Like Crossfit, I’ve waited a long time to slam on Planet Fitness, aka Planet Fatness. It’s hard to mock a fitness chain that prides itself on humiliating anybody who lifts over 75lbs but waiting for them to virtue-signal during a crisis did the trick.
Planet Fitness uses ‘Pizza Monday’ to donate food to hospitals
By Michael Hollan, 7 May 2020
Nothing can stop “Pizza Monday.”
The coronavirus pandemic has forced gyms across the country to temporarily close their doors. But some of these fitness chains are figuring out new ways of keeping people active, even from home.
Planet Fitness, meanwhile, is working on keeping people fit and fed at the same time.
Worst slogan for a gym EVER.
At Planet Fitness, the first Monday of every month is known as Pizza Monday, and it’s exactly what it sounds like: Members of the gym can grab a slice before or after their workout (depending on their preference).
What happened to Bagel Tuesdays?
Now, the chain is using its popular “Pizza Monday” tradition to help feed frontline workers at hospitals and care facilities. A spokesperson for Planet Fitness confirmed to Fox News that the company has teamed up with Slice Out Hunger to help donate pizzas to workers helping in the fight against the virus.
1. I’d love to watch these virtue-signaling dolts do real fighting on the front line of a real war somewhere. Preferably one incited by U.S. meddling. Our former allies will hate us less if we provide the needed cannon fodder.
2. Doing the job you’re paid to do is insufficient to claim hero-status. Doubly so if you’re a government employee.
3. Nobody starves in America. Full stop, nobody starves. Our hospitals have 99 problems but a lack of finger food during a plague ain’t one.
There are two divergent ways to help your local hospital: either get fit in a REAL gym or binge on fast food for years then sign up for gastric bypass. Planet Fitness can help! with one of those.
Fitness buffs can get in on the action too, according to Planet Fitness. On Monday, the chain plans to donate a single slice of pizza — up to 10,000 — for every person who signs up for its “Home Work-in” initiative to take part in an online workout that Planet Fitness has opened to “anyone and everyone.”
Home Work-In? *checks* a Facebook channel with a couple colored fitness gurus going through the motions. As useless as an online church and for similar reasons of poor motivation, brotherhood and haptic feedback. As a reason to keep paying monthly dues, it’s lacking. Was at least hoping for a progress tracker… oh, right. Planet Fitness’ motto is “Judgment-Free Zone”.
Me, I still pay my gym membership because if I don’t then they won’t open ever again. It’s not charity. It’s sticker shock from pricing home gym setups. Five grand for a power cage with cable row? Nuts!
“These Pizza Monday orders also aim to provide much-needed support to the small businesses serving the local community,” a spokesperson for the gym said.
Pizzerias are not the small businesses hurting for money. You want to help small business? Now is a good time to make those structural improvements to the stairwell that you’ve always wanted after achieving your “body-by-Planet” fitness goal.
Planet Fitness should donate Orca-class patient lifts to local hospitals. It’s their fault in the first place! For proof of that, let’s discuss their business model.
Besides, you want to know where Pizza Monday came from. Why a fitness chain can’t stop making pizza even when their doors are welded shut.
Planet Fitness is America’s fastest-growing health club company with gyms in all 50 states and a foothold in Canada, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Panama.
Its global membership is approaching 12m, but purists have been less than impressed, with one critic scathingly dismissing it as the fitness industry’s answer to Walmart.
Judge for yourself:
Heavy-duty grunting powerlifters – known locally as lunks – are not welcome and gyms are fitted with alarms which ring when somebody drops a massive barbell. Perfectly formed goddesses who make other women feel uncomfortable as they flaunt their beach-ready bodies while working out wearing the skimpiest of outfits are also out.
They admitted it! They admitted it!
Tiffany Austin was feeling pretty good on Monday. It was her first day at the gym since recovering from a car accident, and the Bay Area native was amped to get back in shape. She wore a neon pink crop top and matching spandex capris, and she had just begun to power walk when a Planet Fitness employee approached her.
