A Planet of “No Judgment”

Sunday, May 15, 2011
Posted in category political correctness

Less than two years ago, a Planet Fitness gym opened right near my house. I already belonged to two gyms that were not the garden variety, and I wanted a third membership very close to my house to accommodate quick, on-the-go workouts. Accordingly, Planet Fitness, with its $10-15/month price tag, seemed like a potential fit. This was prior to the emergence of the company’s commercials that have been shown repeatedly on television, so I knew zilch about the company’s philosophy for not working out.

I visited my local Planet Fitness in late 2009, and immediately, I was met by a young, smiling, female salesperson who insisted on taking me on a tour of the gym. I had just left my Powerhouse gym, fresh from a workout, and in those clothes I was wearing it was likely that I could not hide that I was a serious weightlifting buff. But still, she couldn’t wait to take me to the vast array of hamster wheels (cardio machines revered by women), followed by the … special “zone.” The zone is the “Judgment Free Zone,” a part of the gym that is reserved for folks – mainly women – who don’t want to be “judged” by others. Presumably, this area sends out a series of remarkable transparent rays that block the subjective judgments of others so you don’t have to worry about being “judged” while you work out. Indeed, I even had the nerve to ask why there was no power rack or barbells in the gym, and I was met with a terse response that Planet Fitness is a “different type of gym.” At this point, I had not yet put together the whole picture surrounding the gym’s mission.

The “Judgment Free Zone” – a registered trademark; don’t make me laugh – is described as a place where “members can relax, get in shape, and have fun without being subjected to the hard-core, look-at-me attitude that exists in too many gyms.” A “Look-at-me-attitude?” In spite of my vocal disdain for much of the conventional bodybuilding crowd  (I prefer a functional fitness/powerlifting/cross-fit/MMA mix), I can’t even begin to understand what that statement means. “Hardcore” – meaning serious, or dedicated, or enthusiastic about one’s fitness level (and yes, perhaps even body aesthetics)? Unfortunately, we have arrived at a point in Amerikka where people, in general, worship the notion of being nonjudgmental as a general rule for living life. And then, as a part of this nonjudgmental religion, its adherents judgmentally unleash contempt upon others who shun the standards for conformity that have been set by the judgmentalists.

In sticking with the uncomplicated Oxford Dictionaries (online) definition of “judgmental,” the word is defined as “of or concerning the use of judgement.” Every decision and every choice humans make involves the act of judging, or being judgmental. If I was not judgmental, I might perhaps find myself married to a coke-snorting, bank-robbing criminal, or worse …… a card-carrying socialist (ahem). Fortunately, my being judgmental precludes me from getting involved with folks whose character is suspect based on my initial judgments. We all must be judgmental at all times in order to remain free of trouble and stay righteous and enlightened. We use judgments when making friends, selecting jobs, deciding on the right food, embracing certain behaviors, and making product choices. Being judgmental is not one of those traits that anyone can afford to discard. We know what happens to folks who lack good judgment – they end up leading dysfunctional or villainous lives.

The whole concept of a “Judgment-Free Zone” is comical and irresponsible because no “zone” or sleek advertising presentation can deactivate someone else’s judgment. Judgment is subjective to the individual. I know, I know – referring to the sovereignty of the individual concerning his own mind is an egregious crime that flagrantly disregards the collective. Shame on me! Fact is, you can’t stop me from “judging” you within my own mind. I am the architect and keeper of my thoughts, right or wrong, and no cultural forces from the outside can enter my mind and foil my internal judgments of things external to me. In order to stop my train of judgmental thoughts – and yes, I do  produce these in excess – you’d have to kill me and terminate my heart and brain functions.

If I think you are ugly, fat, weird, or even handsome, I own those thoughts, and you cannot impede or change them. Unless I express them verbally, you do not even know the details of the judgment I formed about you. If some folks are so distressed by the judgments of others, those people are probably spending too much time and energy forming judgments about the judgments of others, and perhaps those folks have personal troubles and/or self-esteem issues that could benefit from some thoughtful introspection.

While I always found the Planet Fitness motto to be bizarro, I certainly understand it from a marketing point of view. The fitness club chain is conforming to the prevailing culture of political correctness and apologia that most of its potential members will embrace without ever questioning the definition and meaning of the slogan. Hence, it is probably a realistic strategy when trying to compete for profits in a culture where slick sound bites and politically correct mantras triumph over critical thinking skills and the substance of actions. Joe Sobran, in a 2007 article, referred to this as the “Age of Nonjudgmentalism.”

