About Planet Fitness

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff
Published on: Dec 28, 2016

Planet Fitness is a budget gym offering memberships for as low as $10, just about the lowest you can find among gym chains. The company’s philosophy focuses on making members feel welcome; they’ve adopted the phrase “judgement-free zone” to describe their facilities.

Their budget mentality is rooted in the company’s history. Founder Michael Grondahl started the first planet Fitness in 1992 as a way to compete with higher-priced gyms.

“He reduced membership prices to compete against better-known brands and focused on serving occasional or first-time gym users,” Entrepreneur writes in their Planet Fitness profile.

PF’s services are bare bones and their facilities are simple and cavernous. Most of their locations are open 24 hours a day.

Is the gym the right fit for you? That’s a matter of what your needs are and how the gym meets those needs. Over the next few minutes we’ll talk about each of those areas, and then we’ll present a few paragraphs covering what people say about Planet Fitness.

We’ll close our review with our conclusions and recommendations about Planet Fitness.

Knowing What You Need From Your Gym

Choosing a gym is kind of like choosing clothes. Just because something works for one of your friends doesn’t mean it will work for you. If you need a new wardrobe, you most likely wouldn’t go to the first store you see and spend all your money there.

Likewise, it’s a good idea not to sign up for the gym your friends or family use just because they like it, or because it’s the first gym near your home. Every individual is different and has their own set of needs.

So, before you think about joining a gym, write down what you want from your gym experience and what you need to meet your goals.

Once you know that, you can be far more prepared to make good decisions about whether or not Planet Fitness is right for you. Yes, their prices are cheap, but that doesn’t mean they’ve got the right mix of amenities to make you happy.

What Does Planet Fitness Offer?

As we mentioned earlier, Planet Fitness is a budget gym that offers bare-bones amenities while promoting a judgement-free atmosphere. We’re going to unpack those fees, amenities, and philosophies in this section.

Fees at Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness offers two different levels of membership: No Commitment and Black Card.

Planet Fitness No Commitment Memberships

The No Commitment membership is, at the time of publishing, $10 a month. Depending on where you sign up, you could pay an activation fee or $10 or $0; these details vary by location. While “No Commitment” implies that you don’t have a contract, remember that certain locations may charge the same for a month-to-month contract and yearly contract, while others may charge more for month-to-month.

If you sign up for a yearly contract, you’ll pay $10 a month and will be charged a cancellation fee amounting to the number of months left on your contract multiplied by $10.

No Commitment contracts entitle you to a free t-shirt when you sign-up, as well as unlimited use and training sessions at one location of your choice.

Planet Fitness Black Card Memberships

Black Card memberships are strictly yearly memberships and cost $19.99 per month. Considered an upgraded version of No Commitment, Black Card gets you the three perks of the lower membership along with the use of all PF gyms across the country, free guest passes, free use of tanning beds, free use of massage chairs and discounts on food and drinks at PF gyms.

Black Card members also get discounts at the Planet Fitness online store and on purchases at Reebok stores. Click here if you want to learn about other shopping perks.

No matter which gym you choose, keep in mind you’ll pay an annual fee that varies by location.

Amenities

Planet Fitness gyms have four main areas: machines, free weights, mat workouts and Black Card.

The gym chain uses Life Fitness workout machines, a reputable brand that rates in the top five on FitnessHealth101 for ellipticals, exercise bikes and treadmills, three pieces of equipment that are very popular with gym members.

This area of the gym is usually skirted by weight machines, most of which have two machines per exercise, a nice perk for those who don’t like to wait to get their reps in.

In most cases, the back section of Planet Fitness is split between a free weights area and an open area with mats for body weight exercises and personal workout routines that require some extra space. Keep in mind that what each gym offers may be a little different. For example, we read about one PF that offers medicine ball training and heavy rope.

Each Planet Fitness also has a Black Card section, which houses massage chairs, hydro-massage beds and tanning beds. These amenities are limited to Black Card members.

Planet Fitness locker rooms include lockers and showers.

Training

Planet Fitness offers free training, but the program isn’t quite what you think. Each gym has a specific schedule of weight-training sessions you can join, most of which focus on specific areas of the body. The classes can be one-on-one but are designed for small groups.