That’s not Daddy-approved but she doesn’t have either abs or boobs to show off. Most gym thots do something with their hair.
Austin was being accused of “gymtimidation,” a cardinal sin at Planet Fitness, the national chain known for its hideous purple-and-yellow color scheme and equally jarring policies, such as “no grunting,” “no deadweights” and no “hardcore look-at-me-attitudes.” At Planet Fitness, such offenses trigger a gym-wide siren called “The Lunk Alarm”—“lunk” being the company’s term for “meathead”—complete with flashing blue lights and an ear-splitting noise that sounds disconcertingly similar to a firetruck.
You know your gym is Converged when everybody says they want to get fit & thin but anybody who actually does is kicked out for bad conduct.
The point, according to CEO Mike Grondahl, is to create a more humble, “light-hearted” atmosphere where everyone from your arthritic grandmother to your beer-bellied brother-in-law can feel comfortable working out. To emphasize this, Planet Fitness prints the words “no judgment” on every single machine, and has even trademarked the phrase “The Judgment Free Zone.”
But they seem to have a problem following their own marketing-scheme-cum-philosophy.
Specifically Red Pill philosophy, thank you. And there was a lot of it in those last couple sentences. Look up “chick gym” in the dictionary and you’ll see this:
All social media and the laziest get-off-the-sofa exercise in existence, walking. With friends. And more friends. With another row of friends. And cupholders for smartphones.
Aside from Austin, who felt justifiably “intimidated and harassed,” a number of other members have come forward with complaints in recent years about the gym’s oppressive micromanaging (which may or may not be some kind of elaborate, ongoing Andy Kauffman-style publicity stunt—we just can’t tell).
In the Nineties, such ignorance would have been plausible. Today, just imagine “Planet Karen”. Complete with a similarly jarring purple-and-yellow paint scheme.
In 2006, a correctional officer from upstate New York had his membership revoked for “breathing heavy,” and in 2011, this guy was kicked out for videotaping himself flexing in the locker room (though that may have been deserved). Nationally, the chain banishes about two members monthly, often for such shocking offenses as grunting, looking too hot or dropping one’s weights on the ground.
Ironically, Planet is also the national brand partner for The Biggest Loser, a show that’s pretty much all about grunting and groaning your way through grueling boot-camp routines led by intimidatingly fit people.
I did not know that. One would think that people with such dismal self-image would try to have a better sense of humor.
[Planet Fitness’] target market is not the body beautiful, but the ordinary person who wants to get fitter and is put off going to the gym by hard-core devotees. It is a formula which has been spectacularly successful. At the last count, about four per cent of the US population belongs to a Planet Fitness gym.
No, Planet Fatness is for people who want to pretend they’re fitness gurus, while banning actual fitness gurus to prevent merit-based comparisons, then signal virtue by going to the gym… but only on Pizza Monday and Bagel Tuesday which is when they actually want to.
Go back to the early Nineties and the story was very different. Planet Fitness was started in Dover, New Hampshire, by Michael and Marc Grondahl who bought a failing Gold’s Gym in 1992. There was little to distinguish it from its rivals, with every gym playing “tug of war” for the same customers and offering the conventional array of free heavy weights, fitness classes and healthy juice bars.
Yes, there’s a limited number of customers in a given area. If enough places are providing the basics then there’s not much to be done, other than specializing in something regional or attracting sponsors for a sports team.
One of its early members was Chris Rondeau, a student at the University of New Hampshire whose business experience had been limited to helping out at his father’s chain of New England drug stores. Chief executive since 2013, he joined the company working at the club’s front desk in 1993 and has stayed with it ever since, rising through the ranks, as Planet Fitness ripped up the industry’s rule book.
His face is stretched really wide. I don’t have that in my reference books.
Rondeau gets up at 4.30am every day, wolfing down three cups of coffee and three egg whites before hitting the gym at 5am and then driving to work – arriving by 7.30am at the company’s headquarters in New Hampshire.
Ah, the joys of retail… are still non-existent.