What is interesting is that Planet Fitness has employed a very aggressive marketing program that ridicules bodybuilder/powerlifter types in its commercials that show a Planet Fitness employee escorting a very imbecilic bodybuilder, speaking in a Schwarzenegger-like accent, out the door of its purple-and-yellow non-judgmental facility. The whole commercial, of course, is a platform for judging bodybuilders based on established stereotypical views that the company employs to undergird its campaign against being too, well, judgmental.

In the past, I had little incentive to write at any great length about this tale because it was mostly trifling, and also, I was certain that my unrepentant criticism of the accepted orthodoxy on being judgmental would generate the usual chorus of hostility and condemnatory utterances because I was challenging – no, repudiating – the blind adoption of ridiculous rituals for the purpose of submitting to popular opinion. But last week I was alerted to this article in Slate that is critical of Planet Fitness and its planet of no-judgment: “Gym Rat Control.” The author, Luke O’Neil, provides the following observations:

Then there’s the fact that certain bodybuilding exercises—like dead lifts and clean-and-jerks—are prohibited.

…The facility also comes equipped with a “lunk alarm”—a siren that is supposed to go off whenever someone grunts too loudly or drops a heavy weight on the floor. (The latter is a moot point at most Planet Fitness locations, where they don’t even have any large weights.) I’ve never set off the alarm, but on more than one occasion, in different locations around the country, I’ve been lectured by staffers for breathing too hard when lifting, and I’ve gotten dirty looks for excessive sweating in the weight room. Clearly it’s not my planet either.

Mr. O’Neil also notes the attack on Planet Fitness from around the blogosphere, as well as the mention by Men’s Health magazine, which recently selected Planet Fitness as the “Worst Gym in America.” O’Neil also brings attention to what is perhaps the most brilliant and amicable criticism I have seen yet of Planet Fitness and its no-workout zone. This video linked by Slate highlights Iron Sport Gym, a hardcore gym for resistance training enthusiasts in Pennsylvania that is owned by Mike Pulcinella. A relative, Joe Pulcinella, is a libertarian and long-time reader of LewRockwell.com. It was Joe who alerted me to the Slate piece and this great riposte from Iron Sport Gym.

All said and done, after my 2009 visit to the purple-and-yellow, no-workout, no-sweat, no-anything chain that exalts no judgment, I dissed Planet Fitness and instead joined a nearby Fitness 19 club for $12 a month as my ‘quick-in-and-out’ gym. No low rate – even $10/month – can make me give up my deadlifts, squats, and 10 mph treadmill sprints (Tabata intervals) while minding my own business (read: not paying attention to your existence), in order that I don’t offend some cellulite-ridden slug who is going through the motions on some absurd hamster wheel or sit-as-you-go leg machine next to me.

Follow me on Twitter @karendecoster.

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23 Responses to A Planet of “No Judgment”

  1. Jeannie Queenie says:

    May 16th, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Am in agreement that we should not deplore the act of judging, as often we can learn something from what is being said. Having said that I shall pass judgment on those who feel the only way to stay in shape is using a health club and paying money…when in fact, one could just as easily be getting all the exercise they need via keeping a clean house, washing their own walls, windows, doors, car, garage, outside vinyl, etc.

    I

    I recall reading a few years back about the hottest foxie model that Victoria Secret had for their catalogue for years. This gal who was a beaut and had a gorgeous body confessed that exercise was not on her plate…ever…she had 2 -3 sons if I recall that kept her active…and I suppose with a bod like she had her hubby kept her very active after the boys were in bed.
    I have on a handful of occasions went to health or exercise fitness centers and found them boring as hell and generic…and you have to pay for that? Who needs it? Often the guys who run these places look like wrestlers with iq’s equal to their shoe size. I guess that brawn doesn’t impress me quite like brains do. So I guess that I will just keep on doing what I’ve done for decades as it seems to be working. When folks think that you are twenty years younger than your chronological age, you must be doing something right. If all the fitness centers closed up tomorrow I would not shed a tear. I would continue to save money, have a clean house, plant my own gardens, dance to jazz music, do pilates and yoga and walk.I Gardening is considered about the best exercise of all with all that bending, pushing, shoveling, potting and running to and fro with heavy buckets of manure or water or what have you.
    ..and the best part of all is not putting out a nickel and using up gasoline at five bucks a gallon to get to one of those centers. Or having guys leer or try to impress you with their muscles. Swarzenegger used his muscles and see where that got him this past week…egomaniacs abound all to often.