Philosophy

As we talked about in the introduction to this review, Planet Fitness pushes a judgement-free philosophy. In practical terms, this means that each Planet Fitness location has a specific set of rules for conduct in the gym:

  • The free weights area has a “lunk alarm” on the wall. “Lunk” is slang for someone who grunts when they lift and slams weights around when lifting or putting them back on the rack. If any of this bravado takes place, the alarm goes off.
  • A dress code that prohibits do-rags, skull caps, bandanas, boots, sandals, jeans or string tank-tops.
  • A mission statement that pushes back against “gymtimidation,” the feeling newcomers get when they see lunks strolling around the gym showing off their muscles and making people feel inferior.

With the increased awareness of bullying and inclusiveness, Planet Fitness’ philosophy provides a safe place, at least in principle, for average people to go and work out without feeling stupid or ashamed.

But does that philosophy, as well as their facilities, hold up to public opinion?

What Other People are Saying About Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness is a polarizing place; you tend to get people who really love it or really hate it. Aside from people’s workout experience being a defining factor in public opinion, there’s also the matter of the gym’s judgement-free philosophy.

Hardcore People Don’t Like Planet Fitness

Weightlifters and fitness fanatics tend to criticize the gym for being a place where out of shape people go to be coddled and pushed toward mediocrity.

As fitness website T-Nation put it, Planet Fitness is “a big, purple-colored adult daycare marketed to people afraid to go to an actual gym.”

A lot of what influences the backlash to Planet Fitness is the fact that the gyms aren’t designed for fitness fanatics who spend most of their time lifting weights and doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) routines. On top of that, the gym’s free food perks (bagels one morning a month, pizza one night a month, Tootsie Rolls free at all times) tend to fuel the fire of its enemies.

We certainly understand the push back by some members of the fitness community – PF’s emphasis on people feeling comfortable can grate against the tendencies of more competitive people who prefer high-intensity or bravado-driven workouts.

But not everyone feels that way, and fans of the gym tend to be just as spirited in their defense of it as the gym’s enemies do. A good example is a 2016 Reddit thread about PF titled, “Is Planet Fitness really as bad as people make it out to be?”

Planet Fitness Is not as Bad as Some People Make It Out to Be

It’s important to remember that Planet Fitness isn’t designed for hardcore weightlifters or HIIT fanatics. Rather, it’s focused on average people who want to do cardio, use weight machines and dabble in free weights.

A comment from the Reddit thread by mr_tibbers sums up why people like (and hate) Planet Fitness:

“It's not that bad. For the price, it's solid. I pay 10 a month. I get access to the whole gym, locker room, and showers. They don't have all of the equipment that I would like to use for weight lifting, but I can get around it for the most part.”

We read another comment from a user named natron91 who did a good job describing the kind of person who would like PF:

“It's a decent beginner gym for people getting the feel of things and figuring out a healthy lifestyle or on a budget. But overall, it's not somewhere that can be used long-term because it's easily outgrown.”

The Gym Gets Low Marks for Customer Service

The gym experience, however, is a separate issue from customer service, and we found hundreds of reviews from consumers noting how difficult it was to cancel a membership and how, in some cases, they were required to send a certified letter to the gym at which they signed up in order to cancel.

We called a local Planet Fitness property, and they told us all we’d need to do is come down and sign a document saying we wanted to cancel.

On top of cancellation issues, customers reported they were billed monthly even after they canceled.

We also read complaints about Planet Fitness’ unwillingness to budge on their cancellation fee, regardless of the circumstances of the cancellation (illness, injury, etc.).

Know Your Contract Inside and Out

In light of these negative reviews, we think it’s best if you read through your contract so that you’re clear on the location’s cancellation policy. Request a copy of the contract you can keep for yourself, just in case you have issues with a cancellation.

Also, don’t be afraid to go to your local bank and dispute any incorrect charges to your account from Planet Fitness. Bring your contract and your cancellation with you as proof.

We’re not saying that you’ll have issues with canceling your membership, but we are saying the wise thing to do is to have all your paperwork ready (and understood) just in case you have to plead your case.

Our Conclusions About Planet Fitness

People are unique, so it’s important for them to choose a gym that best fits their needs. Planet Fitness is a low-cost option whose facilities are tailored to newcomers or average people who aren’t looking for specialized workouts and just want to get some cardio and weightlifting in.

