Let me preface this blog by saying that I totally understand that some people are intimidated by gyms because of a small population of people who might attend (body builders, rude and unfriendly skinny people who need a sandwich, etc). I am all for a non-judgmental attitude when it comes to being at the gym, and people shouldn’t feel embarrassed when they walk through the doors. But at the same time, people of all shapes and sizes attend my gym and we all get along just fine.
Having said that, let’s talk about Planet Fitness and their “no lunk” policy. A “lunk” is a word that Planet Fitness made up to describe someone who drops weights, grunts while they work out, and judges (how does one assess that someone is judging?). I’m assuming this is to describe the people, mostly men, who lift heavy. There is an alarm that goes off whenever someone makes noise while working out or drops a weight. Its called the “Lunk Alarm.” Now, I am by no means a heavy lifter, but I sometimes make noise while I am lifting, and I’m clumsy and drop things. I would not appreciate an alarm going off in my face for that. And Planet Fitness has a “no judgment” policy…isn’t this alarm in itself, a judgment? Not letting certain people, say bodybuilders, in a place because they might be annoying every now and then, is discrimination and judgmental. There is a no deadlift policy and the dumbbells don’t go over 60 pounds. Now, I will never need to lift 60 pound dumbbells…ever…but why put limitations on your clientele? I’ve also read that PF has pizza nights, bagel mornings and candy machines. What? Seriously? I guess that’s a way to keep people coming back to your gym…keep them fat. This gym just showcases what we seem to be striving for lately here in America…mediocrity.
There is also a gym in Canada, the Body Exchange, who only serves overweight women. Skinny and fit women are told to find somewhere else to work out. This comes from the idea that skinny people are “morale killers” and I guess judge overweight women. Like I said before, I totally understand that a lot of people are intimidated by the gym (this is why I run an outdoor boot camp w/ no gym membership required), but to tell someone they can’t work out somewhere because of what they look like is DISCRIMINATION. Skinnier (and I hate that word, but it applies here) people aren’t always healthier than larger people, and they come with their own body image issues. I know some people who see someone fit and see them as inspiration, not a morale killer. What happens when the larger women get fit and get smaller? Are they asked to leave their gym that they’ve grown comfortable in? And what about the instructors? Are they large or fit? So many questions.
My point with this post is that gyms should not take it upon themselves to “weed out” people who may or may not make someone else uncomfortable. Gyms should be open to everyone because in our ever-expanding waistline society, we are not in the situation to turn down anyone wanting to make themselves healthier.
Stay sweaty, my friends….just make sure to keep it down 😉