  2. Tracy Saboe says:

    May 16th, 2011 at 1:33 am

    As somebody who just got out of physical theropy a year ago, I’ll have to say that if it wasn’t for planet fitness, I’d probably be back there. They had exactly what I needed for where I was at. I had physical therapists telling me to focus on stability mussels, and frankly, I had to start small with minimal weights, lots of reps to rebuild atrophied collagen after years of doing nothing because of tenonosis and ligamentosis. I needed to work out with small weights and machines starting out because I literally couldn’t even work out with 5 ld weights w/o risk of flaring myself up. OVer the past year I’ve gone from pulling barely 4.5 pnds on the seated row to pulling 3 sets of 20 at 20 pnds with the cables.

    We all have to start somewhere.

    I started having pain in my ankles about a month after I was discharged from physical therapy. (I had been trying to work up to a 5-k walk, and apparently was pushing myself more then I should have.) The reason I joined Planet fitness initially was because many runners use ellipticals to continue training while they’re recovering from injury because it’s lower impact. At first I couldn’t spend more then about 7 minutes at the lowest setting on it. Gradually, I improved. Now I’m walking on the treadmill at 3.5 m/h a half an hour a day.

    My hand therapist told me that when I get to the point where I can put 5 Lbs of torque on my wrists w/o flaring up old overuse injuries, then I can maybe start working on an actual body building regimen and get a little more aggressive. Currently I’m doing 3 sets of 20 with 2 different front deltoid exercises w/ 3 lb weights. I consider that a lot of progress considering it used to hurt me to pick up a tuna fish can which is about a quarter of a pound.

    At the rate I’m going I figure I’ll be able to start the beginner level of the Mens Health Weight Training manual in about 15 weeks. My forearms, and my shoulders are now very healthy and hard. You can actually see definition of all my forearm and shoulder muscles where before you couldn’t. My shirts are fitting tighter across the shoulders. My joints don’t randomly pop out of place like they used to and I’m healthy and stable for the first time is probably 10 years.

    I understand that as I progress, eventually I WILL probably outgrow this gym. But for the rest of this year at least, it’s a good fit for me. If Planet fitness doesn’t suit your needs, don’t go to it. Currently it suits mine.

    I do plan to eventually outgrow it, but for people who have severe atrophy, recovering from an injury, or (in my case) old overuse injury that caused pain which lead to deconditioning from not wanting to be in pain, post therapy, or somebody who’s never worked out before that now wants to start — planet fitness is a good fit.

    Planet fitness is targeting a niche market. That’s what free market’s do. They create differentiation. You’re not in that niche right now. Bravo for you. But I fail to see how ridiculing somebody who is is constructive. We all got to start somewhere, and if a judgement free join will help a couch potato get off his couch, I think we should be congratulating that person for starting something that will improve his life.

    PS. Thank you for letting my know that they don’t allow dead-lifts. that’s good information. My guess is in about 6 months that will become a problem for me. For the record that do allow squats. I see guys do them all the time there. They have dumbells that go all the way up to 75 Lbs too. So I’m not sure what you mean about them not having heavy weights.

  3. Karen De Coster says:

    May 16th, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Tracy, you say, “If Planet fitness doesn’t suit your needs, don’t go to it.”

    I don’t go to it, but then again, I noted that in my article. Does that mean I am not allowed to comment on it (a national story) and analyze the gym’s marketing ploy and adherence to accepted propaganda?

    Why is it that people (libertarians) have knee-jerk reactions to comments and criticism of anything that isn’t government? But it is okay for a Planet Fitness marketing campaign to criticize other “free market’ gyms, correct? But we can’t respond to that criticism as writers? I’m curious about your response to that. Ought to be interesting.

    And no, they don’t allow squats. Did you read the Slate article I linked? Our local PF gyms do not even have barbells, racks, etc. Period.

  4. Larry G says:

    May 16th, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Great article. I haven’t had a gym membership in 25 years and have no plans to ever get one again, but thanks for the heads-up about Planet (Un)Fitness just the same.

