There are certain things in life that we shouldn’t be surprised by anymore, yet time and time again, they catch us off guard.
Whether it’s Floyd Mayweather coming out of retirement, The New England Patriots winning the Superbowl, or Planet Fitness promoting an idea that goes against traditional fitness ideas, we should see them coming a mile away.
But somehow, we’re just as shocked as the last time when they arrive.
It’s the latter of those occurrences we’ll be taking a closer look at today, as with their latest brainwave, Planet Fitness has decided it would be a good idea not to have scales in their gyms.
What Is Planet Fitness?
Planet Fitness is a chain of fitness centers founded in New Hampshire in 1992.
With over 2,000 current locations in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Panama, they are considered to be the fastest-growing fitness chain in North America.
They have built a reputation for bucking traditional fitness trends in order to make themselves seem more accessible to the casual user, sometimes going in completely the opposite direction when it comes to policies, advertising, equipment, etc.
(Like banning deadlifts and throwing out squat racks.)
Is Planet Fitness a bad gym? There’s some debate.
Their slogan of providing a “Judgement Free Zone” is directly aimed at cashing in on the people who may not have the confidence to exercise in public or are concerned about joining a regular gym for fear of being embarrassed by more experienced members.
In addition to the issue at hand, they have gained notoriety in pop culture due to some of the other less conventional rules they have implemented, which include:
- A no “grunting” while lifting policy
- A “Lunk Alarm,” which goes off if you put your weights down too heavily
- Banning certain traditional exercises, such as deadlifts and clean and jerks
- Not allowing gallon jugs of water to be used
- Forbidding members from wearing “stringer” vests or crop tops
- Offering pizza as an incentive to attend
If some of those sound crazy to you, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Their commercials even appear designed to discourage traditional lifters and bodybuilders from attending by almost mocking them, which seems a very weird tactic for a gym to employ, considering they usually make up the bulk of its members.
What’s the Deal With the Whole “No Scales” Thing?
The basis for their lack of scales stems from their “Judgement Free Zone” slogan.
It also seems like a contradiction. Sure, they have plenty of equipment focused on fitness like the gym’s assisted pull-up machine, but they don’t like the idea of you tracking your progress?
They believe this should extend not just to the other members but also when it comes to judging yourself.
They stated that members who don’t see what they want to when they step on the scales would be disheartened and feel bad about themselves, potentially to the point where they no longer want to continue coming and cancel their membership.
They even go as far as to say members could be intimidated simply by their presence, without even stepping foot on one, so want to remove that as a potential barrier before it becomes one.
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Is It a Good Idea?
I’ll be quite upfront with you on this one and say that no, I absolutely believe not having a set of scales in a gym is a bad idea.
However, with many bad ideas, you can often find they started off with a good one and simply lost their way. To give Planet Fitness the benefit of the doubt, it seems that might have been the case here.
Why Doesn’t Planet Fitness Have Scales?
When it comes to the use of weighing scales in gyms, becoming too over-reliant on them can indeed become a problem, just as they have suggested.
Some people will use them as the sole measuring stick for their progress, neglecting to take other factors, such as changes to their strength or appearance, into account.
Others will use them almost daily and become demoralized when they inevitably don’t see the changes they desire every single time.
They can even lead to people giving up in extreme cases, just as Planet Fitness feared if progress stalls for too long.
Despite all of that, though, they are still a vital piece of equipment for keeping you updated on your body and your progress.
Why Scales Are Important
At times when it may not be visible that you’re making progress with your workout, they can show you that you actually are, or alternatively, could confirm your original suspicions and force you to make the changes you need.
They are also essential when building a successful diet to accompany your training plan.
The first aspect you look at when putting together any diet plan is how many calories are required, and that information is directly related to the person’s body weight.
Without this information, you will largely be relying on guesswork.
While a good personal trainer should have an idea about roughly where you are and be able to produce you a plan, it will by no means be as accurate and effective as one that had the precise information to go by.
However, if you have to do it by yourself, you’re likely in for a world of problems and will struggle even to get close to where you should be.
Does Planet Fitness Have Scales? … The Sad Truth
Planet Fitness has become successful by taking the idea that, when it comes to fitness, something is better than nothing and running with it.
Now, while that is certainly true and is a good way to get people in the door, it is nothing more than a starting point, as people who don’t improve will quickly lose interest and quit.
This ends up trapping them in a vicious cycle of rejoining and quitting every few months, as they know they need to do something, but just aren’t sure what.
When it comes to scales, the much more productive approach would be to educate members on how to utilize them effectively instead of just removing them altogether.
So what’s the most effective option a gym can take for its members?
Giving them the tools and the training they need to ensure progression while making sure they have plenty of support and encouragement to stop them from heading into a downward spiral when they don’t see what they want to on the screen.
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