So, if you’re the kind of person who hasn’t been to the gym in years, or has never had a gym membership, we think that Planet Fitness could be a good fit for you.

Also, if you’re easily intimidated at gyms and you want a place where you can feel accepted and anonymous, Planet Fitness could be a good fit because of their judgement-free philosophy.

Also, since many of their gyms are open 24 hours a day, you’ll be able to get a workout no matter how crazy your schedule is.

However, if you’re someone who spends more time lifting weights and likes a more raw, primal atmosphere, Planet Fitness is definitely not the place for you. Their gyms tend to be quiet and subdued because of their aversion to the usual customs of weightlifters.

You may want to look into HIIT or iron-heavy locations in your area, as those types of gyms probably have the atmosphere you’re looking for.

If you decide Planet Fitness is a good fit for you, then be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Read over your contract line by line to verify cancellation details and the length of your contract. Ask the gym associate to give you a copy of the contract, then hold onto it just in case you want to cancel in the future.

And remember, Planet Fitness has a reputation for being unforgiving when it comes to early cancellations contracts, so be ready to pay up if you want to leave early.

In the meantime, we encourage you to check out a pair of articles we wrote about gym memberships. You’ll get a very brief overview of four of the most popular gyms (Planet Fitness is included), as well as some background on the gym industry and some eye-opening statistics about gym members.

The information you learn in those articles will help you become a smarter consumer and, hopefully, someone who makes the right choice about their gym membership!

Also, be sure to check out our reviews of LA Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness.


Read 37 Planet Fitness Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Consumer Rating: 1.9
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 7 4 star: 0 3 star: 1 2 star: 5 1 star:  24
Bottom Line: 22% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 37
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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Customer policy

    • Southbury, CT,
    • Sep 16, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have been a member for a long time, probably about 8-9 years now. I have never been in this situation before, where employees go out of their way to look up customers' information and reaching out to you. It was not business-related, and wasn’t professional at all. Made me feel so uncomfortable that this person is comfortable of doing that. He doesn’t even know me, only saw me there a couple of times, doesn’t even know my name. I’m pretty sure, this person is okay by looking up customer information and getting their phone numbers. It looks like Planet Fitness has no customer policy at all. Very disappointing, and I wound never step into the door again. You would think they would have some kind of training for keeping the customers' information private. And this person should’ve known better than if it’s not business-related you don’t reach out to someone you don’t know from your personal phone. It is not professional at all. So my question is, if a random person walks up to the counter, you will just give them all my personal information thinking it is okay to do so? Or just show up at my house randomly? Definitely need to change your policy and train your employees better.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Lazy staff

    • State College, PA,
    • Sep 4, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I’m trying to get information about a membership and I can’t even get these people to email me back. Not only do you have to email your local club with questions, when you dig deeper into the site they offer a "higher" customer service to contact. When you click on it, it takes you to the same email form for your local club.

    Even their website is an atrocity. On their home page, they make the $10/month offer but the number one is actually the capital letter "I". If their lack of detail is that bad, their site is a work of futility and they can’t even bother to contact you back about a membership...why would you want to give them your money?

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • Would not recommend

    • Hendersonville, NC,
    • Aug 19, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have been a member here since March 2018. I enjoyed the gym. It has a lot of equipment. As long as you can go in and not bother staff all is peachy. But as soon as you want to use the extra stuff they offer, you are lucky if you get waited on. 50 percent of the staff are helpful but the past few weeks I was there it was so aggravating...I dreaded going in. If you have any issue with anything there is not a customer service number that actually helps you. They just send you back into the gym to complain. Which is useless. Beware of Kristina Penn. Very rude. I'm very glad I'm not a part of this facility. I will be glad to give my money to another gym. I will definitely not ever recommend this place to anyone.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Discriminate and poorly managed gym

    • West Palm Beach, FL,
    • Aug 17, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    At the Planet Fitness in West Palm Beach South Dixie #0873 in late July 2019, the trainer mistreated me, being very snappy and sharp, not allowing us to use a space and just very mean and unkind. We have observed her territorial behavior and odd ways she behaves toward some here like us since she started here a few weeks ago. Although my spouse or I never spoke to her when she mistreated us, my spouse made a comment to me about her nasty behavior and I guess she overheard it and took offense to it. She was behaving in a mean way and seems very hateful and homophobic it seems toward us, a married gay couple, who have gone to this gym for five years now since they opened. No other trainer here has ever treated us in such a nasty way before. She told the manager my spouse said a bad word about her. The manager came over to talk to us, my spouse was upset and told her it was not nice how she was treating us as customers and we have a right to defend ourselves from her nasty comportment.