    About 15 years ago, I’d go two or three times a week to a bare bones gym in a decrepit area of suburban Philly. Five bucks a pop at the door. It was just a big room with lots of mirrors, free weights, squat racks and such. I don’t remember there being a single cardio machine. I and maybe a few others would generally be the first ones there at 6AM; sometimes I’d bike or run the few miles to get there (and then back, of course). While I was in good shape, the other early birds were all much bigger guys. Yet, I never thought or cared in the slightest whether any of them were dissing me behind their non-descript demeanors. Perhaps they were more focused on their own workouts.

    Funny true story: The first time I ever set foot in that bare bones gym, I started in on the bench press and promptly proceeded to tip the thing right over because I had inexplicably put different size plates on either end of the barbell. First the bar pitched to the heavier side, and then once that plate slid off, the whole bench (with me included) tilted the other way. The biggest guy in the place was close by, dropped his weights, and rushed over to help. While I’m sure he and the others were snickering inside (I know I would have been), they were cool about it (and nobody called 911 or anything).

  5. Tom says:

    May 16th, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Thanks for the article. I’ve never seen a Planet Fitness commercial, but I noticed one near where I often stay during business travels. Was considering running over there and starting a membership, instead of just using the hotel gym.

    I could see from the windows that it had an obvious over-abundance of elliptical machines and other “hamster wheels”, but there certainly had to be some weights in there. How bad could it be?
    I’ve worked out in some awful gyms but still managed to get a good workout.
    But what you describe is so terrible sounding, so brutally anti-workout, that I’ll never step foot in a Planet Fitness as long as I live. The hotel gym will have to do on business trips, because nobody there cares how hard I’m breathing or how heavily I’m sweating -sweat which I always politely clean up off of machines no matter how rustic the gym I’m using.

    (Seriously? Sweating and breathing hard? These things are discouraged at a gym? Somebody wants me to pay for a gym membership where they discourage breathing hard and sweating?)

  6. Gregory T. Glading says:

    May 16th, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Karen,

    Great article. The only problem is that you are so attractive in photo that I am distracted LOL. I am 53-years-old and physical fitness has played an important role in my life for many of those years. I started with weights and the typical beginner’s three sets a body part work out. I then became obsessed and “graduated” to three-hours a day, six-days-a-week just like Arnold, Columbu, and Zane . . . My enthusiam for training never waned but my desire for a life waxed. After ridiculing Mike Menzer’s idea of one-set-per body part but with extreme intensity as a competitve bodybuilding work out alternative, I gave it a try. It worked. I made physiue and strength gains as never before and even discovered life outside the gym. Soon I competed in body buidling competitions but, again, wanted a life that included eating and drinking beer. Yet the program did give me the physique and strength for a legit career as a professional wrestler. The time saved allowed me to publish two novels. Anyway, like you, I realised that physique and lifting strength was not necesarilly fitness. Moreover, 30-years of hard core lifting had burned me out. I took an advertizing bait and bought snake oil salesman Matt Furey’s poorly written book “Combat Conditioning.” Although the excersises were nothing new, they did give my training a new lease on life. I found myself gaining functional strength and flexibility while maintaining my physique. Later I read about martial arts legend Bruce Lee’s training. His training involved tensolator isometrics and the Asian calthenics that Furey claimed to have invented. About three-years of tweaking has me where I am at now. I combine the Menzer/Arthur Jones Heavy duty/high intensity principles with a 20-inch Bullworker Steel bow and my modification of isometrics and isomotion before Dand pushups, handstand pushups, chins, and dips. I also do wrestlers bridges, extreme stretching, and martial arts strikes in combo with what Furey dubs “Hindu Squats.” My apparatus costs under a hundred bucks and I can do my work out anywhere. At 53 I can hit a baseball out of a major league park (I recently hit one out of Detroit Tigers spring training Marchant Stadium) and hit a golf ball over a high fence behind a driving range’s 250-yard sign. My spine feels great and my flexibility is at an all-time high. I can also ride a 32-mile bike trail without tiring. I wonder how Planet Fitness would react to my doing this non-weightlifing work out in their facility?

