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Planet Fitness defines itself as “a diverse, Judgment Free Zone®”. According to John Craig in charge of brand development for Planet Fitness, “We try to provide a comfortable relaxed atmosphere which appears to first time gym users ... no heavy lifters.” He says Planet Fitness is not suited towards the hardcore fitness person, but more the “average person getting back into shape after a lull or wanting to take charge of their health after a layoff.”
Based in Newington, New Hampshire, Planet Fitness opened its first club in 1992 in Dover, NH. Craig says for eleven years they only had four original clubs. In 2003, the company decided to franchise Planet Fitness and today has 453 locations in 44 states and are about to open the doors to twenty more.
Craig says the, “calling cards” of the club are both the atmosphere and price. The memberships at the club are ten dollars a month with no commitment. They also sell Black Card Memberships for $19.99 a month which gives members unlimited access to tanning, massage chairs, infrared red light therapy, free use of any Planet Fitness location nationwide, 50 percent off of cooler drinks, as well as unlimited guest privileges.
Craig says, “Planet Fitness provides a great facility with a really great deal and the rest is up to them.” They are so serious about making members feel comfortable that they actually have what they call is a Lunk Alarm®, which goes off if someone is grunting or throwing heavy weights down on the floor. If members want to cancel for any reason, however, they have the right to cancel at anytime either by going into the club or sending a letter.
Planet Fitness keeps their overhead low, by not having any salespeople, as well as “not bothering with all of the extras such as a juice bar or childcare which can drive up costs and can make a gym membership seem more like a car payment.”
Craig says that each Planet Fitness has a trainer on staff who does group classes utilizing the gym equipment at numerous times throughout the week. The classes are normally broken down by body part, such as legs, shoulders, etc.