About Planet Fitness

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.

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13 Consumer Reviews for Planet Fitness

Average Consumer Rating: 2.1
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 3 4 star: 0 3 star: 0 2 star: 2 1 star:  8
Bottom Line: 23% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 13
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  • AC very frequently out of order

    • Moreno Valley, CA,
    • Aug 18, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have not been a gym member for a lot of years, and my body showed it. I was looking for a convenient, judgment-free option near my new home, as I had just moved to Moreno Valley, California. Planet Fitness was quite close, and they have plenty of equipment. The place appeared to be in pretty good working order, and they are open 24 hours a day.

    Unfortunately, my local Planet Fitness is not a good place to work out. I have been a member for three months, and the problems are numerous. First and foremost, the AC has gone out at least three times in just three months! And it usually takes a week or more for them to fix it! Meanwhile, even a moderate workout is a total sweat bath, even if I go early in the morning. Lesser problems include dirty locker rooms and poor supervision of the members. Members take their gym bags onto the floor, despite a safety policy against it. Members go into the 30-minute-workout area and fail to move from one station to the next prompt.

    Instead, they settle in on a machine and work out on that one machine as they own it, despite signs on the wall clearly forbidding this behavior. The employees say nothing, even when they see what is happening. I am glad I got the no-commitment monthly membership, because I am seriously considering switching to a gym twice as far away and more expensive, to get a better environment.

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

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  • Horrible customer service

    • Kitchener, Ontario, Canada,
    • Jul 4, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    One horrible place to go to. Their employees, they are all nice, until they get your bank details and money. However, they do not want to treat their members with respect whatsoever after.

    My membership was canceled on April 29, 2018 (I have the proof on canceling it as of this date too) and for two months in a row, the money was being debited without my knowledge. When I asked them for a refund of my money, Josh (supervisor/manager) said that I have to wait for my money that was taken out of my account without my permission for 12-15 business days, this is called daylight robbery. How is this even fair? This is horrible customer service.

    There is not even another person I could talk to in that place who can resolve a simple issue. And also their BS about the 30-day notice to cancel the membership was not advised while signing up. I went through the contract and it does not talk about the 30-day notice to cancel the membership. I am sure I am not the only one who has had this experience. I do not recommend this place. These guys are true scammers.

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

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  • Nightmare cancellation

    • Miami, FL,
    • Jul 2, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I tried to cancel my membership on-site and over the phone and always they found an excuse. They charged me $150.09 because I refuse to pay for the last two months.

    Never again Planet Fitness.

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

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  • Not satisfied

    • Binghamton, NY,
    • Jun 27, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I joined Planet Fitness for one year. I called the gym and told the lady I will not continue for another year because I cannot afford it, and she told me I have to come in person. She did not tell me that they will charge me another fee if I didn't come exactly a year, and they did charge my bank another $39 after my deadline.

    I am warning people out there that this is a catch and please spread it so this doesn't happen to more people because I will let my Facebook friends know about this. Not fair, it says one year, not two.

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

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  • No such thing as a free lunch.

    • Rogers, AR,
    • Jun 22, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have belonged to Planet Fitness in Melbourne, Florida and now in Rogers, Arkansas. Can't beat the price. Can't beat the hours. Equipment has always been adequate.

    Bad points: Music sucks and too many people use weight machines as lounge chairs as they text.

    Worst bad thing: I just tried to cancel my membership before relocating to another city. Late at night, the guy at the desk said the computers were down. In the day I learned that I had to pay a buy-out fee equal to about six months of payments. I did not recall being told of that requirement when I joined. Because my annual membership was ending in two months, I just tried to cancel my membership at the end of the year. They said no. The guy at the desk said I had to come in during the last month to cancel.

    If it were not for their shameful policy of preventing members from closing their membership, I would give Planet Fitness at least a 4-star rating. But, I hate con artists and companies that try to steal from their customers, so they get one star and a warning to those who might join.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Easy to join/difficult to leave

    • Washington,
    • Jun 9, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was one of the first members at the Renton location. I signed up in April of 2011 and I have paid them $1,630 in fees. I recently moved out of the area. When I called to cancel my membership, I was told that I had to come in in-person or send a certified letter in the mail to cancel. I was told that if I refused to pay, my dues would accrue and be sent to collection. After 7 years of loyal membership, I found their refusal to let me cancel over the phone after moving out of the area to be unimpressive.

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

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Incompetent billing and staff

    • Knoxville, TN,
    • Jun 1, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am a 65-year-old retired military officer.

