Workout of the Day

A Planet Fitness Advertisement Tells All


I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw an advertisement pop up in my social media feed for a new Planet Fitness that’s opening up in my area. The advertisement was (unintentionally) probably the most accurate and revealing piece of marketing I’ve ever seen. It read as follows: “Join online now through Nov. 6 for ONLY $0.25 down and $10 a month. Get unlimited fitness training in a clean, comfortable Judgement Free Zone. No commitment!”

Let’s break this gem down to its key points.

First, there’s price. Only $0.25 down and $10 a month? Cheaper than a date night at the local taco Tuesday joint, it’s such a minimal expense that you could afford to pay for a membership for the rest of your life and never use it, and not feel the least bit guilty. We like to call this a “no skin in the game exchange.” A weird thing happens wherein free/cheap things are far less likely to be used and valued than things which come at a cost. This is skin in the game. (Side note: on top of this, we have the availability to join online. No required human interaction, no interpersonal interaction, just anonymous exchange of money for access. Not only is monetary skin in the game held to an absolute minimum, but interpersonal skin in the game and accountability is entirely non-existent.)

Next are the highlights of the gym: unlimited access, clean, comfortable, and no judgment. The notion of “unlimited” appeals to an insatiable desire for accumulation of more. Be it belongings, social media likes, or access to gyms, many people are heavily in the business of the fruitless game of unending accumulation (and generally, subsequent disuse). I can get behind cleanliness, but prioritization of comfort and lack of judgment point to exactly why, despite there being approximately 37,000 gyms in the United States, the majority of our population is inactive, sick, and unfit. Effective training will make you uncomfortable. That is both a side effect of how physical adaptation occurs, and an opportunity in itself to grow. And while we agree with Planet Fitness that interpersonal or ego-driven value judgments have no place in a training facility, the notion that you should be free from all forms of judgment flies in the face of how to learn and grow -- how to be a student. In the interest of seeking improvement, we put a high priority on feedback, both negative and positive. This is the bread and butter of how you or I get better. Without feedback, there is no opportunity to improve.

The last line is perhaps the most revealing: no commitment. I get it, commitment is hard. But that’s kind of the point. It goes back to our notion of skin in the game. With skin in the game, we are invested in a practice, a person, a business venture, whatever. We have a personal (or financial) interest in the success, and that’s part of what can make it work. Think of a romantic relationship or a business deal built on the foundation of no commitment -- this is not a recipe for sustainability or durability.

I appreciate Planet Fitness for their honest advertising, but I’m saddened by the fact that their advertisement is exactly what speaks to many people. Cheap, easy, and no commitment. Unsurprisingly, Planet Fitness’s business model is to sign up as many people as possible under the assumption that they won’t actually use their membership. Consider that one Planet Fitness gym that had a maximum capacity of about 300 people had approximately 6,000 members, over half of whom never used their membership (you can listen to the full story HERE), and this is the norm more so than the exception.

Let’s just say that we’re about as opposite as you can get from Planet Fitness while still being in the same general business. Are you interested in putting skin in the game, discomfort, feedback, and commitment? We are too. Welcome to the fold.

- PS


  • Spend 15 mins on pistols


  • 10 min AMRAP

    • 20 pistols (10/leg)

    • 10 T2B

    • 5 box jumps (30/24)