  7. Tracy Saboe says:

    May 16th, 2011 at 11:31 am

    There’s nothing wrong with you commenting on it. Sharing opinions is part of the market process. Personally I thought BOTH ads you posted were funny. Have a sense of humor. Squats CAN be bad for your needs if you haven’t conditioned your self with less bio-mechanically complex exercises before working up to them. Once you’re conditioned for them though, they’re the best exercise for building the entire lower body. Even the Mens Health complete body building conditioning guide (Ian King) doesn’t recommend starting them until the intermediate level for that reason. I’d have to look, but I don’t think they start doing dead-lifts until the advanced section.

    Yes, I read the article you linked. I posted this same comment over there too. Somebody else over their noted that she does squats and deadlifts all the time at her PF gym, so I wonder if much of it is local management discretion. I know people do squats because I’ve seen them do it. In fact some of the people that work there do them. And my local gym has racked barbells, dumbbells, (all the way from 5lb to 75 lbs) and cable machines.

    I physically wasn’t capable of starting out with free weights. I have 1-5lb weights at home that I’m working with. I have to work out real lights, because my hands really aren’t even “normal.” I have damaged cartilage in my index finger as well as other issues, so for me Planet fitness is just great, and you’re talking to me like I should be ashamed of myself because I’m not hulking out. No. I’m following my various therapists advice so I don’t re-injure myself and have a set back.

    You have people that go through the motions at every gym. Yes people do the same at Planet Fitness. There’s also lots of people that do serious weight-lifting their. I’ve put on 25 Lbs of muscle in the past 10 months, and gone from a scrawny 120 lbs, to 145lbs with some muscular definition. Personally I don’t think i could have done that anyplace else, because I don’t believe anyplace else would have had light enough weights for me to start out with. Maybe I’m wrong, but I definitely get my money’s worth out of my $10/month.

    Now you’re right, if you need barbells that aren’t on racks, then PF doesn’t work.

  8. Bike Bubba says:

    May 16th, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I’m not much of a weightlifter or bodybuilder–give me bodyweight exercises, a couple of light (20-30 lb) dumbells to develop the upper body, and my bicycle and I’m very happy–but I’ve got to admit that the young lady doing clean & jerk looks like she’s having a lot of fun. I’m guessing she’s lifting–at 225 lbs?–a touch more than I could right now, too. I could also get into nerd-tossing as an exercise, too.

  9. Hunter Cuneo says:

    May 16th, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Excellent! I hope you don’t mind me linking this column on my site. 

    And of course libertarians can criticize things, people, businesses that aren’t government. What else would we be working towards? An ideal libertarian society could never judge, criticize, etc.? Sounds kind of totalitarian to me.

    Unfortunately, PF gyms probably is marketing brilliantly. Hard work, commitment, and REAL physical activity doesn’t sell well to the average American boob.

  10. Tom Mullen says:

    May 16th, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    TGFKDC :)

  11. Karen De Coster says:

    May 16th, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Tracy – the PF gym I was in had a very small free weight area (with only dumbbells), and only light dumbbells. I’ve been told none of the PF gyms have racks or barbells. It makes sense because, otherwise, it would go against their very vocal philosophy.

  12. Karen De Coster says:

    May 16th, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Gregory: you sound like a jack-of-all trades, like me. Different routines, different ways (like the Mentzer way, which I do on some days). Age has not ever been a factor for me, either.

  13. Tracy Saboe says:

    May 16th, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    There’s a large segment of the population that was made fun of and ridiculed for not being perfect or being athletic when they were in high school (a function of government schooling). Many people simply feel uncomfortable working out in front of others because of this. PF allays those fears. That wasn’t my issue, but I know it’s an issue some people have.

    I’ll also say that if you’re dropping weights, you’re probably using bad form and therefore using too much for what you’re currently conditioned for and liable to hurt yourself. Perhaps that should be your right to abuse your body, but I’m not sure that it’s a bad thing that PF frowns on it.

    I think it’s great they’re different kinds of gyms for different people. I also think you have a tendency to see PC where none exists sometimes.

    Tracy

    PS I saw a guy people running 9 Miles per hour one the treadmills tonight. Maybe our PF gym is just special. Most members just ignore other members and mind their own business.