“Starting in New Hampshire was a godsend,” he says. “It’s so rural around here we had to get really good at what we did. We had to cater to the masses because there wasn’t enough population around here to cater to the powerlifters, bodybuilders and serious athletes.
“Our first town of Dover was 28,000 people and we had competition. Back then only 15pc of the population belonged to a gym. “If you think about the industry it almost started backwards. It started with Joe Gold bringing Arnold Schwarzenegger over from Austria starting Gold’s Gym, selling that and starting World Gym.
“It should have started with us and Curves gym probably, getting first-timers acclimated to fitness. Since the inception of the industry, it is almost like the majority – the vast majority – of the population was neglected.”
The challenge was to persuade the rest of the population to give fitness a go. Initially, Planet Fitness thought the easiest way to do this was to slash the price of membership to $10 a month. It worked up to a point.
“We still had the old model, we still had the bodybuilders, the powerlifters, the heavy dumbbells, Olympic benches,” Rondeau added. “The problem is that we had more of the opposition’s lunkheads coming in than we had beginners coming in trying to give it a shot.
“It was like putting all the animals in the same cage at the zoo, it wasn’t going to work.”
I suspect Rondeau is not being entirely honest about his motivations and inspirations. Notice his own body isn’t fit plus his hostile language towards muscled men. Rondeau wanted to make a gym where people like him felt comfortable… being… LAZY.
All gyms are notorious for offering a basic membership that assumes you’ll rarely show up between January 10 and December 24. I approve because it keeps fees low for the real gym rats like me. But Planet Fitness was different. They sold respectability to those lazy gits!
Come to the gym (for free food)! If people ask why you’re still fat at the gym, tell them it’s an exclusive gym for special people and they’re not allowed! Get that hoity-toity in-group feeling without the long years of melting belly fat with sweat and tears! Feel smug as we embarrass and remove the occasional
hunk lunk who thinks he’s better than you! We’re available for birthday parties, too!
So in 1998, the heavy weights were removed as the company opened new premises in its native New Hampshire. But in many other ways, it was a conventional gym where the fit got fitter. Group classes remained as did the obligatory juice bar and child care facilities. The next big change came when Planet Fitness opened its fourth premises in Portsmouth, which was more of a bare-bones operation with nothing but equipment.
“We realised my pager was going off for the first three stores which had all these moving parts and pieces with things that were going wrong.
“In the day care, you would have one kid bit another kid, or they had run out of protein drinks and the blender is broken, or the aerobics instructor has not shown up and people are going mad.
“In that fourth store, our members were happier because we couldn’t disappoint them. We were open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and the product runs no matter what.”
This is not the secret to PF’s success. There are a kerjillion minimally-staffed, 24-7 gyms with nothing but giant chunks of metal and PF would have failed had it been just another one of those. Heck, I used to attend one that didn’t even lock its doors at night because the local thieves were too out-of-shape to carry off the gear. Go, ghetto!
The Portsmouth club has been the template for the company which at the last count has 1,565 outlets. Most are now franchises, but the branding is consistent across the empire.
“One thing we wanted to have with Planet Fitness is what I call the Big Mac, so it tastes the same wherever you go,” Rondeau added.
Rondeau is not as fat as I might have expected.
All have the same purple and yellow machinery and all are branded as a “Judgment Free Zone” – a slogan which has been registered as a trademark. The “We’re not a gym we’re Planet Fitness” message has been rammed home by a series of TV ads ridiculing folk who want to “feel the burn”. Its approach is certainly unconventional.
Yes, THAT is the secret to Planet Fitness’ success. Branding. A social club. Exclusivity (from the healthy, an admittedly novel concept for a gym).
On the first Monday of the month, clubs dish out free pizzas and on the second Tuesday, bagels. There are sweets at the check-in desk. The pizza idea dates back 20 years, when a gym ran out of hot water – much to the annoyance of members.
Admit it. You thought I was joking about Bagel Tuesdays.