    The following day the manager called my spouse telling him that his guest member privileges were being revoked and he could never use another Planet Fitness club again in his life and that I as the contract on the membership I could cancel if I wanted since we always come in together to use the gym and actually joined together. We came in and met with the manager who presented me with a form to sign online to cancel and emailed it to my spouse and me. The manager sided with the nasty and hateful employee over long-term customers of five+ years who have never created a problem in all the years and have paid upwards of $1000+ in membership fees over the years. What a slap in the face to us as members. My spouse also asked why the manager did not give any due process or a second chance, since the employee provoked the entire incident with her mean ways. This gym has deteriorated considerable since this manager took over now the past few months.

    The employees change every other week, the club is not cared for well, the bathrooms are filthy, the machines need greasing and do not work smoothly, and the employees are ill-trained and treat customers poorly or change so frequently. The management and staff here do not enforce the rules for members and allow all to be loud, swear, not break down weights, never clean up after themselves, talk on their phones and sit on machines on their phones not thinking of others.

    Since we were forced out by a mean and hateful employee, having my spouses membership revoked and then canceling mine and losing out on 18 days of the gym plus the annual fee, Planet Fitness should have to reimburse us for the time we now cannot use this gym. WE have spoken to our bank to make sure they do not try to charge us more, although we cancelled and have the cancellation; we have heard horror stories about this gym. We believe that this manager and trainer will not last based on how they treat people and their poor leadership. WE do believe Planet Fitness should dismiss them, as you should not have people like them working with your customers. Either way, they will be the cause of their own demise by the way they have been since being at this gym.

    Please refund us for our lost money with your gym. We will go to a better gym that can be kind and respectful of us without hate and the nasty ways of this trainer. The manager is not a problem solver, she is a young kid who really should not be running a business and has no right in a job like that, as she really does not care, and she does not even smile or treat most people well. Many former employees of this gym have told us they all left because of her nasty leadership, so many employees, they all leave, and this says something about this weak and pathetic manager. She would never listen to my spouse and sided with her new trainer who has been on a power trip since she started working at this club. PF should have a separate training area apart from the areas all people use to work out. Planet Fitness Headquarters needs to step in, intervene, and improve what is going on here. This manager gave a name and email of her superior, and then she called, but the number, name, or email do not show up on any Planet Fitness webpage. Therefore, we are taking the liberty to send our complaint and assessment of the altercation directly to the BBB so PF corporate or regional can address and know what is going on at this club. Please refund us the portions that we paid of the annual and monthly we were not able to use since you forced us out. We will also look into talking to some lawyers about how we were treated by the employee and manager and how there was never and due process given in this case to use just a revocation.

    We hope Planet Fitness will take this seriously and improve the management and situation on the ground at the Planet Fitness in West Palm Beach. There is a lot of questionable stuff going on here and customers should never be treated the way we were treated on Tuesday by this employee and then forced out like this by this manager. Please address this fairly and improve the situation here. Unfortunately, after this horrendous incident with your employee at your gym we could never speak highly of this gym or Planet Fitness as a whole, nor do a positive review, or promote Planet Fitness at all ever to friends, family, and loved one. We are mortified at how we were treated by this manager and your PF employee and wanted to share this review with others. This gym is poorly run now, dirty, and they do not maintain their equipment well here now and employees are ill trained. We hope they can improve and not chase good customers away by their mean and discriminating treatment.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Cheap but with problems

    • Vero Beach, FL,
    • Aug 9, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I joined Planet Fitness at a great 18 months upfront payment rate, but soon found problems. The first is that certain machines and free weights and benches have a waiting line, making them unavailable. The gym needs more of these machine and free weights. The second problem is that the gym is always busy, even during the usual off-hour slots. The final and worst problem is that street people somehow get in to use the restrooms and showers. Who wants to use an unclean toilet or shower?