    I have been a member of Planet Fitness in Dallas, Texas and Knoxville, Tennessee for years. About a month ago I was questioned about my payment of the monthly bill.

    The first thing that happened was the Planet Fitness staff said my credit card expired in 2016 (it is now May of 2018) and that Planet Fitness had not been paid since 2016. Wrong - the credit had not expired, and a history check on my credit card billing clearly showed Planet Fitness had been paid for the last two years. Never the less, I proceeded to let them re-run the credit card, and I was told all was ok.

    This same process happened on my next four visits to the gym. Finally, I said, "let me speak to a manager." The manager comes out and is totally ignorant of the previous events or a process to correct Planet Fitness's billing problem. However, he said he would get it fixed. He DID NOT!

    Now I am receiving automated phone calls from Planet Fitness about this problem and being accused of not paying my bill. I was instructed to call this Planet Fitness by this automated call. When I did return the call - no answer.

    When I called the front desk (as I have done several times), I get another minimum wage, low information staff member who has not a clue.

    On the last call I was instructed, by a staff member, to bring in two credit cards and my bank numbers to put on file. There is not a chance of that happening.

    There are other issues with using this gym to work out. It seems to be a gathering ground for people who like to sit on machines and use their cell phones as opposed to using the machine for exercise. I have also been told I cannot use other equipment not supplied by the gym, for example, weight belts or gravity boots for stretching. On one occasion, I had a staff member come up and tell me I could not lay my sweatshirt on the floor beside me while I used a machine.

    I would not recommend Planet Fitness to anyone. Their handling of billing and customer service leaves a lot to be desired. I am at a loss as to how to proceed/fix the problem. Therefore, I am looking for another gym.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Nice place

    • California,
    • May 26, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Planet Fitness is a nice place to work out. It's always clean, and the staff is nice. There is no waiting, it's never crowded. I would recommend Planet Fitness to everyone that I know; family and friends and even people I don't know. I love coming here to the no judgment zone and I love the total body enhancement.

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

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Best gym for the money

    • Kane,
    • May 5, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have been working out at gyms for the last 40 years. I have trained under pro wrestlers and am certified as an elite personal trainer with the ISSA. This gym is light years better than any other. Hardcore bodybuilders don't belong here, but they are a tiny fraction of society and not good for business. They intimidate members and hog several machines at the same time. Times have changed, and so has gym etiquette.

    Planet Fitness has solved the "LUNK" bully attitude with their rules and restrictions. I have canceled my membership twice and never a problem. The facility has everything to get and stay in great shape. It also offers unlimited club membership, tanning, red light therapy and massage an additional 10 dollars a month. Tanning alone cost $25 a month at any salon. The red light therapy is $30 per session at doctor's offices who offer it. Always clean and never too crowded (except on the smith machines).

    The only drawback is no lap pool, but swimming is overrated in calorie burn. Also, I quit the last gym due to having to wait for lap lanes to open. For 90% of the population, this is your best bet for a great workout and great price. The free personal training is the icing on the cake. I would hate other gyms when personal trainers would interrupt your workout to try to tell you a better way and charge you for it.

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

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Open on time

    • Natick, MA,
    • Apr 25, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I don't mind the mess, or the paper towels not being refilled. I don't mind the low-end equipment that keeps breaking down and is never maintained. They have over 12,000 members in a gym that can't hold 100, so I go early so I can get a parking spot. They are cheap and pay minimum wages and get stoners to open that don't show, it's a recurring problem that never gets solved. My best solution is to join a reputable gym, and that's what I'm going to do.

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

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Lousy customer service

    • Anderson, SC,
    • Apr 21, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I paid for a black card membership, and some days later came in for my first session. There were two gals, maybe twenties, at the front desk.

    The gal took her eyes off the TV she was watching and scanned my card, then back to the TV.

    I told her this was my first visit and I wanted to get onto a stationary bike. She told me I had to fill out an application to join Planet Fitness first. Then she noticed the Planet Fitness card she had just scanned. She waved towards the back of the room, and told me to find an available bike, and help myself.

    The bikes were different than the ones at the Physical Therapy I had been using. It took me 10 minutes to get one adjusted and turned on. I finally selected "manual" since I had not figured out how to program the thing.

    The machine alternated between "resume" and "pause." Each "pause" released all resistance causing me and my new knee replacement to be thrown forward. After a half-dozen or so painful events, I walked out.

    One of the gals did say "have a great day," but apparently missed my angry face.

    The wife and I have found a new fitness place that acts like they give a crap.

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

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