We belonged to World Gym for 3 years. Imagine our surprise when we walked in and discovered that World Gym was gone and Planet Fitness was there. The owners and staff for the most part have remained the same but one major change took place without any notice to members. As of today we are no longer members of the old or new gym, Planet Fitness, located in Plymouth, Massachusetts. We did give it a try, but for me the change was too great. I always look around for other gyms so we will be joining Powerhouse Gym.
Recommend this product?
About Planet Fitness:
I call this gym a no frills gym. It is fantastic for many who do not want a pool, racquetball club or classes. I am a personal trainer and worked in a similar gym. At the time it was terrific, low monthly rates and decent equipment. I can say similar things about Planet Fitness.
They have 30 franchises in 7 states on the East Coast of the United States. Planet Fitness has an interesting philosophy of being a no judgment zone.* Since it seems like a filler for the review I will post what this means at the end. So why are we leaving?
What I like and dont like about Planet Fitness in Plymouth:
1. The weight training equipment:
It is very good. You may note that in my review of World Gym I called the equipment phenomenal. Comparing Planet Fitness to Powerhouse, however, I see that Powerhouse has more equipment and some unusual pieces of equipment although the space isnt as large as that of Planet Fitness.
Since becoming Planet Fitness they have made some changes to the facility but the work out machines remain the same.
The work out machines include brand names such as Cybex, Hammer Strength and Icarian.
They have 2 complete sets of free weights plus another set of light weights meaning we have never had to wait for a dumbbell. Many of the machines are duplicates, for example there are two seated leg extension machines, 2 lying hamstring machines (as well as a seated hamstring machine) and 2 machine bicep machines. There are 5 different leg press machines! In addition there are 2 crossover cable machines with every imaginable piece of equipment to attach to a cable and 4 Cybex stations! Planet Fitness has plenty of benches. Again we have never had to wait for a bench.
The whole floor is made of rubber so it is comfortable to stand on and tripping over carpet wont happen! Planet Fitness in Plymouth is set up with one huge room with the equipment set up in it primarily in areas that work various body parts. For example on the wall it will say biceps and that is where you will find the bicep machines and dumbbells, for the most part. Of course you can work your biceps on the cable machine also so I am generalizing somewhat so you can get the layout. Youll see around the wall shoulders, chest and back areas again finding most of the equipment in those areas. It is quite user friendly, however if you are new to a gym, you will need to be walked through all the equipment.
2. The cardiovascular equipment:
There were about 50 different cardio machines including elliptical trainers, treadmills, bikes, rowers, Nordic tracks and stairclimbers. All the equipment is Cybex except for the elliptical trainers, which are Precor. One major change is that the old circuit room (a room with machines set up in a way to facilitate a whole body workout rather than having to look around for equipment. A circuit room is great for the beginner or for people who are working out 2 or 3 times a week who work their whole body each time. I dont so I dont need a circuit room.) is now filled with additional cardio equipment. They added 4 more televisions to the 8 listed below. The cardio area is huge!
In addition to the cadio equipment they have 8 televisions which are hooked up to a gadget on each machine. Just plug in your headphones and you can watch 8 different channels and/ or you can read what is being said at the bottom of the TV.
3. Other amenities:
~A juice bar where both smoothies and bottled drinks are sold.
~A small area where clothes and a few products such as gloves and belts are sold.
4. Other rooms:
Planet Fitness in Plymouth has a cute boxing area, which is a room with speed bags, heavy bags and double ended bags. The walls are decorated with tasteful graffiti! One negative to this room being so close to the large workout room is that the timers that off are distracting.
Planet Fitness still has a circuit room. They changed a wall and a door and made the aerobics studio into a circuit room. The advantage of this room is that it is very large so in addition to equipment there are some stability balls and resistance bands easily accessible. This room is also ideal for people who may be intimidated by the huge work out room, the people weightlifting or older people who may not feel comfortable in the larger room.
5. The lounges:
I can speak about the womens changing area and can ditto it for the men's through my husband.
When I wrote my review of World Gym I said that the lounge is always clean. It is never dirty; however I have noticed paper towels on the floor. In the two gyms in which I have worked when I didnt have a personal training client I was expected to make sure that the lounge was clean. (I didnt have to wash the toilets!) I rarely see a staff member in the lounge. If one walks in to go to the bathroom she might pick up a paper towel. I havent looked at their job description but the cleanliness has gone downhill.
There are plenty of toilets and showers including wheelchair accessible amenities.
I love the fact that in each shower they have nice shampoo, conditioner and body wash and by the sink there is mouthwash, hand wash and lotion.
There are hair dryers and you can rent a towel for $1.00.
