Planet Fitness is my favorite gym. Great equipment, affordable membership and hundreds of locations nationwide. And best of all, it's a judgement free zone. No gymtimidation. No one ever judges me for my back rolls, my flabby thighs, my complete lack of fitness knowledge.
Or even what I've done.
Seriously, it's come as you are at Planet Fitness. I'm not what you'd call a workout buff. Climbing stairs or folding laundry feels like exercise to me. Some days I can barely get out of bed, though that's usually for different reasons.
Fortunately, whether you're a bodybuilder, a casual lifter, or a first-timer like me, Planet Fitness accepts you unconditionally. The moment I step inside, I feel completely at home. No prying eyes staring at me, judging me, like they do on the street. It's almost like that horrible, regrettable incident never happened.
The staff here are excellent. Totally courteous and professional. I don't feel an ounce of judgement when I need a spotter for a 30-pound bench press or don't know what some workout term means. My first day, I thought "free weights" meant we could take the weights home. A trainer, Bill, smiled and explained that no, it just meant the weights weren't attached to anything. We both laughed about it afterward.
I haven't laughed like that in a long time.
The other members are friendly too. Doesn't matter if they're gym rats or fellow newbies, they still treat me like one of their own. Zero judgement when I'm puffing on the treadmill, stumbling on the step bench or baring my beefy chest in the locker room. The locker room also has very few mirrors, which I appreciate on the days I can't look myself in the eyes.
Planet Fitness also has the Lunk Alarm. It's basically this siren that goes off any time someone acts like a musclehead, dropping weights or grunting too loud. Those are the kind of people Planet Fitness tries to keep out, the kind who abuse steroids and end every sentence with "bro." The kind who would judge me, just like the rest of the world.
What I did was an accident, okay? I'm not saying that makes it right, I'm just saying it was never my intention. There isn't a day, an hour even, that goes by that I'm not consumed with regret. Well, except when I'm at Planet Fitness. There they understand. They treat me with dignity, humanity. Maybe I don't deserve either at this point, but Planet Fitness doesn't make that their business. Like I said, total judgement free zone.
Did I mention they have bagel Tuesdays too?
The Remains of Bidet (James Ivory, 1993)
We might find we have more in common than we think if we just stop fighting long enough to combine our bodies into a singular organism.
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