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    All they care about is your money

    • Minnesota,
    • Jul 25, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Decent place to work out, clean facilities, good equipment. Unfortunately, the staff, although most are decent, sent me away TWICE when I tried to cancel my membership! Claiming a manager must be present in order to cancel so I stopped in and was told since I didn't cancel a WEEK ahead of time I would still be charged for the month! Excuse me, I attempted to cancel 2 months in a row! I work 2 jobs so it's difficult for me to find time during the day, when a manager is present, to stop in! So if you wish to cancel, be prepared, they still want to take your money for services you won't be receiving!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Get rid of cell phones

    • New Jersey,
    • Jul 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Get rid of the cell phones in the gym, too many members just sitting on the equipment and texting or talking, there is no oversite by the management team and it is going to cause fights if other members need to chastise the ones guilty of breaking the rules and tying up the equipment. By the way, I am a member in Camarillo, California and also work out at the facility in Mays Landing, New Jersey where I have a home and I have witnessed this cell phone problem at both facilities.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Poor management

    • Greensburg, PA,
    • Jun 11, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I joined in November and was charged a large annual fee that everyone will get charged and you are not told nor do you see it on the $10 ads. My gym is so cluttered that it is unsafe. I bought it up to management. I was spoken to so badly that I am shocked. No customer service training, and worse, I sensed that it was based on Planet Fitness Training. I was told that safety is the user's problem, that they are only a family gym, and that you sign a waver and even that cameras won't lie and Planet Fitness would believe a manager over member when or if something happens. I am appalled! Planet Fitness corporate just refers you back to the same manager even though it is a corporate site I was told. I canceled, so did my whole family. Cheap and discount are not supposed to be lesser, but here it is. Even the no intimidation rules, they are based on keeping their site easier to clean and keep. It does not have much to do with people that are scared of people who really know how to lift. Plus, their staff at my site have no knowledge of lifting, by conservation and by appearance, so I think this is just the worst. Management told me to be quiet. Imagine politely bringing safety up and getting verbally attacked. I was told that if I did not know what Planet Fitness is like (people and staff who are not deeply into weight training and CrossFit, and if I did not know that it is also my fault).

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Don't do it!

    • Evanston, IL,
    • May 27, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    If you're serious about working out, DON'T go to PF! People don't know how to use the machines and they don't ask either. They don't monitor their 30-minute workout area and you have to tattle like a little kid to get the diddlers out. The 30-minute workout area is for serious workouts. You get on a machine when the light turns green and you get off when it turns red! Sounds simple right? NOPE! Not for the kind of people that go to the PF! They justify why they can't get on and get off the machines or they sit there for several minutes doing their reps. and they just get in the way! Eventually, you'll leave for a better gym where people know how to work out and do it correctly!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    No stars if possible to Planet Fitness scam

    • Centurion, South Africa,
    • May 7, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    This is the worst gym ever! I told the lady at reception to cancel my membership because it reached a year. She told me "it will not be a problem..." and scribbled my details on a paper A4. I finished my work out and left.

    I'm a student and the harsh reality is 4 months later attorneys send me an SMS that I owed interest and fees! I don't work since my studies are full time and I called them back, they actually noted my call FOR CANCELLATION on their system.

    So why now in April I get another SMS! Idiots! According to law, I am not responsible for all this money and they will not see a sent from me!

    No permission = no money!

    I wonder if the CEO in the USA knows what the people in SA are doing to harm his business!

    Centurion Gate Business Park The Gate Shopping Centre, Cnr Akkerboom and, John Vorster Dr, Centurion, 7440

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    A simple request...POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE.

    • Madison, WI,
    • May 6, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Although I understand, and agree, that every gym needs a bit of music to get the spirits motivated, when the music is SO LOUD that you can BARELY hear the TVs with your earplugs on, the quality and duration of one's workout becomes difficult to endure. And after REPEATED ATTEMPTS to politely ask if the music could be turned down a smidgeon the scripted answer from Mr. Estrada is...CORPORATE POLICY, take it up with the Manager (who has done NOTHING). For a judgment-free gym with a goal to provide a quality experience for ALL, I would hope that CORPORATE would entrust their staff with the ability to use COMMON SENSE when attempting to resolve a fairly basic complaint. STILL WAITING...

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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