of breathing correctly. I can tell you, if you don’t want to go to planet fitness because you can’t do these three things, you probably shouldn’t be in any gym until you correct yourself. Chances are, you are lifting too much weight, using incorrect form while using that weight, and making minimal gains. In my opinion, “lunk” is a kind word, douche is more appropriate and every gym should have an alarm! First they should have an introduction to the weight room video you watch before you are allowed in!
Note: If you are a true bodybuilder, powerlifter, or serious athlete and you use correct form and truly need heavy weight, Planet Fitness is not meant for you and that’s OKAY. However, you don’t have to hate because you think they called you a “Lunk.” You are not a lunk.
First off, what is a good definition of a “lunk?”
Look, unless you are a powerlifter, you shouldn’t be doing any less than 8 repetitions. Anyone can argue with me to the cows come home on this one, but the fact is, when building muscle, you want to focus on the concentric and eccentric motion of the lift, and the time under tension. If you didn’t comprehend what concentric and eccentric motions are, then you probably should go ahead and stop hating planet fitness now and start educating yourself. I don’t know how many times, high school age people would come into the gym, load the bar or machine up, let the weight come crashing down, only to use every muscle but the one being worked to get the weight up. Then, after making the sounds of a dying Spartan warrior, they leave without racking their weights. Ego lifting doesn’t get you big muscles, and it won’t get you the girl wearing the yoga pants who is doing endless Romanian deadlifts in front of the mirrors, in front of everyone either.
Another “lunky” activity is attempting to do crossfit lifts in a crowded commercial gym or health care facility. Crossfit is like Walgreens, there is a facility on every corner that will allow you to do 1 rep Max while dropping your weight from above your head with horrible form, ensuring that only Chiropractors rival the amount of Crossfit gyms, and Walgreens on every corner. (Nothing against chiropractors, there are just a a lot of you, however, some of you are really good)
Look, I get those 90 lb dumbbells are heavy, but, unless your name is Ronnie Coleman, 8-time Mr. Olympia, or Brian Shaw, 2 time world’s strongest man, and you are using 200 lb dumbbells working out in your own garage gym, or the Metroflex in Arlington, Texas, you shouldn’t be dropping the dumbbells. When finishing a set of dumbbell presses, if you can’t sit up and bring them to your knees and set them on the floor, you need to be using less weight. Not only are you endangering people around you, you are loosening the dumbbells making them dangers and unstable for others to use. If you focused on lowering the weight with control and contracting the muscle on the way up, you will get a better pump, tear down more muscle fibers, and maximize gains all the while not being a “lunk” and sending a thunderous roll of “look at how strong I am” through the gym.
Now, I haven’t met anyone that was really intimidating at the gym. In fact, the biggest guys in the gym have always been the nicest, often offering advice, a spot, or just a laugh. They also typically use the correct form, don’t drop the weights, and re-rack their heavy weights. If you do run into someone who is big, makes rude remarks at people that are not his friends, takes weight from other people without asking, or laughs at you, this person is a douche and should not be allowed in a weight room. I have yet to encounter a gym bully in the 13 plus years I have been lifting. However, if you are intimidated by people with muscular physiques, that work out hard, and lift heavy weights correctly, then you are for sure the problem, not them.
Perhaps you are a member of another commercial chain, health club, or home gym, if so, congratulations. However, if you are “hating” on a facility that in fact isn’t trying to cater to YOU, whether you are a “serious lifter” or just a jerk that does all the things listed above that define a “lunk”, then you are just a bully. If you look at it, Planet Fitness isn’t trying to tell you that you don’t belong at their gym; they are just saying they don’t want douche-baggery at their facility which is described in politically correct terms as a “lunk.” If you are a serious lifter, bodybuilder, powerlifter, cross-fitter, be proud of it! You aren’t considered a “lunk” as long as you don’t, drop your weights obnoxiously and dangerously, grunt like a dying Spartan, 1 rep-max using the incorrect form, or do crossfit in a crowded area endangering everyone around you while dropping your weights from 6 feet in the air. While it may seem like Planet Fitness hates “fit people”, they are really just trying to cater to people who may be scared to enter a “Gold’s Gym” or another facility where a lot of “Lunk” related activity happens. Admit it, you hate it when people do that crap too. So next time you are working out be conscious of the way you are lifting, chances are, you probably hate the activity described above. I’m sure you’d love to warm up before you hit the leg press, but not with the 800 lbs the person used last left on there! So let’s give Planet Fitness a break, if you truly embrace a healthy lifestyle, you should be happy there is a place that people may feel more comfortable working out at. The whole pizza thing, well, maybe it fits their Macro’s? Just remember, “haters gonna hate, and potatoes gonna potate!”