For all intents and purposes, today was my last day at Planet Fitness. I’ve been disappointed with this franchise for several years and this past weekend they finally crossed the line – they got rid of their bench presses! That’s it, gone, no more regular barbell bench press. How can they do this?! The single most important upper body exercise for anyone trying to build muscle size and strength, and this gym no longer offers it. How can this place even call itself a gym??? It’s more like a glorified home gym now. If there was one thing they could take away to force me out the door, this was it. See ya later, PF.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Planet Fitness in Newport News. The machines are often out of order and the fact that it never had free weight squat racks or a deadlift rack always upset me. But I tolerated it, used the smith machines instead, and got on well enough during my time there. I’ve always been aware of their hatred for people trying to get stronger, lift anything over a 75lb dumbbell, or make any of the noises someone actually putting in effort may make. But I was willing to look past all this since it’s less than 5 minutes from my house and of course, it’s only $10 per month. The price is pretty awesome for those of us on a strict budget. I always told people that for what it offers, it’s worth the $10, but probably not much more. And I always told myself that as long as it continues to do what I need it to do, I’ll stay on as a member, and forego a membership at a much better, but more expensive gym. The day has finally come when Planet Fitness no longer meets my needs. It’s time to move on to bigger and better things.
But why would Planet Fitness make a move like this, and alienate many of its most dedicated patrons? Well it turns out this isn’t specific to Newport News. It’s happening all over the country. One of my friends was told by the manager at his gym that PF is making these moves to target the “after work professional who wants to burn some calories without feeling uncomfortable around people pushing heavy weight.” To me, this is just an organization that cares nothing about its brand, targeting the people who they know they can get to sign up for a membership, because it’s cheap, but then most likely will rarely go. If PF had its choice their gyms would be empty all day, but those $10 payments would keep rolling in. They care about one thing, and one thing only: Profit.
As someone who has been working hard to build his own business, it really upsets me to see a company in my community care so little about their customers. To ruin your reputation just to make an easy buck is a disgrace. The customer always has to come first. So for anyone already here in Newport News, or if you’re relocating soon and looking for a gym, please explore all your other options before signing up at Planet Fitness. This city has a lot of great options and in the long run you’ll just be in for disappointment with PF. If you’re looking for another $10 gym, try Crunch, up on Jefferson and I think you’ll be much happier. As for me, I’ve joined OneLife, located on Middle Ground, which also gives me access to their Express gym and to Crunch, all for $30 a month. I’m excited to get started there and look forward to never setting foot in a Planet Fitness ever again.