  14. clark says:

    May 18th, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Tracy Saboe said, “…I’ll also say that if you’re dropping weights, you’re probably using bad form and therefore using too much for what you’re currently conditioned for and liable to hurt yourself…”

    HAHA, that’s funny.
    As if, and who cares,… I have Never heard Anyone working hard on a farm say that. … It might be said in a factory though (by a supervisor) even then, it’s still funny. “Careful, careful now, you’re going to hurt yourself.” said mom.
    I can see it now, some person out working on a tough assed job saying, “I’m using too much for what I’m currently conditioned for and liable to hurt myself.”
    Hmmm, there’s a word they use to describe that, … no, it’s not safety orientated, I think it’s,… wimp, or some variation of that.
    Bad form,… is it “working” out, or is it ballet dancing?
    Sorry, excuse me, and pardon me, but that’s funny as all get out.

  15. Jeannie Queenie says:

    May 18th, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Am laughing at all those who feel that health fitness centers are so important to one’s life and well being. Like what the hell did people do a hundred years ago to stay in shape?

    Ohmigod…THEY DID REAL WORK, fancy that thought.

    They were actually physical each day of the week for their very existence was at stake if they didn’t move their bodies rigorously. I would imagine if any of them were to get out of their graves for an hour seeing what people do today to ‘stay in shape’, the first thought in their heads would be WTF! And so, by my pointing to the past, I wish to segue into the NRP program I was just listening to this past hour. From what I just learned, the days of others making/growing your food for you, maybe a thing of the past. So all fitness lovers should trade in your barbells/weights/running shoes for some gardening garb, for dear readers, the day will come when food will be worth more than gold. Having just heard that South Korea has set up an office in Chicago to be able to take advantage of our grain market/commodities, I was shocked to learn that they will have an advantage over americans for the grain supply, as they will have entered this scenario PRE market before us. And as the speaker said in this interview, it won’t be long before the others get the drift..think China and others, that they too can have access to our food supply if they jumb into the fray.

    If that isn’t bad enough, I read recently that the Chinese are buying up Great Lakes water and shipping back for their needs. Wonder how long it will take for them to realize that it could be much easier to just take over the US and have these resources all to themselves and to hell with americans. Now my question to all of you who claim to be hardcore Libertarians and haven’t much need for any law of any kind, why would it be wrong for us to have laws that other countries cannot have access to our commodities PRE american markets? And why should we give away or sell water to a country that keeps the communist umbrella over their masses? Considering the aforesaid latest news, I think in time fitness centers will be moot for everyone will have their little gardens indoors facing southwest for sun. For sure you won’t be able to have outdoor gardens for local predators wil help themselves during the night while you are making zzzz’s dreaming of those Beefsteak tomato plants. I also heard an interivew earlier that testing is going on now for testube hamburgers. The interviewee says it will be a thing within five years…so how you would you like your burgers made from test tube parts of cow’s muscles and other parts? with catsup/onions and mustard? If that happens I think you will see a lot of former beef lovers becoming vegetarians.

    So after thinking about this perhaps you guys should keep those memberships at fitness centers for it’s looking like with food going to be worth more than gold, you’ll need those bulked up muscles to tackle those daring to take your food!

  16. Tracy Saboe says:

    May 19th, 2011 at 1:19 am

    Serious weight lifters talk about form and proper body mechanics all the time. Don’t be an idiot, and actually read a book or talk to a personal trainer about weight lifting. Work Places call it Ergonomics, so this really shouldn’t shock you.

    Overuse injuries are real. I’ve injured myself several times because I overdid something, pushed through the pain not realizing I was hurt, and then actually injured myself because I didn’t listen to my body. I have a real high pain tolerance. That’s not the benifit some people think it is, it means you’re more libel to develop tendonitises and ligamentous, fasciitis, and other types of overuse soft tissue injuries as a result of pushing yourself more then you should. pain serves and important biological function. Ignore it at your peril.

    People that work on the farm regularly, are already used to working on the farm and have done it regularly their whole lives most likely. The 10 year old kid didn’t start lifting hundreds of bails of hay a day. They also rested when they got tired. And in fact when we were a more agrarian economy kids died on the farm of sunstroke, exhaustion, and other types of injuries all the time. Free Market economists make mention of this all the time when they point out that farm work was actually harder and more dangerous then factory labor, but union types only cared about child labor laws for factories.

    You guys were the bullies at school that made fun of the smaller kids weren’t you? Well, we don’t want to hang out around you guys either. Now, thanks to planet fitness, we don’t have to if we want to work out.