The womens lounge has a sauna; the mens lounge has a steam room. I am not sure why. When I asked I was told that women seemed to like saunas and vice versa. Im not sure that is true, but thats what we have. In addition to the lockers there is an area in the gym itself where you can store your gym bag or whatever you have brought if you dont want to use a locker.
6. The classes:
Now we come to the reason we are leaving. Even before being diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome I started taking Yoga and then Pilates. There are other classes I enjoyed such as working with the stability ball. They have in writing that since only 5% of the members used the classes they did away with them. I cant address those numbers. My sense is that this is 5% of all members who have been to the gym even for 3 months. I do wonder what percentage of active members used the classes. I do know that we are not the only ones to leave for that reason. Yoga and Pilates are crucial for me. If I didnt take these classes I wouldnt be switching gyms. In addition even the Spinning classes (using stationary bikes in a class to music) which were in a separate room have been discontinued.
7. The price:
This is really where Planet Fitness is attractive. The cost is $19.99 per month plus a $99.00 initiation fee. In addition Planet Fitness members have unlimited use of all locations under the same ownership as their 'home' club. This price is about as low as it gets! This was the price of one of the gyms in which I worked (though they did have some aerobics classes) 6 years ago! Certainly if you dont like classes (There were men in Yoga and Pilates; Tai Chi and Kickboxing also attracted men so classes arent just for women.) paying this low fee for the use of a nice gym is well worth it.
8. The hours:
Somewhere along the way World Gym changed its closing hours for Monday - Friday from 10:00pm to 9:00pm. These times have been kept for Planet Fitness. They open at 5:30am all week. The hours on Saturday and Sunday 7:00am to 6:00pm.
One negative to World Gym, which has now been eliminated, was the very small area for abdominal work. When they did the aerobics studio over, they enlarged the ab area to twice the size it was. There are no additional abdominal machines in this area. Perhaps at some point there will be.
9. The Staff:
One thing I disliked about the gym to which we belonged before World was the number of staff and trainers that stood around doing nothing. The opposite was true at World and is still true at Planet Fitness.
There should be one person at least on the floor at all times and the only time I have seen a staff person is giving a tour. The personal trainers are on the floor but for the most part have nothing to do with anyone (even someone doing something dangerous) other than the person they are training. This is a mistake and perhaps as Planet Fitness floor staff will be hired but as of yet there are none.
Also we were never asked if we needed to be shown the equipment. I have never been to a gym (even during a visit this happens at other gyms) where someone doesnt go around with you and work up a program. I would not have opted for that but they should have asked us if we wanted a workout planned for us. There is one piece of equipment I have never seen and in order to know how to use it I would have to go out of my way to track down someone to show me. This is a negative for sure.
My sense is that this still holds true. I say this for a couple of reasons. As I was biking a woman came over to me and asked me how the machine starts. (These bikes have to be pedaled first in order to go on.) I doubt she forget. I think she was never shown. When you read below you will see the second reason.
Personal Training was a huge component at World and even larger at Planet Fitness. Although there is no pressure to have a personal trainer, the fact that after your first visit you wont know what to do if youve never been to a gym before will make hiring a personal trainer attractive.
Also the only type of classes they have continued are Group Fitness Training. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday there is one type of group training. One will teach you how to use the equipment; one will teach you some lower body exercises and abdominal exercises and one will teach you exercises for your upper body. These are free and although excellent in order to learn how to work your upper body you have to be there either Monday at 9:30 or Tuesday at 7:00. You have to be there at 9:30 on Saturday to learn how to use the cardio equipment and Wednesday at 9:30 or Thursday at 6:00pm to learn about lower body exercises.
I feel strongly that people should not be using equipment unless they are shown them how to use it properly. This is an area where Planet Fitness falls short. Looking at this cynically I do see the lack of training as a way to get people to hire a personal trainer. The few who work at Planet Feedback seem quite busy.
Jo's Final Thoughts:
Planet Fitness will be wonderful for many, perhaps most people. There are some flaws so it wont get a 5 star rating, but I will give it a 4. The price is certainly right and the equipment very good. You wont be lacking in any area except classes and for me thats the deal breaker.
"we at pf are here to provide a unique environment
in which anyone, and we mean anyone, can be
comfortable. a diverse, judgment free zone
where a lasting, active lifestyle can be built. our
product is a tool, a means to an end; not a brand
name or a mold maker, but a tool that can be
used by anyone. in the end, it's all about you. as
we evolve and educate ourselves, we will seek to
perfect this safe, energetic environment, where
everyone feels accepted and respected. we are
not here to kiss your butt, only to kick it if
that's what you need. we need you, because face
it, our planet wouldn't be the same without you.
you belong!" from www.planetfitness.com
Please feel free to leave a comment or question.
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