So, lack of hot water caused such an uproar that the staff made peace offerings? Of pizza to fitness-minded folks? Was staff not planning on washing the grease off the handlebars after closing, with no hot water?
PLANET FITNESS THROWS THE BIGGEST PIZZA, BAGEL AND WORKOUT PARTY ON THE PLANET IN CELEBRATION OF NATIONAL PIZZA AND BAGEL DAY ON SUNDAY, FEB. 9 
Unlike traditional gyms, Planet Fitness has always believed that fitness can be fun, realistic and judgement free. Planet Fitness’ pizza history dates back to 1999 when a day-long shortage of hot water in its Concord, N.H., club – the company’s third location – prompted its staff to order pizza for members in appreciation of their patience and understanding. The gesture was so well received and fostered such a strong sense of gathering and community that Planet Fitness implemented a monthly free pizza giveaway in all clubs shortly thereafter – and the tradition continues today more than 20 years later. “Pizza Monday” now takes place on the first Monday of every month with, on average, each club serving more than 5,500 slices of pizza per year – more than nine million slices annually. For morning workout goers, every Planet Fitness location also serves bagels on the second Tuesday of every month; each club serves its members more than 2,600 bagels per year (equating to more than four million bagels enjoyed annually).
“We decided on pizzas to say we were sorry and people liked it so much we decided first Monday night of every month was pizza night,” Rondeau recalled. “The reason we started bagels was because the morning crowd was upset because they didn’t have any pizzas. So we said we would give them bagels the second Tuesday of every month.”
Entitlement complexes detected.
Purists might object, but the small gift is part of the company’s philosophy that the occasional treat is not something to be frowned upon. Inevitably the rather more laid-back culture has had its critics. There is the odd YouTube video excoriating the company for its frivolous approach to fitness and complaining at the absence of massive barbells. But Rondeau remains unapologetic.
“Like every industry, you have to have a niche. The industry has been trying to be everything to everybody. No business is good at that.”
It’s a model that has worked, with the chain more than quadrupling the number of outlets since the beginning of the decade. There have been some smart sponsorships along the way including the NBC reality show The Biggest Loser, in which contestants work out on Planet Fitness’s distinctive – some might say lurid – purple equipment. It is also a major sponsor of the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebrations, ensuring its branding is seen by more than a billion people across the globe.
The relentless expansion has included the company moving into shopping malls, often taking over premises of struggling stores. Prior to the economic crash Planet Fitness was competing with big retailers for space. However, the picture has changed radically.
“We had to take the ‘C-sites’. Landlords wouldn’t even talk to us. Fast forward to today, they are on our doorstep every day.
“Every month there is a new set of stores closing – Toys R Us, Circuit City. It’s a perfect storm for us.
“The retailers themselves want us next to them, they are downsizing and putting us next to them to drive traffic.
Other gyms are moving into big-box retail spaces, too. I now work out at the mall which is a very awkward place full of tempting treats, but it’s the place that had the space for a large, indoor gym.
“We are taking larger sites for cheaper rates, we are getting the A-plus sites. We are getting the cream of the crop.”
The company’s success has not been lost on market experts.
“I think Planet Fitness gyms are doing very well,” said Matthew Brook, a senior analyst at Macquarie.
“Many listed gyms in the past have made little money or even gone bankrupt. Planet Fitness has been able to carve out a niche for itself, and with high margins.
“It is a low-cost gym and its similar to other low-cost business models in Europe like Ryanair or Aldi in terms of the impact it has had on the gym industry.
“They have succeeded in building a moat for themselves due to their scale and ad spending, which gives them an advantage over their rivals.
They don’t have or need an advantage over their rivals because they aren’t competing for the same group of customers. Healthy people go to the gym and self-righteous yet insecure women go to Planet Fitness.
“Planet Fitness is already expanding into Canada and now Mexico. We think it could work almost anywhere where people need to get fit and want to save money.”
It can work anywhere where women are allowed to run feral and eating food counts as going to the gym. Another win for the business plan of selling junk to idiots.