  17. damaged justice says:

    May 19th, 2011 at 8:28 am

    “You guys were the bullies at school”

    No, actually I was one of the bullied, so your amateur psychoanalysis falls flat. And no, I haven’t become a bully in turn. Should you ever try a real gym, you will most likely find the same thing I have: That its inhabitants may look big and scary, but they are some of the nicest people you will ever meet, and who are willing to bend over backwards to help anyone who is seriously interested in improving themselves. It doesn’t matter how much you lift, as long as you lift as much as you can.

    Forget the tired old stereotypes, and step out of the box.

  18. Karen De Coster says:

    May 19th, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    damaged justice: agreed. Big weightlifter = jerk is a stereotype past its prime time…..

  19. clark says:

    May 22nd, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Did Tracy just call me an idiot and assume I’ve never read about the subject nor talked to the “experts”? I hope I’m mistaken, because I’ve read the books and talked with them. Big wow.

    Tracy Saboe said, “People that work on the farm … They also rested when they got tired.”

    Some do I’m sure, but Not on any farm I’ve ever been on they don’t. The old timers didn’t ever talk about being able to rest when they were tired, that’s what Sunday was for, if you were lucky.

    Work Place Ergonomics,… sometimes is a joke and often is overkill.

    Also, I wasn’t a bully either, but that Planet Fitness place kind of sounds like it’s full of tiny bullies and mini-tyrant-wannabes?

  20. Tracy Saboe says:

    May 31st, 2011 at 1:08 am

    The reason, I wondered if you were a bully had nothing to do with a stereotype. It was because it seems to me like you were making fun of people who need to be careful. That’s how I interpret it when somebody calls me a wimp anyway.

    Did you read my initial post about how I’m using this as post therapy? How I went from my wrist hurting from picking up a tunafish can to where I am now? Planet Fitness serves a purpose for people who are serious — depending on what stage in their development they are. Apparently my accomplishments aren’t worth anything to you people. But I for one, am very excited that I don’t have joints painfully popping in and out of place randomly anymore.

    All I know, is that I’ve been going to planet fitness for about a year now, and I’ve seen heavily muscled men and women doing squats and stuff, and I’ve never seen anybody that works there tell them not too.

    That said, I’ll outgrow the place in the next 6 months or so (hopefully) but until then it serves a useful purpose. I agree with Karen about the dumb jock stereotype being very wrong. However, you’re stereotype is equally wrong of the people who work and go to planet fitness.

  21. John Coleman says:

    July 27th, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    @Tracey: I think you’re missing the point of the article. The hype of Planetary Fitness is work out with no judgement. The sad thing is that judgement is something we can’t avoid. It’s inherent in our makeup. It’s something we do no matter what situation we are in, in the gym, at work, at home. You can’t avoid it. If you want proof of that just look at all the comments above this one.

  22. Oberst Enzian says:

    September 15th, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    No grunting?
    No dead lifts?
    No squats?
    Power lifters are banned, in other words.
    YGBSM

    Do they allow bench presses?

    Sounds to me like a “gym” for people (women) who don’t want to work out, but like to pay money to go to the “gym” wearing “gym clothes,” & consume “fitness food” & “sports drinks.”

    Sheesh.

    Brilliant marketing, though. They’ll probably make a large fortune in soft America.

  23. C. Sharp says:

    September 16th, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    Good article, Karen.

    I became tired of going to overpriced commercial gyms – with TVs on every treadmill – so I experimented with building my own “gym”. It saves money and time, and everything I have can be filed away in my office. It consists of:

    Iron Gym pullup bar plus ab straps ($30, new)
    Weight belt ($30, new)
    E-Z curling bar ($20 w/ weights, Craigslist)
    Dumbell handles ($35 w/ weights, Craigslist)
    Dipping rings that attach to Iron Gym ($30, new)
    Lots of 1″ weights (free, Dad’s garage)
    Speed rope ($15, new)

    With this equipment I can concentrate on most of the exercises I want: dips, pullups, shoulder presses, deadlifts (surprisingly, E-Z bars are great for deadlifts – up to a weight limit, of course), curls, barbell roll-outs, etc.

    Since I don’t have the equipment for squats, I perform one-legged bodyweight squats as described by Pavel in The Naked Warrior.

    Obviously, this set up wouldn’t satisfy a competitive or extremely serious lifter, but it works well for me.

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