Pros: Clean, judgement free, circuit training, wide array of machines, great plan options
Cons: Staff not very helpful.
I'll admit, I'm a little chubby, and at first, the prospect of going to a gym terrified me - I was scared that there were going to be all of these beautiful people working out, secretly making fun of the chubby girl. It was for this reason alone that I put off joining a gym for years. Then, I heard a commercial for Planet Fitness, and the Judgment Free Zone - and I was finally comfortable enough to join a gym for the first time in years.
Planet Fitness' major draw, to me, is the Judgement Free Zone. Everyone minds their own business, derogatory remarks are strictly prohibited and the hard core "muscle heads" are prohibited (i.e.; people who feel the need to make obnoxious, look at me, I'm captain America noises when lifting weights). Since working out at Planet Fitness, about a year now, I have felt comfortable and at home.
My Planet Fitness location has many state of the art machines, so there is no waiting and a variety of workout options are available. There are at least twenty each of ellipticals, stationary bikes and stair climbers. There are probably forty or more treadmills. My location also offers a full line of strength training machines as well as a full weight-bench type line. All of the machines are kept clean, mostly by patrons, as one of the 'rules' at Planet Fitness is that a user must wipe down their machine after use. However, it is not uncommon to see PF staff wiping down the machines. All machines are kept in working order - I have never seen a broken machine. There is a line of plasma TV's directly in front of the cardio equipment.
Planet Fitness also offers a 30-minute circuit style workout. This workout is intended to be done independently (i.e., is not in a class setting, like Curves does). There are twenty stations in the PF circuit training section. You start at any station you want and look forward. There is a stop light. When the light is red, you are not doing anything. When the light turns green, you use the machine or perform the task that your particular station is designed for. When the light goes red again, you stop, wipe down your machine, and go to the next station (the stations are numbered, so if you started at station 14, you would continue on to station 15). If you are in a hurry, this is a fantastic way to get in a balanced workout and get on your way.
Planet Fitness also boasts a small matted area, perfect for self taught yoga or pilates. They offer various types of bands and exercise balls for use in this area, along with ab lounge type equipment. I personally have never used this area, but there are always a few people practicing yoga, or even performing basic exercise moves, such as sit ups, crunches and push ups in this area.
I am usually grossed out by locker rooms, but the locker room at Planet Fitness is clean and kept free of debris. It is a large locker room, with 8 shower stalls and about 12 bathroom stalls. There is ample mirror space scattered throughout the locker room, each with an outlet for blow dryers, hair irons, etc.
Possibly most important to some people, Planet Fitness is inexpensive. Their plans start at $10 a month for basic use of the gym. I have the $19.99 plan, which allows me to bring a friend every time I go to the gym, offers me unlimited tanning, unlimited massage chair use, half price drinks, a free t-shirt and free personal training.
The thing I don't like about Planet Fitness is that, while friendly enough, the staff is not very helpful. It would be more helpful if they would take the initiative to show beginners how to work some of the more complicated machines.
Overall, I think this is a great gym and perfect for beginners, such as myself. I would recommend this gym to anyone who needs to get in shape, regardless of their current fitness level, and feel great while doing it!